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Letter of Protest to Mori Art Museum

Director of Mori Art Museum, Mr. Nanjo Fumio

Dear Sir/Madam

We submit the following letter of protest regarding the "Aida Makoto Exhibition: Sorry I'm a Genius" currently being held at your museum, and would like to hear your museum's opinion directly regarding this exhibition, and strongly request a discussion.

We express our strong protest against the series of works, including the "Dog" series, currently on display at your museum's Makoto Aida exhibition, and against the Mori Art Museum for displaying these works:

The girls depicted in the "Dog" series are completely naked and have had their limbs amputated (both hands are amputated below the wrists, and both legs are amputated below the knees), with bandages wrapped around the amputated parts, wearing collars, and forced to take positions such as on all fours; the title of the work is aptly named "Dog". Furthermore, in these works, the girls are depicted smiling, as if they are enjoying this sexual torture, as if it is the treatment they deserve. In addition to the "Dog" series, there are many other works on display, such as girls' bodies being cut open and burned as food, and large numbers of girls or women being crushed in a juicer.

First of all, these are blatant child pornography through artwork, sexual abuse of young girls, and commercial sexual exploitation. Currently, non-realistic child pornography is not considered illegal under Japan's Child Pornography Prohibition Law, but in all major developed countries such as Canada, EU countries, and Australia, these are subject to punishment as illegal child pornography. It will likely become illegal in Japan soon. Your museum openly exhibits such material, which actively contributes to the sexual exploitation of young girls.

Secondly, these depictions of girls/women completely naked, amputating their limbs, putting collars on them and treating them like dogs, sexually subjugating women in the most blatant and violent way possible, treating them as sexual toys and animals that are subhuman. This is a form of sexual violence through depiction and a vile act of sexism that severely damages the dignity of all women. The artist or your museum may intend to challenge social norms and authority through such representations, but in reality it is nothing more than a complete compliance with and further promotion of the dominant values of society that treat girls and women in general as sexually subordinate beings. Far from being anti-power, it is the blatant exercise of power itself.

Thirdly, these works are acts of discrimination and insult against people with physical disabilities such as missing limbs. Is it acceptable to strip people who have lost limbs or parts of them, whether congenital or acquired, naked and treat them like dogs? How is this anti-authority or anti-power? Have you ever imagined the deep shock and psychological damage that would be caused to those with disabilities by seeing these works?

Fourth, for a public institution like the Mori Art Museum to openly exhibit and advertise these doubly and triply discriminatory and violent artworks and make them available to a large audience is to socially approve and actively justify such discrimination and violence, and to actively promote the sexual exploitation of girls, violence and discrimination against women, and contempt and discrimination against people with disabilities in society. For example, is it possible for an American or European art museum to openly exhibit an "artwork" that shows a black person with amputated limbs being dressed in slave clothing and treated like a dog, smiling as if approving of this? That is what you are doing.

Fifth, some of the works explicitly depict the genitals of young girls, which may be in violation of the Criminal Code's crimes of distributing obscene materials or displaying obscene materials. Although these works are in a special section designated as an 18+ room, they are still widely available to the public. Outside of the 18+ section, there are works such as one in which King Ghidorah's head is inserted into a woman's genitals, which are displayed in a way that even children can view, which may be in violation of the Youth Healthy Development Ordinance. In addition, the works, including the "Dog" series, are posted on the Mori Art Museum's official website, which is not zoned in any way and is easily accessible even to children.

For the reasons stated above, we strongly protest against the Mori Art Museum's current exhibition and request the removal of the works that severely insult women's dignity. Furthermore, we intend to continue to widely raise public awareness of the Mori Art Museum's promotion of child pornography, its sexist and affirmative stance on sexual violence, and its stance of promoting discrimination against people with disabilities.

In response, I would like to hear directly about the Mori Art Museum's thinking, so please set aside about two hours sometime between late January and early February to discuss this. The time and place will be up to you. I look forward to hearing from you.

January 25, 2013

Chiyoko Yokota, Chairperson of the Pornography and Sexual Violence Protection Group (PAPS) (Director of a women's shelter)
Nariya Morita (Part-time Lecturer, Komazawa University)
Setsuko Miyamoto (Freelance Social Worker)
Naomi Yuzawa (Rikkyo University professor)

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