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An Introduction to Japanese Rope Bondage

The following is a basic introduction to Japanese Rope Bondage, and has been helpfully compiled by one of my lovely readers, Stutographer. All images displayed are the property of Stutographer and have been reproduced here with his permission. Please contact him directly, if you wish to use any of his photographic content.

Origins of Japanese Rope Bondage

The history of Japanese rope bondage, (Kinbaku) alternatively known in the West by the general term Shibari can be traced to the Edo era of feudal Japan. Samurai would use rope to bind prisoners using the martial art Hojōjutsu. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, Tokugawa law officials used Hojōjutsu to torture and extract confessions from captives. The bound prisoners were put on display to the general public as a deterrent.

By the 20th century, Kabuki theatres developed and altered Hojōjutsu so that actors could safely use rope bondage techniques on stage. These became the first recognised use of the new style Kinbaku. After World War 2, G.I. soldiers returning to the U.S. from Japan brought back with them fetish magazines featuring Kinbaku, thus introducing the art form to the Western world.

This is merely a brief history of Japanese rope bondage; indeed one can easily spend a lifetime studying the different styles (Katas, as for regular martial arts). Since Luv Bunny asked me to write about ties I like to practise, rather than giving a scholarly dissertation, I will attempt to describe some of the bondage techniques I routinely use 🙂

My introduction to rope bondage was around four years ago. I’d done a few portrait shoots before, and I wanted to create more edgy pictures. I made the decision to do a rope bondage shoot, but needed the supplies. This was before I knew about online retailers like Lovehoney! A colleague became a willing volunteer to accompany me to buy the rope. Walking around the store with her, whilst fielding questions like “do you need nipple clamps?” was one of the most surreal experiences I’ve ever had!

 

Practicali-ties

I probably went about learning Shibari the wrong way around. Coming at it as a photographer, I first learnt ties that were aesthetically pleasing from a photographic standpoint. With retrospect, it’s perhaps wiser to practise rope bondage by learning about pressure points. This will ensure you know the correct body areas in which to place ties safely. If you want to attempt any of the ties I write about, please take a few minutes to do your research. I provide some links at the end of this blog post, for any ‘wannabe Rope Masters.’

The first ties I taught myself were harnesses for the whole body, breast, and crotch. They are often simple to achieve, and look decorative. A harness gives someone who’s not used to being ‘tied up’ a sense of being snugly secure, whilst at the same time remaining comfortable. The basic technique of tying a chest / breast harness (shinju, meaning pearls), involves tying rope around the breasts.

For women with small breasts, this tie pulls them into tight balls resembling pearls. An alternative approach is to tie rope above and below the breasts, before binding them together with a rope passed between them and over the shoulders. This squeezes the breasts together and applies pressure from above and below the breasts.

rope chest harnesses

Breast harnesses come in a variety of styles and can be tied on differing body types. They can be combined with other ties such as column ties, used to restrict movement of the torso. If suspension is required, then the chest harness can provide the main area of support.

Shibari can be kinky

Crotch rope ties (Matanawa / Sakura)  involve tying a rope around a person’s waist and passing it between their legs. For women the rope is either passed between the labia applying pressure to the labial lips or to either side of the vulva which applies a squeezing pressure around the whole area. For men the rope has to be split and runs either side of the penis and scrotum, applying the same degree of pressure as it does to the vulva.

Crotch ties

A knot can be tied and placed over the clitoral hood for further stimulation, as well as over the anus / perineum. Crotch ties can be simple, or more elaborate. There are bindings you can use to tie a wand to a woman’s genitals, in addition to those that enable a strap-on dildo to be bound over the pubic area.

Body harnesses (Karada), involve tying rope around the entire body, creating a web-like pattern. It is most similar to a leather bondage harness in that they are both used to apply pressure to areas of the body rather than to bind and constrict movement. Karada provide security for suspension, as the weight is evenly distributed across the body. They may be embellished with further decorative ties.

Karada are comfortable to wear for extended periods when tied correctly. One can be worn under clothes for a secret thrill while you’re out, or you can even forget the clothes! Just throw on a long coat and go for a walk. 😉 I have to admit, this is a personal favourite of mine, although I haven’t had the opportunity to put it into practise yet. Should you prefer to stay indoors, wearing the Karada will bring a little bit of fun to your daily routine!

Basic Karada Body Harness

This brief introduction has not discussed the importance of safety, which will be dealt with in a separate post to follow. Also to be included will be more detail about some specific ties. Thank you for reading and please refer to the following resources for further information in the meantime.

Affiliate links have been used in this post. By using them you will support my site and earn me a small commission at no extra cost to yourself. Thank you xx

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