By Eugene Buchanan
No where can this be better seen than in a recent story from Japan representing a first for the paddlesports industry: the only kayak ever to get someone arrested for obscenity charges. According to reports, a Japanese artist bent on "demystifying" female genitalia was arrested by local authorities under local obscenity laws for distributing a digitized model of her vagina for 3D printing.
The story first popped up on the UK's Independent web site, where the comments were as eyebrow-raising as the artist and her artwork.
Artist Megumi Igarashi reportedly produced the 3D scan as part of a crowdfunded project to create a paddlecraft modeled off of her privates. Police allege that Igarashi, 42, collected around 1 million yen in exchange for the scans, a claim she denies. Igarashi gained popularity from earlier 'deko-man' dioramas, also based off her nether regions. In addition to the dioramas, which use a mold to replicate ravines and valleys, Igarashi has also made a similarly molded lampshade, remote-controlled car, smartphone case and other pieces of art. Admitting that mass production would be difficult, she says that for her first venture into paddlecraft, she went the 3D scanner route after discovering that the silicone molds used in her dioramas would "gradually deteriorate."
While intrigued by the design, stateside manufacturers, are not convinced it would take off domestically, because of both demand and manufacturing limitations. "It'd definitely be a niche market," says Liquidlogic Kayaks marketing director Woody Callaway. "First off, you'd have to see if there was enough demand to move forward. If there was, then you'd move into the prototype and testing stages. But it might be a project worth taking a poke at."