Famous Japanese photographer charged for allegedly taking nude photos on tombstone in cemetery

By Mari Yamaguchi, AP
Thursday, May 20, 2010

Japan photographer charged over nude photos

TOKYO — A renowned Japanese photographer was indicted Thursday after he allegedly shot photos of a naked woman posing on a tombstone at a public cemetery.

Kishin Shinoyama, 69, was charged with public indecency and disrespect for a religious site for allegedly snapping the nude photographs in October 2008 at Tokyo’s Aoyama cemetery, the Tokyo District Prosecutors Office said in a statement.

If convicted, Shinoyama faces up to six months in prison or a fine of up to 300,000 yen ($3,300).

The cemetery was one of a dozen public locations in Tokyo where two models posed nude for a photo collection titled, “No Nude by Kishin 20XX,” which was released in January 2009.

Shinoyama said in a statement Thursday the models took off their clothes only briefly, “seconds or up to two minutes at the longest.” He was concerned about the definition of public indecency, which could discourage artistic expression, he said.

But Shinoyama added, “I humbly accept the case as a lesson, and I will pursue my challenges to new forms of expression.”

Shinoyama, a prolific photographer who for decades photographed a variety of genres, shot the “Sante Fe” book that sparked Japan’s so-called “hair nude” phenomena in the 1990s. His collection of actress Rie Miyazawa exposing her pubic hair became a best seller, and eased the country’s strict mores on nudity.

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