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Kinbaku Bondage Knowledge

Kinbaku Bondage Knowledge

What is Kinbaku

Kinbaku, like Shibari is a sexualised extension of Hojojutsu. Techniques once used for restraining prisoners have been subtly altered to address the line where pain becomes pleasure… where the intent for torture becomes a consensual element of BDSM.  

What is the meaning of 'Kinbaku'

In Japan, Kinbaku is less commonly known as sokubaku, bakujojutsu, and senyojo jutsu, and it has been suggested that the differentiation in naming has parallels with the martial arts, where similar practices are referred to with terms that differ between various groups of practitioners. Whilst still studying a martial art there are different disciplines arising from different perspectives.

Read our position on the differences between Kinbaku and Shibari, in a modern western context.

Looking at the Japanese language, "kinbaku" literally translates to "bind tightly". Note that this is a verb (a doing word) it describes an 'act'. It is not used to indentify or describe a finshed state. It is incorrect to say that kinbaku refers to a 'tight binding', unless you are referring to the act of  'binding tight', and then the difference between 'binding tight' and 'bind tightly' becomes mere semantics.

The actual meaning of 'kinbaku', when examining the use within the Japanese bondage scene, is different to the direct translation. The term 'Kinbaku' implies an exchange between at least two people. You cannot correctly use the term to describe the act of tying up a chair, no matter how tightly you do so. Kinbaku most correctly describes the exchange between the person(s) tying and the person(s) being bound. Technically you could practice kinbaku with a ribbon instead of rope. Rope is simply the most favoured instrument of choice. 

How is Kinbaku different to other forms of bondage?

Please Note: These characteristics, do not define Kinbaku as a discipline, they are merely preferences that can be seen when observing the communities that identify with the term Kinbaku. As with all generalisations, individuals should not be judged against such criteria.

The are particular ropes preferred by those practicing Kinbaku:

  • Natural fibre rope, most specifically jute ropes
  • The use of rope with a diameter of 5-7mm
  • The use of coloured ropes is rare
  • Finishing is almost exclusively a single knot
  • Lengths are typically limited to 7-8 metres

 

Further Identifiers

  • Kinbaku practitioners tend to pay more attention to functionality as a method of restraint
  • There is a preference to fix ropes using ‘weaves’ as apposed to knots  
  • Rope is deployed with erotic intent, where the rigger often actively targets erogenous zones

 

When we are discussing rope bondage in the west, 'Kinbaku' shares a number of similarities with Shibari, both disciplines – when practiced at higher levels – tend toinvolve riggers who structure ties in a manner where the ropes themselves become pleasurable for the person being bound.

The reason the discipline of Kinbaku seems to possess a preference to avoid knots could be related back to the origins of Hojojutsu, where it was considered shameful for people of a higher status to be bound. In these instances the rope was applied in a manner where no knots were used.

 

Terminology – Kinbaku Vs Shibari

In the west Kinbaku and Shibari have become terms used describe rope play that is inspired by Japanese rope bondage. At Jade Rope we do not argue that one term is more correct than the other, because in reality a decade has passed with neither term being used accurately and this has given rise to seperate and distinct meanings that are almost wholly seperated from the Japanese langauge from which they were originally borrowed.

When discussing rope outside of Japan, we do not assert that Kinbaku is a different style of rope play to Shibari, nor do we believe that they are the same.  We do, however, avoid using the terms indiscriminately; it is our position that it is the intention behind the activity of binding another with rope which discerns the appropriate term.

If a tie or technique is being used by a person in a martial arts context, this intention makes the act Hojojutsu. Similarly, we believe if that same tie is used in an artistic pose, where emphasis and – most importantly – the intent of the person tying is aesthetically driven… the act is Shibari, whilst should the same tie used to create a sexually driven scene… then Kinbaku can be applied most appropriately. This position has been influenced by the truer usage of the terms in Japanese bondage, where 'kinbaku' is used to describe the exchange between two people enjoying a session of rope play, whilst shibari is a term used to describe the study of rope, or to refer to the beauty of a finished tie in a photo.  

There are numerous translations and even more interpretations of meaning surrounding the terms kinbaku and shibari. All of these interpretations are seeking to accurately define concepts which in reality cannot be removed from Japan.   Once removed from the Japanese culture, the context in which the western world uses these terms are significantly different… and to date the meaning varies almost between each person. 

At Jade Rope we see kinbaku and shibari existing in a state of duality, a state which has emerged naturally within the western bdsm communities and we have decided to champion these dual viewpoints by recognising both Kinbaku and Shibari by the underlying intentions of the person who is practicing these rope based art forms.