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!

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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.

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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.

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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…”

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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.

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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.”

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“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.”

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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.”

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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.

 

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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.

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

 

 

Itoh Seiu: ”Fifteen Ways To Tie a Woman’s Body” (1953)

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Itoh Seiu: ”Fifteen Ways To Tie a Woman’s Body”, in Fuzoku soshi (風俗草紙), September 1953

Itoh was a prolific writer. Making private experiments with torment or ”seme” already in the 1910s, he started publishing texts on this topic in the late 1920s and early 1930s. I have posted earlier on the blog for example about a book from 1930 that contains both photos by Itoh, and a rather long text about seme (still untranslated, see: http://tinyurl.com/jd3fowy).

The magazine Fuzoku soshi (風俗草紙) existed only for two years (offering something like seventeen issues), and featured contributions among others by Itoh Seiu, Ueda Seishiro and Minomura Kou.

I find Itohs text and drawings in this issue from September 1953 especially interesting, as it connects his early experiments with the post-war expansion of Kinbaku. It also gives an indication about Itohs views on earlier, non-erotic forms of rope used for capture, transport and torture of criminals.

Please note that the text was written for publication in an erotic magazine, geared toward the pleasure and phantasies of the reader. Be advised that many of the things mentioned are quite dangerous, and do not treat it as a tutorial for Kinbaku.

The translation from Japanese to English is by Nana (London), commissioned and edited by Bergborg.

This is a non-profit endeavour. You are invited to support Kinbaku Books with a small donation through PayPal to: bergamott@live.se

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Fifteen Ways To Tie a Woman’s Body

By Seiu Itoh

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This is a precious article by a great painter who devoted his whole life to researching torment [責め, seme], based on his own experiences.

 Exclusive to our magazine!

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When tying up a woman, there is surely some further purpose for it, more than just simply taking her freedom.

I assume that everyone would agree that the primary purpose of tying someone is to restrict them. In addition to this, you may want to achieve other things, like the extraction of a confession, the enjoyment of looking at their face full of pain by harming a part of their body, a disciplinary punishment – or some other purpose when specifically dealing with a woman’s body.

The martial artists [武術家, bujutsuka] in the old days invented ways to use rope for capturing an enemy alive and for tying men who surrendered in battle. As a part of ninja methods [忍術, ninjutsu], how to tie a person and the way to place rope were dependent on the person’s class, official rank and status. There were different styles, with each style having a different way to tie. At first it was just a method to remove a person’s freedom, but many styles and ‘Ryu’ cropped up later.

However, these schools were mainly for tying men. Tying women came second – while ways to tie women were established, these made up only a very small proportion of the entirety of possible styles. Seeing this, I have no doubt that there were only a small number of female criminals compared to the large numbers of male ones. It must have been rare to see a murder or a robbery committed by a woman in the pre-Restoration days [= before 1867], unlike in the post-war period.

Women have a troublingly tender spot: the breasts. There is a risk that putting rope on the chest or tightly binding the chest might lead to death, so tying the breasts would have been avoided for the ordinary (?) woman whose guilt was likely still uncertain. When tying a woman, we avoid the breasts. It’s understandable that we have seen only a few methods for tying women, as they had to be developed specifically for the small number of female criminals at the time. [The question-mark is in the original text.]

There was an illustration of a girl whose breasts were tied with a cord and suspended from a beam in a bondage magazine (?) of the current style [被縛雑誌, hibaku zasshi], accompanied by a composition claiming to be ‘a real story’. But this is complete rubbish, as it would be impossible to do things like that. [The question-mark is in the original text.]

I am going to describe how to tie up a woman, something I have learnt from my past experience, in the order in which I recall it.

There is no particular style like Houen Ryu, something-Ryu. If I must name it, I would say Seiu Ryu.

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  1. How to do Hayanawa [= fast rope]

Quickly bring both hands to the back. Tie both thumbs with a thin but strong cord, like the string of a Shamisen, as it will dig into her thumbs. Bring the leftover string to her throat, then tie her pinky fingers tightly so that the string digs into them. Or tie her wrists instead of the pinky fingers.

The thumbs will lose their feeling, and the tips of the fingers will turn purple and lose sensation.

However, it’s not safe to use this method. When using it for rope bondage play [hibaku no yuugi, 被縛の遊戯] over a long period, there is a risk it would lead to an injury such as necrosis in the fingers. Do not use it for over an hour.

It’s important to control the strength of this tie as it’s just for immobilising a woman’s hands. If this method is used for a long time, the string will dig into her flesh and become inescapable, making injury to the fingers unavoidable. This method was also used by the unofficial policemen, or Okappiki, of the Tokugawa period [1603–1868].

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  1. Guruguru Maki [= wrapping around and around]

This has to be done quickly. In reality, one’s physical strength is important when tying a woman who is trying to run away. You must not take pity on the woman when putting rope on her. Tie her up roughly without considering the pain she is receiving, remembering that the skin’s sensitivity of some women is low compared the typical man’s. She could cry – this might often interfere with your focus, but it’s unnecessary to take her tears into consideration and it is no reason to go easy on her. When you are tying a woman, if you don’t divest yourself of your humanity, you can not use full strength, and you can not truly tie her – you must keep thinking like that.

This is however not the case if both parties conduct this activity as play. But people like me, who make personal research about bondage (?), must abstain from sympathy. For me, there is no other way than tying her using my strength to the limit. [The question-mark is in the original text.]

There are no other mysteries of this form apart from wrapping the rope around and around, tying both wrists rapidly. As a result, there isn’t really any more to learning the tie than just to practice until you fully acquire the skill.

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  1. Hayanawa [= fast rope]

First of all, the primary focus should be tying up both wrists. In this case, twisting both arms up quickly is a point which requires some tact.

After tying up both wrists, bring the remaining rope from the woman’s upper arms around her back and repeat it a couple of times, then tie a knot with all your strength. Her breasts will quickly be firmly tied, and the rope will bite into her flesh. Without a pause, take aim at the abdomen next; swiftly bring rope around it a couple of times and attach it to the wrists. There’s always an impending risk that she might get away. Except when it’s bondage play [yuugi, 遊戯], some resistance by the woman you’re tying should be expected, especially if it’s a serious situation. Special care must be taken when capturing a female criminal. You must avoid putting rope across the breasts, even if you forgo being careful. Needless to say, the woman’s wrists of course should be on her back.

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  1. Kataashi Kake [= hooking one leg]

At first, hold the woman down and make her lie face down. Twist the right arm towards the back (you’d usually deal with the right arm first), put rope around the wrist, then quickly take it down to the left ankle. It’s necessary that ‘the snake’s mouth’ of the rope (see the illustration) is pulled out near the wrist. The woman’s body will become a Z-shape when you bring the rope from the ankle to the loop by the wrist, then tighten it. Wrap one of her legs with the excess rope, or use another rope and bring it from her leg to the crotch, then wrap it strongly above the groin. It’s more effective if a new, thin rope is used if possible. Once you finish doing this, use your full strength to twist and tie the leg and the crotch.

Towards the end, you should always reel in the rope sequentially, then tighten the rope up from time to time as you tie. There won’t be enough rope left if the crotch part is tied loosely so it’s better to bind as tight as possible, considering that you’ll be bringing the rope to her neck later on.

After placing this rope on her neck and tying the left arm up, you can hold the woman’s right leg and torment her by dragging her body around. This will instantly bring a good result.

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  1. Same as…

There is a method which can be done in the opposite manner to the one mentioned above; placing a pole between the knees and crotch in order to torment a woman after tying her up. In addition to tormenting her, the woman’s body can be suspended from it, if this amuses you.

However, there are no practitioners using this technique at present. It was probably one of the methods for torturing suspects used by Okappiki at police stations in the pre-Restoration days [= before 1867]. When a criminal didn’t confess, they were confined with Hoda for any number of days. Hoda means fetters.

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  1. Irekubi [= neck putting]

I have created a fictitious name, which will suffice for this explanation.

Place her right wrist behind her bended knee, then tie it with rope tightly, placing the excess rope around her neck. Bring the rope to her back, tie her left wrist as it’s brought to her back, bring the rope end around her waist and tie up there. This is to keep the woman’s neck leaning towards the left. The pain this position causes becomes intense from the rope as the wrist gets caught on in the crotch area. The shoulders start to hurt after an hour.

If weight is added to the crotch, the pain on the wrist will reach the upper right arm and the shoulder begins to hurt. The aim of torture shall easily be achieved if you place a stick in the left elbow and twist it, which will undoubtedly cause the woman to scream in agony.

Furthermore, to add harsher torment, bind the body more tightly by putting more rope on, but this is said to cause fainting in some cases.

itoh-7-kopia

  1. A type of Ebi Zeme [= shrimp torture]

This is almost the same tying method as was used in torture chambers during the Edo period.

Make a woman sit cross-legged, tie her legs in a couple of places, run rope from her shoulder to her crotch and pull it tight, leaving the neck as close to the legs as possible. Her back should form a curve, bent like a shrimp.

It is said that Ebi Zeme was named as it is because the colour of the body changes and turns red. It is a matter of life or death when the colour of the body then changes to white after having become red; then it must be untied, as failure to do so is fatal. This writer has never conducted an experiment on this matter so cannot comment from personal experience.

Regardless, this method of torment includes inclining the woman’s body forward and exposing a certain part of her, so it is difficult to conduct such an experiment without being on intimate terms with the woman.

If this test were to be done for research purposes, it is suggested that this position should be maintained for no longer than ten minutes. As a result of an experiment conducted by this writer, a woman was physically disabled for a couple of days after the experiment finished.

itoh-8-kopia

  1. Bou Shibari [= pole tying]

This is a good practice tie, as it shouldn’t cause any harm. This torment can also be bearable for a long time, to a certain extent.

When using this method in a playful manner [yuugiteki, 遊戯的], the time can be extended longer and the mosquito torture can be done to a woman if it’s summer.

This can be a most effective and harmless tie, know to be used for example on a homosexual woman by her jealous female partner, because it won’t leave a scar even if she’s tortured to the edge of breaking the skin. Therefore, this torment method is widely and deeply applicable.

When using this method, you could throw a woman into the garden and make her shiver with cold if it’s winter, give her the mosquito torture if it’s summer (as mentioned above), or torment her with smoke. When using this pole tying method, all sorts of torment methods can be thought up to follow. Its applications are limitless.

The method for this tie depends on personal preference, but historically, the most common way is to open a person’s arms straight and place a pole along the arms over the back. The pole is then tied to the arms in a couple of places with short ropes. You can then tie the woman’s ankles and throw her down, or attach her to a tree.

It is said that this tie was a type of arrest which was usually used on Noarashi [= poachers and rustlers, persons who steal crops from a farm].

itoh-9-kopia

  1. Mata Nozoki [= peeping through the crotch]

This is similar to a variety of a method called Hyoutan Zeme [= gourd torture], which is said to have been used at a government office at the Sado gold mine.

This is an unbearable tie unless the person has a great deal of endurance. At first, bring both hands to the back and tie them up, then bring the rope end to the shoulder and tie up in the same way as in the Ebi Zeme. You should then bring the rope through between the thighs. Pull it tightly until the woman’s head meets her own anus. Bring the rope to the back and attach it to the wrists, then throw the rope over a beam and lift her up. It is both ridiculously laborious and quite dangerous, so it’s a bit tricky to try out this tie. There is a legend that Dakki no Ohyaku [”Ohyaku the villainess”] was tortured with this tie twice, but even such a wicked woman couldn’t bear it.

itoh-10-kopia

  1. Sagi [= Heron]

I’ve made up my own name for this one, as its shape is similar to a heron.

Start by tying a woman’s hands behind the back as usual. It is important to fixate the wrists as high as possible. Extend this rope end, bend either the right or left ankle towards her front and wrap the rope in a spiral around her leg. Use the remaining rope to tie a pole to the leg the woman’s standing on, putting the pole between both arms as in the illustration.

The woman’s body makes a ┓-shape as it is folded to the front, making it look similar to a shape of a heron.

To inflict more pain on her, you can put things like a heavy stone on her back for some time. It is said that the person would faint if this continues for a long period of time. However, this writer hasn’t yet tested it to that point.

itoh-11-kopia

  1. Ryoute Age [= arms up]

This is also a name I’ve made up, of course. Tie both the right and left wrists while holding them up and prevent the hands slipping down by putting a pole by the wrists to hold her up. That’s all you need to do for the tie, but other people might take turns in tickling the woman’s armpits. She will writhe in agony as the pain increases, so you might want to tie both legs to a log to deprive her legs of their freedom.

This method is used when you want to cause the greatest pain without damaging the body. It is said that a person will make a confession as their consciousness clouds after this torture continues without allowing them sleep or rest. This tie can be used for a ‘torture’ called Utsutsu Zeme [severe sleep deprivation] later on.

The tie is quite simple, but the torture requires time and patience.

itoh-12-kopia

  1. Mata Biraki [= crotch opening]

First place both hands behind the back and tie them up, then spread both legs as wide as possible and tie the ankles to a pole. Then tie the rest of the legs to it with the excess rope.

This can be used for wicked play if it is done with a woman lying down, but these details shall not be mentioned here.

It must be noted that it is a blasphemy to the art of bondage if you demand poses which are beyond the limit of range of motion for the human body, just because you’re too eager to see a change in a woman’s body. Once you’ve learned the tie, try it with your partner, and learn the limits of their body.

itoh-13-kopia

  1. Kukuri Zaru [= bound monkey]

This is another for which I’ve coined a name, referring to the shape it produces. This tie is a bit tougher than it appears to be. You’re trying to create a shape like a monkey by bringing both wrists and ankles together, with the neck leaning downward.

If you use this tie for a suspension, the shape becomes what the title of this paragraph says. However, in reality, there is a risk that the wrists can be damaged if this is applied to a suspension without great care. Here I’d emphasise that this method should not be used on or by an inexperienced person.

itoh-14-kopia

  1. Gyaku Tsurushi [= Inverted suspension]

This can rarely be done in reality, and even if it’s done, it can cause a life or death situation. As it’s so risky, this tie should be done only in very special cases.

It’s safer to use a Nuno Renjaku, especially when it’s for a photo shoot or for a film. Nuno Renjaku is made by wrapping a cloth around the waist many times, putting jute rope over it and making a loop, then attaching the main rope to it in order to suspend the body. This is also used in provincial theatres when they want to hang an actor in mid-air for short periods. It is a quite useful thing, but amateurs are quite often unable to do it properly. With this taken into account when you suspend a woman, you should first tie both legs. Then lay her body on her back on a board which is set up in a raised position (tie her hands behind the back before doing so). When you suddenly remove the board then the woman’s body will hang down.

This also looks easy, but it’s one of the most difficult things in bondage. A full understanding of this suspension can be gained only by practice or by in-person teaching from someone else.

itoh-15-kopia

  1. Suspension

It’s impossible to suspend a woman with her hands behind the back like in all the illustrations for popular novels.

If you think the hem of a kimono flutters conveniently and the long sleeves of the kimono will move into an attractive shape, you are totally wrong. The shape of a woman suspended like this really doesn’t look good. As I mentioned before, there absolutely must not be rope placed on a woman’s breasts at all. As a result, the shape of the tie becomes bad, the legs hang down and the body will just keep spinning around.

Even if you tie rope to the Obi, the woman’s posture will become like a post, not a very attractive sight. To tie this, begin by tying both her hands as in the Takate Kote, then wrapping the waist with rope before hanging her from a beam. However, great care must be taken with this tie, and you must not forget that there is always a risk of injury.

***

– Translation by Nana (London), commissioned and edited by Bergborg // http://www.kinbakubooks.wordpress.com //

This is a non-profit endeavour. Please support ”Kinbaku Books” with a small donation through PayPal to: bergamott@live.se

Hojojutsu-books from 1930 and from 2015

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Hojojutsu-books from 1930 and from 2015

Taneaki Hara (Ed.): ”Keizai Chishoshu”, two volumes (1930)

Two hardbound volumes in carton slipcases, with a golden upper cut. The first of these two volumes contains a reprint of the tractate ”Nawa no Gokui Den”, with 53 two-color sketches of hojo-ties from one particular Ryu. Both volumes deal with a variety of topics, including sexual crimes, punishment and torture in the Edo period.

I typically post only about Japanese books and magazines. However, I want to mention the newly published book ”Hojo Jutsu: L’Arte Guerriera della Corda” by Christian Russo (Torino: Edizioni Yoshin Ryu, 2015). It contains a full 40-page reproduction and translation of the illustrated manuscript ”Nawa Sho”, the ”book of rope” from Seigo Ryu. ISBN: 978-8-8906-0053-1

PS There is now also an English version released of Russos book (only as an e-book): ISBN: 978-8-8906-0055-5

Some earlier posts on Hojojutsu can be found here:

https://kinbakubooks.wordpress.com/?s=hojojutsu&submit=Sök

Itoh Seiu: Five original sketches

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Itoh Seiu: Five original sketches

Itoh Seiu is perhaps the most important figure in the history of Kinbaku. Very seldom, you see original works by him for sale. I was happy to find these five original sketches by his hand on a recent auction i Japan. Not his greatest work perhaps, but the hair, the hands, the gags, the facial expressions… I am happy to have found them, and as I touch the thin paper I shiver a bit. I had to empty all my funds though…

See also some earlier posts about Itoh Seiu on Kinbaku Books: https://kinbakubooks.wordpress.com/?s=itoh&submit=Sök

Two special issues of Kitan Club from 1959 and 1960

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Two special issues of Kitan Club from 1959 and 1960

A regular issue of Kitan Club contained more text than images. But a few times they did special ”limited edition” issues with images only – like these two from 1959 and 1960. The issue from 1959 also has a large section of illustrations. Both issues show hojojutsu ties – some also with neck-rope.

1. 奇譚クラブ 限定版特別号 Kitan Club Genteiban tokubetsu-gō (Limited edition, special issue) 緊縛写真グラフ集 (Kinbaku shashin gurafu-shū) Collection of kinbaku photos

Kitan Club, special issue from July 1960

2. 奇譚クラブ緊縛写真 緊縛画集 Kitan Club: Kinbaku syasin to Gasyu (kinbaku art photobook)

Kitan Club, special issue from August 1959

See also an earlier post: https://kinbakubooks.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/kinbaku-photo-arabesque-1959/

Fujita Shintaro: Pictorial book on penal affairs of the Tokugawa government (1893)

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Fujita Shintaro: 徳川幕府刑事圖譜 (Tokugawa bakufu keiji zufu)

This is a 1972 reprint of the classic book from 1893. It contains more than 50 large color images printed on glossy papper, in addition to 60 pages of text and sketches in black and white. In the colour-part, the first section shows crimes supposedly typical for the Tokugawa period (1603-1867). This is followed by scenes of arrest by samurai officials, often involving rope and hojo-jutsu patterns. The next section, which is the largest one, shows suspected criminals interrogated, tortured, punished, executed. Tortures are of four basic kinds: flogging, ishidaki (”pressing with stones”), ebi-zeme (”prawn-torture”) and tsuri-zeme (torture by suspension).

In the introduction to his excellent Punishment and Power in the Making of Modern Japan, Daniel V. Botsman describes how the series of images in this book ends with pictures of the more ”modern” Meji-era prisons and courts of justice. He also notes that the original edition had image captions as well as a preface in English. It goes something like this:

”Since a revolution of the first year of Meidi (1863) Japan had changed all the conditions of state, and is now at the wonderful Progress of civilization, so that it is administrated by the constitutional government. Long before the revolution Japan was governed by a Despotism of shoguns or Taikuns. The punishments of this time were very creul, so as indicated by this picturebook. No longer Japanese almost memory these creuleties, and therefore this has now become one of japanese history. The book is divided into three parts, each containing a blief explanation : 1. Commiting the crims, 2 old Punishments by shoguns, which are the plincipal subject of this work, 3 Justices of our time: On compariny these facts you will understand how Japan is presently changing and civilizating its state.”

Botsman expertly analyses the different political stakes involved in this publication, as a new era seeks legitimacy (also internationally) through its projection of the past. This is a topic to vast for my blog, but anyone interested should have a look at Botsmans book – I think there is a lot to learn also for a reflection on the political aspects of the imaginary involved in images of kinbaku, in Japan as well as abroad.

In my 1972 edition, I was puzzled not to find any English preface or captions. And at a closer scrutiny, also the last five images depicting modern times are missing. I have not been able to figure out why just yet. Fortunately, the original book is scanned in its entirety and presented here – even with english translation: http://www.meiji.ac.jp/museum/criminal/keijizufu/contents.html?mt=nm&hl=en

(The pictures lacking in my edition are numbers 56–60.)

Publisher: Shoshi kenkyukai misaki shobo (1972)

ASIN: B 000 J 9 JXJ 6

 

 

Nawa Yumio: History of torture and punishment 拷問刑罰史 (1963)

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Nawa Yumio: History of torture and punishment 拷問刑罰史 (1963) 

Clothbound book in carton slipcase. Mainly a textbook, but with quite a few illustrations in black-and-white, some older material and some newly drawn to illustrate the methods described in the text. See also an earlier post here: https://kinbakubooks.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/nawa-yumio-jitte-torinawa-no-kenkyuu-1964-and-the-dvds-onna-hankacho-i-and-ii/

Publisher: 雄山閣出版, 1963