Akechi Denki Interview (2000)

The following text and images are from the book 日本緊縛師列伝, edited by Sanada Nobuyuki and published in 2000 (see an earlier post here ). Text and interview by Nozawa Na [1]

The translation is done by Emi Kinako, commissioned and edited by Bergborg / KinbakuBooks. Thank you for your help once again Emi!

***********

cover Nihon

Akechi Denki is respected as the most skilled performer in the kinbaku world. Unfortunately, I have never seen his shows myself, but according to rumours they are astonishing. Whips and candles are the norm, and sometimes models are shaken from side to side mid-suspension. Of course, the girls end up crying and wailing, and some of them lose consciousness…

I had the opportunity to meet this person. To be honest I was extremely nervous before meeting him. This was because- I may be exposing my naïveté- I felt as if I were about to expose my lack of knowledge about SM and kinbaku. The only knowledge that I have is some names of kinbakushi and a basic idea what they do.

Of course, since I work in this industry I do have a strong interest in the world of SM and kinbaku. However, I find myself hesitating to go and investigate further. I can’t explain the reason behind that very well, but I think it is because of the specific “world” SM has – I would say that it is a psychological world – I find myself doubting if I can understand that world fully. This insecurity stems from my strong interest in the world.

interview

With that said, I was extremely anxious when meeting Akechi Denki during this shoot. It was my first time meeting a nawashi, let alone seeing shibari be properly done. There was no way for me not to be nervous. However, when I actually met Mr. Akechi, he quickly blew away any kind of anxiety I had.

He is, simply put, a very nice person. When you see Mr. Akechi in SM magazines, he seems like the type that you can’t get close to; this may be because he wears sunglasses and his expressions are completely hidden. In reality, he isn’t like that at all. He is very gentle-mannered, and made me feel at ease. When you speak to him, you start to wonder if this man is truly the Akechi Denki, the man behind the torturous kinbaku shows. But of course, that was until the shibari session was about to start…

The featured model of the day was Mr. Akechi’s assistant as well as partner for his kinbaku shows, Ms. Kyojo Yumeji [2]. She is 26 years old, and has been working for Mr. Akechi for 2 years. She has been appearing in his shows quite often, but this is her first time being a model for a shoot. It seemed that she was feeling a little nervous.

“I’m sorry I asked you so suddenly. But all you need to do is what we always do.”

I saw Mr. Akechi cheer his model up. With those words, the nervousness disappeared from her face. It seems like nothing, but this kind of care makes a woman feel very happy.

The shibari session began. The calm and warm Mr. Akechi had disappeared. The man standing in front of us was a serious bakushi at work, working the rope into the female form.

bild 2-1

The first item Mr. Akechi put in his hands was not asanawa, but red cotton rope. After tying Ms. Yumeji’s arms behind her, Mr. Akechi pulled on the rope that was in his hand. The model was tied down tightly, yet the rope slipped right off of her body! The art of untying without touching on the rope used to tie the pattern. I wasn’t aware of this practice, but this is the practice of hojojutsu, something Mr. Akechi is currently working on.

”Hojojutsu [捕縛術] is something that began in the Edo period, under the rule of one of Edo’s five great shoguns, Tsunayoshi [1646–1709]. This is when the class system of warriors, farmers, artisans, and tradesmen was established. There were different ways to tie members of the different classes. Every feudal clan had its own secret system of tying. Depending on the criminal, there were different rules for tying; which way the rope was to go, what colour was to be used, and so on. For example, once a warrior was tied in a pattern for commoners. This was considered extremely humiliating and disgraceful. The warrior committed seppukuin order to pay respects to his monarch. Because of that, the ruling monarch filed a complaint to the shogunate government, and the person that had tied the warrior was beheaded. Tying was one of the eighteen budo arts. It was said that if you hadn’t mastered this art, you could not call yourself a warrior.”

Mr. Akechi was generous in showing us his tying techniques. Though he was tying complicated patterns, all he had to do to untie the model was to pull one section of the rope. It almost felt like I was watching an elaborate magic show.

When showing this technique while performing at “Department H”, he suspended the model in a sakasa-ebi-zuri(upside down shrimp) and elevated her to a height that he couldn’t reach. The model was somewhat lowered and then dropped sideways into an ougi[fan], and finally into a sakasa-ippon-ashi-zuri[upside down one leg suspension]. He had demonstrated three patterns, two transitions in total. All the patterns were done in the hojojutsu style, so in the end, the ropes slipped right off of the model.

“It took me three months to perfect the ties for that show. Hojo-shibari is extremely difficult. It’s relatively easy for anyone to tie the ropes very tightly so that it’s safe. But it’s extremely difficult to tie someone who weighs fifty, sixty kilos, make sure they’re secured, and then be able to tug on the rope so that everything undoes itself…”

bild 2

Hojojutsu is considered a secret technique, and much of it has been passed down only by oral tradition. Therefore, it isn’t an easy task to decode its details. So far, Mr. Akechi has decoded twenty-seven styles, but that took him five years. The effort is admirable. There is a reason behind his passion for hojojutsu.

“This kind of stylized shibari is uniquely Japanese. There are records of rope being used in western style torture, but nothing that is specific to class systems. I consider this a Japanese tradition. We can say that it’s a tradition of shibari. I have a strong urge to maintain it as a form of traditional Japanese art.”

Says Mr. Akechi. Though hojojutsu is something uniquely Japanese, due to the fact that its history has been only orally transmitted, many have started to forget its existence. Perhaps this urge to maintain the art comes from the fact that he is a bakushi. In the past two years, he has been performing overseas as well; this comes from his hopes to spread the culture of rope internationally.

bild 2

However, it’s important to remember the erotic aspect of rope. Mr. Akechi says that the foundation of his ropes lie within the kinbaku used during SM scenes. The reason behind Mr. Akechi being allured into the world of shibari was a magazine targeted towards “maniacs”.

“I was in the third grade when I first came across Kitan Club. I came by it at a rental book store in my neighbourhood. I still remember feeling shaken by a photo of a woman being tied (laughs).”

From then on, he hid away and read copies of Kitan Club. It was around then that he started to want to tie women up. However, this fantasy took ten years to become a reality. He was nineteen years old, and faced with a sudden tragedy.

“My family went bankrupt when I entered high school. My parents basically sold me off, telling me to work for a craftsman for five to six years. Two other apprentices were there as well. Their salary was five-thousand yen, and mine was five-hundred. I learned that my parents had agreed with the craftsman to send them the rest of my salary. I got letters from my little sister, who’d been sent off to work as a baby sitter all the time. She told me how hard life was on her, and how lonely she was. I also saw dried up tears on the letters. My sister was either in the first or second grade. It was unbearable. I ran away from my job two years later. I wanted to establish myself. I worked under different masters, became independent at eighteen, and half a year later, I had one hundred people working for me.”

Two years later, he had built his own home, and brought his family back together. His vitality is unbelievable. This story seems unrelated to kinbaku, but there is actually a strong connection. The eagerness to bring his family back together translates right back into his eagerness in relation to kinbaku. Without that experience, there would be no “Kinbakushi Akechi Denki.”

bild 3

“I experienced tying for the first time when I was nineteen years old. My partner was a woman I met in a bar. Unlike now, there weren’t any SM clubs. I had to “hunt” in order to find myself a partner. It would start by a meeting at a bar and a conversation. You would find someone who’s your type, and ask her if she’d like to go to the movies. You would date for about half a year, and then go to a hotel. There, you would tell her that you’re interested in tying and show her your rope. Most girls ran away the moment they saw my rope. I repeated that process over and over. Sadomasochism was still considered abnormal, so most people didn’t know what a sadist would do to you. In other words, they’d think that you were broken, that you would go around stabbing people on the street, and look at you that way. I would speak to maybe one hundred women, and maybe twenty would come to a hotel with me. Out of them, oneperson would let me tie them. So, after speaking to a hundred women, only one of them would let me tie them.”

bild 3

One out of a hundred. The low chances are mind blowing. If it was me, I imagine I would forcefully tie any woman that had followed me to the hotel. But Mr. Akechi is different; he is a true gentleman.

“I wouldn’t do it to someone who didn’t want to. I can’t tie if there isn’t any love behind it. So, I tried my best not to scare them.For example, I started by using neckties, or sashes used for yukata instead of rope. I took steps so that they get used to the rope. I also try to create an atmosphere where the woman wants to get tied. I’ll show them patterns and tell them ‘There’s beautiful patterns like these, I’m sure you’d look great in this pattern.’ I would have a full-length mirror around, too. I would keep it at that. I would untie them, give them a hug, and tell them ’Thank you, you looked beautiful.’ ”

So far, it seems as if Mr. Akechi is the one who is doing the serving.

“Ha ha, that might be true. But the top has to put in a lot effort. Otherwise you won’t be able to find a good bottom. You need to pour in all the effort and service until they become your bottom.”

The service he speaks of is to heighten the bottom’s characteristics as a bottom. You have to go to such lengths to find yourself a bottom.

“You can only find a bottom by using your money, time, brains, and effort. Submissive women are like diamonds. Actually; you spend even more money, effort, and time on them, so they are more precious than diamonds. That’s why you need to love them,” says Mr. Akechi. His passion towards submissive women has not changed to this date. “You’re able to have a great scene because you’re in it with someone you have fallen in love with. In other words: You can’t tie them unless there’s love behind it. Even to this day, when I perform, I only think about the person I’m tying. When I’m tying, I’m only looking at the model. I only speak with the model. By doing so, your feelings go through to them. When that happens, you’re able to perform a great show where both of your hearts are connected.”

Speaking of performances, let’s have Mr. Akechi tell us how he became a rigger and performer.

The opportunity rose about twenty years ago. When viewing an underground theatre-company’s experimental SM show, he befriended one of the members of the company. That friendship led to him helping out at the shows. At first, he was simply a “maniac” (a fan of the SM world) that was helping out. However, audiences began to request his appearance, and he began performing hour-long shibari shows after the main performance.

“The kind of shibari I practice during performances is for the spectators. It’s different from what I do in my private life. For examples, in my private practice, the intention isn’t to show off. I can wrap the rope around the bottom’s body freely. All that matter is that the bottom gets a sense of being bound. But when I’m performing, I’m given an hour, I have to tie as beautifully as I can, and suspend the model to her limits.”

He ties his models beautifully, but edges them to their physical and psychological limits. Of course, danger is something that flickers in the background.

“It’s true that there are risks of danger when I’m performing. I’m tying in front of an audience, so I can’t undo my ties. I’ve made mistakes in the past. An inexperienced model injured her shoulder, and her arm went numb. But those kinds of mistakes made me the rigger I am today.”

Though Mr. Akechi mentions he becomes heavily emotionally involved during his performances, he maintains a sense of coolness during his performances. That is because there are certain risks that are constantly behind the performances.

There are times when Mr. Akechi performs three times a day. Since he’s so enthusiastic about performing, there must be an allure that he cannot deny.

“It’s when the girls’ facial expressions make an extreme change. They really do change. That gets me. It makes them seem adorable, and I want to hug them instantly. Other than that, when a girl comes over and over, or when they’ve been tortured, I can’t hold myself together. There’s times when the bottom’s crying out of joy and comes and hugs me. That gets me, too. It’s a sense of connection, rather than excitement. I feel as if I can get connected with the girls on another level when I perform on stage.”

bild 5

At today’s shoot – or rather, I should call it a live performance – in the final scenes, I felt as if I witnessed what Mr. Akechi told me. Ms. Yumeji, freed from a suspension, looked as if she was about to lose consciousness. Out of the blue, Mr. Akechi pinched her nipple. In that moment, I heard Ms. Yumeji scream out of pain. Her body began to wince, and she was moaning. My attention had been taken aback by the shibari, but before I knew it, both the model and rigger were heated up, and a full-on scene was taking place before us. This was no longer a simple shoot.

I swallowed my breath as I kept watching. I have no idea what’s about to happen. The tension was high; just like a kinbaku performance.

With her nipple still pinched, Ms. Yumeji rolled to her back. I can’t hear her voice but she was breathing very heavily. Her facial expression told us that she was suffering. Mr. Akechi’s open hand begins to press onto her stomach, over and over. I started to hear her moan again. I heard this later, but apparently Mr. Akechi was placing pressure onto her diaphragm to send oxygen into her system. In her case, by doing so, she is able to drop into sub space easily.

Next, Mr. Akechi’s hand slapped the floor next to her ear. As he did so, her body began to tremble, though he wasn’t touching her directly. The trembling became harder and harder. With Mr. Akechi slapping the floor, Ms. Yumeji’s body began to make bigger flinches. With one final shudder, she led out a scream and fell. It seemed as if she had come as hard as she could. Mr. Akechi held her tightly. I found myself being jealous of the connection they shared.

“It felt amazing,” says Ms. Yumeji about today’s experience.

“If I get to feel that good for hours and hours, I wouldn’t mind doing a shoot again. You only get to experience this feeling for an hour during shows.”

She seemed very content. But I had one question. Why did her body react the way it did when Mr. Akechi was slapping the floor?

“I made her get used to it. I trained her so that when she hears that sound, her body reacts the way it does. Just like Pavlov’s dog,” was Mr. Akechi’s answer. I wondered if that was really possible, but since I’d seen it for myself, I have to believe him. I hear about his other shows, and they don’t cease to surprise me.

Out of all the things I heard, the most impressive thing was how there was a model who flipped into a completely different personality when she was being tied (it turned out that she suffered from dissociative disorder). A lot of women visit Mr. Akechi’s salon Garashawith issues and questions, as well as requests to be tied up by Mr. Akechi. The aforementioned model was one of them. When Mr. Akechi shooed out the separate personality, the woman lost consciousness, and regained her main personality. It sounds unbelievable, but after seeing Mr. Akechi’s performance, I can be convinced that this may be true.

However, it isn’t only women that fall into that kind of state. Mr. Akechi himself tells me that he faces weird situations during shows.

“There are times when the rope runs and does its own thing. My hand is simply on the rope. I’m not there, and I’m just obeying the ropes orders. It’s a very strange sensation. I get sucked into it. It really feels like I’m giving every bit of my body and soul, my life, and my will to fight. I feel like I do what I do because I want to see how far I can go.”

This kind of situation happens about once a year or less. Perhaps it is something that only one who has reached the top of rope can experience. It would be amazing to be a part of the audience if that were to happen.

Lastly, since we are entering the new millennia, I asked Mr. Akechi about his goals and ambitions.

“I want to set up a project related to hojojutsu by the fall. By next year, I want to compile everything into a book, so I want to look for someone to study the art with me. Also, performances. I obviously want to continue performing domestically, but I have plans on performing overseas in the fall as well.”

Time is not a changing factor for Mr. Akechi’s passion towards performing.

 

bild 1

***

Kyojyo Yumeji Interview

That day, Ms. Kyojo Yumeji accompanied Mr. Akechi as his assistant. She is twenty-six years old, and it is her first time modelling for a photo-shoot. However, she has been Akechi’s show model numerous times, and there are times where she fills in for other models.

“It’s not rare for models to get their period, or get sick. In those cases, I fill in as a model. That happens a lot for performances (laughs). But I’ve never done a photo-shoot before, so I’m a little nervous.”

It’s been two years since her and Mr. Akechi first met.

“A girl I know modelled for Sensei (edit: She calls Mr. Akechi Sensei). And then I heard he was hosting a SM party. I asked her to let me tag along. I was a little interested in SM.”

At that first party she attended, she was mistaken as someone else’s slave and got whipped, hot wax dripped on her, and tied. She had not experienced any serious play before. It’s unbelievable that this was her first experience.

“The end of the century was coming close, so I figured I should experience SM for myself.”

She was interested in the world of SM, but not that serious.

The first time she was tied by Mr. Akechi was after the SM party. In her afterglow, she mentioned “I want to be suspended next time!” to which Mr. Akechi answered, “Do you want to get suspended now?” She ended up getting suspended then and there.

“Everything was happening so suddenly. Then, it turned out that I was going to appear in his ‘Phantom Show’! I was suspended, whipped, dripped with wax, I couldn’t believe how fast things were going.”

It was around the same time she started filling in for other models.

“I heard that there was going to be a performance at a theatre, so I went to help out backstage. But the model suddenly got sick, and I took her place. I’d only been tied by Sensei four times. And there were so many people in the audience. I had no idea what was going on. But Sensei went ahead and twirled me around, me suspended mid-air. My foot once hit the lights, and I was terrified. After that, I’ve been scared of being twirled around.”

This wasn’t the only time she had frightening experiences. There’s plenty more.

“Sensei uses daggers in his shows, but the other day that dagger scratched my throat, and it still hurts. And once when we were at a party, he found a pulley and said: ‘Let’s try hanging from the neck.’ So I got suspended from my neck. It was hard enough when I was on my toes, but he started suspending further. My body went off the ground! That was rough. I was breathing like I was having an asthmatic attack, and Sensei boasted: ‘This is how people breathe when they are about to die’, and showed me off. I was about to black out. I checked afterwards, and there were clear rope marks on my neck.”

Though she goes through such experiences, she does not leave Mr. Akechi’s side. In fact, she is currently his assistant, takes care of his scheduling, and plans his shows. How is this possible?

“No matter what happens, I feel safe when I’m with Sensei. When I’m feeling mentally vulnerable, he takes the time to listen to me. He treats me like a real human being, and not only a play partner. That makes me happy.”

I feel like her words answer any questions. Her trust and respect towards Mr. Akechi. Those emotions allow her to withstand the hardships of being his model. On top of that, she gets to feel another sense of emotion;

“Sensei’s way of tying is indeed, hard, but there’s a sense of ecstasy that overthrows it. When I’m playing with him, I feel like the way I do while having sex. Actually, it’s much deeper than what you can feel with your genitals.”

And to this day, she gets tied by Akechi Denki.

 

Notes by Bergborg

[1] The editor adds about Nozawa Na: ”A superstar of the erotic world, Nozawa Na has various nom de plumes, works also with erotic photography and directs indie videos.”

[2] Kyojo Yumeji (京城夢路) also appears for example in the akechi-photobook by Yoshiki Saitoh (se an earlier post on this blog here). There is a live-scene with Kyojo Yumeji and Akechi Denki in the DVD called 明智伝鬼の世界 8.

******

Translated by Emi Kinako, commissioned and edited by Bergborg / KinbakuBooks

 

 

Kommentera

Fyll i dina uppgifter nedan eller klicka på en ikon för att logga in:

WordPress.com Logo

Du kommenterar med ditt WordPress.com-konto. Logga ut /  Ändra )

Google+-foto

Du kommenterar med ditt Google+-konto. Logga ut /  Ändra )

Twitter-bild

Du kommenterar med ditt Twitter-konto. Logga ut /  Ändra )

Facebook-foto

Du kommenterar med ditt Facebook-konto. Logga ut /  Ändra )

Ansluter till %s