Shibary History

Japan used to be isolated from other countries for a long time, which contributed to development of inherent and unique culture. Such authenticity was reflected in policy, religion, art and relations. Consequently, Japanese people formed a definite worldview on beauty and nature, where every act is a ritual, and every thing has sacral significance. Since the old days the Japanese lay special emphasis on ropes and knots, they are key elements of Japanese culture.

Binding tradition goes back to medieval Japan - long and gloomy period of wars - where the criminal code was introduced which regulated four types of tortures of criminals and enemies - flagellation, pressing by stones, suspension on ropes and binding, the last of which were considered the cruelest, often with fatal outcome. Binding was included into required skillset of warriors, this martial art was named Hojōjutsu, which tecniques formed the basis for present-day Japanese bondage. With onset of peace time epoch the rope gradually ceased to be used as a deadly tool. Methods of punishment with rope were not able to injure, they acquired art qualities. Tortures turned into public show and had rather entertaining nature.

At the end of Edo period in the early 1900, the martial art evolved into just the opposite of the military art. The engraver Itou Seyou released photo series called "punished women". The artist used similar photos as auxiliary images to create his engraves with Edo period tortures plot. Inspired by sadomasochism and kabuki theater, Itou Seyou did not receive proper recognition at that time, but he is rightfully considered as "the father" of shibari. Much later, artists of the latter half of the 20th century learnt by his early works. As is well known, the Second World War started in the middle of 20th century, and only after it was over the interest in erotic art was revived in Japan. Near to 60s this popularity increased so much as to create clubs, publish print media, revive Kabuki theater, which plays were filled with sex and tortures. And only in 1965, Osada Eikichi held the first professional shibari show in Tokyo. This moment is commonly believed as the revival of esthetic and erotic art of Shibari.


The word Shibari comes from the verb "shibaru", which means interlacing, tight binding, which literally provides insight into the practices. This is literally. In very deed, shibari is very deep body practice, in which the person who binds is associated with the God, and the person who is bound entrusts his or her own destiny, since the capability to move, speak and even breathe is totally in the grasp of Master. The shibary essence is creation of piece of art where body is the canvas, and master`s rope is the paint, beauty, aesthetics and sensuality play lead role here. We will definitely tell you about aesthetic factors, psychology and safety in our next articles; and in the meantime enjoy lovely photos!