In their “In Print” section, Rookie Mag (a webzine made by and for teenagers) likes to feature their favorite books, collections, chapbooks, and more. On March 11, blogger Rachel Davies went one step further, and highlighted not just one title but the entire collection of Koyama Press. Davies says she was astounded by “the originality found in the press and the variety of work published—something that I don’t think would be possible with bigger publishers. Koyama Press seems to be founded on a need to foster creativity, whether the authors are newcomers or thoroughly experienced.”
Creativity and originality: that’s certainly the motto of Koyama Press, or, as they put it, “We at Koyama Press are proud of our inability to be easily pinned down.”
Want proof? The first title of Koyama’s 2016 season is What is Obscenity: The Story of a Good For Nothing Artist and Her Pussy, which publishes May 10. It tells the story of Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, also known as Rokudenashiko, who was arrested in 2014 in Japan on charges of distributing obscene materials. Rokudenashiko, which roughly translates to “Good For Nothing Woman,” started making dioramas on top of 3D molds of her vagina in the late 2000’s as a joke. Rokudenashiko soon realized that she was one of the only ones laughing: many people took offense to her lighthearted depiction of genitalia. She responded by upping the ante.
Vagina cartoons, plastic models, stuffed toys named Mancho-Chan and Miss Pussy, a full-sized costume—all lead to her magnum opus, which in turn lead to her arrest: a two-meter long kayak to be 3D-printed from a scan of her labia. As you might expect, vagina-shaped kayaks are expensive, so Rokudenashiko decided to crowd-fund her project. She raised enough money to make her boat (and paddle it around!), but the buzz surrounding it landed her with obscenity charges, a trial in Japan that is still dragging on, and a fine of up to $20,000. Not one to be scared off, Rokudenashiko will be touring North America this year to promote her book and continue producing revolutionary art.
What is Obscenity is the type of title you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else except Koyama Press:one part art book, one part biography, and one part feminist manifesto. We can’t wait for it to be released!