Megumi Igarashi (screenshot via YouTube)

Megumi Igarashi (screenshot via YouTube)

In honor of Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, aka Rokudenashi-ko (“Good-for-nothing girl”), Jon Stewart premiered a new segment on The Daily Show last night: “We May Have Problems, But at Least We’re Not Jailing Artists for 3D Printing Their Vaginas.” For those who haven’t heard, Japanese authorities arrested Igarashi two weeks ago for distributing electronic data that the recipients could use to 3D print models of her vagina; the data was a reward for backers of her vagina-shaped kayak, which she crowdfunded online last fall

In his brief segment, Stewart hits on the hypocrisy and sexism of contemporary Japanese culture, wherein popular TV shows feature women in degrading scenarios but an artist using technology to replicate her own vagina violates obscenity laws. He replays a Huffington Post report on the country’s Kanamara Matsuri — the “Festival of the Steel Phallus,” an annual celebration of, yes, a legendary steel penis. “Japan, you arrested a woman for 3D printing her vagina, but you gave dicks their own holiday,” Stewart says. “What do you have against vaginas?”

Igarashi was released from police custody last week, USA Today reports: “She was ordered released by a three-member appeals board after six days in jail – an unusual rebuke to prosecutors, who can hold suspects without bail or formal charges for up to 23 days, under some circumstances.” The Japan Times speculates that authorities will forge ahead with the case and press charges, but Igarashi plans to keep fighting.

“I want my vagina to travel around the world,” she has said.

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Jillian Steinhauer

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art...