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Japanese Artist Megumi Igarashi Arrested for 3D Printed Artwork Based on
July 14, 2014 5:54 PM   Subscribe


 
“Man,” is short for the Japanese word that equates to vagina (manko) while “deco” is an abbreviation of “decorated.”

BTW, there is a slight inaccuracy in the gloss: "manko" is actually a crude word, "o-manko" is slightly better (equivalent of "pussy").
posted by KokuRyu at 5:56 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


The Little Japanese Artist in the Boat...
posted by jim in austin at 5:59 PM on July 14 [6 favorites]


The iPhone covers are great.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:01 PM on July 14


I don't know much about the context of Japanese obscenity laws (hopefully some insightful Mefites can weigh in), but all her projects strike me as really fun and whimsical and clever. I like Serious "VAGINA!"* Art, but these are playful and funny and really make her point in a lighthearted and accessible way.

*Yes, I know, vulva.
posted by WidgetAlley at 6:07 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Every single one of these pieces is utterly fantastic.

Also, seriously?
posted by shakespeherian at 6:09 PM on July 14 [8 favorites]


Why isn't that kayak pixelated?
posted by K'an at 6:24 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Maybe if she'd pixelated the 3d model so her natural anatomy was made out of 1cm cubes like some Minecraft monstrosity, it would then not be "obscene" by Japanese standards. Or just depict her as a 12 year old animated girl vulva being raped by monsters. That's OK.

Related: Japan outlaws possession of child porn. Last month.
posted by Nelson at 6:32 PM on July 14 [8 favorites]


I want mankochan everywhere!
posted by divabat at 6:37 PM on July 14


Maybe if she'd pixelated the 3d model so her natural anatomy was made out of 1cm cubes like some Minecraft monstrosity, it would then not be "obscene" by Japanese standards.

That would actually be pretty cool. Interestingly, it's all GHQ's fault. The American Occupation government are the folks that outlawed porn and all that sort of stuff. It was (mostly American) missionaries back in the previous century that convinced Japanese Restoration authorities to impose a new moral code that forced women to cover up.

There was a massive earthquake just after the war Fukui Prefecture, where I spent a lot of time, and there is a pretty famous (well, if you're into local history) photograph of the twisted wreckage of a rail line across the river. There are naked men lounging on the trestle, and more naked people bathing in the river (the water mains were wrecked), while nearby fully-clothed people were gathering drinking water or whatever.

The weird ban on depicting male or female genitalia was actually kinda sorta being relaxed since around 2000, but the municipal government of Tokyo has really been enforcing censorship laws over the past ten years or so.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:42 PM on July 14 [6 favorites]


BTW, there is a slight inaccuracy in the gloss: "manko" is actually a crude word, "o-manko" is slightly better (equivalent of "pussy").

...which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. O-manko.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:42 PM on July 14 [15 favorites]


Great stuff, especially the kayak. So MKBoat = man ko boat?
Great commentary on Japanese laws, too.
posted by carter at 6:46 PM on July 14


Well, it's kind of like saying "cunt" or "pussy". Since turning, I don't know, 20 years old, I can't think of a time as an adult when it's socially acceptable to say cock/dick/cunt/pussy. Although I suppose "chinko" (prick) is okay for 10 year olds to say, but "manko" is not (I used to teach a lot of 10 year old boys).
posted by KokuRyu at 6:46 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I don't know enough about Japanese culture or law to make an informed comment about the arrest (though IMO it's bullshit), but the kayak idea is freaking brilliant.
posted by Debaser626 at 6:48 PM on July 14 [6 favorites]


In a country where the female anatomy is “overly hidden,” she “did not know what a pussy should look like.”

Have I been terribly misinformed about certain aspects of Japanese culture?
posted by Western Infidels at 6:54 PM on July 14


Her art is fantastic. I kind of want to take up kayaking so I can have a vulva kayak. And after reading the entire transformers misogyny thread, the transformer-looking robot with vulval front panel delighted me.
posted by medusa at 7:02 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


Free O-manko Riot.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:07 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I call shenanigans.

The origin of this story seems to be an article from Fujisankei news which is a national TV news source but also notorious for this sort of sensationalistic bogus "news" story. Also there is no reference to this on her own website.

Also a linguistic note:

BTW, there is a slight inaccuracy in the gloss: "manko" is actually a crude word, "o-manko" is slightly better (equivalent of "pussy").

She calls them Deko-man which appears to be a pun.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:18 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


Those iPhone covers are great and they should be everywhere.
posted by supermassive at 7:36 PM on July 14


Vaginal battle-scene diorama “senjo-man”

"Cover me, men, I'm goin' in!"
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:45 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


Why isn't there a man in the kayak?
posted by goethean at 7:56 PM on July 14


Western Infidels: "In a country where the female anatomy is “overly hidden,” she “did not know what a pussy should look like.”

Have I been terribly misinformed about certain aspects of Japanese culture?
"

Just as in the US, the ubiquity of porn in Japan does not equate to universal obligatory consumption of same. And, just as in the US, the ubiquity of porn in Japan does not equate to a populace highly educated regarding the diverse beauty of female genitalia.
posted by gingerest at 7:57 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


And, just as in the US, the ubiquity of porn in Japan does not equate to a populace highly educated regarding the diverse beauty of female genitalia.

not to mention until recently (?) japanese porn was infamous for the censorship of explicit photos of the genitals.

how soon we forget exactly what is supposed to be so weird about foreign cultures...
posted by atoxyl at 8:12 PM on July 14


She calls them Deko-man which appears to be a pun.

I think "man" is once again a softer term than "manko." "Man" can also mean "bun", like "an-man" (a rice flour bun filled with delicious, sweet, soft... you get the picture... bean jam" or "niku-man," a rice flour steamed bun filled with... meat.

"Man-man" is a childish way to refer to the vulva.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:15 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


ban on depicting male or female genitalia
Yet the Kanamara Matsuri goes ahead.
posted by unliteral at 8:21 PM on July 14


Pussy Control?
posted by koucha at 8:30 PM on July 14


You have to be careful around this sort of sculpture.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:34 PM on July 14


I call shenanigans.

Nope, her arrest is definitely for real. I'm in Tokyo, and this was on the news last night. Video of her in the back of a police car, stone-faced, as the press did the papparazi thing. I love this country but sometimes...shit like this makes me stabby.
posted by zardoz at 8:35 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


HER WORK IS AMAZING
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:42 PM on July 14


Aww, damn, this is one lucky artist! As everyone knows, you can't buy publicity like this. Her star will rise high now, I predict.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:46 PM on July 14


From the article: The goal is to make “pussy more casual and pop.”

I am a supporter of this goal.

And you know, what makes the arrest on obscenity charges all the more bizarrely hypocritical and patriarchal-sexist is that we're talking about the country that does this.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:53 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


"...is distributing the data as a means of soliciting funds to build a ship resembling female genitalia"

There is a vulvaesque resemblance. The shape of a boat hull as it interacts with the water is optimized to delay the separation wave. I used to race sailboats and know a tiny bit about hull design.

There are no penis shaped sailboat hulls because they don't work.

The shape of a Bell helicopter is another analog. It's an egg basically, which is a perfect aerodynamic form. The truth will out in nature I suppose.

I like her work.
posted by vapidave at 8:56 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


And yet, Takahashi Murakami walks free after this My Lonesome Cowboy sold for 15 million six years ago.
posted by pwnguin at 9:02 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Well, it's important to remember that "ladies first" is a laughable concept in Japan.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:36 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I wonder if this isn't more about the authorities freaking out about the possibilities of 3D printing than anything else. There was that gun case not long ago; I wouldn't be surprised if someone had decided to crack down really hard on anything 3D printing-related, in an attempt to assert the authority of the law before it's the internet all over again.
posted by No-sword at 9:51 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


I guess it's OK only if it's sold for sexual purpose???

But on a more serious note, how are these two things different in the Japanese legal system? Why is one OK to sell in stores and the other worthy of criminal charges?
posted by fiercekitten at 9:51 PM on July 14


But on a more serious note, how are these two things different in the Japanese legal system? Why is one OK to sell in stores and the other worthy of criminal charges?

Because Patriarchy.

(I'm so tired of saying it. Sigh.)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:12 PM on July 14 [6 favorites]


And to clarify, im not suggesting you don't k of that's the answer. Just that all the legal and moral justifications for this really do not matter. Pussies are terrible, ugly things to be hidden from sight. Until a man has use for it.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:15 PM on July 14


Because Patriarchy.

Japan is a matriarchy.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:18 PM on July 14


Japan is a matriarchy within the home, but the people running the government and everything else are most certainly men.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:20 PM on July 14 [7 favorites]


Why isn't there a man in the kayak?

Why does it have to be a man? The mechanics might be different, but whatever floats your boat.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:21 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


The Sankei article Charlie Don't Surf linked to above has some really interesting verbiage.

First of all, I'd like to point out that some of the ridiculous double-standards discussed in this thread are most certainly result of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's bizarre crackdown on public morals over the last decade. Igarashi was arrested by the 警視庁, the Metropolitan Police Department. I'm not exactly sure if it was a national ordinance, or a metropolitan ordinance.

But Tokyo's crackdown on all things smutty has led to a chilling affect across the country simply because most cultural industries, including pornographers, or, in this case, artists like Igarashi, are located in Tokyo, and therefore subject to local laws.

Here's another tidbit:

インターネット上に自身の女性器の3Dデータを掲載し、ダウンロードさせたとして、警視庁保安課は、わいせつ電磁的記録頒布容疑

女性器 here means "female sexual organ", where I suppose the correct term would be 外陰部 (vulva, outer labia; not exactly correct).

An interesting bit of kanji in there is 陰, or "in", the female "yin" of "yin and yang", where 陰 means shadow or dark. The clitoris, for example is called the 陰核, where 核 means "core" or "nucleus". Not a common word, and the slang for "clitoris" in Japanese is "kuri", from "kuritorisu."

She was arrested for わいせつ電磁的記録頒布容疑, or "under suspicion of electronically producing and distributing obscenity" or I guess "obscene materials."

わいせつ is an interesting word because it can mean obscene or obscenity, but it can also mean "sexual assault".

Anyway, this is pretty interesting, and I think the artist has made a point (although I am not sure if this is the way she wanted to do it!)
posted by KokuRyu at 10:33 PM on July 14 [7 favorites]


The way Tokyo Reporter reports it, it kind of makes more sense: she sold an image of her genitalia (女性器) to someone else, which I guess would trigger the public morals laws in Japan. I dunno. Here it is: http://www.tokyoreporter.com/2014/07/14/tokyo-woman-arrested-for-uploading-image-of-her-genitals-for-3d-printing/
posted by KokuRyu at 11:05 PM on July 14


Well, I'll never look at my two-seater kayak again without being slightly weirded out.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:30 PM on July 14


When people tell me Japan isn't a matriarchal society, I point out that Amaterasu is female. I think this has a deeper societal impact than Westerners appreciate.

Anyway, KokuRyu, you know how this works, the people who think they are running the country are men. And then they go home to their wives and find out who runs their lives.

On edit:

The Sankei article Charlie Don't Surf linked to above has some really interesting verbiage.

Yes, quite. I spent a bit of time puzzling over some of that language. I don't often resort to a paper dictionary like the Green Goddess, but I wanted to be sure I was reading this right. And I was, it just reads weirdly. At some points it refers to わいせつ電磁的記録頒布容疑 and elsewhere it's わいせつ物. I am not clear whether they understand the difference between "indecent data" and the indecent object made with the data. If I had to make an educated guess, based on the photos of her with a camera looking up her skirt, I think the indecent data was the raw images of her genitals that were transmitted to the 3D printing company to turn into model data.

The artists remarks quoted as 自分にとっては手足と一緒 parses out something like "to me its the same as arms and legs." I suppose she meant her genitals (real or sculptural is unclear) are no more obscene than arms and legs.

Anyway, I would really like to see the official charges on this case, just to read the exact language of the charges.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:34 PM on July 14


the people who think they are running the country are men. And then they go home to their wives and find out who runs their lives.

I follow Akie Abe on Facebook. I don't exactly know why a wonderful human being like her is married to such a putz like Abe.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:52 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


And then they go home to their wives and find out who runs their lives.

Yeah, their lives, maybe. But not national policy. Don't kid yourself. Original founding goddess be damned. Oh, and wifey upset about too much drinking and hanging out with the boys? Sure, OK, gotta deal with that. But revising the constitution overnight, against the wishes of the majority? Pushing ahead with nukes, against the wishes of the majority? That ain't no Amaterasu and that ain't the wife. That's the ultra-conservative old bastards who run this country, and that's the patriarchy. Men. Full stop.

You wanna see the extent of the respect for ancient goddess Ameratsu and for all her female descendants, among the governing elite? You need look no further than this.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:05 AM on July 15 [11 favorites]


Don't put breadcrumbs in your underpants if you don't want panko on your manko.
posted by dr_dank at 4:30 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


I want a manko hanko.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:59 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


I think no-sword has it. It's like getting Al Capone on tax charges — technically true, but not the real reason for the arrest. In this case, I think it's the first sign of a crackdown on 3D printers after the gun thing.
posted by Bugbread at 6:15 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Talk about your wet exits!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:58 AM on July 15


You wanna see the extent of the respect for ancient goddess Ameratsu and for all her female descendants, among the governing elite? You need look no further than this.

Exactly.

Yesterday, after days of denials, Mr Suzuki formally apologised and resigned from his post. Mr Abe also apologised.

Since the apology, Mr Suzuki's office has been pelted with eggs as he continues to face an onslaught of criticism on social media...

The incident sparked outrage, with 70,000 people singing a petition for the hecklers to be punished.


The matriarchy can revoke your position at will.

That's the ultra-conservative old bastards who run this country, and that's the patriarchy. Men. Full stop.

They don't get away with it for very long. They just end up as sodai gomi.

Look, I acknowledge your point, but I don't think you're giving women the socio-political credit they deserve. For example, the Shin-komeito is largely organized by women and they controlled the formation of the current coalition government. The original Komeito broke the rule of the LDP and forced them to form a coalition back in the 90s.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:38 AM on July 15


They don't get away with it for very long. They just end up as sodai gomi.

Hmmm, I don't know about that. Japan Inc. is run by men, for men. I get what you're saying that within the household women do run the show (because traditionally men are working and aren't around), but men run the government, serve as senior and middle-level bureaucrats, and run companies from the board level all the way down to middle-management. The only sector where women wield anything like male power is in education, and this is largely the same as in North America. The police inspectors who ordered Igarashi's arrest were likely men, and the cops who picked her up were likely men. The cops in the cop shop who will be asking her all sorts of awkward questions will be men, and the judiciary who will try here will be made up of men. The prison wardens (if it goes that far) will be women.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:16 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


They don't get away with it for very long. They just end up as sodai gomi.

Since when? That Suzuki idiot had to resign I think most pointedly because he was on camera denying saying it just before he admitted to it. Had that not happened, there wouldn't have been consequences, just as there weren't for the other hecklers as well as the guy who heckled another female politician during her speech the very next week.

One politician quitting (for blatantly lying on camera) doesn't really bolster your matriarchy theory very well.
posted by zardoz at 3:38 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


It's worth remembering that Amaterasu hid in a cave because Susanoo literally shit all over everything she held dear.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:07 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


BTW, there is a slight inaccuracy in the gloss: "manko" is actually a crude word, "o-manko" is slightly better (equivalent of "pussy").

...which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. O-manko.


No. It makes women just as uncomfortable, in general. If it didn't, I'd have far fewer giggles answering my wife's question of 'what do you want to eat tonight?'

And yeah, Suzuki didn't resign his position, he resigned his party. The other guy never came forward. That this is a matriarchal society is absolutely ridiculous. The real power is in the people who hold the money, and the people who hold the money are almost exclusively men. Whether they make their own bento or wipe their childrens' asses is completely irrelevant.

Do I really need to get started on things like rape, objectification and domestic violence? A friend of mine got the shit beaten out of her (white female) by her (Japanese) husband, went to the cops, and they said "oh, it just looks like he punched you a few times." They refused to file a report.

My first Japanese girlfriend was sexually assaulted in public a grand total of 8 times by the time I'd met her when she was 21. That crimes like these not only happen with great frequency but are expected and shrugged off really makes me scoff at calling this a "matriarchal society." It's deeply misogynistic and all the real power is held by men.

That's not a matriarchy.
posted by GoingToShopping at 12:13 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


No. It makes women just as uncomfortable, in general.

You may have missed the allusion.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:23 AM on July 16


You may have missed the allusion.

There was a ten-year stretch where I was effectively out of contact with Western (ie, "American") culture.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:57 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


The real power is in the people who hold the money, and the people who hold the money are almost exclusively men.

Have you ever looked at Japan's Household Savings rates? That reservoir of money is immense, and it's all controlled by women. I recall hearing that Household Savings far exceeds Corporate Savings, but I can't find statistics to confirm.

Here's an interesting but old economics report, dating back to the Bubble era. Household savings continued to rise (measured as a percentage of income) even after the Bubble popped. but has recently declined during the recession. Here's an interesting footnote on p149:

The top combined national and local personal tax rate is currently 88 percent in Japan.. People in high-income tax brackets can spread their income over their spouses and relatives by setting up a token corporation. By paying them high wages and by taking advantage of the more generous tax deductibility provisions in the corporate tax codes, they can understate corporate income and thus avoid double taxation at the corporate and personal levels.

This is how women like Akie Abe acquired immense personal wealth and power, as heirs to industrial fortunes. Most women will outlive their spouses and will end up in sole possession of those family fortunes.

Of course the overt misogyny is rampant, as is evident from this FPP. But that does not exclude the possibility of Japan being a matriarchy. The way a matriarchy exerts its influence is not primarily through male-dominated political structures.

But we are quibbling here. I think most of us who are arguing this point, and have personal experiences in Japan, recognize there are elements of truth on both sides.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:46 AM on July 16


charlie-

You'll have to define what "matriarchy" means to you, because I feel you're playing up the aspects of Japanese culture that are traditionally run by women--namely, the home and often finances. Labeling Japan as a matriarchy falsely elevates the status of women and implies that inequality isn't there--how could it be, if the country is run by women! Labeling Japan as a matriarchy is a defense of the status quo.
posted by zardoz at 6:23 PM on July 16 [5 favorites]


Well I have been trying to come up with a metaphor but you guys just don't want to hear it. I'm just saying that the Nuclear Family with Mom in charge, is a more fundamental social construction in Japanese society than corporations or governments with men in charge. This is not a defense of the status quo. Overt power structures in government and business are dependent on all people believing they are powerless.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:34 PM on July 18


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