Kinbaku is the name used to identify the discipline of Japanese-style erotic bondage. This word means “tight binding”; sometimes a synonym is used: shibari, which literally means “to tie”. It is a young creature: Ito Seiu, who is considered as the father of modern kinbaku, came into the world in 1882 and he published the first kinbaku photographic book in 1928, in the same period Man Ray created “Le Violon d’Ingres” and “Glass Tears”.
Ito Seiu actually got inspired by a set of techniques way more aged, originally used to immobilize and torture war prisoners and common criminals. He rearranged these techniques, making them suitable for the feminine body; he renovated their aesthetics and above all transformed a set of techniques into a true discipline: not only the knowledge about a set of defined ligatures, but also the attitude of what is called “kokoro” by the Japanese, which is hearth, spirit, mind.
In this viewpoint, what actually matters is not the final result, but the sensations felt and shared by who is tying and who is tied. In many instances, this aspect is secondary in western bondage, while scene atmosphere (often related to kidnapping) is more important, and a special attention is dedicated to what could be done to the partner once he, or she, is tied up. On the other hand kinbaku uses ropes not only to create a pattern on the skin and to immobilize or mould the body as a sculpture. Above all rope must be an extension of the hands of the person who is tying: the rigger (kinbakushi in Japanese). The rope has to be one of the media through whom the two communicate their feeling to the other.
In many instances, emotional and perceiving capabilities of the tied person deeply change during the session. Several forms of art induce altered states of consciousness: e.g. in literature or cinema we talk about suspension of disbelief. The tied person goes through different perceiving states; the one towards we tend to is called “rope-space”. It is a state of grace and complete abandon in which the feelings are intense and fulfilling. It is very hard to reach rope-space without going as good as possible through the path starting from trust and arriving to pleasure, through intense stimulation put by the rigger on the partner via the rope.
Mutual trust is an essential part of the session, because only when the person tied feels the rigger is totally reliable, he, or she can abandon and live fully the feelings given by the rope. The gift of trust and the intensity of contact are two among the most important features shared between kinbaku and some other disciplines pertaining to alternative sexuality’s sphere. Another common point is the link with eroticism: a good rigger uses the rope to stroke and grasp the body of the partner; the passionate erotic nature of this kind of stimulation gives many people a deep fulfilling pleasure during the session.
The beauty of this course, in some instances, is tangible even for those observing form outside, at the point that nowadays there are many kinbaku performances, and they enumerate a remarkable amount of connoisseurs in Japan and all over the world.