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Bondage Origins: Kinbaku

Hojōjutsu or Nawajutsu is the traditional Japanese martial art of restraining a person using cord or rope. Japanese bondage originates from hojojitsu, medieval military restraint techniques. The samurai, who generally showed great respect for their captives, were peerless in their ability to tie enemies up safely and securely.

Bondage as a sexual activity first came to notice in Japan in the late Edo period. Generally recognized as "father of Kinbaku" is Seiu Ito, who started studying and researching Hojōjutsu, and who 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 (rope master) or Bakushi (from kinbakushi, meaning bondage master).

In recent years, Kinbaku has become popular in the Western BDSM scene in its own right and has also profoundly influenced bondage, combining to produce many 'fusion' styles.

Kinbaku means 'tight binding'

Kinbaku is a Japanese style of bondage or BDSM which involves tying up the bottom using simple yet visually intricate patterns, usually with several pieces of thin rope (often jute, hemp or linen and generally around 6 mm in diameter, but sometimes as small as 4mm, and between 7m-8m long). In Japanese, this natural-fibre rope is known as 'asanawa'; the Japanese vocabulary does not make a distinction between hemp and jute.

The aesthetics of the bound person's position is important: in particular, Japanese bondage is distinguished by its use of specific katas (forms) and aesthetic rules. Sometimes, asymmetric and often intentionally uncomfortable positions are employed. In particular, Japanese bondage is very much about the way the rope is applied and the pleasure is more in the journey than the destination. In this way the rope becomes an extension of the nawashi's hands and is used to communicate.

Kinbaku: (noun) literally 'tight binding'.

Kinbaku-bi: which literally means 'the beauty of tight binding'.

Kinbakushi : (noun) kinbaku master, can be shortened to bakushi.

Shibari: (adverb) the act of tying, binding or weaving.

Shibaru: (verb) to tie or to bind with a rope

Nawashi: (noun) literally,"a maker of rope", but in SM circles it means a professional "rope artist"

Western bondage

Western bondage evolved for the purpose of torture and is generally focused on restraining someone to do something else to them, like a spanking. Western bondage is all about putting restraint and restriction first, regardless of gender, size, or flexibility. Thus the west developed hand cuffs, restraints, and only use rope as a fall back. In the west bondage is generally viewed as a basic skill, something you learn to tie someone up with, and that is the end of what you learn bondage for.

Many people associate western bondage with being overpowered or forced, as in the classic “Damsel in distress” bondage. Western Bondage is the fine art of functional bondage. Form and style have given away to functionality and speed.

Fusion bondage

Where east meets west: the type of bondage that mixes both eastern and western styles and tries to combine the best of both. Functionality meets esthetics, and personality interpretes the rules.

There is no better or best bondage style: the aim of any bondage in BDSM practice is to give each other mutual pleasure, both the rigger and the model, by the best possible techniques they can master or can undergo and if that goal is achieved in a safe way, any style is a good style.

50 Theory, Safety & Materials