History & Origins

Shibari (also known as Kinbaku) draws its roots from Hojojutsu—a martial art practiced by the samurai during Japan’s Edo period that used natural fiber rope for capturing, restraining, transporting, and even torturing their prisoners.

Aside from being visually impressive with its intricate patterns, the remarkable thing about this martial art is how it employs sophisticated techniques to deter resistance.

Strategically positioned wraps and knots would force the bound individual to choose between (a) cooperating peacefully or (b) risking various consequences like strangulation via the neck rope or nerve impingement that permanently renders their fingers useless. 

These were factored in as the pioneers of Shibari sought to make the ties safer for their bottoms who modeled for erotic or S&M oriented photobooks, magazines, movies, and theater shows.

Master K explains how this Japanese martial art became an erotic art in his highly recommended book, “The Beauty of Kinbaku”:

Shibari/Kinbaku has evolved because of Japan’s tolerant religions and their attitudes about sexuality, its history and martial arts, its 250 years of self-imposed isolation from the West, it’s love of beauty, art, form, and pattern and the mysterious alchemy that connects all of these.

-Master K

Enthusiasts from all over the world now engage in Shibari for various reasons like: sex & BDSM, photography, performance art, relationship building, meditation & stress-relief, values formation, self-empowerment, and more.

Check out the links below to get a better understanding of what Shibari and Kinbaku are and where it came from!

References & Recommendations​

Article

What is Shibari/Kinbaku and where does it come from? Find out what the great Japanese masters themselves have to say about what defines Japanese style rope bondage.

Article

Welcome to Shibari 101, your chance to learn the building blocks of Japanese rope bondage! Today, you’ll learn history, basics and safety.

Physical Book

Widely regarded by Japanese masters as the definitive guide on the origin and history of Shibari—Master K’s book is a must-read for practitioners everywhere.

Physical Book, E-Book

Shin Nawakiri’s book has a full section is devoted to the origin of Shibari and is a great and actionable read. 

It offers insights on not just the physical or technical side of Shibari but the mental and emotional sides as well—important aspects that most newbie practitioners completely fail to see.

Documentary, Paid Product

There are two versions for sale: a 90-minute download from Vimeo On Demand and a 3-DVD set with 100 minutes more.