Sorry, don’t have a current English language link for this one. Here’s one from about a year ago which discusses the case….
Publisher, “Uplink” and it’s president Takashi Asai waged the battle and took it to the highest court in Japan.
In 1999, Asai brought his company’s reproduction of Mapplethorpe’s collection with him to the US, but it was confiscated as obscene by customs officers in Japan upon his reentry. The book had been sold in Japan from 1994 to 1999, but sales were also suspended in 1999. Despite being banned, the book was still in the National Diet Library.
Well Mr. Asai has apparently won his case in Tokyo High Court, winning a huge victory for the arts in Japan. I’m kind of surprised this isn’t bigger news here. I’ll check with an art teacher friend of mine and see if she even knows or cares about the case.