Kinbaku: The Art Of Japanese Rope Bondage

Beautiful Half-Naked Woman In Rope Restraints

While the use of ropes in the BDSM world is nothing new, a practice of rope tying focusing on both restraint and beauty has been increasing in popularity. With classes and evenings put on at local clubs and parties exploring this specific type of rope play. Kinbaku, originating from Japan has well and truly made its way to the west and it has everyone very interested. In the following I will explain Kinbaku and its origins, discuss the rope types preferred by Kinbaku enthusiast and show you some introductory techniques to get you started.

What Is Kinbaku?

Kinbaku or Kinbaku-bi means “The Beauty of Tight Binding” and it is a Japanese style of BDSM or bondage that uses thin rope to tie people up while also creating visually intricate patterns. This means that many different lengths of rope are required to achieve the desired look. Couple this with the need for knot knowledge and Kinbaku becomes something that requires a bit of investigation and a lot of practice.

Kinbaku is also sometimes called Shibari however there is a difference between the two. Shibari refers to a purely artistic use of the rope play that is much more focused on the overall look of the ropes on the body. Shibari isn’t considered sexual. Kinbaku while also being about the visual does focus more on the restraint aspect of the rope in both the physical and mental realm. However if you walk into an Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centre and ask about either Kinbaku or Shibari we will know what you are referring to as the terms are becoming increasingly interchangeable.

Kinbaku in one form or another has been around for a very long time and first came to notice during the late Edo period of Japan (1600’s – 1860’s). It is thought the practice originated with Seiv Lto who is known as the father of Kinbaku. He drew inspiration for the practice from Hojojutsu (a form of martial arts that employs rope as restraints) as well as Kabuki Theatre and Wood carvings. Kinbaku’s popularity increased in Japan during the 1950’s when adult magazines began publishing the practice and soon after live shows followed allowing people to experience Kinbaku in person. Now when Kinbaku made its way to the west it began to influence BDSM practices here. It is highly likely that BDSM fans have come across Kinbaku at one stage. Kinbaku is now regularly used in tandem with other bondage practices creating a plethora of different types and fusions.

Rope Types

Now while it may seem like you can just grab some rope from the nearest garden shed or hardware store and get started but this really isn’t the case. Rope isn’t just rope in Kinbaku it is your tool, it is your artwork so picking the correct type is always important. Traditionally a loose laid, three strand jute ropes used. The Japanese called this Asanawa which is translated as “hemp rope.” Hemp was the first fibre used, however generally it is considered to refer to a range of natural fibre ropes rather than a specific type. And while traditionalists will still use this type we now have a range of ropes made from both synthetic and natural products that will work well.

Natural Fibre Ropes

The reason why this rope was and is till used has to do with the flexibility of the fibres. They bend with the body but can still hold tension. The natural fibres create friction which not only helps to hold the knots together but also creates an interesting sensation against the skin.

Silk Ropes

Typically manufactured in the traditional style (loose laid 3 strand) silk ropes offer a softer alternative against the skin.

Synthetic Ropes

Again designed similarly, they offer another alternative. Generally smoother than natural fibre, synthetic ropes are a good alternative for those wanting something a little more rough than silk but not as course as natural.

The general rule with choosing rope is to consider what you are planning to do with it especially with regards to length. Kinbaku can use up a long length of rope up quickly because of the tying styles. It is also important to think of who and where it is going. The wrists and ankles are likely to be less sensitive than thigh skin. Flexibility is also important in the rope, it gives greater control of tightness and resistance while still allowing movement.

Basic Techniques

The basic two knots that you need to know are:

The Bowline Knot

The Bowline will not slip and is suitable for single limb bondage and suspension.

The Square (or Reef) Knot

The square knot is one worth knowing, it can be used for just about anything. The square knot is important to know because it doesn’t slip meaning that it can tolerate movement and the struggling of the captive.

Once you have mastered these two knots jump into some research to learn different variations and styles of those knots as well as other tying techniques that build on either the square or bowline knots.

Below are some images of a glimpse into the popular BDSM restraint system Japanese Rope Bondage:

Shibari And Kinbaku Rope Bondage Model
Photo: BDSM Love Swings, Restraints And Leads Store
Man Attached To An O-Ring With Rope Restraints
Photo: Male Model In Kinbaku
Woman Tied Up In Kinbaku Restraints
Photo: Female Model In Kinbaku

About The Author: Jamie is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres

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A Models Glimpse Into Japanese Rope Bondage

Shibari Photo

I have been privileged to be the subject in some intimate Sydney exhibitions in the art of Shibari and Kinbaku. The feeling is almost indescribable, I felt euphoria, relaxation, arousal, and intimacy in eye contact with the rope master while the rope was softly stroking my bare skin it was better than any tickle or tie-up I’ve had before. I became what they call ‘rope-drunk’ and although there was an audience I could only see myself and the rope master in the room. It makes me wonder why more people don’t invest in this artistic bondage. It is never intended to be painful but more a form of art which provides both physical and sexual release as well as physical and mental support to the subject.

There are a few different types of rope bondage intricately connected with Japanese culture both ancient and modern. Their main purposes are to exude and unleash euphoria, trust, strength and power, submission, pleasure, pain relief and much more.

The 3 most known practices in Japan are Kinbaku, Kinbaku-bi and the popular now westernised term, Shibari which is a fusional word used by westerners to describe Kinbaku in a milder sense. Many people who decide to introduce rope bondage into their daily life particularly in western countries usually intend to use the rope only for one-dimensional restraint during sex by doing a humble scout tie on either wrist and or ankles. Someone slightly more adventurous may even use it for auto-asphyxiation too which when done properly can heighten sex pleasure and climax.

While the general knots and ties that we may have learned as a kid are reflected through our later adult adventures in eroticism and sexual play, it barely quenches ones’ thirst. It is only the surface to a more artistic and far more beneficial bondage tying. This is why I have decided to overview a brief but interesting review on Japanese rope bondage to give you a different idea of the versatility and uses of rope bondage.

Shibari Photo
Photo: Shibari

Primarily, Japan is quite conservative, even still in 2017 you will see older generations who are still very traditional and quite closed minded. However, connecting to that conservatism is this plethora of some of the most radically sexualised pockets of Japanese culture and somehow, they all seem to intertwine much like the rope that is used to connect people and give a person a sense of sexual freedom.

Kinbaku means “tight binding”, while Kinbaku-bi literally means “the beauty of tight binding”.  Kinbaku is a type of Japanese bondage or BDSM which involves tying a person up using simple yet visually intricate patterns, usually with several pieces of thin rope like Jute, Hemp, or linen. They are generally 6mm in diameter, but sometimes even as small as 4mm, and between 7-8 metres long. Much like Shibari’s historical roots, the allusion is to use the hemp rope for restraining prisoners, as a symbol of power, in the same way that stocks or manacles are used in Western BDSM context.

There is much discussion about the distinction between Shibari and Kinbaku, and whether one term is more appropriate than another. For westerners wanting to distinguish the terms, Shibari refers to purely artistic, aesthetic rope, while Kinbaku refers to artistic, connective, sensual, sexual practice. Itoh Seiu, is generally considered one of the fathers of contemporary Japanese rope bondage and used the terms in the 1950s.

Bondage as a sexual activity first noticed in Japan in 1603-1868 during the late Edo period. It was generally recognized by “father of Kinbaku” Itoh Seiu, who started studying and researching Hojojutsu the martial art of restraining. He 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 which means “rope master” or Bakushi from the word Kinbakushi which means “bondage master”.

In recent years, Kinbaku has become popular in the Western BDSM scene and has also profoundly influenced bondage, combining to produce many ‘fusion’ styles. In its most mainstream form thus far, Kinbaku in the fashion industry and has featured in a music video for FKA Twigs’ song “Pendulum” where the music artist was suspended by intricately tied braided hair throughout the clip.

Kinbaku is based on specific rope patterns, many of them derived from Hojōjutsu ties though significantly modified to make them safer for bondage use. Many Hojōjutsu ties were deliberately designed to cause harm to a prisoner and are therefore not suitable for erotic bondage. Ushiro Takatekote which is a type of box tie which surrounds the chest and arms, forms the basis of many Kinbaku ties. The Ebi or “Shrimp” was originally designed as a torture tie and codified as part of the Edo period torture techniques.

Similarly, like many other forms of BDSM and eroticism many of Kinbaku’s roots stem from corporal punishment and medieval torture techniques. Over many years they have been carefully deconstructed and modified to make welcomed additions to the BDSM culture and sexual lifestyles.

Having many friends who play many different roles in the art of Kinbaku, this artful rope bondage is not only restricted to an exhibition both private and public but you many also wear Kinbaku rope ties underneath clothing. Much like the Victorian corset it is hidden underneath clothing during the day. Depending on the certain tie can be used for pain relief in areas of the body, also a form of restraint tied by a Dominatrix on his or her submissive counterpart to wear as a form of training, control and discipline. Some will even wear these ties to assist with lifting breasts and offer more core support in some cases.

Shibari Photo
Photo: Shibari

You can also incorporate sex toys, massagers, surgical steel anal hooks, and flowers which can all be interlaced with the tying too. It adds another element to the general Kinbaku or Shibari play. This is very popular mostly for aesthetics but still adds a different feel, look and experience. I highly recommend everyone at least try this unique form of bondage once, which is very easy to learn and very fun to try! You can check out tutorials on YouTube which may ignite a new-found addition to your personal erotic repertoire.

Author: Bree is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres

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The Art of Restraints!

Rose Flower Rope

Bing defines bondage

as the “sexual practice that involves the tying up or restraining of one partner”. There’s a certain beauty in restraints, and to be permitted to either wear or put them on a playmate is an enthralling honor. Many people misconstrue what BDSM is and believe that restraints are hand cuffs, ankle cuffs and ropes. This is profoundly incorrect to anyone that knows the art of restraints. Restraints are considered to be anything that keeps a playmate under control. It could be stretched to include that restraints can be found in the word of the master as well, in comparison to something physical. Indeed, restraints can therefore cover anything from cuffs and rope, to ball gags, hoods, bondage hooks, bondage mitts, chastity devices, collars and gags etc. The list can go on.

The art of restraints require a lot of trust between playmates, as you’re not just mentally submitting to ones whims and desires, but physically as well. It is considered a great honour to be trusted enough to wear/give someone restraints so it’s important to make sure that you respect the negotiations as to their limits, respect their desire to say no or stop, as well as to respect them in general. Restraints, in some way or another, restrict your ability to move, escape and you are no longer in control, it is a physical transference of power.

When introducing restraints to your partner, it might be a good idea to go down to your local Adult Store to check out what’s on offer. It might not be a fantastic idea to get the latest leather cuffs with lockable buckles and a unique key. It can scare your partner, and if they’re uncomfortable during a scene, then the moment can be irrevocably ruined. Some of the sets such as Mistress Bondage, Sportsheets, Manbound, Fetish Fantasy and Sex & Mischief will offer some delightfully comfortable restraint sets whilst still paying attention to comfort and durability. I prefer the sets such as the under the bed restraint kits, due to the versatility that can be offered during use. With detachable cuffs and D-Rings that with a bit of ingenuity can be attached to pretty much anything, the versatility and simplicity of some of these sets can be astounding.

Alternatively you could look at something like bondage tape. Bondage tape is a unique material which only sticks to itself, so you can be assured that you’re not going to get an unexpected waxing. The flexibility of the tape means that you can attach it to wherever you want. Maybe on a dining  table, a chair, against a fridge or a cupboard. The beauty about bondage tape is the variety of colours and that you can attach other things to the body as well. Think strapping down a body wand on your playmates thigh.

Rope Bondage
Buy Now | Sex Toy Store With Restraints

You could do the same with rope. Rope is an item that I love to sell to people who might be just starting out in bondage or someone with advanced skills. I personally think it is one of the most versatile items we sell in our BDSM sex toy section, with endless ways to tie and restrict an individual. Rope in itself can be an extremely sexy material to play with and can completely transform someone’s body by accentuating certain features.  The art of Japanese Rope Bondage has been practiced for centuries and is an accepted art from just like paper folding called origami.  The official term is called Shibari Style Rope Bondage. The rope is soft and comfortable. This is extremely important during a struggle scenario. But I’ll be honest, rope takes time to learn. To learn Shibari you need an artistic eye and an art of perfection and my talents lie in other areas.  Dedicated Rope masters will hand create their rope as well, measuring to create the perfect lengths needed to envelop the body in such a particular way. Rope however, when done correctly is perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing of restraints of this nature.

People enjoy bondage because it involves the physical transference of power, sex within a BDSM scene isn’t necessarily of a physical nature, but you’re mentally stimulating them as well. Regardless of the scene, punishment, domination, simulated rape – the primary discourse centres around the ideology of power and to a lesser extent, the appearance of control. I say appearance due to the ideal that the sub is actually in ‘control’. For some people, it’s the rush or thrill from the feeling of having restricted movement or in contrast, the beauty of putting someone in that situation. Be sure to check out some Bondage role play ideas for some more fun!

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