top of page

The History of Shibari Art and it's Origin

Shibari which translates to "to tie" in Japanese, is a style of erotic rope bondage that originated in Japan in the 17th century. It has evolved over time and has become popular worldwide as a form of BDSM practice. In Japan it is more commonly known as Kinbaku.

Shibari and Kinbaku are often used interchangeably to describe the art of Japanese rope bondage, but they do have some subtle differences.

Shibari is a more general term that means "to tie" or "to bind" in Japanese, and it can refer to any type of rope bondage, whether it is done in an artistic or erotic context.

Kinbaku, on the other hand, specifically refers to the more artistic and aesthetic form of rope bondage. It is often seen as a form of performance art, with emphasis on the beauty and intricacy of the knots and ties used.

While both Shibari and Kinbaku involve using rope to bind a person, Kinbaku is characterized by its strict and elaborate patterns of knots and ties, as well as the careful attention paid to the model's body position and the overall composition of the scene.

In essence, Shibari can be seen as a broader term that encompasses all forms of Japanese rope bondage, while Kinbaku is a more specialized and refined form of Shibari that is primarily focused on artistic expression and aesthetics.

The origins of Shibari can be traced back to the Hojojutsu techniques used by the samurai warriors of feudal Japan to restrain prisoners. Over time, these techniques evolved into a form of erotic bondage, which was practiced by the nobility in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868).

During the Edo period, bondage was used in Kabuki theater, where actors would be tied with ropes to create dramatic poses and movements. This art form was known as Kinbaku and it is still practiced in Japan today.

Shibari gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s with the work of artists such as Itoh Seiyu, who combined the techniques of Kinbaku with modern art. During this time, several notable Kinbaku performers emerged, including Akechi Denki, who is considered the "father of modern Kinbaku," and Osada Eikichi, who is known for his use of intricate rope patterns and techniques.

 

These performers brought Kinbaku into the public eye and helped to establish it as a legitimate form of art and expression. Shibari became a subculture in Japan, with clubs and organizations devoted to the practice.

In the 1990s, Shibari gained popularity in the Western world as a form of BDSM practice. Western practitioners began to develop their own styles and techniques, incorporating elements of Shibari into their own work. 

Today, Shibari continues to be practiced and has become an art form in its own right. It is celebrated in Japan with annual competitions and exhibitions. In the West, Shibari has become a part of the BDSM community, with classes, workshops, and events devoted to the practice.

Shibari rope is typically made from natural fibers such as hemp, jute, cotton and even flax, which are chosen for their strength, durability and softness. Jute and hemp rope is often treated to make it softer and more pliable whereas cotton rope is already soft and pliable.

 

Our Shibari Rope is made exclusively with 100% certified organic Aegean cotton, the highest quality of cotton in the world and the only Shibari rope available that is built on certified sustainable and ethical practices ensuring it is free of any substance that may harm your health as well as child labour, forced labour, malpractice and oppression. You may read more about our Shibari rope through our 'Sustainability' section.

 

Shibari has become increasingly popular in Western countries, with many people practicing and teaching the art form. However, it is important to note that Shibari is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and history and should be approached with respect and cultural sensitivity.

If you are interested in practicing the art of Shibari you can view and purchase our 100% certified organic Aegean cotton Shibari ropes that are weaved exclusively for your pleasure and comfort each month through our 'Shibari' section through the drop down menu.

bottom of page