Tiger Block Print by Kuniyoshi Utagawa (1798–1861)


Kinbaku (shibari) is the centuries-old art of Japanese erotic rope bondage. Simply put, Kinbaku is the technique of safe, sensual, dramatic, and erotic bondage raised to a high art form in Japan. In Japanese the words Art, Japanese, Erotic, and Bondage have a multitude of meanings depending on who is speaking and who is listening. What is art to you? What do you find erotic? How does culture affect our perceptions? How does it feel to tie or be tied? How do you do it safely? These questions – and the answers to them – are why the study of kinbaku is so exciting. Each of these four elements plays a part and the most satisfying experiences hit on all of them.


Master “K” and zElement are the proud co-founders of Spring Tiger Ryu: The Arts Ryu of Kinbaku (est. 2013).

Master “K”

Master “K” is an author, rope master, and educator. He has studied the art of Kinbaku for more than 50 years and as a student of Yukimura Haruki under the given name Haru Tora (Spring Tiger) is the first certified instructor (first class) of that renowned master’s “caressing” style of  Kinbuku in North America. Master “K” is also the direct and named successor to legendary movie rigger Urato Hiroshi.


He is a renowned authority on his subject whose rope work has been seen around the globe. Some of his most recent work includes: partnering with performance artist Millie Brown for her filmed project Pendulum, working with elite fashion photographer Michele Comté for various magazine layouts, including GQ Italia and Interview Germany and he also designed and did the rigging for the 2016 film The Neon Demon (a clip can be found here) starring Keanu Reeves and Elle Fanning, the 2019 music video Goldfingers by French recording artist Iliona Blanc (April 2019 Los Angeles International Film Festival premiere) and the 2020 comedy short Wives of the Skies directed by Honey Lauren and winner of over 100 film festival awards.


He is the author of Shibari, the Art of Japanese Bondage (2004) and The Beauty of Kinbaku (or everything you ever wanted to know about Japanese erotic bondage when you suddenly realized you didn’t speak Japanese (2008). The latter book was translated into Japanese as A Cultural History of Kinbaku (2013), is now in its third printing in Japan and a second edition of the English text was published in 2015 (available through Amazon and booksellers worldwide).


His articles can be found on thebeautyofkinbaku.com and include a series of interviews with legendary Kinbuku/rope masters (Meetings With Remarkable Men) and a comprehensive series on Kinbaku and Art. Master “K” has been a teacher of Kinbaku for over 40 years; information about his classes can be found on this site and Master “K” Classes.


zElement was raised in a home with strong Japanese influences and has always had an affinity for the culture people, and traditions of Japan. She became interested in the art of Kinbaku after seeing a series of professional photographs taken in Europe in the 1990s.


After moving to Southern California in 2010 zElement met Master “K” and began studying the art and history of kinbaku, Edo-era Japanese culture, and the many traditional Japanese cultural touchstones that Kinbaku is so closely related to. She is a student of, and assistant to Master “K” focusing on Yukimura Haruki’s celebrated Newaza (caressing) style of Kinbaku and continues to grow her knowledge and skills of other styles.

We are lucky to have a variety of staff photographers, assistants, and models that you will meet at all of our events. Please ask any of us for more information or help at any time.