Getting arrested is a scary experience in every country, but perhaps even more so in Japan, where the conviction rate is over 99%. Last month, the Japanese government passed a new anti-terror conspiracy law that has drawn controversy among Japanese citizens who feel it is a threat to civil liberties and privacy. Artist Megumi Igarashi (pen name Rokudenashiko), famously arrested in 2014 on charges of obscenity for distributing 3D data of her genitals, is creating a set of playing cards that educate people about what it’s like to be arrested in Japan.
Critics of the anti-conspiracy law claim it is too broadly worded and contains acts that have little to no connection to terrorism, such as: copying music, picking mushrooms in conservation forests, and competing in a motor boat race without a license.
No stranger to the absurdity of Japanese law, Ms. Igarashi is responding by making a tongue-in-cheek karuta card game set depicting scenarios of arrest and imprisonment in Japan partly based on her own experiences. Each one has a drawing humorously portraying the situation described on the other side of the card. Through these “jail cards,” players can learn about Japanese prison conditions, police interrogation, and testifying in court.
She has already posted 17 of these cards to her Twitter account and says she plans to create an entire set of 50 — one for each Japanese syllable — so that anyone can print them out and play along.