is a Japanese word that literally means "to tie" or "to bind". It is used in Japan to describe the artful use of twine to tie objects or packages. is the word for "bondage" or Kinbaku-bi
which means "beautiful bondage". Kinbaku (also Sokubaku) is a Japanese
style of sexual bondage
which involves tying up the bottom
using simple yet visually intricate patterns, usually with several pieces of thin rope
usually hemp or jute (generally 6 mm or 8 mm in diameter). The word Shibari came into common use in the west at some point in the 1990s to describe the bondage art Kinbaku.
Differences between Western and Japanese styles
Japanese Bondage (kinbaku) is said to differ from Western bondage in that, instead of just immobilizing or restraining the bottom, the bottom
gains pleasure from being under the pressure and strain of the ropes, squeezing the breasts or genitals. The aesthetics
of the bound person's position are also important: In particular, Japanese bondage is notorious for its use of asymmetric positions to heighten the psychological impact of the bondage. There are examples found among Western bondage enthusiasts such as John Willie. Western full-body bondage also uses long lengths of rope and the type of rope has changed over the years: cotton was used early on, then nylon become popular in the 1980s or 1990s, followed by multi-filament polypropylene
(MFP) ropes. Compare this to Japanese bondage techniques, in which multiple pieces of natural vegetable fiber rope (hemp
, or linen
) of 7 meters are used. Traditional Hojōjutsu
the martial art employed by the Samurai uses no knots whatsoever, while modern Japanese-inspired Western bondage uses relatively simple knots (requiring only about two to five types.). Western bondage enthusiasts who do not rely on Japanese inspirations tend to favor more complex knots. With its roots firmly in Japan, Kinbaku has gained popularity, being taught by teachers (sensei) all over the world.
Although some of the techniques of Japanese sexual bondage originated with the military restraint technique of Hojojutsu, sexual bondage techniques are far gentler, and great care is taken to avoid injury.
Many rope artists have derived their own flavor of Japanese-inspired bondage which often mixes some Shibari techniques with other forms of bondage. Kinbaku is greatly influenced by the Sengoku period of Japan. One of Japan's darkest historical eras of torture and execution, it is still remembered for cruel means and methods that include the use of fire, knives, tattoos, rocks, boiling water, divining blocks and rocking horses, etc. Eventually (in 1742) the Tokugawa government created a foundation of crime laws, which included the seven different types of punishment (Labour, slavery, exile, death, etc) and the four kinds of torture (whip, pressing stone, constriction by rope, and hanging by rope).
According to several sources, bondage as a sexual activity first came to notice in Japan in the late Edo period. Generally recognized as "father of Kinbaku" is Ito Seiu, who started studying and researching Hojojutsu in 1908 and turned it into an art form. Kinbaku became widely popular in the 1950s in magazine form (some sources to some extent credit influence from John Willie with popularizing Kinbaku). In the 1960s, a tradition of bondage as a form of performance art developed in Japan.
In recent years Japanese style ropework has become popular in the western BDSM scene.
Traditional Kinbaku is based on fairly specific rope patterns, most of them derived from Hojojutsu ties. Of particular importance are the Ushiro Takatekote (a type of arm box tie), which forms the basis of most Kinbaku ties, and the Ebi, or "Shrimp", which was originally designed as a torture tie but today makes the bottom vulnerable for more pleasant forms of play.
Generally, traditional Kinbaku is practiced with ropes of 7 meters (23 ft) in length. Due to the generally different physique of Western bottoms, 8 meter (26 ft) ropes are commonly used in the West. The rope material is usually hemp or jute (neither sisal nor manila hemp are usually useful), prepared according to specific techniques to achieve a pleasantly soft yet sturdy rope. Other materials are also sometimes used, although most synthetic ropes tend to be too slippery for Shibari techniques.
For historic reasons, Kinbaku uses very few knots, sometimes none at all, or only a cow hitch or an overhand knot. This requires rope with high friction. According to Sensei Nawa Yumio in his 1964 classic book on Torinawa, knots on a person was regarded as extremely disgraceful, something some would regard as worse than death. Restraints with no knots were not considered "bondage" and there was no shame in such; therefore, "wrappings" were used.
- : (noun) bondage
- : (noun) to tie or to bind with a rope
- : (verb) tie or bind with a rope
- : (noun) rope-tying with a rope (an incorrect, "made-up" term, does not exist in Japanese )
- : (noun) literally,"a maker of rope", but in SM circles it means "rope artist" (source Master K's book "Shibari, The art of Japanese Bondage")
Topics in Japanese bondage include:
- Karada Japanese word for body (body harness, a "rope dress")
- Ushiro Takate Kote Foundational form for most shibari ties, capturing the upper body / breasts and arms in a "U" shape behind the back
- Kikkou - A body tie that ends with a tortoise shell design in the front upper torso.
- Hishi A tie using diamond shapes. When done as a full body tie, it is sometimes also called hishi-kikkou. The hishi has been popularized by manga, or cartoon, art.
- Ebi The "shrimp" tie
- Agoura a less severe tie similar to an ebi
- Tazuki "criss-cross harness"
- Tanuki "racoon dog"
- Kataashi tsuri "one-legged suspension"
- Asymmetric bondage, a common feature of Japanese bondage
- Tsuri suspension
- Gyaku ebi
- Harrington, Lee "Bridgett". Shibari You Can Use: Japanese Rope Bondage and Erotic Macramé. Mystic Productions, 2007. ISBN 061514490X.
- Master "K". Shibari: The Art of Japanese Bondage. Secret Publications, 2004. ISBN 90-807706-2-0.
- Masami Akita (秋田昌美 AKITA Masami), while known primarily as a musician, has produced an extensive number of scholarly writings on the history and practice of Japanese bondage.
- Midori and Craig Morey (photographer). The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage. Greenery Press, 2001. ISBN 1-890159-38-7.