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.”
While the number of new coronavirus infections is declining worldwide, in the United States, “Black Lives Matter”, protest demonstrations against a man killed by police officers discriminating black people became popular, and the spark is spreading all over the world. It is natural for people to stand up against black discrimination, but the riots have become radical. Some people are even attacking Nike and Apple stores and others are setting fire on buildings and cars.
President Trump said such actions were led by ANTIFA, militant, left-wing, and anti-fascist political activists and identified them as terrorists.
However, there is also a theory that these criminal acts are masquerading or inciting by Trump-supporting white supremacists. Since I live far from the United State, I do not know what the truth is.
Although it was revealed in a survey by Twitter, Inc. that the twitter account claiming to be ANTIFA was a spoofed white supremacist, I wonder if an account with only a few hundred followers could be so influential. Also, have watched the videos of people actually attacking shops. Some were white and some were colored. They seemed to be the people of all races. There seems to be no white man. In addition, I do not really have a good image for ANTIFA. The reason is because due to the mere disagreement, for many years I have been receiving harassment, such as being called as a racist, by people who claim to be ANTIFA in Japan.
And, of course, I am opposed to racism, but my home in Dublin is near the American Embassy. It would be terrifying if there was an arson or an attack near my home even in the name of black discrimination.
I agree with the demonstrations, but I am against crimes such as plunders and violence.
However, when I said so, some people especially English-speaking and Japanese living in overseas, attacked me with Twitter. “Black discrimination is more important than such a small crime!”, one said. “A small sacrifice is just for justice!”, the other told me off and labeled me as “discriminator”.
Let me say again.
(1) It is a serious problem that a black man was killed by public authority due to racism. So, I support the demonstration activities.
(2) I oppose situations where the property or life of a third party, including myself, is unduly exposed to danger.
Opinions (1) and (2) can coexist in my mind, but for some reason, many people do not understand. It felt extremely unreasonable be attacked by them when I expressed the idea (2) even after I stated (1). Why are they so extreme?
This question has come a little after a talk with my friend, so I would like to share my thoughts with you. In short, I thought that it could be due to differences in the history and culture of the demonstrations, as well as the degree of liability in public safety, and police between Japan and foreign countries.
For example, in Japan the student movement flourished in the 1970s, an extremist student group gathered in the mountain. They tortured and killed each other and held a hostage in the cottage. They became a symbol of social evil. In the 1990s, AUM Shinrikyo caused a subway sarin incident, so the impression that “Anti-social people were terrifying when radicalized.” became stronger, I think. I also think that compared to other parts of the world, in safe country like Japan, decapitations and arsons caused by demonstrations are quite extraordinary for us Japanese.
Two years ago, youths gathered in Shibuya for Halloween to make a big fuss, not a demonstration. In countries with poor securities, it is an everyday scene and there is no arrest, but in Japan some of them were arrested and their real names were announced to the public as a warning to others. Unfortunately, each one of them would not even be able to get a proper job just by burning a light truck upside down. They are almost liquidated from society. However, we Japanese value security more than anything else. So, if there is a plunder or an arson in the demonstrations, those who have done it will be subject to social sanctions.
In some other countries where police and mafia are connected to each other, the police are corrupt and unreliable for not helping those who reported the cases or not investing them. On the other hand, Japanese police do not have obvious corruption or cozy relationships with the gangs. Although they arrest a female artist of pussy, they seem to have basically a high trust from the public for their investigative ability.
With the dark history such as the student movement in the 1970s and the terrorist act of AUM Shinrikyo, we Japanese have a lot of trust in the police and fear for deprivations and arsons. The promise of the way of thinking about demonstrations may be different between us and people in unsafe (pardon me for using this word) countries with frequent demos.
I add what I have noticed about a story about an acquaintance of mine who lived in the United States. Her favorite pouch was stolen as she left it for less than a minute in the school lavatory. She reported to her teacher. The teacher preached, “A thief has reasons. Make sure to protect your treasure.” When her relatives called the police for an office robbery, the policeman told them that criminals might not be found and so the stolen goods would not return. It seems to me that Americans think criminals have circumstances or reasons such as poverty, so people should be responsible for self-protection within the United States.
Since we Japanese strongly aware that “No matter what the circumstances, a crime is a crime.”, “We shouldn’t annoy or harm others.” and “Criminals are evil.”, it is hard for us to understand American way of thinking. When I had no idea why they think that way, but now my discomfort disappeared. There is no help for it because the ways of thinking towards crimes are different. Therefore, obviously it is not a matter of comparing the superiority of cultural standard between two countries.
Even with these differences, I would say again that I am in favor of the demonstrations because it is a serious issue that black man was killed by public authority due to racism. However, I am against situations where the property and life of third parties, including myself, are wrongfully exposed to danger.
It is because we all do not want to be attacked on our shops or residence. If I were told “A small sacrifice is unavoidable.”, I would be angry not only with those who said so but also with the people who participated in the demonstration. It still is unreasonable for someone to get hurt or suffer damage even if it is much smaller compared to black discrimination. There will be another hatred and fights and discriminations will never end.
The chain of barren anger should be broken.
Shouldn’t we consider protest demonstrations and crimes such as plunders and arsons separately?
In Black Lives Matter, there was a demonstration that allowed the American flag to be run over by a car. Although expressions to stain, trample, destroy or burn something are not what I like, I do not stop them at all because we all have freedom of expression. I just want to express my hate of police officers in cute and happy ways in my works.
Discrimination is something that is in everyone’s mind, so I think it is difficult to eradicate. However, I hope everyone in the world can live in peace, and happiness by reducing it as much as possible.
In this text, I used the phrase “the American way of thinking”, but of course, since it is a country of all races, I do not say that all Americans think the same way.
I speculated that it might be a particularly prominent feature of those who attacked me on Twitter.