Tiger Block Print by Kuniyoshi Utagawa (1798–1861)

WHAT IS KINBAKU

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”
CO-FOUNDER, SPRING TIGER RYU

 

Master “K” is an author, rope master, and educator. He has studied the art of Kinbaku for more than 40 years as a student of Yukimura Haruki under the given name Haru Tora (Spring Tiger) and is the first certified instructor (first class) 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, includingGQ Italia and Interview Germany and he also designed and did the rigging for the 2016 film The Neon Demon (a clip of the club scene can be found here) starring Keanu Reeves and Elle Fanning.

 

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). His book was translated into Japanese as A Cultural History of Kinbaku (2013), 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 in Meetings With Remarkable Men and a comprehensive series on Kinbaku and Art. Master “K” has been a teacher of Kinbaku for over 30 years; information about his classes can be found on the site Master “K” Classes. He also is a co-founder of LA Rope.

ZELEMENT
CO-FOUNDER & DIRECTOR

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.