Rokudenashiko
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, known as Rokudenashiko, holds her vagina-inspired artworkReuters

A Japanese artist has won the right to show off objects shaped like her vagina after a Tokyo court said on Monday (9 May) the works were not obscene. Megumi Igarashi, 44, also known as Rokudenashiko, or "good-for-nothing girl", was however found guilty of distributing digital data usable to recreate 3D models of her genitalia.

In 2014 Igarashi was arrested twice under Japan's strict obscenity laws over art projects involving vagina-moulds. She was first held for distributing data from a scan of her vagina to supporters of a crowdfunding campaign she initiated to buy a 3D printer to create a genitalia-shaped Kayak.

She was released after a week thanks to a legal appeal and the overwhelming support of a petition signed by some 17,000 people, only to be rearrested a few months later when the boat was eventually displayed inside a sex shop. The store owner was also detained.

Prosecutors said both activities were in breach of obscenity laws banning any public display of genitalia and demanded she was fined ¥800,000 (£5,100, $7,400). Judges at Tokyo District Court found that the brightly coloured Kayak and other similar vividly decorated ornaments printed by the artist were not immediately recognisable as vaginas and thus were not obscene.

However, sharing the data constituted an offence as it could be used to reproduce realistic 3D copies of Igarashi's private parts to potentially arouse viewers, the court ruled. Igarashi said her project was artistic and not obscene, arguing she wanted to defy Japan's taboo over female genitalia by making "pussy casual and pop". She was fined ¥ 400,000.