WHAT IS SHIBARI? (PART I)

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WHAT IS SHIBARI?

I get this question very often, even from people who is actually already practising Shibari. However, anyone would find odd the fact of practise, feel, live an art/craft but not knowing what is the meaning and having discussions between different names and definitions.

On this blog post I will explain my own opinion and perspective, which like anyone, is being influenced by many people who crossed in my life, by my own personal and professional experience too. Taking in account that my opinion is valid as much like someone I don’t share the same views, and the fact that I’m pretty much an “atypical” Shibari practitioners.

Starting by the most easy definition we could find: The dictionary. 
Anyone could spot that it means “the act of tie”. Then once you get a little bit more into Shibari, you find out that there is another common name: Kinbaku. It is very easy to get confused and ask yourself what is the difference, the meaning and why most people use two different words to refer to the same (apparent) thing. We go to the dictionary again and find that Kinbaku means “tight bind”.
Yet knowing that those words and this practice comes from Japan, soon we realise that Japanese language often gives various meanings to their words, and some meanings will depends a lot from different contexts in the conversation.

Agreeing with some people, I would say it would exist a slight difference between the meaning of Shibari and Kinbaku.
For example and simplifying, Shibari would mean more “bondage tying”, the action of the practice. And Kinbaku would mean more like “bondage tying emotionally connected”.
With that said, you still might not know where it comes from yet. A very long, long story for another blog post in the future. But shortening all of this and put things on a bit of context.

This practice comes from Hojo-jutsu, which is the martial art of restraining captives back in Japan around Edo period. At this time we all know that samurais were the official police and used techniques to immobilize, torture and punish their prisoners. They used different techniques of tying to display the prisoners social status, their honor and so on.
Somewhere between 19th to 20th century in Japan, this martial art evolved into something more erotic and sexual. This idea soon became related to fetishism, sadism, masochism, domination and submission, and of course rol plays. From that time to now, has pass a lot of things, and like all, it evolved and expanded frontiers, mind sets and ideas.

To clarify, I would refer to this practise only as Shibari, mostly because my personal taste in how it sounds is more attractive than Kinbaku sounds. Independently what meaning each could have. Because at the end of the day, we all stay with the feelings and experience than just words and definitions.
For me this practice, Shibari or Kinbaku, has still an huge influence on Japanese aesthetics. I would differ a lot between Japanese rope bondage aesthetics with other aesthetics like, Western bondage.
Nonetheless, some of us are not here to follow all the strict “rules” to practice Shibari. Which can give a lot of room to improve this practice on itself.

Throw time many Japanese Shibari practitioners (you also can use the Japanese word: Nawashi) has some influences on Western aesthetics and techniques and thanks to all this “cross contamination” of culture, aesthetics views and didactics ideas we have now something I like to call: Contemporary Shibari / Contemporary Japanese Rope Bondage.
Also I don’t like to use “Japanese Rope Bondage”, because is so long that I get bored on the way before I even start to explain what it means.

Beyond the definitions of a practice and a bunch of words, we have to take in account such important things like the feelings that evokes, the relationship between the people involved directly and indirectly towards it, the intentions of actions, and so on…
With that, I would add that the intention of actions would set as how efficient is the practice in many senses, an use of Japanese aesthetics and influence, and a thin relationship between strong feelings and feeling of beauty. 

 

Read here the continuation:
WHAT IS SHIBARI (PART II)

Thanks for reading,

Xx Eris xX

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