For those interested in the background and history of Japanese rope, I will be doing a talk “Searching for the Heart of Kinbaku” for Vox Studio on June 30th at 7:00 p.m.
The history of kinbaku in Japan is a story that has been told many times. It has also been the site of conflict and struggle for grounding what kinbaku means today. Is it a noble and artistic pursuit following the glorious traditions of the ancient samurai? Is it dirty, sexual, hentai play that found its true expression in strip clubs and the Japanese adult video industry? Is it the product of kinky perverts trying to make a living doing bondage at the end of the Showa era as bondage magazines, stage shows, and VHS video started to become increasingly available?
In a way it is all of those things and more. Every story that is told about the history of kinbaku has something to teach us about what it is we do today. This presentation is not the history of Japanese rope, but rather a history. In that sense it is much more personal reflection and interpretation rather than history per se.
It is also an invitation for everyone who attends to write their own history of kinbaku, to find the stories that are meaningful and that resonate in a way that can give meaning to your own experience and practice and to imbue it with a richness that can make your connection to rope more meaningful and more personal.
My story is one of discovery. Starting with computer bulletin board systems in the 1980s, where I saw my first images of kinbaku and which ultimately led me to Japan in 2006 to start my studies of kinbaku. Along the way, I have amassed a collection of books, videos, ephemera and memories and have had countless discussions with practitioners in Japan that has led me to dig deeper into the question
“What is the heart of kinbaku?”
My story begins with the stories of three men, Ito Seiu, Minomura Kou, and Tsujimura Takashi and how their lives, as well as their styles of rope, created the basis for much of what we call kinbaku today. Along the way, I discuss Osada Eikichi and the invention of the kinbaku stage show, Nureki Chimuo’s Kinbiken salons, Urado Hiroshi and Pink Eiga films, Akechi Denki and the evolution of rope styles, and Yukimura Haruki’s style of caressing rope.