TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Friday announced the arrest of staff members of a store in Shinjuku Ward specializing in homosexual products for selling books by photographer Leslie Kee with obscene content, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 21).
Officers took the 61-year-old manager of Lumiere, as shop located in the 2-chome gay quarter that sells DVDs and magazines, and one other employee into custody for selling copies of books in Kee’s “Super” series that contain pages of uncensored images of male genitals deemed to be obscene and in violation of the law.
Both suspects were subsequently released.
On February 4, the 41-year-old Kee and two other suspects were arrested for selling the books at an exhibition at the Hiromi Ishii Roppongi gallery from February 2.
Article 175 of Japan’s Penal Code prohibits the distribution, sale, or public display of obscene writings, pictures or other materials. The code, however, does not define what specific type of content the law constitutes as being obscene.
The manager of Lumiere told officers that the editor of the magazine Badi indicated that it would permissible since they are considered artistic.
According to officers, the arrested employees at Lumiere sold four copies of Kee’s books between December 9 and 10 of 2011 for a total of 28,000 yen. On the first day, Kee made an appearance at the store and sales totaled 880 copies.
Kee, a native of Singapore, is a popular photographer in the fashion and music industries. Singers Ayumi Hamazaki, Lady Gaga, and Yumi Matsutoya are among his most notable clients. The photographer was released from custody two days after his arrest.