Or everything you always wanted to know about Japanese erotic bondage when you suddenly realized that you didn't speak Japanese

The Beauty of Kinbaku
and Art
Please note: no part of these articles may be reproduced by any means without the express written consent of the author or the publisher, King Cat Ink.

Chapter Seven

Kinbaku and Art-American Bakushi
Part One

by Master "K"

For the next few posts I've been asked by my publishers to step out from behind my writer’s/journalist’s desk and write three short articles about my recent work as a professional bakushi here in the United States.

Just a few years ago it would’ve been impossible to talk about a professional “American bakushi.” In fact, other than those folks who were working in the always controversial adult film and magazine worlds, it would have been almost impossible for anyone to actually make any money doing “erotic rope.”

However, with the advent of the Internet and the rise in interest in BDSM due to such films as Fifty Shades of Grey it is now just barely possible, from time to time, to do some legitimate, mainstream work using the Japanese erotic art of Kinbaku. Of course, you have to be lucky and be in the right place at the right time.

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Until a few years ago and because I don't work in the adult field and do not care for BDSM performance, most of my professional activities in the world of Kinbaku involved writing about it, teaching it to my wonderful students and, on occasion, being asked to contribute to various book and/or magazine projects.

However, more recently other opportunities have arrived in many different forms. One such (that has already been discussed on various web sites) is the tying my partner Zetsu and I did for the music video Come Unwound by the very talented group The Bulls which received such great reviews and wide play in late 2014 and 2015.

Therefore, for the next few posts I'm going to be offering some short articles (and pictures) of my recent work here in the United States. These will include pieces on working with the internationally famous fashion photographer Michel Comte on shoots for GQ (Italy) and Interview magazine (Germany), as well as on the feature film The Neon Demon starring Elle Fanning and Keanu Reeves and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. In so doing I hope to bring this series on Art and Kinbaku into the present with what is happening here in the good old US. 

And today I'm going to talk about working with the Hollywood celebrity photographer Michael Helms with whom I recently spent a memorable and most pleasant day and who had contacted me through the Spring Tiger Ryu, one of the organizations I helped found (the other being LA Rope) here in LA.
​Michael is a superb teacher and he expertly led the photographers in “seeing” opportunities to capture this beautiful model in a variety of classical Kinbaku poses as well as in highlighting the ties, lighting and rope details.

And because Marica is such a pro I knew I could do any style of Kinbaku I chose . . . but I had to be careful. I didn’t want any inexperienced attendees to think that Japanese rope could be done without serious safety concerns. Therefore, I felt duty-bound to be relatively conservative in my tying and even to use some safety techniques that a young and athletic pro like Marica might not need.

I tried to organize my work in the manner of the classical satsuei-kai that I had seen such masters as my sensei Yukimura Haruki do when I was in Tokyo. This meant that, first off, we would do ties over the beautiful kimono costume that Kaz had so expertly chosen. 

Here I was very glad to remember one of the great Nureki Chimuo's maxims, “The more decorative the costume the simpler the rope should be for contrast.”

​The session then progressed to poses in the kimono undergarments including one I did as a tribute to my sensei Urado Hiroshi, the great movie rigger.
​Finally, we proceeded to full nudity in several poses including a suspension.
And then there was the aftercare.
​I felt I was back in Tokyo!

Over the six-hour Kinbaku Photography Workshop the photographers shot almost continuously, capturing 12 ties with Marica. This was an extraordinarily productive afternoon thanks to Michael’s wonderful preparation, his most engaged and dedicated students and Marica’s patience and beauty.

A few days after the workshop I received the following note from the lovely Marica:

​“Thank you very much for the great Nawa session. All my American friends and Naka told me about you and your Nawa skills. I always wanted to meet you and work with you . . . Your Nawa is awesome. It’s the real deal. I know because I often work with Naka and Norio Sugiura. They are so nice to me as if I'm their daughter.

I know a real-deal when I see one. Some people are doing Nawa just for themselves, not thinking about the models’s well-being. I sometimes work with those people, because I want to try everything. It’s also good for business . . . but I really LOVED working with you. I was so happy during our Nawa session. It did not feel like business. You and Naka are my ultimate favorite Nawa artists!!!”
Please join us next time as we continue our exploration into the fascinating subject of “Kinbaku in Art!” 
Poster for the 2014 film Fifty Shades of Grey
Come Unwound by The Bulls--album cover
Image from the video for Come Unwound by The Bulls
Tasuki with Kimono
Model: Marica Hase, Rope: Master "K", Photo: Michael Helms

Mae te nawa
Model: Marica Hase, Rope: Master "K", Photo: Michael Helms
Tribute to Urado Hiroshi
Model: Marica Hase, Rope: Master "K", Photo: Michael Helms
Kata-ashi zuri
Model: Marica Hase, Rope: Master "K", Photo: DNE Photography
Nude Kata-ashi zuri
Model: Marica Hase, Rope: Master "K", Photo: Michael Helms
Nude Decorative Gote    
Model: Marica Hase, Rope: Master "K", Photo: Michael Helms
Yoko zuri
Model: Marica Hase, Rope: Master "K", Photo: DNE Photography
Model: Marica Hase, Rope: Master "K", Photo: Michael Helms
As might be imagined, this lovely and far, far too flattering note made my day. Of course, it must never be forgotten that the Japanese are very polite.

It was a fabulous event I was honored to participate in.

Many thanks to Michael, Kaz and Marica for their wonderful collaboration and also to my assistant z_element for her expert help during the shoot.

All photos in this post were taken by Michael Helms or DNE Photography and are used with their express permission.

The beautiful model for the event was the stunning Penthouse Playmate of the month, Marica Hase; who in Japan has worked with such Kinbaku luminaries as Akira Naka, Norio Sugiura and Arisue Go. As might be imagined, it was an honor for me to work with her.
Marica Hase
For those that might not know him, Michael has been a successful photographer in Los Angeles for 35 years. In that time he has worked with some of tinsel town’s most notable celebrities, including Kate Hudson, Tim Curry and Angelina Jolie and been involved in many other book and magazine projects that have taken him on assignment all over the world.
For this event Michael had engaged me to appear at a special Kinbaku Photography Workshop for a half dozen photographers who traveled to LA from all over California.

Michael holds several such serious pro photo workshops each year concentrating on different subjects (fashion, portraits, industrial photography, etc.) and I was honored to be asked to participate in this one. The goal was to present classical Kinbaku in such a way that the attendees could learn something about the history and techniques of the art but still take great pictures.
This is not as easy as it might seem since several of the attendees were unfamiliar with Japanese rope and Michael needed to concentrate on the technical aspects of taking the photographs while I was tying. In addition, his lovely wife Kaz held a mini workshop on the kimono which was to be the main costume for the session and the focus of some of the photography. In short it was a very busy day.

To paraphrase Arisue Go from his interview in the winter edition of this series about his fine work on the wonderful, mainstream Japanese TV show Tokubou, “In private I tie for my own satisfaction and as a service for specific individuals. When I tie for the media I tie as a service to the audience and the director or organizer of the project.” I agree. Nothing could be a more accurate description of the pro bakushi’s responsibility and such was the case with the Michael Helms event. Luckily for me, Michael gave me a secret weapon to aid me in my efforts.
IntroductionChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Special-Photo EssayChapter 4
Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7-AB Part 1Chapter 7-AB Part 2Chapter 7-AB Part 3Chapter 8-Part 1
Chapter 8-Part 2Chapter 9-AB Part 4Chapter 10-AB Part 5Chapter 11-AB Part 6Chapter 12Chapter 13-AB Part 7
Chapter 14-AB Part 8Chapter 15-AB Part 9Chapter 16-AB Part 10Chapter 17-AB Part 11Chapter 18-AB Part 12Chapter 19
Chapter 20Open at Last!Chapter 21Chapter 22More to Come

Links to Other Chapters of Kinbaku and Art