Zentai Meets Hentai Amidst Kinbaku Confusion
Well, it's turning out to be an interesting month so far. I've just had a call from the unbelievably trendy iD magazine who want me to do some rope work on a male model for their forthcoming issue.
This comes straight after the collaboration with Manuel Vason, the favoured photographer of the body performance crew, for .Cent, which explores the idea of "the spaces in between" using zentai and a matching background. As you'll see if you check out his site, Manuel is a stunning photographer and has shot such notables as Franko B, Lee Adams, Ron Athey and Ernst Fischer. This issue will also include work by Araki, so I will be in exalted company.
Although this has come about through lucky accidents, I hope it will help bring bondage out of the shadows and allow more people to enjoy it both visually and practically.
One thing of which my readers in Japan might be blissfully unaware is the degree of controversy that kinbaku generates in the West. Consider yourselves fortunate! The forums, such as AdultRopeArt, ShibariNetwork and Fetlife are constantly buzzing with discussions about which terms are genuinely Japanese and what they mean, mostly without any reference to anyone who actually speaks Japanese, never mind being Japanese!
Consequently, the arguments are muddied by mistranslations, misunderstandings and total bullshit. There is a whole vocabulary of made-up Japanese names for ties which do not exist in kinbaku, which are earnestly declared to be authentic by many. Massive misunderstanding exists about to what extent the words kinbaku and shibari are interchangeable.
Meanwhile, various "experts" are claiming their own "truths" about every subject discussed. Websites are full of examples of so-called "genuine shibari/kinbaku" ties, which are Western ties with a slight Japanese influence, performed by self-proclaimed nawashi and kinbakushi.
With a certain amount of mischief in mind, I coined the term "shambari", a pun on sham, as in counterfeit, and shibari, to describe such inaccurately labeled work. Some people were offended by this but it had the fortuitous result of encouraging correct naming. In the West, shibari seems to have a very wide interpretation. It has become very trendy to mimic the Japanese rope scene, although, however well-intentioned, in the main all we gaijin manage is a parody.
It seems to include just about anything which isn't obviously Western style. I suspect that this is because, to the untrained eye, all bondage with a significant characteristic looks the same. It is also down to the lack of genuine examples available in the West. No wonder people are confused.
Fortunately, there is now an accurate label for Japanese influenced Western bondage, "neobari" was chosen to represent fusion bondage and allow it to be recognised in its own right. There is also some talk of making something of the dormant site, FusionBondage.com.
At the end of the day, it is important to name things correctly. However, what is more important is good bondage, In that case, I don't care what you call it...so long as it's done right. Give us good neobari in preference to bad kinbaku any day!
It would be very illuminating to get some more posts from Japan on the forums that I mentioned. There is nothing better than information "from the horse's mouth", as we say here. Hopefully, it will allow us to learn and stop some very pointless arguments.
Some of you might have heard about the UK's new Extreme Pornography Laws, as that section of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill has been dubbed, that came into force last month. It's big news in the SM community.
This law makes it an offence to download or posess certain material. On the face of it, much of the intent behind it does not sound unreasonable. However, it is deeply flawed as it is so poorly defined as to create "thought crime" and to criminalise an "extreme" image, even if the activity itself is legal.
Like everything else on the net, there is a lot of rubbish being talked about this. One of the main organisations opposing this part of the CJIB is Backlash. Their site is well worth reading if you want the real facts and the latest news.
In reality, we do not expect this law to be rigorously enforced as it is so badly worded, nor is it likely to affect your average Joe but it is yet another worrying step into the Orwellian Nightmare for a country that has more surveillance than anywhere else on the planet and a government that has brought in over 3,000 new laws, including numerous reductions of civil liberty.
Red Tape, a show at Kinkfest, 2008, London, is my comment on the situation. Here are a video and photos.
Esinem blogs and binds from his home base in the UK. He is a regular contributor to SM Detective.