Randa Mai interviews Akechi Denki (1999)

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Randa Mai interviews Akechi Denki
in Speculum, No. 8 (1999)

The following interview was translated by Nana. Thank you for your help!
Randa Mai has kindly allowed me to share the text and images here. Thank you!
Translation commissioned and edited by Bergborg / KinbakuBooks.

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Randa Mai’s SM friendship journal – Series Vol.3
The grand master of the world of Kinbaku: Akechi Denki

Today’s guest is Mr. Akechi Denki, who is my senior and someone that I respect greatly, an influential figure in the SM world. I have already a long-lasting friendship with him. Currently, Akechi Denki is trying to introduce Japanese kinbaku to the world outside Japan. Akechi Denki, who is particular about kinbaku, loves kinbaku dearly, and devotes everything of himself to kinbaku – I am certain that he is the only person who could convince the world about kinbaku. So, this time, I would like to present ‘The world of Akechi Denki’.
Randa Mai [R]: It is a pleasure to see you after such a long time. I am sorry that I came on a busy day for you

Akechi Denki [A]: It has been ages. Have you been well?

R :  Yes. It seems that you have had a lot to do, but I hope you have been well?

A : Yeah, I have been doing my best somehow.

R : Though there is no particular theme we must talk about, I thought I would like to start by asking what you are up to at the moment, and your upcoming plans. It seems to me that your tendency has been considerably different recently, compared to before.

A : Yes, that’s right. It’s 180 degrees different.
About 15 years ago, when I started doing the ‘Phantom Show’, there were quite a few well known journalists coming to see the show. If I asked them ‘Please write about it in the magazines’, they said ‘I don’t want to write about the Phantom Show because I want it to be only for our pleasure’, ‘I don’t want it to come out to the mainstream of society’, and so on.
And indeed, at that time, my soul as an ‘enthusiast’ was deep. I thought: ‘I had better not present myself in the mainstream culture’, ‘SM should stay in the underground for good’, and so on.
However, since about 4–5 years ago, I have been invited to various places and people have started to say: ‘This cannot be a thing only for the underground’.
Back then, various people were doing so-called ‘SM shows’ at various places at that time and I went to see them, and I thought ‘this is not really right’. There were shows in which the idea of SM was strangely twisted, and seemed only superficial. Their so called ‘shibari’ was also absolutely ridiculous. ‘Well then…’, I thought – it was like I was coming out. I told them: ‘Hey, that is not the way to do it’ … And it turned out everyone was pleasantly surprised at what I spoke. They were like: ‘There is someone who thinks earnestly even in the SM world’… I felt I got such a response from them, so I became aware that I would need to do what I did more publicly after all.

R: So, you decided to step into the spotlight?

A : Yes. It was just around that time when I met you, Ran-chan, for the first time, wasn’t it?

R : Yes.

A : You were doing stage shows. I had heard that there was someone who had the same soul as mine. I went to see your show and talked with you. You understood what I said and we connected with each other. I often said ‘Randa Mai is the only one who is promising among the young’ (laughing).

R: I was in my 30s at that time (laughing).

A : SM is about the heart, it cannot be a superficial thing. If you could find one submissive woman, she is a treasure. You have to embrace everything about her. For example, listening to her for things on her mind. I have been saying this again and again.

R : I understand it well.

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A : I have recently been dragged out to different fields again. For example, I made an appearance at a big cultural conference in Akita prefecture. [1]

R : That was also given a big write-up in a tabloid magazine (laughing).

A : Indeed, you are talking about the matter of Ms Ishii Mitsuko [t/n : an actress-turned-politician], right? I was performing kinbaku at the conference, as requested by Mr Saegusa Shigeaki [t/n : a composer]. Suddenly Ms Ishii came in to intervene and I was a bit annoyed, but Mr Saegusa got in between, and I was able to continue. Mr Okuda Eiji [t/n : an actor and film director] talked to the audience. There was a massive ovation in the end.

R : You are receiving a lot of attention, but in the wrong way.

A : That’s right. Various media came to interview me, too…

R : By the way, Sensei, you are going to the Netherlands again soon. Could you tell me about it?

A : Yes. To Amsterdam. I am invited to perform at an annual event called ‘De Mask’.

R : When you do such activities abroad, it is because you want to introduce the beauty of Japanese kinbaku to them, isn’t it?

A : Yes, indeed. I feel that shibari is a Japanese culture. It’s a traditional thing that has been handed down since ancient times in Japan. Indeed, Japan is the only country which has a history of shibari.

R : An invitation to perform at ‘De Mask’ must be a big thing.

A : Yes, it’s the first time for an Oriental person. Enthusiasts from all over Europe, around 3,000 people, will gather there. I was chosen as one of only five performers who have a chance to perform there. It’s the biggest underground event in Europe. Really, I think that this time it could be a critical turning-point for me.

R : It seems your performance in the Netherlands last year became a hot topic and you were recognised. [2]

A : That’s right. I have heard that it became a thing that was talked about. I did a lot of interviews, also with regular newspapers… They thought the whole scene was mysterious, that a woman who was tied in various forms with a single rope screamed with pleasure and held me tight as I embraced her at the end.
It took place in the biggest SM club in Europe called ‘Doma’. No one cared about me at first. They were like, ‘A weirdo came from the East’. I was not welcomed, really. But when the show was over, everyone stood up and applauded. The owner of the club explained to them: ‘This is also one of the forms of love’.

R : Wow, that sounds amazing. So, when is the ‘De Mask’ event happening?

A : It’s the 29th May [1999].

R : I see. By the time this magazine comes out, it’s already over then. I guess it will be a hot topic again, at home and overseas… I am looking forward to hear about it. Please do your best by all means.

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A : Thank you. Yes, I have to work hard. Recently, I have got a request from a famous Taiwanese female film director to create an installation for her film. I am working on it right now. The thing is huge, though it is an installation using rope, of course. Two girls are fiddling with each other on top of a gigantic bird cage which has been made with rope. The movie is a fantasy about what sex will be like 100 years from now. But it is also hard work. I have been racking my brain (laughing). [3]

R : That sounds challenging. Changing the subject, what are your thoughts about the current SM industry?

A : Well… In short, there is not enough ingenuity there. Their ways of expression are quite poor.

R : As I have also written in my column in this magazine, it has become too standardised.

A : Oh yeah, that’s right. They make it too easy. There is something more, a deeper place. The way to express the embracing of the woman, the ingenuity in the tools we use, etc. Devotion, that’s devotion. It’s not there. It seems as if they are doing a routine task. There are too many of them who do not know what SM really is. Even the way they use rope, they do unbelievably terrible shibari. For example, the model’s chest rope is loose and ends up around her neck, so she is almost dying, it is all so dangerous (laughing).

R : There are also people who are not even aware of the difference between musubi [knot] and shibari [bind]. Indeed, some people don’t know that women get sexual pleasure through their minds, rather than just by stimulation of their bodies.

A : Uh-huh, it’s mere abuse those people are doing. There are many people whose soul is not there.

R : I think the amazing thing about Akechi Denki is that you have such a soulful feeling like: ‘I would die with the submissive woman anytime’. How about that? The feeling of: ‘I would die together with her if something was to happen to this woman while we play’… I feel it whenever I see you play…

A : Yes. Of course, I would not be able to do what I do to the women if I was not prepared to commit suicide by cutting my belly. That’s love.

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R : Getting into such a mindset can be ‘pleasure’ on our side, too. It’s like: ‘This woman has my life in her hands’. It’s impossible to do truly bold shibari or play until we get that feeling.

A : It’s about opening your heart.

R : This is the biggest thing I have learnt by watching Akechi Denki’s play. If you are anxious, feel hesitant or cowardly, you are not able to do further, deeper play. We feel an amazing pleasure when both of us manage to get into the same state of mind, that is (laughing).

A : Anyway, men are unreliable nowadays (laughing). Unreasonably immature. They don’t have energy to lead, can’t push it like: ‘Look at me!’. Women are stronger now (laughing). I wouldn’t like to see submissive men taking over the world, to be really honest (laughing). I think that ultimate submissiveness is about ‘to be a baby again’. ‘The other person does everything for me’, ‘The other person finds where I feel pleasure’ and so on. Real babies are like that, aren’t they? If they cry, they get breastfed, food, a nappy changed. Babies can’t take care of themselves. Aren’t submissives the same? They do not need to do anything. The other person does everything for them. …People who have strong submissive tendencies tend to have the ‘habit of return’. They wish to go back to being children. I believe so.

R : I see.

A : So, that’s why men should not live that way (laughing). A man must fight. He must protect the woman. He has to embrace everything about her. Like, up to the point where he is able to take over the role of her mother. You should treat a woman in that way if you love her. We should keep developing ourselves… It’s ridiculous that some people who are not able to do it are messing about with such issues as ‘two-timing’ or even ‘three-timing’ (laughing). I am like: you are really not such a powerful man! (laughing).

R : Dear readers, are you listening? (laughing) Akechi Denki is angry (laughing).

A : Don’t talk about SM if you cannot even successfully seduce one woman! (laughing)

R : Sensei, please calm down (laughing).

A : Just joking, I shouldn’t say those things even if I really want to (laughing).

R : What do you think about the SM world having become commercialised? … Because, all of us so called ‘kinbakushi’, including me, we are making a business out of the unique world called SM. We are using it to earn our bread. But I feel that Akechi Denki is a bit different.

A : Yes. Basically, I don’t think it’s a good idea to make a business using SM.

R : As I expected. You are a true ‘enthusiast’. That’s why you are an amazing existence. You don’t do SM for business, don’t take advantage of SM. Those of the same trade are using it conveniently and make a business. I am the prime example (laughing).

A : (laughing) You wouldn’t have any trouble doing it because everyone has approved. … Well, yeah, I absolutely don’t want to lose my heart as an ‘enthusiast’. However, I have a sense of responsibility and self-awareness as a professional, naturally. Without that, I cannot continue to do it. Especially when it comes to ‘SM as a show’, I have a pride and confidence in it as a professional. That’s my grass roots. I am also hoping to make a study of it.

R : What is ‘SM’ to Akechi Denki?

A : … (pausing for a while) …that’s rope. I call myself ‘Nawashi’, I love rope and I love shibari. That’s ‘the act of exchanging love through rope’. I would say, everything begins with Ushirote Shibari and ends with Ushirote Shibari. [t/n : ‘a tie with the hands behind one’s back’.]

R : Do you have any dreams or goals for the future?

A : Yes, I want to keep challenging myself to do various things. I would like to tell the world about the culture and beauty of Japanese shibari. Also, I want to research in the history of kinbaku, and I hope to make this legacy remain. It won’t make much money though (laughing). But I want to leave my footprints in the future generations.

R : I want ‘Akechi Denki’ to always stay on top, one step or two steps ahead. I want you to keep running ahead of us. Then I am encouraged to do my best when I see your back.

A : Yeah, I want my juniors to keep following me, and then I want them to overtake me eventually. Maybe ‘Randa Mai’ can do it, indeed.

R : It’s absolutely impossible to overtake you (laughing).  But I will do my very best to get close to you.

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– After the dialogue –

That was the evening of our reunion after a long while, and we got carried away in conversation. After all, the energy of ‘Akechi Denki’ is incredible. I am always overwhelmed. He is always thinking about something new. I could not get more pages in the magazine for our conversation, but we also talked about the history of kinbaku extensively as we both adore it. I found out that Mr. Akechi has been researching in the history of kinbaku in depth. He is always thorough in everything he does. He is a man who does nothing by halves. That’s why he is phenomenal. I, as a person who failed in my U.S. promotion last year, am proud of his success and high reputation in Europe as a fellow countryman, and I also envy him as a person in the same business.
I can’t resist sighing when I look at my article about ‘black market porn videos of U.S. reimport’ (laughing). Akechi Denki is the greatest. I am not even close. I hope to keep seeing new ‘legends’ of him being born.
Akechi Denki – From Tokyo, Age unknown
In the late 70’s, he participated in the SM experimental theatre-group GSG planning. There, he was responsible for directing and supervising the shibari. He was also active as a Nawashi himself. He constantly creates new shibari projects such as Tokyo SM Project, SM Bomber and SM Aquarium. During the Adult Video epoch of the 1980’s, he became widely known as he made an appearance in many videos by production companies like Uchuu Kikaku, VIP, Endo Pro, Athena Images.
From July 1987, he organised Studio Phantom – a members-only gathering. In September in the same year, SM Experiment Theatre at Studio Phantom was launched and had a regular performance twice a month – it ran a long-term performance of 10 years until June 1997.
After that, he organised four different types of gatherings such as SM Society Denki’s Meeting and so on.
In the early 1990’s, he worked as a nawashi on various photo-publications, V Cinema [t/n : feature films produced and sold as a video format without theatre release, often containing soft porn elements] and TV.
In August 1997, he opened Salon Garasha and still continues. In 1998, he performed in the Europe’s largest SM club Doma, and also at other places in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and elsewhere. In 1999, He is the first Oriental person who is formally invited to Europe’s biggest SM & Fetish party DeMask, and will also perform in the Netherlands, Belgium and so on.

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Notes by Bergborg

[1] The cultural conference included a panel on ”the art of kinbaku” [緊縛芸術]. One of the other participants in the panel was Dan Oniroku.
[2] About the performance in the Netherlands, see an earlier post here: https://kinbakubooks.wordpress.com/2017/07/03/akechi-denki-visiting-europe-1998/
[3] The movie mentioned was given the title I.K.U. Available on DVD. A short trailer for that gives you an idea can be seen for example here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nyt4UwgMsS0  Read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.K.U. 

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Translated by Nana, commissioned and edited by Bergborg / KinbakuBooks

Kei Shimoto: Action Book No. 2 (1981)

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This small book I found quite entertaining. It was published in a series of ”action books” in 1981. The author goes out to visit a number of SM-related clubs and events. Each of the different venues and organizers gets a few pages of description, the address and phone number is given – and lots photos (some featuring the author himself involved in SM play).

Represented are for example the GSG Project, SAMM, RA-project etc – in other words groups and sites for an underground SM culture with a keen interest in ”performance” and aspects of an avantgarde aesthetics during the early 1980s. As is made clear for example in this interview, it is also a context from which which Akechi Denki emerges as a performer.

Lots of names could be mentioned, but here let me point to the following three, all involved with GSG Planning: Sakurada Denjiro, Shuji Onizawa and Osada Eikichi.

In an interview with Ugo of SMpedia in 2014 (whom I understand has done a lot of reasearch on this), Denjiro Sakurada said that Akechi Denki’s name took [伝], the first part of the name ”Denki” [伝鬼] from Denjiro [伝次郎] and the second part [鬼] from Onizawa Shuji [鬼沢修二]. Osada Eikichi is a central figure on the performance-scene in these years, as can be seen on some of the photos in this publication (see the last series of five pictures in black and white below).

I like to think it offers a kind of snapshot of a period in time, with a distinct flavour.

Title: 体験SM術 一歩踏み込めば倒錯の世界!! マンションSMのすべて

Author:  島本慶

Publisher: 白夜書房 (1981)

Series: アクション・ブックステクニックシリーズNo.2

No ISBN

 

Read more on SMpedia:

Akechi Denki: http://smpedia.com/index.php?title=明智伝鬼

GSG Planning: http://smpedia.com/index.php?title=GSG企画

SAMM: http://smpedia.com/index.php?title=SAMM

OSADA EIKICHI and SAMM: http://smpedia.com/index.php?title=花真衣とSAMMと長田英吉

(and, of course, much much more on the same website)

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Kanna interview in Mania Club (2017)

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Last Fall, the magazine マニア倶楽部  [Mania Club] started a series of interviews with contemporary bakushi. In the September issue, there was a long one with Kanna. Accompanied by a series of photos of the ever beautiful Kagura in Kanna’s rope. Below, a glimpse. I am much looking forward to meeting Kanna & Kagura again – this time in Copenhagen at the Kinbaku Lounge.

 

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Akechi Denki: Interview in SM Secret Club (1997)

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Akechi Denki: Interview in SM Secret Club (1997)

In 1997, the magazine SM秘密俱楽部 (SM Secret Club) published an in-depth interview with Akechi Denki.

In 2009, NuitdeTokyo made a translation into English of this interview for Osada Steve’s website TokyoBound: [ http://www.tokyobound.com/blog/?p=245 ]

I have been looking for this magazine for quite some time, and recently was able to get my hands on it and add it to my collection.

I asked NuitdeTokyo and Osada Steve for permission to republish the translation of the interview here on the KinbakuBooks blog, which they generously allowed me to.

Thank you!

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Introduction from TokyoBound

The following interview is from volume 6 of SM 秘密俱楽部 (SM Secret Club) published in 1997. It used to be a relatively minor player within the Tsukasa Shobo Publishing portfolio – ranking behind magazine titles like SM Fan and SM Frontier, that left their mark on Showa era SM publishing.

After a messy change of ownership, Tsukasa Shobo went bankrupt in 2007. The interviewer for the article signs as Tajima Osamu, a fairly common name. An internet search hasn’t come up with any other SM-related works under that name.

Interestingly enough, the article includes mention of Osada Seminar pioneered by Osada Eikichi .

Thanks to NuitdeTokyo (NdT for short) we can bring you now the English translation of this interview. Next to Master K, NdT is probably the most avid collector of Japanese SM literature. In the past, NdT has discovered another Akechi Denki interview (from ca. 1976) and kindly shared it with us here.

For those unfamiliar with the who’s who’s of the Japanese Shibari and Kinbaku world, both Osada Eikichi (長田英吉) and Akechi Denki (明智伝鬼) are considered grandmasters of the art – the former having passed away in 2001, the latter in 2005. The probably last ever interview with Akechi Denki Shi was conducted by Osada Steve (長田スティーブ) for Steve’s own magazine, Fetish Japan, and for SM Sniper, one of the largest surviving SM magazine players, until it folded in January 2009.

Before we now get to the actual story, a few words by NuitdeTokyo:

Throughout the translation I have used the word ‘fetish’ for what the Japanese like to call ‘mania’ because I feel the present usage of the word in Japanese is closer to ‘fetish’ than to ‘mania(c)’. I have also added some notes inside the text (indicated by NdT). The original article also had notes, but I have incorporated their contents in the main corpus.

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Akechi Denki interviewed by Tajima Osamu, in ”SM Secret Club” (1997)

The first magazine specializing in SM and hentai [pervert] material was the highly regarded Kitan Clubwhich started in 1948. Its long-time editor was the legendary Minomura Ko [NdT: please refer to Master K’s excellent book The Beauty of Kinbaku for additional information] who contributed in several ways to this special publication. Alongside with him, many people – some famous, others not – may be called the first generation of post-war Japanese SM. Akechi Denki may then be called part of the second generation.

The first generation was strongly influenced by the war. For example, an enemy ship sank Minomura Ko’s ship and he was left adrift in the Pacific Ocean for many days. It was then, where he promised himself that if he ever made it back alive, “from now on, I will do the things I like”. Also, the author has directly met someone who was working in China as a spy for the communist guerilla, was arrested by the army and subjected to unspeakable torture. The spirit of resistance he nurtured in these conditions blossomed into non-orthodox eroticism. These are people who “have seen” the space between life and death. When compared to the “young” people entering SM from the fashion side, there is a rather wide generation gap.

For the second generation, death was a rare encounter, a seldom seen acquaintance. But obviously, hunger and starvation were there . . .

“At primary school, several levels were crammed into one classroom. When it was time to eat, several students were customarily left alone, as they did not bring a lunch box; they had to do with a glass of water. As for me, it was mainly just rice with a pickled prune on top, but I saw several students in my school year die. At that time, it was nothing strange.”

The family of Akechi Shi was a well-respected family of craftsmen. Thanks to that, its environment was comparatively privileged. But at this time, the term of “war” could still be applied to a food supply situation, which, in an unseen way, was gnawing away at the developing bodies of the young generation. So, several times, Akechi Shi was suspended between life and death. At the same time, as we shall see later, his family was getting closer to financial ruin.

“At the time I was growing. I had an extremely strong interest in the body of women. I had this girl next door to whom I had been close since kindergarten. Together we often played doctor. The fact she did not have a male sex was very strange, as if it had been reduced to a pebble. I did some fairly wild things. After that I was very much attracted to the female bottom. I often peeped into the toilets from the small windows there. I knew in detail all the neighboring public toilets.” (laughs)

While Akechi Shi was already showing in his young years a good deal of lusty curiosity, the encounter with the magazine Kitan Clubtook place while he was in his third year of primary school.

“When I saw this at the old book seller next door, it was an experience I would remember all my life. Flipping the pages, I could see women being tied up, ill-treated, it was shock strong enough to burn my body. As I was clinching my pocket money to purchase the magazine, the shop owner barked at me, “This is not something for kids. What is your name?” and I was forced to write my name and my address (laugh). I was distressed for a moment, and thought of several strategies. A shop close by was not good. And I contemplated asking one of my uncles. Finally, I grabbed my bicycle and went to a book rental shop in the next town and rented a copy of Kitan Club without getting any remark from the shop owner. As soon as I got out of the shop, I started on my bike as fast as I could.”

The young first-time reader of Kitan Club matured rapidly and his first hands-on bondage was in his second year of junior high school. His partner was a younger girl who was living close to the family home of his mother.

“As we had a good relationship, until the third year of junior high school we used to take our bath together. We would play doctor. I would tie her up and make her roll on the ground. But once, we were surprised by her parents and they started chasing me (laugh).”

Be it with a classmate in kindergarten, or with a childhood friend, it appears that Akechi Shi was a “special person” since the youngest of age.

For people who are into fetish, they are doing it as a strictly personal thing, not even disclosing it to their wife or girl friend, and feeling frustrated, can only envy such an early development. Akechi Shi probably has a special gift for attracting women. Even when only doing an interview, this is something you can feel. The black sunglasses, the clothes, very often black, are not a mere show. There are also no complicated conceptual words to try to throw a cloud of smoke at the listener. Akechi Shi tells in a soft voice of its past hard times, stories, which would normally cause people to get very tense. These stories are so interesting that they draw strongly the attention of the listener.

When reading the stories in Ladies Magazine [at that time, Akechi Shi was running a series where average female readers would volunteer to have a first-time SM experience and be tied up], one can only empathize with the amateur volunteer who says, “If it is him, I will let him use my body as he wishes”.

“In SM there is a relation of trust. If the partner does not fully entrust her body with a complete peace of mind that is when accidents do occur. When I am performing shows, I tie rather hard. Of course, I attach the utmost importance to the limits of the partner. As soon as it is finished, I softly embrace the partner while telling her something like “you have been very courageous”. At that time, the thread of the kinbaku snaps, and the model, while shedding big tears, nestles herself against me. At this time, the girl’s expression is really cute.”

Upon hearing this, one can catch a glimpse of the stance of Akechi Shi towards women.

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When Akechi Shi was in high school, he tried to join the Kendo club of the school but was refused after taking a medical check-up. The rheumatic fever he contracted when he was young was not completely cured. Upon reflection, it was a bad omen.

At the same time, the businesses his father was involved in failed completely and his father disappeared. The house was mortgaged and in fact the entire family was dispersed. Akechi Shi himself was forced to enter into apprenticeship as a house builder. At that time, apprenticeship really meant living as a domestic in the house of the tradesman.

“As we were living in, we had to wake up at 6 am. The atmosphere was a bit like being sent to jail. Of course, it was out of the question to even touch the tools. It was really learning by watching only.”

In the construction business, bullying and bad treatments were also the norm. Up to now there is a scar on the back of Akechi Shi’s right hand, the result of a saw strike by a sempai.

Then, suddenly, when he was 19 he suffered a heart attack. The initial rheumatic fever had left his cardiac valves constricted, which meant that blood was sometimes flowing in reverse direction into the lungs, possibly leading to death.

“When I was told by the doctor that I was not very likely to live beyond thirty years, it all became black in front of my eyes. But being sad would not serve any purpose. I had two younger sisters, which had been entrusted to different relatives. From time to time, I received some letters, there was no explicit mention of loneliness or of things being hard, but one could feel it from the general tone of the letters. And I promised to myself to get again a house where all the family members could live together. If I lived each day with double intensity, even though I may die when I am 30, it would be the same as dying when I was sixty. Very simply, the trick was not to sleep.”

So, he worked while allowing his suffering body only 3 hours of sleep every day. He had to learn his work faster than the others. Soon he turned independent, recruited some available workers, and he became himself manager and bookkeeper. At the top, he had more than 100 employees and before he was 30 he managed to build his own house and bring back his mother, his sisters and even his father.

It was at that time that the SM desires started burning again. Using his worn body as an experiment machine, he furthered his studies of shibari by observing and copying.

When doing shibari, where does the weight of the body creates a tension? In Ebi Shibari, up to where can one bend the body? When doing shibari with rubber bands and you want to test the limits, how long can you leave them in place? All this he managed to understand. “I also did tsuri, I also probably did some absurd shibari patterns. I remember that tying oneself creates a strange feeling of psychological intoxication. As such, I think the S and M are two sides of a single entity.”

“Late at night, when the work place was deserted, I also managed to convince a girl working for the company to let herself be tied. As my heart was bad, I was always wearing a sarashi [a roll of white cotton cloth wrapped around the chest] under my clothes. I took it off and used it to tie up the girl (laugh), as the workplace was often a shop or a department store, we used to roam naked among the counters and the mannequins. I devised quite a number of ‘plays’ at that time. Even for the owner of a business, seducing an employee, because of the future consequences did require a certain amount of boldness. I obtained a good understanding of kinbaku.”

Certainly, there is a special mood when Akechi Shi is holding a woman close to his chest. More importantly, for him, at that time, there was no ‘future consequences’.

“Anyway, I kept thinking that I had only 10 years to live. As for me a girlfriend was someone who accepted to die with me. I was only getting 3–4 hours of sleep per week going for long drives with my girlfriend in the middle of the night. Kissing while driving at mad speed along the edge of a cliff. This is one way of trying one’s luck. I was not sure whether this girl would go along. But after, she slipped in the space under the steering wheel to suck my cock while I was driving. While I was getting a blowjob, sleepiness overwhelmed me and before I realized it, I had bumped into a village house. We were both completely naked (laugh).”

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Apart from work and SM another thing was absorbing his attention: billiard. Akechi Shi was playing as a professional gambler and hustler. People were betting like on players the way they bet on horse racing. In that world every evening, tens of thousands of dollars would change hands. If you lose probably someone will squash your hands.

“I had this guy, wearing a soft hat and a muffler, who looked as if he would give you some amphetamine to liven up the atmosphere. As he would be overtaken by sheer energy of the opponent used to increase his concentration power by training bare feet after having spread ice on the ground below the billiard table.”

In fact it was a real world that looked like a movie. Today, billiard is considered a sport. At that time it was supposed to be a gambling activity with a strong scent of underground. “Somehow, it was close to SM,” says Akechi Shi with a wry smile.

Just at that time, Japan entered into its period of high growth. Akechi Shi spent his third decade living at double or treble speed. But this way of living finally exerted its toll.

“As I turned 30, I started spitting blood and was taken to the hospital.”

But when he was fully resting in the hospital, unknown to him, a lot of things were happening. His father who had taken over the management of the company after his son was hospitalized started to quarrel with the employees. Akechi Shi was already married for the first time, but at that time the bad relationship between his wife and his mother and father became apparent. And simultaneously, the business of the company started to turn bad.

“The employees came to the hospital and protested that they could not work under that guy (my father). My father protested. The debts started to accumulate. My wife was crying. Although I was not supposed to receive visitors, there was mayhem around my bed. In the end, my wife left my newborn child in my hospital room and disappeared.”

“I felt obliged to do something which was really beyond my strength at the time; and tottering like a sleep walker, I wandered in the middle of the night around the hospital. Also at that time, I often went through near death experiences. I was floating close to the ceiling of the room. I could even see the top of the heads of the family members in the room.”

Finally through a miracle performed by a very good heart surgeon, Akechi Shi managed to recover. But upon leaving the hospital, his company was bankrupt, he had to relinquish the home he had built.

“My father had again in a hurry entered into dubious speculations. I asked him if he wanted again the family to be dispersed and I started to hit him. But my father, normally stubborn and with strong arms, collapsed on the floor and covered in dirt started to cry. Seeing this I also started to cry. It is only a house. We shall build another one, let’s not worry.”

Akechi Shi stirred himself back into action. It was then the second half of the seventies and at that time he made a fateful encounter.

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Sakurada Denjiro, who was at the time leading an underground theater group named Sekai Gekijo [Theater of the World] had just established GSG Planning to organize SM shows. The year was 1978. Sakurada was a frequent visitor of OSada Seminar, but in terms of SM, he was really an amateur. In short, he was collecting huge amounts of money by enticing people to come and watch a show that was little more than scandalous theater. Seeing this, Akechi Shi was utterly disappointed.

“It was really a bluff. It was only a substitute which could not satisfy people looking for the real thing. At the end of the show I manage to talk to Sakurada. ‘What you are doing is no good,’ I told him. I even sent him a whole bunch of Kitan Club back issues. One thing leading to the other, I ended up joining his theater group as a Shibarishi or supervisor.”

Contrary to expectation, underground theater and SM have an unexpected affinity. Terayama Shuji [head of the underground theater group Tenjosajiki (The Upper Gallery)] used to say that theater is a machine for “physical self-punishment”. In 1970 at the launch party of Kachikujin Yapoo [Yapoo: The Human Cattle] the members of his Tenjosajikigroup staged an SM show [NdT: Kachikujin Yapoo is a very famous anticipation SM novel looking at things from the male sub point of view. Written by Numa Shozo, it was originally published as a series in Kitan Club between 1957 and 1959 and was praised by Mishima Yukio. The first book edition took place in 1970 due to censorship issues and the article refers to the launch party of that edition. There was a French translation in 2007, which received the Sade literary prize in Paris. ISBN 978-2268055664 for volume 1/3. I am not aware of English versions although the book is widely referenced by scholars of Japanese subculture. The term Yapoo has become widely used especially by makers of male sub movies.] Many theater groups also included female actors in gyaku-tsuriand suffering physical punishment as a means of creating performances with a strong visual impact. The Scandalous Theater Group led by Tamai was also one the groups specializing in SM performances. In terms of subculture, it was not, in itself, very surprising that underground theater groups were feeling close to SM as the “front line of sexuality”.

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CSG Planningeagerly introduced many of the plays that Akechi Denki had been imagining over the years. Progressively what had been a secondary project became the main focus. The evenings where, after the theater show, a real shibari show was taking place were very well attended. They became the selling point of CSG shows, starting a tradition that continued until today with Akechi Shi live shows. At the same time, Akechi Shi finally adopted the Akechi Denki name.

“To tie up the very popular actress Kurokawa Mayumi was a really good occasion. She said she really had no M/sub tendencies at all. She was really good looking. As for the shibari part of the shows they did not really have a fixed program, it was more like an ad-lib improvisation based on the feeling of the place, a show where the tying was really constructed live. To show a different tie every time is really, really difficult. But if you feel like doing it, it is really enjoyable,” explains Akechi Shi, reminiscing on his time with CSG Planning.

After the CSG period, Akechi Shi mainly appeared at Tokyo SM, SM Bomber,and SM Suizokan [SM Aquarium]. [These three series of shows resulted from a split of CSG planning.] Among those, the extraordinary performances organized by SM Bomber are still being talked about in fetish circles. There was also an obvious friendship between all these related groups, and Akechi Shi was sometimes invited as a joint guest performer and he could display some rope action of which he was rather proud. In other words, Akechi Shi continued to display energy three times as high as a normal human being, and, given the occasion, he would aggressively deepen his affinity for the fetish world. This is probably a better way of looking at things. Among the fetish people (without limiting oneself to SM) there is often a certain difficulty to act and a feeling of being bottled up which was not at all apparent with Akechi Shi.

If CSG Planning was what made him become Akechi Denki, SM Bomber is the place where he developed and polished his skills.

SM Bomberdissolved itself after 2 years and Akechi Shi could not avoid a quiet period for a short while. But the fans he had accumulated since the time of CSG did not stop there.

“At the time of CSG Planning, there was an Association of the Special Members which was a kind of circle devoted to fetish performances and I took over the duties of that circle. The circle members told me, ‘Please start your activities again,’ and this was the start of the Akechi Denki Kinbaku Photography Club. By the way, many of the members were not so young and could not attend so easily, or had relocated, and there were many setbacks on the budget side. Intended as a way of getting new members and doing live shows again, the Phantom Show was started in 1987. It is the predecessor to the present [NdT: in 1996 when the article was written] Studio Phantom. During the Phantom Shows, I did a number of tsuri-otosu [吊り落とす, suspension drops] which consist in letting the model drop like a stone from a tsurito within a few inches off the ground. When falling, the koshi-nawa bites sharply. When you look at it, it is very impressive. But if you make a mistake, the woman’s head will hit the ground and you have a big accident. The technique requires good timing and full control of the rope tension and not many people can attempt it. There were also times when I would throw bits of concrete at the tied model so she could just dodge them at the last second. The fear-frozen look of the model and the open mouths of the surprised spectators was something I had never enough of. Maybe I went sometimes too far (laugh).”

Although CSG Planningdid close, Akechi Shi did not lose any of his boldness. Right now [i.e. 1996], Akechi Denki and Studio Phantomare doing shows in the well-known SM club called Nakano Queen [NdT: the space still exists today in 2009]. In addition, Akechi Shi is managing five other circles and also takes part in numerous films and videos.

“One of the projects is a collaboration between SM and Noh [NdT: the traditional Japanese mask theater form]. The aim is to show the beauty of Kinbaku in the context of Noh dance. Of course it is a fantasy, as I will not be able to rent the Tokyo National Theater to show my SM, so I have to find a method to make it work. It is still a secret. Please come and see the show.” [NdT: we are not sure to what show Akechi Shi is alluding in that passage.]

Akechi Shi has in the past done joint shows with a pianist. And one can think that those joint performances with a feeling of remix are contributing to open up and expose the possibilities of SM. So we will wish Akechi Shi all the success in his venture.

 

 

Kanna: Collection of Kinbaku Poses

 

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bild 3.JPGKanna: いますぐ描ける! 緊縛ポーズ集  (2018)

”Collection of Kinbaku Poses That You Can Draw Right Now – Let’s draw authentic shibari!”

This book made me happy!

I love Kannas rope, but there are – so far – very few publications. (We are all longing for that crowdfunded 10 years celebration-book to eventually get published…)

With this title, I was not sure what to expect. But I was happily surprised.

The book offers 160 pages, with very clear and detailed photos of Kanna’s ties from multiple angles for each tie. Four models – the ever beautiful Kagura being one of them. Neutral white background makes the images somewhat abstract – somehow like a catalogue of ties. (And of course also some drawings with hints on how to make sketches on this topic. But mainly a photo-book.)

Bonus: As far as I understand, the book has not been adult rated, and should thus be possible to order internationally without big problems.

Format: B5, 160 pages

Models: かさいあみ、神楽、蝶月真綾、牡丹

Publisher: Sanwa, Tokyo

ISBN: 978-4-7769-1874-5

See also an earlier post about Kanna here:

https://kinbakubooks.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/kanna-tutorials-in-mania-club-2003-2004/

Kinoko Hajime: Nawa-Ato  縄痕 (Rope Marks)

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Kinoko Hajime: Nawa-Ato  縄痕 (Rope Marks)

This book was made for a photo-exhibition Kinoko held in Tokyo in March 2018.

The photos have been taken the last five years.

The topic is ”rope marks”, understood as the traces of rope not only in the physical sense, but also emotionally.

Kinoko was kind enough to bring me a copy of the book to his recent workshop in Paris and sign it for me.

Rope and Photo: Kinoko Hajime

A4-size, 144 pages, good quality paper.

Publisher: エムアップ, 2018

ISBN: 978-4-908984-09-9

The historically interested readers of the blog may want to check out an earlier post about a book with a somewhat similar idea, twenty years ago:

https://kinbakubooks.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/dirty-kudo-ropemarks-残縄画報-1998/