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1. About the history of
Bondage Project

2. Interview with the Founder of this Page

3. The magic Triangle - Article


1. How it starts

Dear friends of japanese bondage,
because it's a fact that we can't get the smell of the finished hemp rope, the sound of it moving over skin, the structure it leaves on human tissue, the postures it forces the human body to take, out of our minds, we believe that there are a lot more people who understand and seek this special fascination.

When I, Matthias, 1978 tied up a woman for the first time, it was a cotton scarf I used. Before this first time there had been several discussions: It's chauvinistic and anti-women to want to do this, but well, then, if it makes you horny ... Not until we got over our feelings of guilt, my then girlfriend and I dared to try erotic bondage.
Then and for several years afterwards, when I used ropes, handcuffs or leather cuffs, the main aim was to make the "victim" unable to move, to be able to do what you wanted to do with her sexually.

It was 1990 approximately that I first saw a copy with japanese bondage. With Dana and a colleague from Charon I was on an office outing. I was so fascinated by it and unable to hide my feelings, that Dana bought the copy and gave it to me (the first time in my life I got a porno as a present from a woman). It was one of these small, badly printed copies you can still get everywhere. The pictures showed more than women tied up in different postures - they were artistically and erotically stimulating as well. Photos which seemed to tell little dirty and exciting stories. Lovingly arranged details, traditional japanese interiors, the serious, bashful faces of the models, the hiding of the female private parts with lather, paper flowers or the thick black line of the (japanese) censor irritated me greatly, but all in all it gave the pictures a certain additional attraction.

1995 I began to surf on the internet, looking for bondage and SM pictures. Despite lots of clearing work I now possess quite a good selection of japanese bondage pictures (and, fortunately, a big enough hard disk ...). But I was wrong in thinking that the number of pictures was unlimited. The photos, mainly published in the newsgroups alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.bondage and alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.orientals, aren't always new ones, but are posted again and again. The japanese market is much better ther; here you can find magazine series coming out with new pictures weekly or monthly at least.
But the number of really beautiful pictures is limited anyway. Wellknown photographers like Araki, who made the japanese bondage to an accepted art even in Europe, are rare figures. Most of the photos are made with porno models, and you can see at once the difference between the pornographic and the artful bondage photography.
1998 I began working on my bondage textbook (published at Charon). Automatically that led to an intensive occupation with the finer points of japanese bondage. Some things were simple and clear to me, especially after having looked at japanese pictures for years. But many things I couldn't understand, some I simply overlooked. The success of my book and my newly awakened passion drove me to want to write a new book, this time more picture oriented and dedicated solely to japanese bondage.

I began to look for models via adds in the Schlagzeilen. Even at the first dates I saw that I could make good pictures only if there was a certain erotic tension between the model and me. But somehow I didn't know where to go.

Then in May 2000 I was in Tokyo and had the opportunity to wtch several masters and mistresses, to ask them lots of silly questions and to make a fool of myself with my bondage skills. But the Japanese are extremely polite people, and they didn't let me feel it. I learnt an awful lot in Japan. And suddenly I knew what works how and why. I learnt how to look after of the hemp ropes, so that they become soft and can snuggle up to the body. I understood why the Japanese always take the ropes double, why the ends are unspliced and are tied in a knot instead.

Back in Hamburg, I began to practice everywhere. There was no party where I didn't find several willing victims. I loved to let people experience being held, surrounded, supported by ropes.
Many of my friends began to question me about what I saw in Japan. To answer all these questions, I began working on these pages. Some time I wanted to find out what would happen when I made bondage photos myself. That way the first galleries with European models came into being. Dana, who before thought bondage rather boring, was so fascinated by her first experiences with being suspended, that she wanted to learn the technique herself. We decided that she should become my master pupil.

One evening she said to me it would be a real pity if I packed everything in just one book and suggested to publish a magazine coming out four times a year.
And so the idea of the Bondage Project and Japanbondage.de was born.

Now some things has changed. Bondageproject.com was established of one of germanys most informative bondage pages. I has been working with more than 200 models. I am doing bondage-classes and shows all over Europe and sometimes in Tokyo.


My first mobile bondagepost 2001 at the CSD in Hamburg

2. Interview with Drachenmann

Interview with the founder of Bondage Project

1. Who's Matthias Drachenmann?
I was born in june 1953 in Hamburg, northern Germany. And there I live and work as one of the editors of the biggest german BDSM Magazine and Publishing House - Schlagzeilen (www.schlagzeilen.com). Several years ago after my BDSM Comming-out I also start my own piercing and branding "studio" (www.kiss-of-fire.com). Working for the two handbooks I have written (the first about all BDSM technics and the second about all kinds of Bondage) I became more an more interested in japanese bondage. After my first visit in Tokyo in 2000 I started my page www.japanbondage.de resp. www.bondageproject.com

2 . Tell us about how you discover the kinbaku, and about your first experience.
My first look at japanese bondage photos was about 25 years ago. It was a black and white magazine called "Cherry Blossoms" and published by an american publishing house, but there was orginal japanese photos in it. More than 10 years later I stumbled again on magazines about japanese bondage. These photos were very erotic and artsy too. I began to look for more informations about these special technics. But it was the internet which let me find a very good resource www.kikkou.com . There is a very good tutorial about several bondages, some of them from Randa Mai. Then I started to experiment with these bondages.

3. You visit Tokyo a few times. Tell us about your shibari performance there.
The first two years I was a "Shibari-Pupil" looking at the fingers of Osada Sensei, Chiba Sensei, Akechi Denki and some others. But during my third visit they told me, that there is not much to learn for me anymore. I was asked to do shows by myself with japenese models. There is a big difference working with japanese girls or with my onw models (like this year, when I brought my two best models with me to Tokyo). Japanese models are more into show and most of them are going into there feelings, closing there eyes and let the bondage performer do. With my german models it is more a two person communication. But both has its own attraction. The japense models mostly did not speak english very well and my japanese is more than poor. So there is always a kind of barrier and lack in communication. But most of the japenese girls I am working with are professionals. "How do you want my face: More in a neutral way or suffering?" one of my japanese model-girls asked me. It was great doing performances in front of japanese audiences. At the Department H (biggest monthly Fetish and SM event in Tokyo) or at some SM-Clubs like Bondage Bar or Tokyo Jail or at Studio Six or the Osada Seminar, always it was good and the japanese people were polite and respectfull to me.

4. Some Rope Artists was an inspiration to you? Who?
When I was in Tokyo for the first time, I saw Osada Sensei in two Shows, Chiba and Akechi Denki. They all answered my questions and helps me to a 2 week "enlightning". The first master I saw during his work (in the photo series wokshops at www.kikkou.com) was Randa Mai. I think, after seeing some films of him, he the best male bondage performer in the world. I learned so much techical things. I also saw a film of Romain Slocombe called "Tokyo Love" with a very sensitive Bondage Mistress, I like her slow and aestetic way of play using flowers, combs and the belt of the kimono of her victim. But I try to find my own style.
There were also so many anonymous bondagers, I like their work from looking to photos.

5. Which other sensei and nawashi do you like?
I have not seen so much other bondage performers, but I like Midori for her special mixture of entertainment and bondage, I like also Shibari Patrick (he is working with bamboo rods and rope) and for sure, I like my master student Jemina, who is doing ropeworks rather good and she is doing also self suspension.

6. Do you have a favorite kind of rope?
I always use hemp rope. I like very much the 5 mm japanese rope, but for the main rope during suspensions I always use the more heavy german 6 mm rope for safty reasons. In my early bondage times, I used cotton rope, because it is more easy to wash.

7. Do you have a favorite tying?
All kinds of suspensions, but I like the Ebi Shibari too.

8. Do you like other bondage styles?
When I was 17 years old I saw the book "Sweet Gwendoline" from John Willie. And I liked it very much. With these bondages I made my first experiences. Later I saw pictures of the restraints the illustrator Bishop is doing and I liked them too. But at the moment, I have no senses for american bondage. Only japanese bondage and my own style. Smile

9. Do you practice other BDSM things?
Oh yes. I am a kind of friendly sadist ;-) I am into pain, shame games, torture, but always with a loving attitude. I just had an article in SM-Sniper (the big japanese Bondage and SM magazine) about Cutting, Nailing and Needling, so I am also into blood games. I have no connections to these master/slave things, I do not like "victims" I only like "accomplies".

10. Do you have some work on the Internet, in the press and other media?
Yes, I have some work in the internet: www.bondageproject.com aka www.japanbondage.de and www.ropeart.de . I was the winner of an SM-Photoaward in Germany this year, have had an exhibition in Hamburg with some of my pictures. Because I am the author of the "Bondage-Handbuch" I have been in some magazines about bondage. In the beginning of this year I started a small Video production, some Session films, some Performance films (from my work in Tokyo with japanese models) and the newest project is a Bondage Workshop on 5 videos (every film is about 1 ½ hour). I am doing performances in Barcelona (Spain), Tokyo, Berlin, Frankfurt, Kopenhaven (Danmark) and may be in England. I also give Bondage and SM-Lessons in Hamburg.

11. Are you working on some new project related to kinbaku?
New project? I try to do more films and a big video firm asked me wether I would be in the mood to do films with them.

12. What does kinbaku represent to you?
Normally I do not use the japanese words for Bondage or BDSM. Japanese Bondage is a very clear and beautifull way to play with girls like puppets on strings. It is something between art, meditation, show, sex, suffering and love and respect. And for me the hemp rope is a part of my body. I can do the bondage with closed eyes, because my hands know. I have a problem with these guys who thinks, that Shibari is a kind of only art or only this or that. Shibari is like pottery or ikebana but with living flowers. It is like life: A game of learning and doing. No mystic thing in it. There is so much rumor about the ancient roots of Shibari, but I am a german and I have no roots in Japan. I love Japan and on the other hand, I know, that I would not like to live in Japan forever.

13. A word for all new nawashi and students of kinbaku.
Trust your hands. If your hands do not fit to the material, you can learn as much technical things as you want, but you will never catch the spririt of the rope. Trust your partner and let him tell about his feelings, when he is in your rope and correct immediatly any problems he will report to you.

3. The magic Triangle or the art of aesthetically staged devotion

Japanese rope bondage or shibari consists of more than a rope artist and his model - in its most beautiful form it expresses devotion and, in accepting the devotion, love, security, tenderness. It means holding someone and being held, responsibility handed over and accepted. The apparent restriction of movement by the ties may become a deep inner liberation; the body, forced into different positions, reaches a near meditative peace.

Similar to the seated and motionless Buddhist monks, the safety of the expertly used rope can become the way to a trancelike condition of inner rest.

The Europeans first met with Japanese style bondage in the middle of the 1970s in small, badly printed magazines. Titles like "Cherry Blossoms" even then emphasized the romantic-lyrical element over the pornographic. Currently, books like Nobuyoshi Araki's "Tokyo Lucky Hole," published by one of Japan's most respected and legitimate publishers of photographic books, the spreading and increasing importance of images on the Internet and films like "Tokyo Decadence" all show Japanese bondage as an original part of erotic culture in today's Japan. Meanwhile Shibari even forms part of everyday Japanese advertising and PR (Chiemsee) and is currently being taught to the curious and interested public in workshops, via mailing lists and the famous website www.kikkou.com.

Just as the Japanese had interest in and made use of the erotic sensibilities and visuals of western culture, integrating western forms and varieties into their own graphic arts, many rope artists in the West included some shibari influences from the land of the rising sun.

Naturally the question soon arose whether it is still shibari when western hands are tying the ropes around western bodies; even when the positions used are those derived from the basic forms of Japanese bondage. Using Japanese decorations like kimonos, bamboo, paper-covered sliding walls and bonsai, the western photographer tries to convey a mood similar to that in Japanese bondage photography. But still there is a decisive difference between the western and the eastern way of looking at things.

Japanese bondage pictures often show accessories totally missing in western photography: dildos, urinals, implements for enemas, vibrators; indications that suggest there is more going on than just an artistic/erotic performance. Also, there are different perspectives that compete in the several varieties of Japanese bondage photography. Sometimes the photographer is a chronicler of an erotic performance, sometimes a pornographer, and sometimes there is only the perspective of the pure artist.

Western shibari photography, though, is primarily an erotic experiment, an adventurous journey - but the perspective focuses on the beauty of devotion, of the bound body, at the mercy of the rope, of the withdrawn look of the apparent victim. Sex, let alone lasciviousness are existent in western bondage photography only in a transcended form.

There is one thing that both Japanese and Japanese inspired shibari photography have in common, the pictures are always playing with the look. The look of the model, the look of the photographer, and the look of the observer. This triangle is an ancient expression of Japanese eroticism. Three hundred year old woodblock erotic art (chunga) from 17th century Japan already shows the tensions between the devoted couple and also a female or male observer. Even in modern photography, when only one of the figures is depicted and the other characters in this erotic triangle are missing or stay abstract - the performance of flesh and rope, look and interior is effective only as long as this triangle exists.

Just like the rope artist is nothing without his model, so the erotic shibari picture is nothing without the observer.

And so Bondage Project takes us to a world of beauty, of sensual dreams and of longings fulfilled. The observer is invited to a very personal journey and so becomes part of the magical triangle.

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