A : I am a feminist, a cartoonist, and an artist. My art name is Rokudenashiko. I create arts using my Manko( Japanese slang for ‘Vagina’) as a motif. I made some molds in the shape of my Manko and decorated them in a sweet and glittering way. I also put some diorama dolls on them. I made a kayak measuring about 2 meters based on a 3D scan of my Manko.
Recently, I have been 3d modeling and making toys using my 3D Manko data.
Q : Why are you interested in the vagina?
A : At first I had been drawing cartoons about the story of my sexual experiences. One day, I noticed that there are many cartoonists who draw their sexual experiences but no woman in Japan who drew the topic of their sexual organs(Manko). So I decided to be the first Manko cartoonist. Though I found some feminist artworks using Manko as a motif, they looked sad, gloomy, and severe because they seemed to want to convey the idea that being woman is painful.
Q : What is the political message?
A : It was just an idea and did not have any political massage at that time. So I call myself ‘ Rokudenashiko’ ( Rokudenashi means ‘talk nonsense’ or ‘ completely useless person’).
Q : Why is it important?
A : I felt very weird when I got huge online slander by the people who saw the photos of my Manko art decorated glitteringly or with diorama dolls. Those art works looked very funny, but many people thought them obscene because they were made from my Manko. They did not properly consider the meaning of my work but were scared and angry with the concept of Manko. Then I suddenly noticed that people, especially women, were strictly culturally prohibited from saying ‘ Manko’ in public despite there being no reason or legal penalty in Japan. However, If women can not say the name of our sexual organs, it is difficult for us to talk about our sex problems, venereal disease, birth control, asking their partners to wear a condom etc…. It is ridiculous!!!
Q : Why do we celebrate penis and not vagina in Japan?
A : In ancient Japan people respected the human body, sex and sexual organs because these symbolized the birth of life, harvest, and fertility. Even today, there is a famous festival in which people carry a big penis object which symbolized harvest on their shoulder in Kawasaki. However, so- called obscenity has been severely cracked down upon the Meiji period during which the government has opened the country to the world and adapted to Western culture influenced by Christianity, think that sexual desire, obscenity, pornography, and so on are bad and shameful in general. Not only sexual violence is forbidden, but also showing the naked body and sexual organs in public. And among those people consider the vagina to be the most obscene.
Q ; Why is female sex considered obscene?
A : In the histories of almost all countries, men have dominated women. Women did not have the rights of initiative and freedom.
Q : Are Japanese women ashamed of their sexuality ? Why?
A : Most Japanese women have been brainwashed by their parents since they were children to think that their body, especially their vagina, is obscene. Boys are allowed to talk about the penis easily, even in public, but girls are not allowed. Parents forbid their daughter to talk about and touch her vagina without giving reason. I think it leads women to think that our sexual organs are shameful and dirty.
Q : Why isn’t your art appreciated?
A : Because my art uses the vagina as a motif, people who are prejudiced against sexual expression may dislike and be offended by my art even if they are art critics or professors. Moreover, some feminists and sociologists hate my art because the images are funny and laughable, not authoritative at all. They think that feminism art should convey the idea that being a woman is painful.
Q : Why have you been arrested?
A : I started a crowdfunding campaign when I made a kayak measuring about 2 meters based on a 3D scan of my Manko. Then I sent my 3D Manko data via online storage services to the patrons as a reward( for funding me). It came to the police’s attention and I was arrested twice for obscenity in 2014. The first time I was released from jail 7days later. I drew a cartoon about my experience of being arrested and in my illustrations and story I teased the police so they caught me again. Then I was prosecuted on the charge of obscenity for making my Manko- decorated arts and sending my 3D Manko data online. The trial lasted several years, and finally in the Supreme Court in July 2021 I was found not guilty for my decorated art – it was judged not obscene – but guilty of sending obscene data. I had to pay a fine of four hundred thousand yen ( 3700 US dollars ).
Q : How did you feel?
A : I got angry and started to fight against the police in earnest because of how ridiculous it was that they arrested me. I asserted the rights of FREE MANKO with all my energy. It was tough for me to be robbed of my freedom for 30 day’s detention. And Why should I be found and have to pay a fine? However, the news of my case spread around the world, and a wonderful musician who lives in Dublin became interested in my story. He became my husband and we were blessed with a lovely son. So now I appreciate the Japanese police who have been like an online dating web site for us and made us happy!
TOKYO DUB AGENT CO.,LTD./ART LAB TOKYO/AKIBA主催のこちらの展示会に参加します。昨年制作した3d創作物や、無罪になって返って来たデコまんを展示予定です（Room2で展示予定）↓↓↓
nuranura exhibition 2021 会期:2021年4月1日（木）ー4月17日（土） 平日15時-20時 土曜日12時-20時 日曜日休み 最終日17時まで オープニングパーティー(招待制)：4月2日(金)18時30分~ ROOM.1 OPEN:2021.４.1thu-2021.4.17sat weekdays15-20 saturday12-20 closed on sunday Last day Until 17:00 opening party 4.2fri 1830~ROOM.1 ＊Invitation system
ROOM1 artist 淺野健一/HIDEYUKI KATSUMATA/椎名イチカ/朱宮垂狐/MITSUYOSHI TOMIKAWA /中尾 変/P.P. CRYSTAL /Mayu Manson/吉田絢乃 ROOM2 artist 市川健治/河野あさみ（あおいうに）/菅間圭子/ジェフ・クーンズ/桜井貴/ツバキアンナ/nibinibu/菱沼美香/牧田恵実/森下泰輔/MoL/ろくでなし子
Today, the Supreme Court ruled on my vagina art case. The result was disappointing: my appeal was rejected. I was found innocent in 2017 regarding the exhibition of my work, but I was convinced that the rest of the charges, for distribution of data, would also be transformed to “Innocent”. So, I do not agree with the result.
This all began because I wondered “Why are female genitalia considered obscene and taboo?”, and in order to overturn its image, have been making cute, funny works. During my trial I argued: “The female genitals that are part of my body should not be judged obscene.” I have challenged the police and the judiciary who tried to deprive me of the freedom to express things with my body as a motif.
However the Supreme Court seems unable to escape from the old-fashioned value standard of “obscenity because it is a female genitalia”.
It is a strange thing that 3D data of my body is considered obscene while the deco-man, an art made from my body is not. Although in advanced Western countries, regardless of gender, there is almost no arrest or detention for artistic expressions that use his/her genital as a motif, I think it is a very anachronistic judgment in 2020. I am sorry that the cooperation and efforts of the lawyers and supporters who have helped me so far have not been fully realized.
However, I still dare to call this judgment a “historical judgment.”
It is extremely rare for the Supreme Court to rule on Article 175 of the Penal Code. In such a situation, although all my charges have not been acquitted, the appeals court confirmed that the deco-man’s work exhibition was acquitted. Therefore my case should remain in the history of obscene trials in Japan.
Often the person who has been subject to arrest and trial may be defeated afterwards. However I am full of freshness and motivation to create. Before I was arrested twice in 2014, I was leading kind of a halfway life, but due to severe police interrogation in prison, my spirit and patience were greatly and paradoxically improved, and I realized the importance of freedom of expression. I was blessed with a good husband and child as a result of the coverage of my arrest spreading overseas.
When I made this experience into a cartoon “What is Obscenity? The Story of a Good for Nothing Artist and Her Pussy?”, English, French, and Spanish translations were published. So I was able to show my works to the world. In addition, the Swiss director’s documentary film “#Female Pleasure”, which selected me as one of the “Five Women in the World” and documented my activities, won the Premio Zonta Club Locarno at the Locarno Film Festival 2018 and has been shown in many countries.
When I made a 3D printed vagina kayak, I myself didn’t have that skill and needed help. I wanted to master it, so I started studying and as a result, I was able to acquire the skills of 3D technology before the age of 50. My new works will be on display until July 22 at “BURST Generation: Death and SEX” exhibition, which is being held at Shinjuku Ophthalmologist（Ganka） Gallery, so please come visit.
Although it was a misdemeanor only punishable by a fine, I was unreasonably detained in jail for a long time, so at first I had a grudge against the police. But I am thankfult o them now for giving me an experience that I would not have had if I were living a normal life. The reason I started to create my vagina art seriously was that I received a large amount of slanders and bashings on a certain internet bulletin board. I have found that I really like to resist the unreasonable pressure of powers, organizations and groups that try to hold people down. Doing this has become my life work.
So I will continue to work creatively and announce new works. Furthermore, in the process leading up to the Supreme Court’s decision, a lot of happiness came in. In that sense as well, I feel proud that this judgment is a “historical judgment.”