Japanese law forbids the importing of photographs showing male genitals. Why would I know this? No, not because of a recent trip to Japan. Because, returning home from a trip abroad, Japanese publisher Takashi Asai was carrying a book of Mapplethorpe photos that he published in Japan in 1994. Under Japanese law, imported genital photos are illegal. So how did he make the book in the first place? When he brought the negatives in years ago, customs did not check them.
Mr. Asai is challenging the ban. Although he lost in the lower court, he is confident that the Supreme Court will rule in his favor. To see some of Maplethorpe’s work, click here.