The knowledge of the ancient art of is very incomplete. Research and knowledge development continue every day. There are many different styles, such as Fumo Ryu (the spiritual style) or Iki (the basic style of Zen) and the individual styles of various string artists.
Imagine a room lit by candles. Shadows will dance on the walls and create the atmosphere in the room. That is exactly what you want to achieve in Japanese slavery: the battle between contrasts: beauty and fear, love and resistance, desire and despair, mental growth and humiliation, pain and lust.
It is an intriguing art that involves different levels: physical, mental and metaphysical. For the Kizõshà (donor, donor, dominant, active partner) it is a balancing act, juggling several different impulses. For the Ukétorinìn (receiving, submissive, passive partner – in Japan she is sometimes also called M-jo – “maso woman” – who can be anything from a female professional bondage model to a woman who loves to be The male recipient is sometimes known as Mo – “maso man”) is the last trip to paradise.
Knit or wrap
“Japanese bondage” is a superficial and inadequate translation. While most people are only aware of bindings, lifestyle and technique encompass much more, both in technique and background. Shibari Do, as the lifestyle is called, has its roots in Japanese love and courtship, manipulation of Ki energy, traditional Japanese rope torture techniques, martial arts, theater, even old fashion and aspects of Zen Buddhism. The erotic use of bondage is just one aspect of the lifestyle. The technique is now also used as a performing art, it has healing aspects and, in general, it is also a way of training the body and mind.
Shibari is best translated as “weave” or “wrap in ropes”. Both translations refer to the interaction between the strings, the mind, and the Ki energy meridians in the human body. Ki (or Chi in Chinese) is the energy of life; meridians are the channels through which this energy flows. And since Ki, in Eastern philosophy, controls life within the body, as well as the interaction between the body and its environment, Japanese slavery has a direct influence on life. Ki can only flow and create a healthy situation through the eternal pattern of changes between Yin and Yang. Techniques live to influence this pattern by expanding the position of the Yin and Yang on many different levels.
There are many myths and very few facts about the origin of Japanese slavery. As a result, its origin remains unclear to date. Some references to what could be the earliest forms of Japanese slavery provide an idea.
In the first half of the 17th century, during the Tokugawa shogunate (Edo period), the dominant Japanese religion was not Shintoism (which emerged after the decline of the Togukawa dynasty) but a shogun-backed form of Neo-Confusianism. One of the most important Buddhist schools was the Nichiren Shu Komon school in Kyoto. It had eight temples in Kyoto (the 17th century capital of Japan) and was funded by members of the upper classes, including the Shogun himself.
The school’s 17th High Priest, Nissei, was a decadent, power-hungry man, interested only in money, power, and women. Under his reign, members of the upper social classes would gather in this school, tie naked women in submissive and humiliating positions and leave them tied long enough to enjoy them and draw pictures of them while they were in captivity, thus producing pornographic images. These meetings were called “komon sarashi shibari”. Very rare examples of such drawings have appeared in collections of Ukiyo-e (erotic woodcuts from the 17th century).
While this is one of the few documented ancient uses of slavery as an erotic technique, the fact that such gatherings existed in Kyoto supports undocumented rumors that samurai in rural areas tied up women and exposed them for erotic fun. Bondage techniques, borrowed from Hojo Jitsu (the art of tying and transporting prisoners), Japanese rope torture techniques (Kinbaku), and Sarashi (the public display of criminals) were apparently used in these meetings. That’s where the martial arts roots (if any) of Japanese slavery are believed to originate. Although it is often described as such, there is no evidence of a direct linear connection between Shibari and what are known as “soft weapon techniques” in most martial arts, of which Hojo Jitsu is one.
Komon Sarashi Shibari himself caused another misinterpretation. Japanese words can mean many different things, depending on their context. Komon can be translated as “anus”, leading to the misconception that Japanese slavery began as a means of showing women with their butt exposed. In this case, however, Komon means “counselor” or “consultant” (read: part of the temple staff and “follower of confusius”), which is a reference to the school where these meetings and the participants took place.
Another intriguing source on the origin and history of Japanese serfdom is ancient Japanese police records. In the 17th century, at least one traditional slavery was used by condemned love couples in ritual suicides. The “forbidden lovers” (usually lovers of different social classes) sometimes used the bondage “shinju” (a harnass torso) to tie themselves and then, firmly connected to each other, they plunged into a river, a lake or the sea to drown together . For quite some time, these ritual suicides were known as “shinju suicides”.
This is what Washington State University notes about “shinju suicides”: “the most popular subject of both kabuki and joruri (theater forms – ed.) Was the subject of double suicide, shinju, as frustrated lovers, incapable Due to social restrictions in living a life together, they desperately chose to commit suicide in mutual suicide in hopes of reuniting in the pure land of bliss promised by Amida Buddha. Many of these double suicide works involved ukiyo themes, such as love between an upper class or a nobleman and a prostitute. This is the subject of the most famous of the works of shinju (Sonezaki Shinju), by Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1725). Such works of shinju often inspired a wave of suicides real doubles, so the Tokugawa regime in 1723 intervened and banned shinju not only on the kabuki and joruri stage, but also in real life. “
In Japanese psychology, the word “shinju” (meaning “pearl” or “unity of hearts” depending on its context) is still used for multiple suicides involving people with a strong bond.
In Japanese bondage terms, “shinju” is a harnass torso, tied to highlight and erotically stimulate female breasts (the “pearls”). Surprisingly, the word “shinju” in Japan is also used for sleeveless tops of the off-the-shoulder type for women.
Is there some kind of inheritance?
The answer to that question is currently impossible to give with certainty. It could be, but due to the lack of historical references, it is unlikely. Yes, there are references to art that date back to the 17th century. However, that’s also where any attempt to track it stops. As an erotic art form, it apparently existed in the upper classes of Japan. But it does not have, as many claim, linear roots of any martial art.
In fact, the following assumption is much more likely. Most ancient cultures have seen combinations of power, sometimes spirituality and mysticism and eroticism. Courtley Love and the much earlier Celtic and Saxon rituals in Europe and the Kama Sutra are just a few examples of this. And yes, in most of those rituals, weapons and warrior culture were intertwined with rituals of courtship, sexual intercourse, and sexuality. Power eroticizes! It always has. There is no reason to suppose that it was different in Japan.
Contemporary images of “Japanese slavery” generally have a completely different background which, unfortunately, is pornography. Most have their origin in Japanese pornographic videos produced between 1950 and 1980. Their only “raison d’être” can be found in the fact that the combination of naked and sane women sells. These Japanese movies can be seen as the Japanese response to the emerging popularity of slavery in the American porn industry since the 1930s (John Willie, Betty Page, and others).
The vast majority of Japanese string artists of this period actually made their money manipulating the bindings for these movies and some still do. Some, like the late Osada Eikichi (aka “Mr. Flying Ropes”) and Denki Akechi, created their own style and performances.