Dear friends of japanese bondage,
When I, Matthias, 1978 tied
up a woman for the first time, it was a cotton scarf I used. Before this
first time there had been several discussions: It's chauvinistic and anti-women
to want to do this, but well, then, if it makes you horny ... Not until
we got over our feelings of guilt, my then girlfriend and I dared to try
It was 1990 approximately that I first saw a copy with japanese bondage. With Dana and a colleague from Charon I was on an office outing. I was so fascinated by it and unable to hide my feelings, that Dana bought the copy and gave it to me (the first time in my life I got a porno as a present from a woman). It was one of these small, badly printed copies you can still get everywhere. The pictures showed more than women tied up in different postures - they were artistically and erotically stimulating as well. Photos which seemed to tell little dirty and exciting stories. Lovingly arranged details, traditional japanese interiors, the serious, bashful faces of the models, the hiding of the female private parts with lather, paper flowers or the thick black line of the (japanese) censor irritated me greatly, but all in all it gave the pictures a certain additional attraction.
1995 I began to surf on the
internet, looking for bondage and SM pictures. Despite lots of clearing
work I now possess quite a good selection of japanese bondage pictures
(and, fortunately, a big enough hard disk ...). But I was wrong in thinking
that the number of pictures was unlimited. The photos, mainly published
in the newsgroups alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.bondage and alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.orientals,
aren't always new ones, but are posted again and again. The japanese market
is much better ther; here you can find magazine series coming out with
new pictures weekly or monthly at least.
1998 I began working on my bondage textbook (published at Charon). Automatically that led to an intensive occupation with the finer points of japanese bondage. Some things were simple and clear to me, especially after having looked at japanese pictures for years. But many things I couldn't understand, some I simply overlooked. The success of my book and my newly awakened passion drove me to want to write a new book, this time more picture oriented and dedicated solely to japanese bondage.
I began to look for models via adds in the Schlagzeilen. Even at the first dates I saw that I could make good pictures only if there was a certain erotic tension between the model and me. But somehow I didn't know where to go.
Then in May 2000 I was in Tokyo and had the opportunity to wtch several masters and mistresses, to ask them lots of silly questions and to make a fool of myself with my bondage skills. But the Japanese are extremely polite people, and they didn't let me feel it. I learnt an awful lot in Japan. And suddenly I knew what works how and why. I learnt how to look after of the hemp ropes, so that they become soft and can snuggle up to the body. I understood why the Japanese always take the ropes double, why the ends are unspliced and are tied in a knot instead.
Back in Hamburg, I began to
practice everywhere. There was no party where I didn't find several willing
victims. I loved to let people experience being held, surrounded, supported
One evening she said to me
it would be a real pity if I packed everything in just one book and suggested
to publish a magazine coming out four times a year.
Now some things has changed. Bondageproject.com was established of one of germanys most informative bondage pages. I has been working with more than 200 models. I am doing bondage-classes and shows all over Europe and sometimes in Tokyo.
2. Interview with Drachenmann
Interview with the founder of Bondage Project
1. Who's Matthias Drachenmann?
2 . Tell us about how you
discover the kinbaku, and about your first experience.
3. You visit Tokyo a few
times. Tell us about your shibari performance there.
4. Some Rope Artists was
an inspiration to you? Who?
5. Which other sensei and
nawashi do you like?
6. Do you have a favorite
kind of rope?
7. Do you have a favorite
8. Do you like other bondage
9. Do you practice other
10. Do you have some work
on the Internet, in the press and other media?
11. Are you working on some
new project related to kinbaku?
12. What does kinbaku represent
13. A word for all new nawashi
and students of kinbaku.
3. The magic Triangle or the art of aesthetically staged devotion
Japanese rope bondage or shibari consists of more than a rope artist and his model - in its most beautiful form it expresses devotion and, in accepting the devotion, love, security, tenderness. It means holding someone and being held, responsibility handed over and accepted. The apparent restriction of movement by the ties may become a deep inner liberation; the body, forced into different positions, reaches a near meditative peace.
Similar to the seated and motionless Buddhist monks, the safety of the expertly used rope can become the way to a trancelike condition of inner rest.
The Europeans first met with Japanese style bondage in the middle of the 1970s in small, badly printed magazines. Titles like "Cherry Blossoms" even then emphasized the romantic-lyrical element over the pornographic. Currently, books like Nobuyoshi Araki's "Tokyo Lucky Hole," published by one of Japan's most respected and legitimate publishers of photographic books, the spreading and increasing importance of images on the Internet and films like "Tokyo Decadence" all show Japanese bondage as an original part of erotic culture in today's Japan. Meanwhile Shibari even forms part of everyday Japanese advertising and PR (Chiemsee) and is currently being taught to the curious and interested public in workshops, via mailing lists and the famous website www.kikkou.com.
Just as the Japanese had interest in and made use of the erotic sensibilities and visuals of western culture, integrating western forms and varieties into their own graphic arts, many rope artists in the West included some shibari influences from the land of the rising sun.
Naturally the question soon arose whether it is still shibari when western hands are tying the ropes around western bodies; even when the positions used are those derived from the basic forms of Japanese bondage. Using Japanese decorations like kimonos, bamboo, paper-covered sliding walls and bonsai, the western photographer tries to convey a mood similar to that in Japanese bondage photography. But still there is a decisive difference between the western and the eastern way of looking at things.
Japanese bondage pictures often show accessories totally missing in western photography: dildos, urinals, implements for enemas, vibrators; indications that suggest there is more going on than just an artistic/erotic performance. Also, there are different perspectives that compete in the several varieties of Japanese bondage photography. Sometimes the photographer is a chronicler of an erotic performance, sometimes a pornographer, and sometimes there is only the perspective of the pure artist.
Western shibari photography, though, is primarily an erotic experiment, an adventurous journey - but the perspective focuses on the beauty of devotion, of the bound body, at the mercy of the rope, of the withdrawn look of the apparent victim. Sex, let alone lasciviousness are existent in western bondage photography only in a transcended form.
There is one thing that both Japanese and Japanese inspired shibari photography have in common, the pictures are always playing with the look. The look of the model, the look of the photographer, and the look of the observer. This triangle is an ancient expression of Japanese eroticism. Three hundred year old woodblock erotic art (chunga) from 17th century Japan already shows the tensions between the devoted couple and also a female or male observer. Even in modern photography, when only one of the figures is depicted and the other characters in this erotic triangle are missing or stay abstract - the performance of flesh and rope, look and interior is effective only as long as this triangle exists.
Just like the rope artist is nothing without his model, so the erotic shibari picture is nothing without the observer.
And so Bondage Project takes
us to a world of beauty, of sensual dreams and of longings fulfilled.
The observer is invited to a very personal journey and so becomes part
of the magical triangle.