Akechi Denki defines what shibari is to him

Posted on Thu, 11 July 2013


Here's a snippet from very interesting interview by Osada Steve where the great man himself, Akechi Denki, states what kinbaku was to him:

"For me, the most important thing is that the rope work look good. My style developed in the course of stage shows, at a time when there weren't yet videos. I felt it was important that I give the customers something unique, something they hadn't seen before. So I had to develop my own style; the ideas had to come from within me. And my goal, my driving principle, is never to do the same tie twice. Of course, sometimes I do end up repeating myself but in my mind, I'm always trying to do something completely new. So even now, my style is still changing and developing.

When I get on stage at the beginning of a show, I don't have any ideas about what I'm going to do. I empty my mind. Then the ideas just come to me, from within or from the partner I'm working with. Sometimes the ropes move on their own and my hands just follow, and that is always an amazing experience. I just disappear. The shibari is always very beautiful when that happens."

So what can we draw from that? Here's my list:

a) Aesthetics: "the most important thing is that the rope work look good"
b) Uniqueness: "I give the customers something unique; I'm always trying to do something completely new "
c) Evolution: "my style is still changing and developing "
d) Muga: "I empty my mind. Then the ideas just come to me;I just disappear"
e) Follow the rope: "the ropes move on their own and my hands just follow "

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but one must perceive this from a Japanese view to be authentic and retain its roots. It is something one needs to develop an eye for and I believe this can only be achieved by examining good examples.

Uniqueness is something that we should bear in mind when tempted to repeat the same routines, whether on stage or for play. How many riggers are re-cycling the exact same tie, time after time? Might it not be as dull as using a single sexual position all the time?

Evolution is a fact of this relatively new art. Akechi probably had the most enduring effect on style and construction as his forms have been carried on to this day with little modification. Many serious student of kinbaku seem to treat the latter day versions as rigid specifications yet Akechi's style was still changing and developing till the end of his life. Where does this leave dogma? Rather I fear like religious fundamentalists, I suspect. I think we might be wise to harken unto the master.

When he says his ideas come from and empty mind and he just disappears, this is muga, discussed here. Then, the secret is just to "follow the rope" by intuition but without ignoring the natural direction, i.e. correct tension/counter-tension, closing frictions/nodome, maintaining aesthetics/balance etc. "The shibari is always very beautiful when that happens".

The full interview with Osada Steve is here on TokyoBound, along with at least one other.


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