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Monday, January 18, 2016

Shibari - Erotic Japanese Rope Art

Suggested by friend and reader Pat G., he wanted to know when I would present a blog on 'shibari'.

I have to admit that I had to look it up. Turns out I have some practical experience with it, but simply didn't know the word. You should always have a safety word, by the way.

It took me a while to find information on it - mostly because I spelled it as shinbari... but isn't that correct, too? Maybe? Hells. Let's just go with 'shibari'.

Anyhow… shibari is the ancient Japanese art form of rope bondage…. it means 'to tie'.

But is it sex? Is it foreplay? The prelude to foreplay? Or, is it just an art form for people to admire?

It was exciting for me, but I think that was because I was naked and with a really hot naked woman. I think what it did for me, was heighten the violent act of passionate sex-making we had later... you know, much in the same way the stars wait for you to travel to them. Hell if I know what that means. Blood moving south.

I was given some basic instructions on the topic of rope bondage by my then-girlfriend, Junko.

As far as I knew, she just wanted to be tied up and maybe spanked a bit as though she was completely lacking control... like some sort of rape fantasy with physical pain tossed in.

But, it wasn't like that for Junko. Yes, I was in charge, and my actions made her orgasm as I continued... and all without me pressing anything on or into her except a knotted rope... and not where you might think.

First... I do not have any photos of Junko. There was no time for a photo to ever be taken, as it would have taken away time from the sex. And no... with those nosy (and jealous) Iseya photo clerk women, I'm sure neither one of us wanted to be pre-Internet and pre-digital camera sensations.

Here's what she looked like... Junko, that is. If she had only worn that maid's costume I could have put up with everything else that happened:

This isn't Junko, but she—Hara Mikie (surname first) is truly an exact double for her. When i was scanning the Internet looking for an image similar to Junko's, I saw this and nearly swallowed my tongue when I thought my ex might have become an AV model or actress or something.
Quite simply put, Junko was/is one of those rare beauties who could have and should have easily been a Miss Universe Japan pageant contestant. Smart, witty and incredibly sexy, she was a university student whose unstable thought process made it seem like a good idea to drop out of school and stalk me… watching the schools where I taught during the day, watching the comings and goings of people at my apartment in the evening, and then making it her nightly duty to see me for sleepless, but highly entertaining bouts of sex.

Aside from being upset that Junko dropped out of university to waste her time following me around—she wasn't jealous, as she was open enough to offer to delve into any type of liaison, but she did think that every woman I talked to was trying to sleep with me… Junko just wanted to join in—and the stalking, I really was going loopy from the lack of sleep… and eventually had to confide in a JTE (Japanese teacher of English) who contacted my OBOE (the Ohthawara Board of Education) to gather Junko up and get her the help she needed.

I don't think she was crazy… just suffering from a chemical imbalance of some sort. I admit that at that time 25 years ago, I had no such knowledge of things, but I knew she wasn't simply hung up on me because I was me.

The thing with Junko is, she opened up the door - just a crack - on the world of the ties that bind.

As regular readers know, when I arrived in Japan in the summer of 1990, I was a near-26-year-old virgin. When I left three years later, I was in the 30s, as far as sexual experience, even though I was a faithful boyfriend to three women for periods of 15 months, six months and two months. Without going back and fetching real numbers, Junko was the latter. You see the picture above... how much sleep do you think I really had? Right.

So… shibari.


Junko enjoyed being submissive, and taught me that being more dominant than the 50-50 guy I was, could also be fun. Being late in the sex game, I was a willing student and listener when instructed.

Now… believe it or not, I am not here to instruct you on how to tie any one up. There are plenty of books available on the subject, and now with the Internet, you can purchase said books without anyone in public knowing of your predilections.

Shibari owes its origins to something called Hojojitsu, which being a Japanese term is actually a martial art on binding a prisoner.

Between 1400 AD and 1700 AD (rough guess), both the Japanese samurai and policing forces used hojojitsu to bind and torture prisoners and prisoners of war.

Apparently just tying up and beating the crap out of someone wasn't good enough, as there was some code that required each to treat a prisoner with some respect, so via the developed hojojitsu they learned to tie up people in an uncomfortable manner without using knots.

Taking things to the next level—that of tying up a person to where that point of ecstasy exists without it becoming pure torture (a delicate line, I'm sure)—the Japanese created, in the 1800s, a variant of hojojitsu, called kinbaku… and later an off-shoot known as shibari.

Because I'm sure so many of you are interested in capturing or recapturing your 50 shades of grey, I have already prepared tomorrow's blog on kinbaku… suffice to say it means to 'bind tightly', and unlike shibari, no knots are required to be naughty.

Kinbaku = bind tightly
Shinbari = to tie

The main difference is that in kinbaku, no knots are used to bind, while in shibari, knots are used.


That first night Junko appeared at my door in Ohtawara-shi, she was lugging a large gym bag alongside her.

When I asked her what was inside, she told me to shut up and then kissed me hard with a fervent passion in case the dream should melt away.

Junko told me she liked to be tied up—and I had mental pictures of leather BDSM (bondage and discipline, sadism and masochism) outfits and the red ball gagged in her masked, zippered cat suit, with lots of whipping, welts, and the upstairs and downstairs neighbors calling the cops. That's what I thought she had in mind.

Turns out shibari is an artistic form… nay, an erotic form of rope tying some have likened to rigging on an old galleon ship. Complex, yes... but if you were to take the time to truly appreciate it, it is beautiful in its complexity.

Fortunately, even before arriving in Japan, this nerd boy enjoyed constructing models of sea craft with expansive sails and having to hand tie the tiny string rigging… now I had a different type of model to tie up.

The rope, a soft nylon variety, I think, helped create geometric patterns upon her taught, curvy flesh. Junko was built like an American porno star… more flesh, bigger boobs, taut round butt… than the more slender Japanese AV star. Look at that color image above... I still get a shiver when I look at her... perfection on the outside...

As such, when the ropes were wrapped around her, the ropes could be tightly pulled to press against but not shred her skin.

Aesthetically, the binding was done in such a manner so as to emphasize her sensuality... her vulnerability, but conversely her strength.

The key is to tie the rope knots in such a place and way for it to put pressure on certain parts of the body in order to stimulate the body. And no… it's not just on her clitoris or nipples.

The idea behind it isn't really for the person doing the rope binding to get off (I was just following orders, mein her (sp)), but rather for the person being bound.


So... while my rope tying may not initially have been pretty, that becomes learned after practice, my rope tying was effective.

By placing those knots in the correct places (think of acupuncture… pressure points), apparently endorphins and other hormones are released causing an euphoria.

Actually, while Junko achieved a quiet euphoria (her mouth was covered with one of my neck ties), it did provide an adrenaline rush to myself once I closed my mind to the rigors of remembering what I was taught and just went with the flow.

Apparently, 'rope drunk' is an actual term for the person being tied up to achieve.

Now… limited in space in my apartment, there was no hanging or dangling of Junko's body in open space.

Despite my Ohatawara-shi apartment constantly being awash in the smell of sex, I did not have any mirrors, levers or pulleys or other rigging attached to the ceiling above my bed in my bedroom or other room for that matter.

Ours was a binding contract on my queen-sized bed… thank god, otherwise we both would have had horrible tatami mat burns all over our body. To get such a bed, all I had to do was accidentally destroy my tatami mats by not being smart enough to roll up my futon every day. Fungus and black rot. Really.

For Junko… even after I managed to eventually unbind her, she was still enjoying the exhaustive euphoria of the event. I was suddenly filled with happy aggression, and together it made for some exciting sex.

For Junko, shibari was simply an appetizer before the meal.

An appetizer that took several hours to complete and with what followed afterwards with brief respites to down a liter of orange juice or a couple of pints of ice cream, she would make me continue again and again, and sometimes again.

You might think that's the best life ever, but since she had dropped out of school, I had not dropped out of the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme and had to be at school early every day to team-teach… and her relentless prowling for shibari and continuous sex was more than just physically draining to me, it was psychological too, as I simply went well over a week without any sleep whatsoever… initially just fueled by umpteen cups of o-cha (green tea) and the thought of what I was going to do to her first after I untied her later that night.

And there you have it… a brief look at shibari, the simply complex art of erotic bondage.

Since my parting with Junko, I have not experimented with shibari again, and have only done a milder version of it a few other times, which didn't come close to doing much for me because I have done more than that, and well... anything less simply can't provide the same feeling.

But that only counts, for me, relative to shibari

Now… I have to think of something else so I can safely get up from my desk,
Andrew Joseph
PS: On a related noted, have you ever heard of Thomas Midgley Jr. (1889-1944)?
He was an American engineer and chemist who was diagnosed with polio when he was 51-years-old - a disease that effectively crippled him.
To help himself and others with similar body constraints, Midgley created a system of pulleys and ropes that one could use to help haul themselves out of bed easily.
He died a few years later of strangulation after he accidentally became tangled up in the ropes.
A grotesquely amusing story. I mean, poor bugger. Leave the ropes to the professionals and semi-professionals. Since I've never been paid, I guess I have still maintained my amateur status and can play on the college teams.
I'm just rambling, mostly incoherently. 

2 comments:

  1. And I learned something again. I had not heard of hojojitsu or kinbaku. Two samurai are standing over the bound form of a disrespectful peasant writhing in pleasure on the floor. The first turns to the second: "You know Suzuki-san, I don't think this is working the way it's supposed to".

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