The myth of the myth of Japanese rope bondage

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The myth of the myth of Japanese rope bondage

One of the oddest things I’ve become aware of regarding Japanese bondage is the tendency in some quarters to want people to believe that Japanese masters of rope promote some kind of myth surrounding the practice of their bondage. They seem to suggest that there’s some conspiracy to create the notion of some super hidden inner mystic knowledge about Japanese rope work.

This seems very strange to me as, of the actual Japanese practitioners that I’ve had the fortune to meet, perform, teach with, talk to, or otherwise communicate with… not one of them has ever suggested or hinted at any such thing. In fact they all communicate that hard work study and lots and lots of practice is the route to improvement.

I’m perfectly prepared to believe that there will be some who don’t want to teach all they know or keep some techniques to themselves but that’s hardly the same thing. So… where does this idea come from? I can think of a couple of possibilities for it.

People who can’t see the path between their clumsy efforts to the “apparently” effortless execution of a real expert or can’t face the amount of straightforward hard work they’d need to do. Perhaps they want to believe that there’s some mystical short cut that will take them “from zero to hero” without all that tedious learning and practice. Then of course it’s not their fault they can’t do so well, not laziness or whatever, it’s because some vital secret that if only they knew it would make all the difference.

On the other hand the myth that people have created a false myth is a useful tool to those that wish to devalue something. OK that sentence doesn’t read very well but you get the idea. If you can point to something saying look it’s just a myth at the heart of it it’s very easy to dismiss the whole thing as containing nothing of value. It’s also very misleading. These straw man arguments are created because it’s so much easier to attack the straw man that they created than to deal with having to produce a real argument.

As I say those are just a couple of possibilities. Maybe it’s just because of the former scarcity of information. Nature abhors a vacuum and it’s easy to believe that people will fill the void with things they’ve just made up. Or even that they pretend to know something you don’t but that it’s a super hidden inner mystic knowledge that you’ll only ever learn when you’re worth or some other cock and a bull line.

Whatever the reason the myth of the myth of Japanese bondage doesn’t really serve anyone except to mislead and the motivations for that aren’t worthy whatever their origin.

To be honest with you, I don’t see how this could be any kind of a benefit to anyone except those that have some personal agenda to push.

I can’t see for instance how those that are really interested would benefit from being initially mislead and then finding out that they’d been mislead. I think that would be discouraging rather than encouraging.

There is without any false myth of super hidden inner mystic knowledge a real mystery and magic. The mystery is of what you don’t know yet. The magic is of discovery.

If these sound mundane then I’m sorry, but I have always loved the ‘magic’ of learning, the moments of discovery, and the reward of hard work. Because then you did it. It’s not magic, and it is wonderful.

By | 2017-03-17T09:57:17+00:00 July 17th, 2012|Categories: Bondage, Education, Japanese, Life, Rope|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

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2 Comments

  1. Gospodin July 18, 2012 at 2:41 am

    There seems to be a bit of a waking-up about artistic rope bondage, and a realization that a lot of it actually isn’t specifically Japanese in origin. I used to spot a regular commenter who would get upset at people calling certain techniques “shibari”, and insist that the style in some particular image was clearly informed more by macramé than a Japanese tradition. Some people just want to be the cleverest sceptic in the room at all times.

    I do believe that there was a period in the 1990s when many European and American rope bondage practitioners deliberately cultivated a mystique about Japan. I think it was just part of the “coming out” process in general; and while it was problematic at the time, we’ve grown as a community and moved past that. If anything, this is the legitimate side to the myth-of-the-myth. I have to credit Midori for dispelling much of this stuff for me, and she succeeded largely by having a good “let me tell you interesting things about sexuality in Japan” hook.

  2. MaillerPhong July 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Cultivating that false mystique also helps push the idea that the greedy shibari hucksters just want to take your money without really teaching you anything special. If the entire thing is a sham, then certainly paying money for it is that much more an insult to right thinking “knowledge wants to be free” folk.

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