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What is Obscenity?: The Story of a Good For Nothing Artist and her Pussy Paperback – Abridged, May 10, 2016

5.0 out of 5 stars 26 ratings

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Paperback, Abridged, May 10, 2016
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Editorial Reviews


L.A. Times Book Prize Finalist

"Rokudenashiko's What Is Obscenity is jam-packed with great ideas and horrifying but hilarious stories." - Rob Clough, High-Low

"The comics here are straightforward and highly amusing, and her story is utterly incredible." - Robert Boyd, The Comics Journal

"Not only is this book hilarious...it's also thoughtful and wrenching." - Rebecca, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly

"Rokudenashiko's outside-the-box story will fascinate adults interested in censorship, feminism, and their own bodies." - Library Journal

"At times horrifying, outrageous and inspiring, the artist finds strength and power in the most adorable forms, and never stops smiling at the serious, small men determined to take her down." - Priscilla Frank, The Huffington Post

"a pioneering feminist work" - Tom Batten, Library Journal

"Rokudenashiko has taken the pussy away from the realm of male desire, which has ironically lead her art to be considered 'obscene.'" - Jonny Gottlieb, GAYLETTER

"In the beautifully-illustrated memoir, which is anything but crude, Igarashi recalls growing up in a country where the penis is celebrated, but to even say the word vagina, or manko, is considered obscene." - Sarah Cascone, artnet news

"The manga's cutesy, utterly non-pornographic style, like that of Igarashi's sculptures, gets her point across so beautifully ... and in the process renders the charges of obscenity even more absurd." - Carey Dunne, Hyperallergic

"We need Rokudenashiko as much in the U.S. as in Japan." - Mia Nakaji Monnier, Electric Lit

"Though her time in jail is short, her uncertainly about how to navigate the arbitrary rules of the guards - which cover everything from the way chopsticks are returned in a bento box to the manner in which a package is torn - make for a fascinating addition to prison literature." - Michael Melgaard, The Millions

"What Is Obscenity? is a must-read piece of comics activism, telling the disturbing true story of a female artist punished by her country for celebrating a natural part of being a woman." - Oliver Sava, A.V. Club

"Rokudenashiko tells the story of her arrest in a funny, engaging, and eye-opening way." - Rich Barrett, mental_floss

"So rest assured, this is a highly entertaining and moving memoir. But it's also a wonderful look at the standards that go into defining what is obscene, and the struggles that an artist has to go through in order to be able to express themselves properly." - Sean Gaffney, A Case Suitable for Treatment

"[W]hile [Rokudenashiko's] experience is thoroughly Japanese, there should be enough hooks for Western readers to look questioningly at their own cultural mores. Solid work and highly recommended." - Seth T. Hahne, "75 Best Comics By Women," GoodOkBad

"What Is Obscenity? is a fantastic memoir manga that describes the artist's time in jail as well as her own artistic process." - Michelle Martinez, New York Journal of Books

"Despite the understandable outrage, despite the big issues that her experience tackles, despite corruption and misogyny and incompetence she faced, despite the gloominess of prison and her own emotional traumas, she still puts it together in a form that is extremely personable even as it informs. She is the best possible messenger." - John Seven, The Comics Beat

"Megumi Igarashi's [Rokudenashiko's] story is enough to make you scream out from the injustice." - Sophie Knight, The Japan Times

"What Is Obscenity? is groundbreaking manga...a brave, powerfully subversive political document." - Robert Kirby, The Comics Journal

"Rokudenashiko is a one-woman revolution. Her brilliance is profane yet innocent, which is a sign of true genius. I'm moved and laughing and crying and angry and overjoyed by her work. Her greatness is overwhelming and right on time." - Margaret Cho

"This effortlessly sincere graphic novel is soon to be a classic. Rokudenashiko's story is one of frustration and a great reminder of the work that still needs to be done. It will remain an important part of the international feminist dialogue until the end of time." - JD Samson

"Rokudenashiko is so brave! Her work shows how powerful humor and cuteness can be to affect social change. MANKO FOREVER!" - Jillian Tamaki

"Rokudenashiko's brave and adorable vagina-inspired Manko art has the power to terrify grown men, fight for artistic freedom, and make feminists everywhere proud." - Jennifer Camper

"Even while dealing with some fairly serious issues, What Is Obscenity? is sweet and charming with a wonderful sense of humor and art to match. As with much of Rokudenashiko's work, What Is Obscenity? can be silly and fun, though many of the events portrayed were probably not nearly as funny while she was actually living through them." - Ash Brown, Experiments in Manga

"This book is a manga essay written from the epicenter of the controversy, by the artist Rokudenashiko (?) and in a full-frontal tone the artist asks the world, 'what is obscenity?' This book is crucial to understanding who exactly Rokudenashiko is, before getting consumed in 'arguing for the sake of arguing' about her so-called crimes." - Bijutsu Techo, Art Handbook

"This is actually a feel-good memoir. It's also crucial reading for understanding the problems with the obscure methods of the Japanese police's handling of suspects, and while that makes the book sound plenty stiff, the author's sense of humor make this an outrageously fun read. Setting aside the main gist of the book, the author's piquant tone and 'do what you have to, to do you!' attitude is sure to motivate many readers." - MUSIC MAGAZINE

"Rokudenashiko's works pose a very good opportunity to rethink the way this country has dealt with the idea of gender and how it defines obscenity." - Shukan Jitsuwa, First-Hand Accounts Weekly

“Rokudenashiko’s What Is Obscenity? is a book that will resonate with fans of autobiographical comics and civil rights alike.” ― Amelia Basol, Rain Taxi

“The book is alternately charming, informative, and enraging; Igarashi’s cute drawing style opens us up to her plight and in between the brief prison stories are photos, informative essays and interviews that contextualize many of the concepts discussed.” ― Klon Waldrip, Diabolique Magazine

About the Author

Rokudenashiko ("good-for-nothing girl" or "bad girl") is a Japanese sculptor and mangaka. She is known for her series of decorated vulva moulds, or "Deco-man," a portmanteau of "decorated" and "manko," which is Japanese slang for vagina. The moulds have taken the shape of dioramas, kawaii characters and a kayak based on a 3D scan of her genitalia, which she dubbed the "pussy boat." Distributing the 3D scan to crowdfunding supporters led to her arrest in 2014 for alleged violation of Japanese obscenity laws. Her work is noted for challenging Japanese perceptions of female sexuality through taboo skewering humour and wit.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 10.5 ounces
  • Paperback : 168 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 192766831X
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1927668313
  • Product Dimensions : 6 x 0.5 x 8.75 inches
  • Publisher : Koyama Press (May 10, 2016)
  • Reading level : 18 and up
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    5.0 out of 5 stars 26 ratings
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