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Copyright 2015 by Haru Tsubaki and Osada Steve. All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author
There is no use to close the barn after the cows have left. So, after getting rid of that Bull (or was it the Ox?), welcome to the Year of the Tiger (寅).
Just a word of caution though. ‘Coz if you throw “tiger” into an online dictionary, you’re likely to get a very different kanji (虎) returned. Fortunately, both kanji (寅 and 虎) have the same reading: Tora. It’s also fortunate that the foreigners at the Editor’s Desk of TokyoBound have Japanese girlfriends (well, most of them) and that these gf’s have grandmothers that can be consulted about matters such as the Chinese Zodiac and things like Oshogatsu (お正月). So, before us guys put out some bull, we’d like to check our facts with “reliable” sources.
To make a long story short, Osada Steve has published an art book celebrating the Tiger (your choice of kanji here). This book is about Aiko (愛子), “she who carries the Tiger (tattoo) on her back.” There is strong evidence to suggest that this book will not just be THE Osada-ryu (長田流) book of the year, but also THE “Year of the Tiger”book of the year.
Now, rather than boring you with the ins and outs of this book, read the “blurb” by none other than Master “K”:
Just in time for the Year of the Tiger, Osada Steve (長田スティーブ), master of the elegant suspension performance, and so much more besides, has released his first book of Kinbaku (緊縛) photographs.
It’s a beautiful book. Entitled “Aiko” (愛子), it’s a handsome and sumptuous, large-size, paperback publication of 160 pages filled to the brim with beautiful color photos. The pictures are the product of eight different photographers and each has trained an avid and artistic eye on Osada Steve’s well-known performances from his Studio SIX in Tokyo. The results are often spectacular.
The book is divided into sections devoted to different classical Kinbaku ties and techniques (Newaza – 寝技, Tsuri – 吊り, Bo/Bamboo Pole, etc.) as well as to other diversions (candles, multiple models, etc.) with each section preceded by a short page of pithy, informative and often amusing comments from the master himself.
So solid and entertaining are these commentaries that one almost wishes these were longer and more numerous. What is true is that it’s a delight to hear Osada Steve’s wise and authentic voice come through these pages. Of course, it’s the photos that dazzle and it’s a pleasure to be able to study Osada Steve’s beautiful and idiosyncratic techniques up close. Naturally, his models are very lovely and I can think of few other recent books (Yukimura Haruki’s – 雪村 春樹 – fairly recent “Akai Hana” is a rare one that comes to mind) that so beautifully present the art of Kinbaku in photographs. Among all these lovely models, Aiko surely stands out. In fact, this book might almost be considered a Valentine to this beautiful woman. As Osada Steve writes in one of his chapter introductions:
“A smile from aiko-chan will set your heart on fire. A touch from her will make you melt like ice.”
Lucky is Steve to have such a partner. On the other hand, lucky is she to have so skilled and devoted a rope master. One who is extremely talented but also humble and caring and one who knows that, as the late Akechi Denki (明智伝鬼) sensei once said, “Kinbaku is an activity for two like-minded hearts and must always be a loving exchange.” And lucky are we who can share in this loving partnership through this handsome book.
Now, supposing you have read this far and are contemplating to own this book or gift it to your significant other, AND you haven’t yet clicked through, here come the text parts the book. (Sorry, to get a taste of the photos inside, you gotta click thru.)
Table of Contents
Newaza (Floor work) – 寝技…4
Tsuri (Suspensions) – 吊り…32
Yokozuri – 横吊り…34
Aomuke-zuri – 仰向け吊り… 50
Gyaku-ebi-zuri – 逆海老吊り … 54
Ebi-zuri – 海老吊り…58
Futomomo-zuri – 太腿吊り… 62
Utsubuse-zuri – 俯せ吊り… 68
Semenawa – 責め縄… 76
Teppo-zuri – 鉄砲吊り… 78
Takezuri – 竹吊り…84
Kazari Nawa – 飾り縄…86
Bo Shibari – 棒縛り… 96
Tongue play – 舌責め…132
Candle Play – 蝋燭責め…136
Happy Moments… 142
Double Trouble… 148
Cage Play… 154
The Last Page…158
This book is all about aiko-chan (愛子).
All photos (with the exception of the Double Trouble series) were taken during Kinbaku Live (緊縛ラィブ) performances at Studio SIX Tokyo. These sessions are intense and intimate affairs where visitors are afforded a chance to take photos and/or shoot video.
Regular Kinbaku Live performances are held twice a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays), lasting for about four hours, entailing four or five sets each. On other nights Studio SIX is available to photographers and private collectors who are after those special looks that only a live session (aka play session) can provide. In other words, what you get at Studio SIX is the real deal with real emotions as opposed to staged poses.
Since 2002, I must have held about 600 such events, running through well over 100 models.
Kinbaku Live sessions are different from my Shibari Shows on bigger stages or in so-called nude theaters around Japan. The latter have strict time limits, and no photography is allowed. Shibari Shows in theaters are usually put on four times a day, ten days in a row. As such they can be quite taxing on the stamina of the model and on my own vigor. My record to date is 400 such shows in a single year.
Physically speaking, Studio SIX doubles as Osada Kinbaku Dojo (長田緊縛道場) where special Shibari Clinics (縛りクリニック) are conducted, where foreign Shibari students can stay during their training, and where expat residents and local Japanese Shibari enthusiasts receive training in Osada-ryu (長田流).
But back to aiko-chan who, over the course of 18 months, has become somewhat of a star at Studio SIX. The photos for this book were selected from approx. 25 shoots by eight different photographers.
Newaza (Floor work) – 寝技
Newaza loosely translates to floor work. The techniques heavily draw on what I have learned from grandmaster Yukimura Haruki (雪村春樹), the undisputed King of Newaza, the foremost proponent of the so-called caressing style of Kinbaku.
As a rule, each Kinbaku Live session at Studio SIX starts on the floor for several reasons: a) to get a feel of the model’s condition (m-jo no jotai – M女の状態) on that particular night, b) to substitute “negotiation” by getting a feel of the type of the person I tie – especially with a new model – in which case the newaza is what I call aisatsu (greeting – 挨拶) shibari, c) because newaza techniques are ideally suited to develop closeness, intimacy and a deep emotional exchange between two partners, and d) because I really like newaza – in fact, depending on the mood, I might just stay on the floor for the entire Live night, foregoing suspensions altogether.
Newaza is closely related to shuuchinawa (羞恥縄). This term is difficult to translate, as are many other Japanese concepts, because not only the language is different, but also the cultural backgrounds and the way the Japanese think. Shuuchinawa is a tying style where the bakushi (縛師) utilizes the inherent shame of an aroused woman to emphasize her reactions to achieve those special emotional and erotic facial expressions for which Japanese bondage images are famous for.
What happens in a shuuchinawa session is that the woman struggles with her own erotic arousal – as in: shall she be ashamed to admit her sexual desires, or shall she let go completely? Japanese women are prone to finding themselves in such predicament.
Tsuri (Suspensions) – 吊り
Suspensions within Shibari/Kinbaku are mainly part of semenawa (torture bondage – 責め縄). Not necessarily to act out torture scenes, since in my own case I am trying to tie for maximum comfort. Semenawa in this context means that the ties are very precise – as opposed to merely wrapping rope around somebody. The most highly recognized master of this genre is the late Akechi Denki (明智伝鬼).
Given the increased risk of nerve damage and serious injury, the ties need to be well designed and applied with high precision. Especially for suspension progressions there is no margin for error.
Having studied under Akechi Denki for several years, and later under Nawashi Kanna (縄師神凪), Akechi Denki’s main disciple, I follow semenawa principles when doing suspensions.
Yokozuri (Sideway Suspension) – 横吊り
Yokozuri is one of my favorites. To date I have done these in one form or another well over a thousand times. The beauty of yokozuri is, if based on a solid takatekote – more precisely on the 3-rope Osada-ryu takatekote (長田流高手小手) purpose-built for yokozuri – it can be applied to any person, male or female, young or old, of any size and weight.
Yokozuri offers a multitude of variations and progressions, more than any other type of suspension. Most of all, it isn’t taxing on the lower back (as in a Gyaku-ebi-zuri, see pp 54), and it offers mid-air poses of pure grace without discomfort or pain. In short: to enjoy and gracefully float in mid-air, you don’t require a trained or professional model.
The above notwithstanding, it obviously helps if the model is experienced and knows how to shift and distribute her own weight in an almost dance-like aerial performance.
Aomuke-zuri (Face-up Suspension) – 仰向け吊り
Aomuke-zuri is ideally suited for various suspension progressions – the most common being a face-up horizontal to the floor that then transitions to an inverted suspension (sakasa-zuri – 逆さ吊り). The latter could have a waist rope (do-nawa – 胴縄) as its main support, or ropes at both ankles (ryo-ashi sakasa-zuri – 両足逆さ吊り), or one ankle alone (kata-ashi sakasa-zuri – 片足逆さ吊り). And, of course, if you want to get fancy, you might construct some sort of hip harness to take off some or all of the load from there.
The takatekote as a base for an aomuke-zuri could be a tasuki (襷) or a hishi-nawa (菱縄) variation, but other forms of main upper-body support are possible and available.
Floating horizontally to the floor will make it difficult to hold the head up, causing the neck to do some extra work. Therefore this position should not be held for too long.
Gyaku-ebi-zuri – 逆海老吊り
Statistically speaking the gyaku-ebi-zuri is the most common type of suspension seen in Japan. At first glance it looks easy to construct, as all you need is a suspension line on the takatekote, then lift the legs up one at a time. For this reason it is the bread-and-butter tie of female rope workers (shiroto jo-osama – 素人女王様) whose bondage skills are limited. Subsequently this is also the suspension with the highest rate of nerve damage and other injuries.
Due to the high risk of nerve damage, the takatekote should be constructed very carefully. To do so requires a very experienced person. According to Nawashi Kanna sensei, the gyaku-ebi-zuri is the most difficult type of suspension to do safely.
A common “stunt” that can be seen in bars and clubs around Japan is for the suspended rope bottom to be mounted by her top and used as a swing (buranko – ブランコ). The subsequent damage to the spine and lower back (especially when done on a daily basis over a period of several years) will be long term. I personally know one woman who suffers from chronic back pain, having spent thousands of dollars in hospital bills and acupuncture treatment so far.
Of course there are techniques to mount and swing without applying your full weight onto the back of the suspended sub. Tops with fingers of steel could theoretically hold their own weight. Or the top could step on the suspension lines rather than on the body of the sub. The latter, of course, requires a solid and well-designed bondage, a little bit of extra thinking, and some sort of acrobatic ability on the part of the top.
With a never-ending stream of fresh rope bottoms coming online, and those rendered invalids going offline, the cycle continues. It is the shiroto jo-osama, that give the entire Shibari/Kinbaku genre a bad name.
Utsubuse-zuri – 俯せ吊り
I am sure this type of suspension has been done by others in the past, though I have no recollection of having seen this before. In other words, I am also not aware of any established or non-established name for it.
Utsubuse means lying face down. I chose the term utsubuse-zuri, because the lift-off for this suspension is taking place with the sub lying on the floor, face down.
The tie itself is fairly simple. The general idea is to distribute the tension/weight between the chicken-winged legs and the hip rope (koshinawa – 腰縄). So at the end of the day the success of such a suspension depends on the model – more precisely, whether the rope bottom is able to withstand the pain.
This is one of several suspensions that requires a bit of training on the part of the model.
Semenawa – 責め縄
As I mentioned earlier, it is my policy to tie for maximum comfort. However, there are ties that by definition cannot be comfortable.
Now here you have it, a suspension by the wrists and ankles that is sure to be painful and apt to freak out your average sub.
Teppo-zuri – 鉄砲吊り
Teppo is Japanese for firearm. The arms in this suspension form a pattern similar to a person carrying a rifle on his back.
There are several variations of this rather complicated suspension. The legs could be suspended on the upper suspension point (to take off some tension from the upper body lines), or they could be hooked into the waist rope. The heels could be placed both behind or one leg could be in front, creating some sort of “runner’s” (飛脚) pose.
Due to the complexity of the tie, the construction before lift-off takes more time than your average takatekote. Suffice it to say that the bondage on the arms and upper body needs to be a snug fit in order to avoid grief along the line.
Due to the very strict tie and basically uncomfortable position of the arms, it makes for good practice to do the bondage fast – and also to untie it fast.
My recommendation is, if you are not experienced enough to construct the base teppo position fluidly and speedily, do not attempt lift-off. Rather spend a few years practicing other ties, before attempting this.
One of the risks with this bondage is straining/pulling muscles in the upper arm of the arm that is raised. Another risk would be breathing problems if the base bondage restricts the rib cage and diaphragm areas.
The beauty of this suspension is that the rope bottom is in a position perpendicular to the floor.
Of course other suspension forms based on the same tying principles are possible/imaginable. For example having both elbows raised above the head, resembling a bunny – in which case I would call this suspension an usagi-zuri (兎吊り).
Take-zuri – 竹吊り
Take stands for bamboo, and zuri (or tsuri) stands for suspension.
As happens with many names for Japanese ties they are mainly descriptions of what is going on. To complicate matters, one bakushi may call a certain tie one way, while another bakushi might give it a completely different name.
Take-zuri simply means bamboo suspension, or, within this context, a suspension of a person while utilizing bamboo. Such bamboo could be anywhere. For example, the bamboo could be fixed to the outstretched arms of the rope bottom (see Bo Shibari on pp 96), or it could simply have a decorative function without any load-bearing task.
So to be precise, the bondage shown here could be called “hollow-of-the-knee(s) hanging on a bamboo pole suspension” (ryo hiza no ura take-zuri – 両膝の裏竹吊り), but that would lead to long-winding names and there would be no end of it.
My favorite term is yukata shibari, which merely means bondage with someone wearing a summer kimono. In other words, this name doesn’t say anything about the actual type of bondage. For one-upmanship one could create names like “yukata shibari with the rope bottom having pierced earlobes and a tattoo (specify type) on her left thigh (or whatever other place)”.
Kazari-nawa (Macrame Bondage) – 飾り縄
Kazari-nawa is an important part of Shibari, because whenever you have completed the working part of a certain tie and find yourself with excess rope, it is time to put those loose ends away intelligently – and in a way that follows Japanese esthetics.
What you find in this chapter are ties specifically meant to demonstrate kazari.
Bo Shibari – 棒縛り
The Japanese are fond of images where a person’s arms are tied to a stick/pole. They can be found in Kabuki plays as well as in modern slapsticks on TV.
One fairly popular application of bo shibari is where two servants are being tied into these positions by their master so as to prevent them from drinking precious wine during his absence. This is always good for a few laughs in theaters and on TV when the two servants struggle to uncork (and drink) a bottle of liquor – failing to do so at first, until finding a way to cooperate until passing out under the kitchen table.
Now here is a word that deserves entry into a spelling bee contest.
What you will find in this chapter are photos that defy categorization. Consider them bonus pictures simply meant to provide some additional eye candy.
Tongue play – 舌責め
A well-trained tongue can give as well as receive pleasure. At times it even finds itself at the receiving end of torture.
Now aiko-chan happens to own one of the sexiest tongues around, and it simply seems natural to take full advantage of that asset whenever the opportunity arises.
Candle Play – 蝋燭責め
Candle play may at first glance appear harmless enough and easy to do. However, there are a few pointers that would come in handy.
As with most SM plays, it helps to know what you are doing and to develop a certain amount of technique (gijutsu – 技術).
First, candles burn at different temperatures, mainly dependent on the amount of paraffin they contain. It’s also obvious that the distance the dripping wax travels will to a certain degree affect the hotness upon impact on the skin.
In terms of safety it makes for good practice to keep the flames away from the body (hair might get singed) and other material that can catch fire. For example, in Japan it is a common sight to stick a number of candles into the suspension lines, creating some sort of Christmas tree effect. Every once in a while there are reports that suspension lines have caught fire which then caused the rope bottom to drop.
Special care should also be taken to protect the eyes of the sub when applying wax to the face.
Candle play does make for some good yelping sounds from the sub. It also makes for nice red wax patterns on alabaster skin. On the down side it leaves a terrible mess and is a sure way to lose a maid. This is why you won’t see much candle play at Kinbaku Live @ Studio SIX.
Now, if time is up and the necessity arises to extinguish your candle(s) – which might be one or two or even one or two “dynamite sticks” containing half a dozen candles each – you might have the extraordinarily bright idea to do so on the skin of your sub! There are basically two ways to do that safely. One way is to hit the candle(s) on that “cover” of wax you created. Another way is to use the snuff-out method where the flames are killed before you hit the skin. The latter requires an even “burn” of the candle, where the wick is basically surrounded by the candle wax and thus the flame is “suffocated” before it touches the skin.
I recommend you practice this on your own skin to assure that you do not cause candle burns. Such burn marks are neither a pretty sight, nor will they disappear (like rope burns) within a reasonable time.
Everything is a matter of taste. In the case of attraction to the other sex, imprinting plays a role, as do other early-life experiences. In other words, a lot is going on that is hard to put a finger on. So at the end of the day, if someone falls in love, there is nothing much you can do about.
Little aiko-chan’s voice (especially when she yelps like a puppy) evokes sounds of angels singing in heaven. Her skin temperature will make you shiver like you have never shivered before. She tastes like honey. She moves like a goddess. Her natural body fragrance makes your olfactory senses go wild. Her demeanor is that of a willing servant. Her classy style is that of a woman born to an aristocratic family. But most of all, she is the most beautiful woman on Earth.
Blessed is the man who she chooses to share her precious time with. Because such man will get a taste of paradise before his time is up.
A smile from aiko-chan will set your heart on fire. A touch from her will make you melt like ice. Aiko-chan wields immense power over men. Yours truly not excluded.
Aiko-chan is the type of woman that make a man wish to die rather than lose her.
This is the only photo series not part of a regular Kinbaku Live @ Studio SIX.
The idea was to do a swing (buranko – ブランコ) shot, where one model sits atop another in suspension. (As the bamboo is positioned between the main and leg suspension lines there is zero extra force being placed on the suspended woman.)
This being a lazy Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t resist to also suspend juli-chan and aiko-chan side by side in a futomomo-zuri (also see Futomomo-zuri on pp 62).
I got this cage from QuickCage.de – mainly to utilize it in some of my video work. However, this being a piece of excellent German workmanship, I have developed a fondness for this cage, and it is now a standard feature at Studio SIX Tokyo. Especially since it can be assembled or disassembled in less than five minutes.
Cage play offers various opportunities like locking away someone precious for safekeeping or depriving naughty subs of their freedom – be it to punish, torture or merely letting them reflect on their own state. The possibilities of play are endless and only limited by your imagination and that of the woman at the receiving end.
Since having installed this cage at Studio SIX, I have noticed that certain subs are prone to enjoy being caged.
As we are at the homestretch of the photo series in this book, I’d like you to view the pics from the perspective of me locking away one of the most precious subs that I have ever had a chance to lay my hands on.
May aiko-chan be safe until her release, so she can be bound and pleasured some more.
The Last Page
Thank you for having reached this page. We hope you have enjoyed our very personal, little journey into Shibari/Kinbaku and SM.