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Tokyo printer busted for production of ‘obscene’ Leslie Kee book

"Super Miki" by Leslie Kee
“Super Miki” by Leslie Kee

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Thursday announced the arrest of two members of a printing company for producing books by photographer Leslie Kee with obscene content, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 21).

Officers from the peace preservation division took Koichi Kodama, 71, the president of printing company Hakkou Art, which is located in Shinjuku Ward, and his second son Takeshi, 34, the company’s sales department chief, into custody for printing 4,000 copies of books in Kee’s “Super” series that contain pages with uncensored images of male genitals deemed to be obscene and in violation of the law.

On February 4, the 41-year-old Kee and two other suspects were arrested for selling the books, which retail for 6,000 yen each, at an exhibition at the Hiromi Ishii Roppongi gallery from February 2.

Since December of 2011, Hakkou Art received 17 million yen for producing 20,000 of Kee’s books, which comprised between three and five percent of the company’s sales.

Koichi Kodama
Koichi Kodama

The suspects have reportedly admitted to the allegations. “I didn’t want to publish nude photos,” said Takeshi Kodama, according to TV Asahi (Feb. 21). “But I couldn’t refuse since the photographer is such a big name. I thought it would be beneficial down the line.”

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.

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.