Japanese Bondage: Learn Shibari Rope Bondage

Are you curious about Japanese bondage? Learn about the erotic beauty of shibari rope bondage and how to get started.

For those wanting to take their bondage play to another level, and finally make some use out of all those knots they learned in Boy Scouts, there’s the weird and wonderful world of Japanese bondage.

Japanese Rope Bondage Origins

Japanese rope tying, also known as Kinbaku or Shibari, was originally developed as a form of torture. It is derived from a form of military bondage called hojujutsu.

Japanese military officials, due to their cultural values, still wanted to treat their prisoners with respect, so each different tie denoted the prisoner’s rank. In true Japanese fashion, it wasn’t enough to tie a person up to suffer and die unless it was done in a way that looked aesthetically pleasing to the torturer. The complex tying techniques required all sorts of practice and mastery.

Woman in Japanese bondage with arms tied behind back with rope.

The person who was tied up would gradually feel worse and worse as the strange positions their body had been twisted into, inside the elaborate knots, began to ache, and their circulation grew increasingly poor.

You can already see where the kink comes in. People still do this knot work today, but certain changes have been made to the whole affair. The rope tends to be softer and easier on the skin, while the knots have been tweaked to cause sexual pleasure, as opposed to prolonged agony.

When Japanese bondage is used in an erotic manner, it is often referred to as Kinbaku, and more commonly as Shibari in the West. The word Shibari means “to tie” in the Japanese language.

The person doing the tying is often called a Nawashi, which simply means a “maker of rope” in Japanese, but in Shibari circles it can also refer to a rigger.

Read: What Is a Rope Bunny and How Can You Meet One?

The Erotic Art of Shibari Rope Bondage

The grandfather of modern erotic rope bondage is often considered to be Japanese painter Seiu Ito who first depicted women bound in sexual scenarios, using traditional Japanese painting techniques around the turn of the 20th century.

To get the right look for his work, Seiu Ito would use a live model, tie them up, and paint from a photograph. Shortly after his success, Shibari entered more mainstream publications in Japan and then spread worldwide.

Red Bondage ropes tied shibari style around woman.

Shibari, Japanese bondage for sexual purposes, is all about aesthetics. It goes beyond silk scarves and brass bed posts. The knots themselves are elaborate works of art that take some measure of study to be perfected. The specific effects that each properly tied knot arrangement can have on the body vary greatly.

The sexual pleasure comes not only from the sense of helplessness, but also from the fact that one’s body is given over to being shaped into a strange and unfamiliar formation.

Read: Bondage Restraints: 15 Types of Bondage Gear

Shibari Ties

With shibari bondage, sometimes these configurations of rope are worn over clothes, and sometimes not. Either way, there are any number of different rope ties that one can experiment with, and all sorts of different results that come from the practice.

Here are a just a few examples of popular shibari ties.

Single and Double Column Ties

Single and double column ties are two very important foundation ties make up much of modern Shibari. Once you learn these, you’ll have the building blocks for more complex shibari ties.

View and learn a variety of single column ties at Shibari Academy.

Box Tie

Also called gote shibari or takatekote shibari, the box tie is perhaps the most iconic tie of Japanese-style rope bondage.

The box tie is beautiful and highly versatile, and also a foundation for many weight bearing or suspension bondage positions.

You can view a free video tutorial of the basic box tie on Youtube.

Japanese bondage with shibari tie behind back.

Ebi Tie

The ebi or shrimp tie is also widely used in western Shibari practices. The shrimp-tie leaves the sub on their belly, legs and arms curled up behind them like an enormous prawn.

Crotch Rope

The famous crotch-tie runs a chord through a woman’s labia, causing equal parts pain and pleasure as the rope work that winds around and about the rest of the body causes various pressures to move across the clitoris as she shifts.

If you’re feeling turned on by the prospect of tying or being tied up shibari style, pick up some softened jute rope and explore the beginner bondage resources below.

How to Learn Shibari Rope Bondage

The art of Shibari is traditionally about more than just tying someone up. Like many Japanese arts, it is slightly regimented with aesthetic rules about bondage positions.

The act of learning shibari knots and their properties in advance create a sphere of meditated intent around the act of bondage. It is methodical and scientific, just as much as it is artistic.

Here are a few excellent websites where you can meet shibari experts and find articles or videos on this beautifully delicate rope art.

1. Shibari Academy

For those who want to learn the art of Japanese bondage, ShibariAcademy.com offers a couple good options. For those who are curious and want to learn more about shibari right away, access their completely free Shibari 101 Course.

If you’ve already gained some experience with shibari bondage and would like to become a certified as a shibari practitioner, consider their Shibari Certificate, considered the most comprehensive shibari course online.

2. Kink Academy

KinkAcademy.com is a membership site for kink and BDSM education, and has a huge archive of over 2000 sex education videos. Topics covered at Kink Academy include shibari rope bondage, but you’ll also find information and educational videos for many other forms of BDSM and kinky play.

Kink Academy is an excellent resource for those without access to live workshops, and suits all levels of experience. To get a taste, take a look at their free videos.

3. The Duchy

TheDuchy.com is another great resource for those into Japanese bondage. I love how the video tutorials are organized based on skill levels and various bondage techniques.

While you can view most of their bondage tutorials for free, The Duchy also offers a membership which features member-only and behind-the-scenes tutorials, and access to a private community Discord server.

Read: Why Do People Like Bondage and Being Tied Up?

Shibari Safety

With rope bondage, safety considerations  have to be taken seriously. Circulation issues and nerve damage are real risks, but can be avoided with proper precautions.

At RemedialRopes.com you’ll find dozens of articles devoted to bondage safety and risk awareness education. A must read for anyone new to bondage or wanting to deepen their understanding. Topics include nerve damage, circulation issues, communication, and bondage positioning.

Read: Bondage Roleplay Ideas and Scenarios

Do you have experience with Japanese bondage and shibari ropes?

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