Saturday, July 20, 2013

Genital Dining

In May 2012 Japanese illustrator Mao Sugiyama, who usually goes by the nickname HC, offered to cook an extra special meal.  In April the illustrator had his genitals surgically removed and frozen in preparation. The following month, five diners paid a share of  ¥100,000 to eat HC's plate of privates.
Sugiyama had initially considered eating his genitals himself but decided to invite guests and make a party of it.  Approximately 70 salivating people attended the event on May 18 to watch five individuals chow down on Sugiyama’s cooked penis, testicles and scrotum while they made do with beef and crocodile.  HC publicly seasoned and braised his own genitals on a portable gas cartridge burner, under the supervision of a chef.  The privates were soused in wine in a frying pan and served with Italian parsley and garnished with button mushrooms.  But what I'm sure you are thinking is: how did it taste?  One of the diners described the meal as “Tough! Like chewing some tough rubber.”
HC's genital banquet was dubbed Ham Cybele (Century Banquet), at the Asagaya Loft A event space in the Suginami district of Tokyo. Century in Japanese is a homophone for the Japanese word for genitals and Ham Cybele refers to the Anatolian mother goddess, prefixed with a word for tough meat to create a phrase whose initials match Sugiyama’s artist name of HC.  HC also had his nipples removed but they were not on the menu.  Sugiyam considers himself asexual and said he would not have his male genitalia replaced with female ones.
As usual an the event spawned the usual legal shenanigans, however, the organisers apparently went to some pains to cover themselves, making sure they did not run afoul of laws governing the sale of human organs, desecration of corpses, disposal of hospital waste, or food hygiene.  Japan has no specific law against cannibalism, only of destroying or improperly disposing of a corpse, since this could not be made to apply, authorities were left with trying to make do with charges of public indecency.  Japans public indecency laws are only valid indoors if the event charges for entry, which the penis eating show did not (they charged for the dining).  It was also deemed that the manner in which the genitals were eaten did not sufficiently stimulate the sexual desire of guests for it to constitute public obscenity.  In the end all charges were dropped as it turns out nobody involved actually did anything illegal.  The mayor of Suginami city was less than amused.

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