Kawabata Tanako: Rope-bottom Roundtable-talk, from Kitan Club 1953

IMG_6897

Kawabata Tanako: Rope-bottom Roundtable-talk, from Kitan Club 1953

This blog is devoted to Japanese Kinbaku-related photo-books, art-books and magazines. Sometimes I make exceptions and include other material.

In an earlier post, I offered all of the content of the ”first” Kinbaku-photo-book, Beautifully bound, both pictures and a translation of the text by Nana (London). In my presentation, I mentioned that one of the models in the book is Kawabata Tanako. (Download the Powerpoint here: https://kinbakubooks.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/beautifully-bound-pp1.pptx )

Kawabata Tanako also tied herself, and had her ropework published in the magazine Kitan Club in 1953. Interestingly, the same issue of the magazine contains a roundtable discussion amongst kinbaku models, also led by Kawabata Tanako. I offer here a translation of the text, again by Nana (London), edited and commissioned by Bergborg. It is a long text, but, in my opinion, very interesting. As an option, you can download it here: BOTTOMING ROUNDTABLE 1953

A big THANK YOU to Nana for her efforts!

***

Kitan Club, September Issue, 1953

‘A Round-Table Talk With Only Women Who Are Tied’

‘The 3rd Readers’ discussion’

Moderator– Kawabata Tanako (21)

Attendees

Asa Harue (20)

Sakaguchi Toshiko (22)

Murata Namiko (19)

Kumoi Hisako (23)

Takase Shinobu (18)

Editor (stenographer) – Iehara Fumiko

Date/time – 1:00pm, Sunday 14th June, 1953

Place – Meiyou Ken in Abeno, Osaka

IMG_6892[Picture – Kawabata Tanako]

Kawabata : Thank you for taking the trouble to attend this meeting, even though it is Sunday. I am not the type of person who is suitable for a taking on a moderator’s role, but I accepted this with courage because I was told that there was going to be only women attending. I don’t know what to talk to start with, but why don’t we just approach it as chatting with each other while eating our favourite sweets.

Sakaguchi : I makes me feel comfortable that there are only women here. I was thinking that I would not like it if there were men attending, so I was glad the invitation said it’s women-only.

Kumoi : I agree. Ms Kawabata, isn’t Ms Minami coming?

Kawabata : No, she said that the time is not good for her…

Kumoi : Too bad, I thought we could make our way home together if she came.

Kawabata : Do you live close to each other?

Kumoi : Just using the same train line…

Kawabata : I have been tied for quite a while, but it seems that all of you have started it recently.

Murata : Yes, in my case, since about a month ago.

Takase : Likewise.

Kumoi : It has been about half a year for me, since last autumn.

Kawabata : How about you, Ms Sakaguchi?

Sakaguchi : I haven’t done much, I was tied for the first time this winter. It has been 3 times so far.

Murata : Ms Kawabata is like our senior who is much more experienced. I have often seen you on the magazines, but I wonder what it was like when you first started…

Kawabata : When I was tied for the first time, the tie was like a bit of a joke when I look back at it now. But I was tied anyway, with my hands like this…

Murata : Can you show again?

Kawabata : Yes, I was tied in a Gote [hands behind one’s back], and I held the end of the rope by myself like this…

Sakaguchi : You were treated kindly at that time then. During my first time, I was cold, although I wasn’t totally naked. I remember that I was tied tightly and saying “it hurts, it hurts”.

Kawabata : How about you, Ms Asa. When did you begin?

Asa : Most of the time I wasn’t able to make it when I was called due to my work. I did it only twice so far, I think my first time was in March.

Kawabata : I was so surprised when I saw rope for the first time because I thought I only had to pose nude…

Kumoi : I have posed nude for a year and half without rope. I wouldn’t agree to have rope on me for a long time, but I finally did it for the first time last October…

Sakaguchi : Can you tell us more about it?

Kumoi : Last autumn, it was when chrysanthemum flowers were in full bloom, we met up at Abeno train station around lunch time then went to a cafe nearby. I was finally persuaded and seduced by Mr Tsujimura and Mr Tsukamoto there because they were so passionate about it.

Takase : It’s not long since I begun, but I have been a nude model before. I didn’t dislike the idea at all when they suggested to tie me up. Actually, I thought I would rather do that than pose nude in strange postures.

Kawabata : How about the others?

Murata : It was like Ms Takase’s case for me. I thought it was just only going to pose nude as a part time work, but when I was tied and had my photo taken, it felt right and it fitted me better…

Kumoi : I live an idle life at home, and applied to be a model just because I was seeking a little thrill. If those men had not asked me so humbly, sitting knee to knee, I don’t think I would have agreed to do it.

Takase : Didn’t you expect a monetary reward?

Kumoi : Well, I want pocket money, but I often stay at home and do sewing or something, as it is quite a hassle for me to go out in Osaka, so I hardly have an opportunity to spend money.

Takase : How nice life is for you! I have to support my mother and two brothers. My salary as an office worker is not enough at all, so I took on working as a model as a side job. But it became my main work before I knew it.

Kawabata : But you haven’t done this for a long time, have you?

Takase : No, it has been just almost two months.

Kawabata : You felt very embarrassed when you were stripped naked at the very beginning, didn’t you?

Takase : When it was the very first time, I didn’t know what to do since I felt as if the light went out of my eyes when I stood on the modelling podium – I was so embarrassed. But I remember the feeling of relief I had when it was finished and it turned out that it was not so bad. Nowadays, I don’t have any complaints.

IMG_6893[Picture – Takase Shinobu]

Sakaguchi : I was modelling for some artists working in the field of sculpture for a week last summer. Actually, it was for some workshop. I felt so embarrassed as the students stared at me from every direction and angle.

Kawabata : Did you stand on a podium?

Sakaguchi : Yes, well, I probably made a pose like this, lacing my hands behind my head. But it became so painful to keeping still with the same posture for a long time, so I thought I would never do it again.

Murata : Did you have work at that time?

Sakaguchi : No, I was helping with the housework at home then. The sculptor who lived near my house unexpectedly asked me if I wanted to be a model, and I felt like doing it. Since then, until this winter, I stood on the modelling podium a couple of times, but for a photo shoot I have done it only once.

Asa : Since I am a dance instructor, I didn’t feel much embarrassed. Probably it’s also because I may not be that innocent towards men though…

Murata : With rope around me, it helps my vulnerable feeling of being exposed even though I am stark-naked. I feel that my body is squeezed in together somehow, rather than having everything left open. I feel ashamed and insecure, but then the feeling of resignation comes and puts me at ease.

Kawabata : I guess it is painful to be tied by rope. I have gotten used to it though.

Sakaguchi : Of course it’s painful. My skin has been pinched between ropes, and the rope has bitten deeply into my wrists when my hands were tied behind my back. I said it hurts it hurts, and had to ask them to slacken off the rope many times.

Kumoi : For me, it was so painful once when the upper arm was wrapped in rope, and they threw me out onto the floor with the upper arm being the bottom side. My arm was like becoming numb. I may feel like that specifically because I am skinny. How about you? Everyone here has a well-curved body…

Asa : I have done rope only twice so I can not clearly say anything for sure, but I remember it was never so painful that I couldn’t stand it. The rope left visible marks afterwards though.

Takase : I would rather be tied much tighter. I thought I was able to bear being tied like this for any length of time. The person who tied me asked so many times if I was OK, so I felt sorry for them. I thought they could tie me as tight as they liked in any way.

Murata : If it is just simply being tied without suspension by the arms or something, I assume people can bear that sort of pain. Once I was tied and then thrown onto the floor, I scraped my elbow so it even started bleeding. But it didn’t feel painful at all, maybe it was because my nerves were making me numb at the time. The person in charge was deeply sorry and I was comforted in various ways after the incident. My skin was pink, and I was feeling a tickling sensation.

Kawabata : Sometimes my skin also was chafed and bleeding, or the roughness of the rope itself skratched my skin. Unexpectedly, it didn’t hurt at the time. I think that the sensibility to pain is the same for everyone, but I am confident that I can endure pain and discomfort to some extent.

Murata : I guess it depends on your mindset. I feel that I will be able to enjoy more being tied in future.

Kumoi : I will do anything but pain.

Kawabata : The photo of you with a gag in the June issue of the magazine was quite good, wasn’t it?

Kumoi : I was photographed reluctantly then. The photo was taken while I was thinking that I would want to finish the photo shoot early and go to the cinema…

Murata : Ms Kawabata, how do you feel when you are tied? You have written about this in your text ‘A Torn Diary’.

Kawabata : Well, the way I feel, really my true feeling, is something I think I would be embarrassed to say out loud, because it is my real feeling deep within.

Murata : But well done of you to write such things. I am thinking of attempting to write that kind of confession one day.

Kawabata : I have been asked various things about being in rope, by many people. I ended up feeling like I don’t know which one of my attempts of describing it represent my feelings best. Even when rope is just wrapped once or twice around my body – not necessarily very elaborate – and I am then left alone, it happened that, even if my hands behind my back starts to be numb, I can’t express it very well, but… it still happens that I can concentrate on only one thing at the time and forget everything which bothers me in my daily life, I think there is a joy in this for me.

Takase : A miserable face when being tied and my state of being feeble – I close my eyes so I don’t have to face such a scene directly, but I guess it is still enjoyable to imagine things like that by myself while being tied…

Kawabata : When I am tied and left on the floor, I often indulge in fantasies. I was sometimes shocked when being woken up, as I had gotten absorbed in day-dreams. I think it was the best when I was being tied my hands on my back, rope on my neck, and a gag.

Sakaguchi : Maybe because I have done this only for a short time, I don’t really understand feelings like that. All I could think of is, I hoped to be tied without much pain, and hoped they would finish it as soon as possible.

Murata : There is one perspective that would say that as long as we get paid, we are fine. But even if you aim only to do some kind of play-acting, you may get drawn into the mood, just by trying your best to create the expressions of feelings of a woman who is tied.

Takase : That’s also right.

Kawabata : I always wonder why men take such a huge interest in tying women.

Kumoi : But for some women, for example, like Ms Kawabata, Ms Takase and Ms Murata… I assume some women wants to be tied by men.

Murata : Sure, it does happen that some gradually start liking it as they are being tied repeatedly.

Kawabata : But there are men who have never tied a woman, still they already know that they would like to tie women. I feel that’s somehow strange.

Ase : I don’t really know about men’s perspectives in general, but there is a man who comes to my lessons, he always says that he wants to marry a young woman – like whoever it is. Taking a woman’s freedom away and restricting her is his fantasy. It might be fun for him to do it to a living human.

IMG_6894[picture – Kumoi Hisako]

Takase : From our women’s perspective, I think we’d be pleased with men who have a proper spirit to be able tie women. I don’t know the feelings of men, but as a woman, I guess that the temperament like submissiveness and meekness are our nature. I also think that being submissive would bring a kind of pleasure for women.

Sakaguchi : Let them tie if they want to tie. No matter what, if you want to be tied or not…

Kumoi : It seems that some men like to tie women by force even if she says no. That’s scary.

Kawabata : Being scared and the thrill that you don’t know what the man is going to do, I guess it’s exciting for some women. In my case, it’s enough if I am just tied naked and left alone…

Murata : Let us hear your experience, Ms Kawabata. For our reference…

Sakaguchi : Agreed, agreed.

Kawabata : I thought I would be asking you various things as a moderator, but this is becoming a mess. You also must speak in return, promise.

Asa : Well, I will talk about anything, maybe offer a hell of a story, like a train going off the rails…

Kawabata : But I wonder what to say first. Things just presenting themselves to my mind are, for example, the my first time I was hung upside down. It was in a solitary house in the suburbs. I could perhaps say something about the thrill I felt. It was only maybe my 4th or 5th time of being photographed in rope since I became a model.

Murata : It was last year, wasn’t it?

Kawabata : Yes, I guess it was around June, maybe my third time. It was the rainy season and it drizzled, I remember that I was covered in sweat and feeling sticky, as I was wearing a rain coat and a pair of rain shoes. During my first and second time, I had felt nothing but shocked and I could not even open my eyes at those times. I had become calmer when my third time came, but I was anxious if I was going to be molested or something. Still, I went there filled with some kind of excitement when I was called. There were two rooms adjacent to each other, a 6 Tatami-mat room and a 8 Tatami-mat room – traditional Japanese style rooms. I could see a red futon bedding in the next room through a papered sliding door which was open only a few centimetres.

Sakaguchi : Were there two of you, only you and a man?

Kawabata : Yes, that’s right. I was really worried what would await me after I had been tied. I determined that I would run away if I was about to be abused or something. I was made to create difficult poses I had never done before, using an alcove pillar, a table, the futon bedding and so on. It was really nothing really challenging about being tied tightly, but the anxiety I had was still staying with me throughout, until the end.

Kumoi : You might have been having a sort of bad expectations, don’t you think?

Kawabata : Looking back at it, seriously, I think anxiety is a better word than expectation. Things might have felt very different if I had a more of breathing room in my heart.

Kumoi : Isn’t it boring if nothing happens? Just kidding… I was asked if I wanted to try a suspension with full inversion, and I became curious about it. But we didn’t do it in the end, as I started to feel cold after a while and so on. I guess it is only Ms Kawabata who has been suspended…

Takase : Us others have just started this, so we haven’t reached that stage yet, but I might want to be suspended at some point. According to Ms Kawabata, it sounded like it wasn’t harder than you expected anyway?

Kawabata : Yes, well, it is maybe not as you think. Still, there are much harder ways to be tied than being suspended.

Takase : I guess that being suspended flamboyantly is better than making a difficult pose which looks easy at first glance.

Kawabata : Being suspended is tough, of course. I wasn’t able to bear it once, when only my ankles were tied by a rough rope, then suspended hanging straight like a stick. The time I liked was when my hands and legs were tied separately, then suspended.

Murata : Saying you liked, what specifically was it that you…

Kawabata : Well, I can’t clearly state what it was, but I just liked it somehow… My favourite style of being tied is, as I said previously, the Gote [hands behind one’s back] with Takate Kote [hands high], and putting rope on my neck to the point where I have a difficulty to breathe, adding a gag over my mouth… But I would rather not have my feet tied…

Murata : How about your hands being tied in front your body?

Kawabata : I think it is boring if my hands are tied in the front. It’s incomparable to when they are behind my back. Also, it is better being tied to a degree of just taking my freedom away rather than tying me tight with a lot of ropes. In the July edition of this magazine [Kitan Club], there are five photos of different poses using a gag. Could you tell your story when it was shot? Ms Murata is quite large, so I guess it was hard for you to put your hands behind your back?

Murata : My weight is 14 Kan 500 Monme [approx. 54 kg], heavy for my height. Especially I have a trouble when I sit down because my legs are thick. Deep rope marks were clearly visible after having been tied. I guess I am just fat, but my legs look thick in those photos in that album. It concerns me.

Takase : I am tall, and lacking flesh yet. I was often told that I look immature somehow. I am still 18 years old so I expect to be more plump in future. People say that a skipping rope is one of the best ways to improve the shape of the legs.

Murata : I try to do walking and skipping rope whenever I can, but I guess this is my natural physique. Ms Asa is also quite plump, but well-balanced…

Asa : My legs are thick, too. I think I don’t have flab because I do dance, but they are thick anyway. Recently I have put on weight around the abdomen and the waist, I feel that it repels the muscle when I walk. When I was tied for the first time, I looked out of the corner of my eyes at myself, I noticed that the rope sank deep into my skin. But I didn’t really feel it.

Kawabata : How you receive an impact and its effect might be different depending on if you are plump or skinny. I am just an average built so it is not really an issue for me, but Ms Kumoi is skinny, so you may feel it is hard?

IMG_6895[picture – Asa Harue]

Kumoi : I was actually quite fat, weighing nearly 15 Kan [approx=56 kg] when I was in school. I have lost weight since I had a problem with my stomach last spring. I put on weight again a little in the autumn, but became thin again in the winter. Now I just have some flesh on me. I don’t like my arms bind tightly, also not a gag as it makes breathing difficult.

Kawabata : Speaking about gags, it becomes very uneasy when both the nose and the mouth are covered by a thick cloth. Like Ms Furukawa, there are people who can’t be into it when not gagged. In my case, at first I just had difficult times and hoped to be released as soon as possible. But I have started to find a joy in the middle of the difficult state nowadays and I even feel dissatisfied at times as it is taken off. How about others?

Asa : I didn’t feel anything much at the time. But it did made me imagine that a burglar was attacking me when I was given a gag. But I wasn’t very keen on it. It doesn’t do anything for me now, as I have gotten used to it and can think of it like a sort of accessory.

Takase : I preferred my mouth and nose being covered as tight as possible. I think it was good that only my eyes were visible, showing my pitiful expression.

Sakaguchi : The heat can become oppressive, I remember that the cloth touched my nostrils every time I breathed and it became wet, that was gross. I wished to be untied sooner.

Murata : It troubled me when the cloth on my nose almost slipped down and I tried hard to prevent it. I didn’t feel anything else about it as difficult. A handkerchief inserted in my mouth became moist by saliva, and I tried to keep it as dry as possible… If I had any difficulty, that was it. I actually thought they could treat me rougher than they did. On the last occasion, they shot me with poses I wanted to do using a table and a pole. I haven’t been called since then.

Kawabata : Don’t you feel pain when your hands are tied behind your back and high up?

Takase : If I am left like that for a long time, the elbow-joints become stiff and painful. My hands become numb and I feel that they are not mine for a while even after being untied.

Sakaguchi : So, we are almost always in the Gote.

Kawabata : I have been tied with my hands in front of my body, but I am more interested in the Gote, as it exposes the defenceless naked body. It might be different matter if you talk about the beauty of a pose though…

Takase : Indeed, there is nothing like the Gote, even if it is painful. I was once tied in a Gote, then a rope was attached to my neck and made me keep facing upwards. I was left alone for a while in the pose like that, I could not able to look down or anything.

Kawabata : Isn’t it the ‘Takate Kote’-picture which is shown in the album [Beautifully Bound]?

Takase : Yes, it is. I love that kind of pose. At that time they probably took more than ten photos from every angle and direction when I was keeping the same pose.

Asa : The poses such as lying on one’s back are tough since both wrists go under the body, especially if lying on the Tatami mat or wooden floor…

Kawabata : I assume that it may differ depending on where you place your hands. Ms Murata, you looked pretty in the picture of ‘Giseidai’ [An altar, in Beautifully Bound]. It looks rather good, without a gag.

Murata : My thighs look huge in the picture. I always wish I could loose weight.

Kawabata : I also wanted to be slim before, but I don’t want to be now as it’d be better to be reasonably plump… Ms Murata, you are not as fat as you think though… Ms Takase is also in one picture, which shows the pose of putting both wrists behind the lower back.

Takase : Yes, I was wondering how I could make an expression of the whole body – it was not just because I felt pain in the wrists that I stuck out my chest and bent backward.

Kawabata : Ms Takase is pretty good at striking a pose. In that respect, I also end up having fun just for myself.

Takase : I think ‘Aranawa’ [Straw Rope] is quite good. [A picture with this title is also included in Beautifully Bound.]

Sakaguchi : As long as it’s just posing for a photo shoot, it can be OK. But it must be tough if you are being tied with Aranawa for real.

Asa : You mean like if a burglar breaks into your house?

Sakaguchi : Some novels contain typical scenes like that. For example in the weekly stories, suddenly being surrounded by a gang of outlaws…and so on.

(Ms Kumoi went home for an urgent matter at this point)

Kawabata : If I can’t resist or do anything, I guess I would have to just give up all and let them do whatever they want… It might be good if I am tied very tightly then, without being able to move the slightest, so I don’t have to flounce up and down… I have heard that some women have a secret fantasy about being raped. I think I’d rather just be looked at when tied…

Takase : Some women may have that kind of fantasy deep down.

Sakaguchi : Ms Takase, you have it, don’t you?

Murata : I think you also have that tendency, Ms Sakaguchi.

Sakaguchi : I think I don’t have it. It is fact that I willingly went to the week long workshop to be a model, and that I enjoyed being looked at when I stood on the modelling podium though. But I have done it only once.

Asa : It is just because you don’t have to worry about the difficulty in making a living. I love dance and I work as a dancing instructor, however I have a feeling that being a nude model is not really a bad thing. It’s not just for money, I have confidence in my body and I want to be proud of it, especially in front of men… It doesn’t really matter to me if I am tied or not. I would not mind being tied though…

Sakaguchi : Same for me. If they want to tie me, then I will let them tie. But I don’t like it when it’s too painful.

Kawabata : I think that many people would start liking it gradually even if they say that they don’t like pain in the beginning.

Sakaguchi : Is that so?

Takase : Being hit or pinched I dislike, but being tied can be alright. At least I think so. I was told at first that I could either be clothed or naked whichever I liked, but I chose to be nude. Although there was also the matter of the monetary reward…

Murata : I told them that I would not mind either.

Kawabata : They did propose that you would be tied from the beginning, didn’t they?

IMG_6896[picture – Sakaguchi Toshiko]

Murata : Yes, they told me so. I was asked if I preferred to be tied naked or in a costume, but I thought it would just be more simple if I was tied naked…

Kawabata : How about you all – we are different from the ordinary models, allowing rope on our bodies. Men’s hands often touch our skin directly while they are tying us. Let me hear what you think about this.

Takase : Well, I wonder. Even just becoming nude brings some sort of expectation or a stimulus. Don’t you think so, everyone?

Murata : Of course. When they twine rope round my body many times, it clings to my skin directly. It is not the ordinary feel.

Asa : Isn’t it a similar feeling to when you are dancing with a man?

Sakaguchi : Not sure. I can’t dance so I don’t know anything about dance. Being tied brought me a real excitement, which I had never ever experienced.

Kawabata : I also like dancing and went dancing quite a lot last year, but I haven’t done it for a while since then.

Murata : You just prefer being tied, don’t you? (laugh)

Kawabata : No, it’s not like that… Ms Takase, you are the youngest one here, do you have a male friend?

Takase : I had been working since I graduated from a junior high school until March this year, so no… As I got stuck in the daily grind, I don’t even get to think about such matters.

Kawabata : I guess that Ms Asa must have a colourful life in that department. You are a dance instructor after all.

Asa : It’s not like what you are thinking. I come in contact with many men on a daily basis, so I get used to men. I take no notice of ordinary men as I have a connoisseur’s eye for men.

Kawabata : Ms Asa is a person with firm opinions. How about you, Ms Murray?

Murata : Where I live is one of the famous industrial areas in Japan. There, everyone is quite active, especially when an event like a traditional Bon dance festival happens. I am quite hopeless when it comes to dance though…

Asa : You don’t have to be so modest. We are all shameless women with no reputation to loose, so tell us the truth, hey.

Murata : But that’s true. I am shy. But I sometimes dream of being with a famous person.

Sakaguchi : I want to hear your story of love and romance, Ms Kawabata.

Kawabata : No, no. Everyone, that’s not fair. You make it my turn whenever you can. It has been a while, so let’s call it a day. Thank you very much.

[end]

3 thoughts on “Kawabata Tanako: Rope-bottom Roundtable-talk, from Kitan Club 1953

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  3. Ping: Tsujimura Takashi: The psychological background for the impulse to do Seme (1953) | Kinbaku Books

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