The Japanese do not do anything by halves; whereas bondage in the rest of the world is taken largely in isolation with other erotic techniques, in Japan, it has developed into an art form known as Shibari.

With an emphasis on symmetry and aesthetics, of partitioning the human form into a grid demarcated by the rope, Shibari is easily recognizable for the intricate network of patterns it overlays on the flesh.

History

It has a tradition which has roots that goes back centuries, and originated as a technique Samurai used to control prisoners. Even then, in keeping with the high ideals of Japanese society in general and the Samurai in particular, great care was taken to ensure that the prisoner did not suffer physical pain from the technique. Because prisoners were not convicted, they were not permitted to be restrained by knots.

shibari-in-paris-2

Today

Shibari today follows that mentality so that any discomfort or pain is purely voluntary on the part of the bound individual.

The art has developed an ardent following the world over for its versatility in practice – the bound individual may have specific limbs immobilised in poses limited only by their own flexibility and even be suspended from the ceiling alone or in unison with someone else – the possibilities are truly limited solely by the human imagination.

True connoisseurs and traditionalists still use the hemp rope that was used by the Samurai but nylon is fast gaining a following for the relative comfort and safety it offers.

Some common patterns and positions are:

  • Kikkou – Full-body harness with tortoise shell design;
  • Hishi – Diamond-shaped design;
  • Ebi – Shrimp position;
  • Tanuki – Racoon dog suspension;
  • Kataashi Tsuri – Single-leg suspension.

Engaging in Shibari is a relatively advanced technique because of the elaborate system of creating its characteristic restraints. Time and practice must be invested in learning the binding techniques to obtain the results for which it is known.

Shibari practitioners avow that the pleasure experienced by the ‘victim’ far exceeds that of the binder. Of course, to engage in erotic bondage play after creating something as beautiful to look at is its own reward.

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