All Tied Up In Japan: Bondage, Where It All Started

 

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The whole concept of bondage as a pleasure pursuit is definitely not new and has been used by societies all across the globe. The allure of different bondage styles is as international as sexual practices the world over and all techniques are catered for it seems.

Japan is as old and traditional as any society and there can be no surprise that bondage here is an art form in itself. In fact Japan, and its techniques, like so many of the other proponents of physical and spiritual development, take on an internal quality without putting an exact time and place on many cultural ideals.

It seems fitting then, that Japan has developed a notable following for its bondage awareness. So say it is a leader in the forms of the tie up fetish.

The first word you will probably here is Shibari but this officially only means tying up and is not a prerequisite of bondage, but being an ancient art form exported centuries ago,  modern vernacular has now accepted Shibari to also refer to bondage tying techniques.

Shibari has its emphasis on how the rope is secured by the rigger (kinbakushi) and not just on the bondage ties itself. The act of this practice is to create an intimate bond between the master and his subject.

Shibari is regarded as the Art of Bondage done as an extension of the rigger’s hands. It should be very personal and sets a very clear message about who is the master and who is the subject.

Kinbaku, on the other hand, definitely refers to the science of bondage for sexual reasons. This is the mainstream description for rope tying with a distinct purpose and ultimate aim. Kinbaku is regarded as a real discipline that takes a lot of time to learn. The Japanese refer to this as kokoro which can be simply translated as “the heart, spirit and mind”. Therefore a kinbaku master will have a much greater presence than just being a guru on knot tying techniques.

Modern Japanese Bondage is much more than a form of sadomasochistic constraint but has become an exuberant form of artistic expression. The fetish thrill is achieved not only in being dominated once tied up but being the subject of the artists’ expressive desires.

Subjects literally become sexual sculptures created from scratch by a set of masterly hands with a clear vision of what they want to achieve. The thrill is slowly built all the way through the tying as a part of the journey. The subject feels not just dominated but worshipped and reborn at the same time. Quite a ride.

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Tying the Knot

It is easy to get the names confused, and for good reason. This is because, the clever Japanese use their extensive tying skills to incorporate into the whole fetish aspect of bondage. The delicate knots are so intricately made that they themselves add to the overall level of masterly forcefulness.

So with Japanese bondage you have these two ancient skills working in complete symbiosis. You can be tied up in beautiful artistic knot skills of the aesthetics Shibari but as soon as you fight against the exquisite handcuffs you will feel the helplessness of wasted effort. As this is part of the attraction, Japanese bondage skills are now hot property.

The two forms only acerbate the feeling of sensual connectivity together with subtle control skills. Modern practitioners of bondage skills kinbakushi have no problem with westerners referring to their artwork as Shibari.

Bondage became very popular in Japan during the 1950’s with the father of Kinbaku Seiu Ito. It soon got featured in the swish fashionable magazines at the time and caught the imagination of the readership and it’s not hard to see why.

The science of kinbaku is such an art form that rope tying practitioners known as Nawashi can be so precise with their bondage skills that they can be recognised through their ties. A form of communication is nurtured were the Nawashi master can implicate further power over his subject just by the way he has tied them up. He even took some inspiration from the Kabuki theatre.

He can exact a level of power and mastery that without a spoken word can be felt by the subject in every slight twist and turn of their hands, wrists and ankles. This leads to a whole new level of subject and artist which is why the Nawashi master can become so dominant.

Masters such as Eikichi Osada began performing extravagant live SM shows using massive lengths of rope making mind boggling tricks and bondage techniques featuring star Bakushi and Nawashi masters.

Kinbaku is now firmly established for our Western palates and here away from the rising sun we are incorporating many of their traditional tricks to develop a tantalising and intriguing fusion style.

Kinbaku uses specific rope patterns however elaborate and most of which are derived from Hojojutsu ties. The most famous of ties is the arm box tie ushiro takatekote which is used for many kinbaku ties. The ‘ebi’ or ‘shrimp’ was an original design for a torture technique especially during the Edo period. It is as popular as ever as modern SM play and is often referred to as Semenawa(no pun intended) or ‘the torture rope’, lovely.

Kinbaku ropes are generally used at 6-8 metres in length. Western players mainly like to use the 8 metre versions just because of the larger body types. Rope material often is man made using cotton and various forms of synthetics but ideally you want to find some original rope type that was traditionally made from hemp or jute.

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Land of the Rising Fun

Nowadays modern manufacturing skills try to make ropes with more natural fibre content to give a softer feel although purists might want the extra pain left in. The Nawashi master will use all his creative powers to sculpture the human body into delicate and intricate forms and shapes.

A kinbaku session is a powerfully emotional journey for the subject as they are transformed into a thing of beauty but at the same time rendered completely powerless by the exquisite silk ropes. There is a significant power shift happening in a slow and deliberate ritual and a real kinbaku session is certainly something to behold if ever you get chance to see one.

It is feasibly rumoured that the effects of autism can be temporarily nullified when the subject is tied so tightly they feel complete and utter safety through immobilization.

A participant of a kinbaku session will feel incredibly strong emotions and the sexual thrill of the utter dominance is often achieved by the massive elation felt though liberation. All powers of movement and self-control are slowly taken away and the feeling of existence itself is placed trustfully into the hands of the master.

It is often said is gives an amazingly peaceful feeling of bliss and eroticism acting as a powerful combination. The pressure on the skin and body together with the psychological effect of submission promotes a strong release of endorphins. This gives a great sense of tension release, relaxation and abandonment as if experiencing an extremely intense massage while sometimes hanging above the ground.

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A genuine kinbaku session often involves tools for beating and whipping thus exacerbating the fetish thrill. When done correctly these implements can be used to investigate the pain threshold or comfort level and therefore stimulate all the pleasure receptors.

The full erotic effect is reached as the person who is tied is eager to give themselves up in an act of total offering which gains the euphoria of complete freedom. It is generally possible at any session that a master can bring their subject up into a trance like state.

This state is known as ‘rope-space’ and can be totally exhilarating. Quite often when the subject is brought down to be untied they can feel highly emotional and often very tearful. The recipient has a feeling a trauma as reality is let in once again.

While tied the experience is spiced up with many carefully placed pats and slaps and the whole body is often moved from one position to another. Mild shaking actions and coercion are all used to generate maximum stimulation.

For private shows and sessions clients can choose their level of bondage wanted based on either an erotic or sensual experience. For westerners this type of experience might take some finding but for the uninitiated going to see an audience participated show would be a good idea.

This form of bondage is the most popular type of erotic show in Japan and the spectacle of the stage show has now been exported after years of secrecy. There is a version based on Cirque du Soleil that specialises in the suspended rope imagery.

There are more stage shows being arranged where the full regalia of Japanese bondage is demonstrated for the audience with willing participants. This will create a following in their own right until more practitioners can be trained up to fulfil an eager market.

 

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