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Shibari, is a consentual Japanese art form of binding and tieing another with rope.
The word Shibari in Japanese literally means "to tie." Shibari is a western word and in Japan the art is called Kinbaku. It can be a simple one rope tie to a complex multiple rope suspension. This is a form of power exchange where one person consensually allows the other to tie them. It is done by consent between at least two willing partners, one tying called the top or rigger and one being tied, referred to as the bottom, rope bottom. The bottom really has all the power and can stop a tie at any time. While it is considered bondage and in the BDSM realm, many couples find it a wonderful way to connect and be artistic together. As with many life activities, there is risk involved, but education, practice and communication help to minimize those risks. Ito Seiu has been tagged the godfather of Japanese bondage by many today. It truly is an art form!
Obviously rope is part of the art. There are many types of rope used from cotton, to nylon to MFP rope, all found at your local hardware store. Most of the "Masters" of the art use a natural fiber rope like hemp or more commonly in Japan, Jute. It is always wise and highly recommended to keep safety sheers or a rescue hook available in case of emergencies. There are larger metal rings you can buy to tie onto as well called suspension rings.
The top or rigger is given permission to tie their partner. The tie may be very sensual with much pleasure. This can begin with running ropes across the body to give wonderful sensations to lots of pleasurable touches. It can be more on the rough side for those bottoms who not only enjoy hard and tough ties, but want them done to them. Either way, the art really has few "knots' per say and when done by someone skilled, it becomes a beautiful piece of art.
The bottom is many times dressed or erotically clad in lingerie or kimono. sometimes the bottom is naked and the rope becomes their "outfit." Each person has their own style and likes. Some of the current great artists are Arisue Go, Randall Mai, Master K, Osada Steve, Mark of DV8 house, Lochai, and Jimi Tatu.