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Japanese bondage - Art

Kinbaku is a Japanese style of bondage or BDSM which involves tying a person up using simple yet visually intricate patterns, usually with several pieces of thin rope, often jute, hemp or linen and generally around 6 mm in diameter, but sometimes as small as 4 mm and between 7–8 m (23–26 ft) long.

Synthetic ropes have become popular in the USA for the vibrant colors which are available and ease of washing. Most commonly 6mm diameter, but also 8mm diameter and other sizes. The most common standard length is 30 feet or ten meters, however many vendors provide custom lengths.


In Japanese this natural-fibre rope is known as asanawa. The allusion is to the use of hemp rope for restraining prisoners, as a symbol of power, in the same way that stocks or manacles are used in a Western BDSM context. The word shibari came into common use in the West at some point in the 1990s to describe the bondage art Kinbaku.

Shibari is a Japanese word that broadly means "binding" or "tying" in most contexts, but is used in BDSM to refer to this style of decorative bondage.


Bondage as a sexual activity first came to notice in Japan in the late Edo period (about 1600s to 1860s). Generally recognized as "father of Kinbaku" is Seiu Ito, who started studying and researching Hojōjutsu (the art of binding a prisoner of war) and is credited with the inception of Kinbaku, though it is noted that he drew inspiration from other art forms of the time including Kabuki theatre and Ukiyoe woodblock prints. Kinbaku became widely popular in Japan in the 1950s through magazines such as Kitan Club and Yomikiri Romance, which published the first naked bondage photographs. In the 1960s, people such as Eikichi Osada began to appear performing live SM shows often including a large amount of rope bondage, today these performers are often referred to as Nawashi (rope master) or Bakushi (from kinbakushi, meaning bondage master).


In recent years, Kinbaku has become popular in the Western BDSM scene in its own right and has also profoundly influenced bondage, combining to produce many 'fusion' styles.


The aesthetics of the bound person's position is important: in particular, Japanese bondage is distinguished by its use of specific katas (forms) and aesthetic rules. Sometimes, asymmetric and often intentionally uncomfortable positions are employed. In particular, Japanese bondage is very much about the way the rope is applied and the pleasure is more in the journey than the destination. In this way the rope becomes an extension of the nawashi's hands and is used to communicate.


Shibari has a strong presence in the works of some renowned contemporary artists, mainly photographers, like Nobuyoshi Araki in Japan, Jim Duvall in the United States and Hikari Kesho in Europe.


In 2014, Romanian singer-songwriter NAVI released a Shibari-themed music video, "Picture Perfect". The video, directed by Marian Nica, was controversial and banned by Romanian television for its explicit erotic content.


Shibari has also featured in Western pop culture. For example, in the music video for The Jonas Brothers song "Sucker," Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner briefly appear to be engaging in a form of Japanese-inspired bondage. More to the point, shibari is explicitly referenced in "Tying the Knot," the nineteenth episode of The Good Wife's fifth season, as the practice of shibari is integral to the episode's plot; in this episode, fictional characters Colin Sweeney and Renata Ellard Sweeney (portrayed by actors Dylan Baker and Laura Benanti respectively) are revealed to engage in the art of shibari, and shibari is also used as a means by which Renata's friend, Morgan Donnelly (portrayed by actress Jenn Gambatese), is murdered.


One modern distinction that has gained popularity among westerners wanting to distinguish the terms is that shibari refers to purely artistic, aesthetic rope, while kinbaku refers to the artistic, connective, sensual, sexual practice as a whole. While multiple books and articles have been written in Japanese about shibari, no one has found evidence[citation needed] of there being any thought given to the distinction between these words among Japanese practitioners of the art.


A traditional view is that the term shibari is a Western misuse of Japanese vocabulary. The word denotes tying in Japanese, but in a generic way, and traditionally not in the context of bondage. The names for many particular ties include shibari, but it was not traditional to name the entire activity in that way. Instead, Kinbaku is the term for artistic or erotic tying within traditional Japanese rope bondage circles.[citation needed] An even more traditional view is that shibari is a term used for erotic bondage in Japan that is practically interchangeable with the term kinbaku. Itoh Seiu (generally considered one of the fathers of contemporary Japanese rope bondage) used the term in the 1950s, with no sign of it being a "western Japonism" as did many other well-known Japanese bakushi. One of Nureki Chimuo's how-to video series from the 1980s, is titled Introduction to Shibari.


While some claim this is a somewhat hidebound definition and the word shibari is now increasingly being re-imported from the West to Japan, as the tying communities are very close-knit, there is no evidence to support such a conclusion as most practicing bakushi in Japan have very limited contact with the west and almost no interest in debating the meaning of words. Most Japanese kinbakushi do not object to the term shibari, as it is common vernacular in the global community.


The actual term Kinbaku was first developed and used in the May–June 1952 issue of Kitan Club by author and Bakushi Minomura Kou and Bakushi Tsujimura Takashi. Until that issue, most magazines only had nude photographs of women but few in bondage. In order to specify the act of erotic bondage as opposed to the act of just tying Kinbaku was then created by the aforementioned Bakushi.


Kinbaku is based on fairly specific rope patterns, many of them derived from Hojojutsu ties though significantly modified to make them safer for bondage use. Many Hojojutsu ties were deliberately designed to cause harm to a prisoner and are therefore not suitable for erotic bondage. Of particular importance are the Ushiro Takatekote (a type of box tie which surrounds the chest and arms), which forms the basis of many Kinbaku ties, and the Ebi-tie, or "Shrimp", which was originally designed as a torture tie and codified as part of the Edo period torture techniques. Today the ebi-tie is used as part of BDSM play and can be considered a form of Semenawa, rope torture.


Credits images: from web







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