Essence of Shibari: Kinbaku and Japanese Rope Bondage

Essence of Shibari: Kinbaku and Japanese Rope Bondage

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781942733850
Publisher: Mystic Productions Press
Publication date: 05/01/2017
Pages: 138
Sales rank: 170,096
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Shin Nawakari publicly advocates for BDSM rights in Taiwan. He is an international kinbaku performance artist and has taught in Macao, Tapei, Moscow, London, and beyond. Piez Jeng is a traditional photographer based in Taiwan, with more than 10 years of experience in the visual arts.

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Essence of Shibari

Kinbaku and Japanese Rope Bondage


By Shin Nawakari, Piez Jeng, David Z., Lee Harrington

Mystic Productions Press

Copyright © 2017 English Edition - Mystic Productions Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-942733-85-0



CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION


Some people see kinbaku as a beautiful and cruel expression of sexual desire, while others see it as a refined performance art. Whichever view you may hold, kinbaku – also known as shibari – has become a symbol of Japanese SM.

Since the Second World War, BDSM communities in the West have explored and defined concepts such as Dominant, submissive, Top, bottom, and other related terminology. By doing so, they have established a foundation for the long-term development of a BDSM subculture. However, in Japan, there seems to be a lack of this kind of social movement. Fans of SM explore this aspect of their sexuality through videos and books, as well as through watching bakushi [rope bondage masters, teachers, or artists] talk about their profession, their experiences in the SM lifestyle, and their understanding of roles of SM practitioners. Accordingly, bakushi have played a very influential part in the forming of Japanese SM subculture.

Kinbaku has also become popular among BDSM circles in the West since the turn of the century. Aficionados from all over the world have formed interest and practice groups, and some have made pilgrimages to Japan to study this art. Well-known bakushi have become international celebrities. Meanwhile, BDSM circles in the West have continued their longstanding tradition of sharing and publicizing knowledge. The flourishing community-based kink culture has established an efficient network to share knowledge on shibari.

As a result, in the past decade, the level of kinbaku accomplishment in the West has advanced rapidly. I believe that the top players in the West have remarkably attained the same level of quality as those well-known bakushi in Japan, and a number of upcoming aficionados in the West are equally remarkable. With a high level in both quality and quantity, Western kinbaku circles already have the ability to rely on themselves to explore, comprehend, and develop new skills of kinbaku.

Taiwan and other Chinese-speaking regions benefit from a proximity to Japan, and subsequentially have been in contact with kinbaku earlier than the West. However, whereas the West has advanced greatly thus far, the Chinese-speaking regions have been relatively slow to pick up kinbaku. Perhaps this is because the BDSM circles in the Chinese-speaking regions are not as enthusiastic as their counterparts in Japan and the West. In addition, there is a lack of teaching materials written in Chinese. Although there are many people who are interested in kinbaku and hope to learn, it has been difficult for them to find suitable channels and resources.

The original Chinese-language title of this book was ????, which can be roughly translated as Kinbaku Skills. The term "skills" conveys a sense of abilities and techniques. However, the Chinese character for "skills" also means basics, which conveys a sense of being at the foundation or origin of things. Thus, for this translation we have chosen the name Essence of Shibari: Kinbaku and Japanese Rope Bondage – because at the end of the day it is this essence that is being conveyed.

I hope this book may guide its readers to practice the basics of kinbaku, help newcomers to get started, and enrich the experience of established enthusiasts. Ever since shibari has become popular, much of its exploration has been ongoing without an end in sight. Old knowledge is being challenged, new theories are being discussed, and novel techniques are being developed. In this book I will strive to introduce the new knowledge and skills that I have learned, along with my personal understanding of kinbaku. Ideally it will be of some help to the readers that want to study kinbaku, encouraging more people to start to practice and play.

As more fellow kinksters learn from each other, their skills will surely improve faster. As more of these kinksters play with rope at various venues, the wider public may see what they do and become interested. Even if those interested observers do not start playing with rope themselves, they may still develop a capacity to appreciate and enjoy rope scenes. In this way, our kinbaku circles will only get bigger, leading to more possibilities for good things to happen in the future.


1.1 What Can This Book Teach You?

When I started studying kinbaku in 2003, during a class, Nawashi Kanna asked students to discuss why they wanted to study kinbaku. Is it for playing with their partners? Or is it for use during SM domination sessions? Is it for taking beautiful photographs? Or is it for performance on stage?

For different purposes, the direction of study and method of techniques will be different. Playful bondage between partners does not require knowledge of complicated techniques – what is needed is a sense of closeness between each other. In SM domination sessions, suffering created within a range of control by rope is called "semenawa," and it requires more knowledge concerning safety. Command of time and tempo is also key. For creating photographic images, it is necessary to pay attention to details, but not necessary to bring theatric showmanship to the bondage process.

On-stage performance requires both speed and force; also, the nawashi must learn how to avoid blocking the audience's line of sight by stepping away from the model. The audience purchased tickets to see a show, desiring to see something more than what bedroom-time can offer. Therefore, on-stage performance often shows the extremes, challenging the limit of both the nawashi and the model. Nawashi can only strive for, as much as they can, a balance between showing a spectacle and taking into account the comfort of the model.

I hope this book can satisfy the different needs of its various readers. Those that hope to apply a little bondage to make sex and domination more fun, or those that hope to accomplish beautiful static shibari, will be able to learn the necessary techniques and safety knowledge. For those that want to study difficult on-stage kinbaku performance skills or semenawa, this book also offers some of those related techniques that will serve as a foundation for further study. For those that are purely curious about kinbaku and are not thinking about actually doing the bondage, this book will teach you how to enjoy and appreciate the art of kinbaku.

Many people in the BDSM community have this misconception that they should aim to tie up someone so tightly that it will be impossible to get out of the tie. They think, to truly immobilize the person being tied, not only should the tie be tight, it should also make that person uncomfortable. Hojojutsu, a martial art that originated ancient Japan, uses a single thin rope to bite into the body to cause pain during struggle, wrap around the arms to numb the nerves, and circle around the neck to impair breathing. As a result, the prisoner would feel pain or dizziness as soon as he moves, which would prevent escape. Every such principle of hojojutsu is exactly opposite to the basic rules of modern shibari. Like all SM practices, shibari also requires informed consent between partners. Therefore, modern SM bondage regards the ability to create a sense of restraint without causing too much discomfort of the bottom or bound partner as a basic skill. Doing so makes it possible to prolong play time.

Nawashi Stefano Laforgia has come up with a clever metaphor: "Teaching kinbaku is like teaching cooking." After teaching the basic skills, the teacher can only tell you how some of the things you do might be wrong. For example, adding salt to coffee is probably not a good idea. But how should one make things better? Everyone has his own style in cooking, so to judge whether a dish is good or not, the criteria is not whether or not the cook has accurately followed a recipe. Only those who have tasted your cooking are qualified to judge.

You and your partner must find the kinbaku dishes that work for both of you. Chapter 2 will briefly introduce the basic knowledge of rope, its recognition and methods of treatment. After that, we will introduce in Chapter 3 a saying that falls on one end of the spectrum of kinbaku practice: "You may practice kinbaku without using any knots, but you cannot practice kinbaku without putting in your emotion." This is the soul and spirit of kinbaku.

Chapter 4 continues to introduce basic skills that are often used in kinbaku. Individually, these knots may look plain and simple, but when used in combination they can produce all sorts of variations. At the end of this chapter we will do a comprehensive exercise to let the reader apply these basic skills to produce some unexpected decorative patterns of macramé.

Before advancing to higher levels of ties, in Chapter 5 we will call reader's attention to those precautions that kinbaku participants should know. These include technical items – simple anatomical knowledge and selection of body parts to apply the rope, as well as psychological aspects – how to choose your kinbaku partner, knowing thyself, and things that need to be communicated to each other. This chapter is important to read for both those tying and those being bound.

From Chapter 6 onward we will introduce common kinbaku ties one by one. Some ties are suitable to be used in SM play and domination, whereas others are more difficult kinbaku foundation ties. We allocate the introduction of the first major obstacle to studying modern Japanese kinbaku – takate kote, also known as TK – in Chapter 7 alone. If you only do kinbaku for fun, or only perform the ties on the ground, then you may get away with only the basic concept for your sessions. Full suspension demands a relatively high level of requirement for precision and detail. This chapter is presented according to the standards of full suspension. Chapter 8will introduce practical applications of kinbaku in our everyday environment by utilizing furniture and tools, as well as a brief presentation of semenawa.

Full suspension that lifts a person off the floor is often seen in performances, as well as being possibly used in semenawa. These advanced techniques involve factors such as buildup of sophisticated psychological milieu, such as pre-suspension preparation by Top and bottom, quick response to developments during suspension, and aftercare. It would easily take a dedicated book to discuss this topic alone. After much reflection, I have decided not to teach full suspension in this book, hoping to fully cover this topic in the future. Individuals who want to learn these skills are encouraged to seek out teachers who have extensive knowledge in the field. However, every chapter of this book – including safety precautions and details of TK techniques – is presented according to the standard applicable to full suspension. On one hand, this allows the students of kinbaku skills to do so in a more rigorous way; on the other hand, this also allows those being tied to understand the necessary standard in order to protect their own safety.

While studying these skills, some students may inevitably lose their perspective, being distracted by what they are learning. Many nawashi emphasize the principle that "techniques are secondary, while all variations depend on the mother wit." This may sound easy, but to me it is a wisdom only realized after my learning has gone full circle.

The harder the kinbaku technique, the more reflective it is of the relationship between the tying partners. Often a bottleneck is confronted when a knot cannot be completed, when the tightness of rope is misjudged, or when the Top gets a little bit slow, thereby causing pain to the bottom. At such a moment, the various past displeasures between the two, the suppressed emotions, and the dust-laden memories begin to surface. By taking a moment to let your eyes connect, that expression lets your partner know and accept the other's feelings, such that the nawashi feels the pain suffered by the model and is filled with gratitude, while the model in turn feels that all the pain is worth it. Thus the two appreciate what they are striving to achieve. Working together in a seamless way to arrive at the moment when the two hearts connect – this is more precious than anything.

All this is not that hard to understand; a couple that practices intensely as dance partners will be able to share the same experience. The only difference is that in kinbaku, the bakushi and the model are involving themselves in a more extreme challenge. Learning shibari is a journey where both people grow together. Books, the internet, and kinbaku teachers can only set you upon your own path of learning. The one that will teach you the most is still your partner. I hope that you, the kinbaku practitioners will treasure your partners, and always hold gratitude to them; for they are spending their time to teach us with their bodies.

Although not all readers will dig into kinbaku topics of the most difficult levels, I hope that your journey of growth is one that is worth your effort.


1.2 History of Kinbaku

Connecting restraint, sadomasochism, and sexual desire is a basic instinct. The way to put such desire to practice naturally draws inspiration from each person's cultural environment.

Due to historical factors, objects such as handcuffs, shackles, metal restraints, leather, and latex clothing, have become representative elements of BDSM in the West. In Japan, rope and tying are originally part of daily lives. For example, shime nawa [the rope used to cordon off consecrated areas or as a talisman against evil] hangs inside Shinto shrines; while kimonos don't have buttons, and instead have several inner and outer layers that are all tied with belts. Thus, in Japan, prisoners were naturally tied with ropes.

According to historical research, there is also this following theory: In ancient time, Japan lacked iron, so Doushin [peace officers] did not have handcuffs like their Western or Chinese counterparts. In the Edo period from 1603 to 1868, Japan developed more than 150 schools of hojojutsu. People from different social stations were tied using different methods. Various regions have their own ways of tying in order to distinguish their jurisdictions. The many techniques and styles of hojojutsu have profoundly influenced modern Japanese kinbaku.

On the other hand, human nature has an innate curiosity towards spectacles of cruelty and torture. Many theatrical programs of traditional kabuki, including the famous classical operas of "Yuki-me" [Snow Maiden] and "Kinkaku-ji" [Temple of the Golden Pavilion, a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto], all contain plots of Seme-ba that depict the leading roles suffering from beating and torture. From the mid-Meiji Period, a type of drama called "Soushi Shibai" [Hero's Drama] was developed. Originally, it was meant to depict heroes revolting against oppression from the regime, and to advocate freedom and civil rights. Later, it took on a political stance that increasingly leaned towards establishing the nation and state, while its dramatic plot adopted more and more scenes of torture. Politics, sex, and violence fed off each other; a phenomenon that is not that uncommon among many nations' plebian culture.

After the First Sino-Japanese War, in June of 1896, the Hongo Haruki-za Theater in Tokyo put on stage a drama called "Nisshin Senso – Youchi no Kataki-tan" [First Sino-Japanese War – Tale of the Enemy's Night Attack]. It depicted several Japanese nurses being tortured and humiliated by Chinese soldiers in Manchuria – but given their noble virtue – forgave their tormentors. This piece of drama took advantage of the protective umbrella of nationalism, and used it as a pretext to showcase sexual cruelty. It profoundly touched a fourteen-year-old young man among the audience. Many years later, he would, under the nom de guerre of Ito Seiu, become a kinbaku painter, photographer, and research investigator. He published the first photo-book of kinbaku in Japan named "Seme no Kenkyu" [Study of Torture] in 1928, and organized theater shows. Eventually, he became recognized as the father of modern Japanese kinbaku.

It is worth noticing that "Seme no Kenkyu" is a study of torture. The terms "sadism" and "masochism" only became widely used in Japan in the 1950s. The term BDSM – acronym for bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism – was only invented in the West in the 1980s. It stands to reason that, before these terms became widely known there, the Japanese interpretation of BDSM was based on torture. This is "beauty in suffering" that is deep-rooted in Japanese style esthetics, depicting a release of emotion in a poignant and cruel context. It is a tradition that is different from the BDSM culture in the West. Kinbaku is one of the various torture methods. Tying up someone not only prevents escape, but can also be used for humiliation and torment. Suspending, pulling, or contorting the body and muscles can all cause pain and suffering. Nowadays, there are those that take the words too literally, and classify kinbaku under bondage and discipline of BDSM. In fact, the two practices have different threads of thought, and are difficult to discuss under the same framework.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Essence of Shibari by Shin Nawakari, Piez Jeng, David Z., Lee Harrington. Copyright © 2017 English Edition - Mystic Productions Press. Excerpted by permission of Mystic Productions Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

FOREWORD,
0.1 Foreword by Nawashi Kanna,
0.2 Editor and Translator's Notes,
0.3 Table of Contents,
1 INTRODUCTION,
1.1 What Can This Book Teach You?,
1.2 History of Kinbaku,
2 UNDERSTANDING YOUR ROPE,
2.1 Materials and Specifications,
2.2 Language Specification,
2.3 Storage of Rope,
2.4 Treatment and Maintenance of Rope,
3 DELIGHTFUL KINBAKU,
4 BASIC TIES,
4.1 Single Column Tie,
4.2 Double Column Tie,
4.3 Half Hitch and Double Half Hitch,
4.4 Various Styles of Frictions,
4.5 Connecting Ropes,
4.6 Lock Stitch Crocheting,
4.7 Comprehensive Exercise: Improvisation,
5 SAFETY ISSUES,
5.1 Selection of the Body Parts to Tie,
5.2 Nerve Compression,
5.3 Instructions for Rope Tops,
5.4 Instructions for Rope Bottoms,
6 COMMON KINBAKU TIES,
6.1 Hands Behind the Head Tie,
6.2 Hip and Crotch Tie,
6.3 Pentacle Chest Tie,
6.4 Futomomo (Thigh) Tie,
6.5 Tortoise Shell Tie/Rhombus Rope,
6.6 Arm Binder Tie,
6.6.1 Strappado Tie,
6.7 Shoulder Carrying Pole Carrier Tie,
7 TAKATE KOTE (TK) SHIBARI TIE,
7.1 Basic Form,
7.2 Decorations,
7.3 Ebi Tie and Reverse Ebi Tie,
8 PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS,
8.1 Application of Furniture,
8.2 Application of Suspension Points,
8.3 About Semenawa,
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS,
About BDSM Taiwan,
Biographies,

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