The Stranger: …we really have to talk about this kimono thing….
…in the last few years, complex rope bondage has become hip in the American BDSM [bondage sadomasochism] world. Such ropework is popular and prevalent in Japanese porn…
…That’s all good so far. But the unfortunate side effect is the influx of what I call “the kimono boys.” They’re American white guys who call themselves “authentic Japanese rope masters”… they have studied “the traditional Japanese way of the rope”–although most of them have never actually visited Japan. But their conversation is strewn with Japanese words, and they often give themselves the title “Nawashi“, which they say means “rope bondage artist.” And, yeah, they often show up at fetish events wearing kimonos…very much like a polyester bathrobe I saw on sale at Pier 1…more…
There’s nothing actually ancient or venerated about Japanese Shibari which was derived from Japanese police Hojojutsu—the mundane cop procedure for tying up crooks because Japan hadn’t invented handcuffs.
The whole reason for Shibari comes from the needs of the Japanese porn industry in the 1950s. They needed a way to show naked women without actually showing exposed privates by using ropes as crotch cover to comply with the new Japanese pornography laws after WWII.
As the Japanese namashi bondage expert, “Midori” was quoted in the article: “For some people, it’s easier to feel okay about being kinky if you tell yourself that you’re participating in some ancient honorable ritual, instead of tying people up just because it’s hot and you get off on it.”
Oh and…the funniest factoid I learned researching this topic is that in Shibari is practiced with ropes of 7 meters (23 feet) in length but because of the more expansive physique of Western lard butts, 8 meter (26 feet) ropes are needed in the West.