Vagina kayak artist Megumi Igarashi arrested in Japan

This file picture taken on July 24, 2014 shows Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, who calls herself Rokude Nashiko, showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina "Manko-chan" at a news conference in Tokyo. An artist who made a kayak modelled on her
This file picture taken on July 24, 2014 shows Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, who calls herself Rokude Nashiko, showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina "Manko-chan" at a news conference in Tokyo. An artist who made a kayak modelled on her own vagina was arrested in Japan on Wednesday, police said, in a case that has sparked accusations of censorship. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - An artist who made a kayak modelled on her own vagina was arrested in Japan on Wednesday, police said, in a case that has sparked accusations of censorship.

Megumi Igarashi, who calls herself Rokude Nashiko - offensive slang which loosely translates as "reprobate child" - was arrested in July for trying to raise funds online to pay for the construction of a kayak, using a 3D printer, inspired by her genitals.

She was released days later following a legal appeal and after thousands of people signed a petition demanding her freedom.

But on Wednesday, Igarashi was re-arrested on suspicion of sending a link "that shows her plan to create a boat using three-dimensional obscene data to a large number of people", a Tokyo police spokesman told AFP.

She "tried to have those people who were willing to finance her plan download the 3D obscene data" in October last year, the spokesman said.

Igarashi also allegedly sold CD-Roms containing similar data during a May exhibition in Tokyo.

"I don't believe my vagina is anything obscene," Igarashi said in a July press conference after her release, adding: "I was determined I would never yield to police power."

Sex toy shop manager Minori Watanabe, 44, was also arrested for "displaying obscene goods in her shop window in collusion with Igarashi" from around October last year until July, police said.

Japan has a notoriously vibrant pornography industry that caters to a vast array of tastes.

However, its obscenity laws still forbid the depiction of actual genitalia, which usually appear censored or pixellated in images and videos.

If convicted of distributing, or holding obscene materials for the purpose of selling, Igarashi could receive up to two years in jail and/or a fine of as much as 2.5 million yen (S$27,486).