On a weekly basis I am asked what books I would recommend on rope.
I am not convinced that books are the best way to learn Shibari, and think that videos and personal tuition are the easiest way to learn, having said that below is a roundup of the books that I have on rope, and some notes on them for those looking to buy!
BOOKS ABOUT THE KINBAKU WORLD
This book contains a wealth of information on who is who in the rope world, how different schools of tying have developed and what the differences between these styles are. While it does contain some “how to” this is really a book for those wanting to find out more about Kinbaku not a guide which will teach you to tie.
This book supports a Documentary exploration of Kinbaku in London and Tokyo, providing an outside perspective of the rope world. It’s a snapshot of a moment in time, and its rather lovely to look at now knowing where the various people featured have gone with the rope careers since but this is not a guide for those wishing to learn rope rather it gives a view of how the rope scene looked at a particular time.
This short book draws on Barkas study in linguistics and is a broadly technical and philosophical discussion on how communication in rope occurs, proposing that the process of tying someone is similar to the process of interviewing someone. This is not a book aimed at beginners, and rather is one entering into a discussion about why we do rope in the way that we do, and how best to describe this.
This book contains articles by a range of authors about their approach to rope work and is a worthwhile read for both insights and getting a sense of the breadth of different approaches. It’s a good book if you can find it at its “regular” price but its now hard to get hold of and is often being sold for inflated prices beyond its value.
BOOKS ON BEING TIED
Currently the only books on being tied are those by Evie Vane: http://www.ropebottoming.com
These books are well worth a read along with Clover’s free rope bottom guide.
PHOTO ROPE BOOKS
This is a 26 page printed on poor quality paper showing photos of a single rig with one model tied by Bingo Shigonawa. For those interested in Bingo san’s work a far better source for it is his freely available tumblr http://shigonawabingo.tumblr.com
INSTRUCTIONAL ROPE BOOKS
I have not included a full list of rope books out there but have instead just include those i personally own. I also have not included books which address rope in a single chapter – but rather am just looking at the books dealing exclusively with rope.
For me this and the Miumi-U book (see below) get my top pick slot for rope books for beginners. Its well written and photographed, easy to follow, and is written by someone with a wealth of knowledge to share.
Miumi-U is a world class rigger and this book provides a superb introduction to rope, while also having things to teach more experienced riggers. Well worth owning!
- The Seductive Art Of Japanese Bondage by Midori
This is the first book i owned on rope bondage, and it has a lot of good content, but having been first published in 17 years ago there are books which cover the material better, and are simpler to follow. This book was groundbreaking and it is one worth having in your collection, but it’s not the first one I would advise people to rush out and buy.
Douglas Kent has achieved something really rather excellent in his pictorial diagrams of how to tie rope, he has developed a wonderful system that is easy to follow. However while his books allow users to easily follow his instructions their is some debate about whether what he is teaching is “best practice”. For a critique of these books see https://esinem.com/news/incomplete-understanding-of-the-box-tie
Two Knotty Boys
No mention of books on rope work would be complete without mention the Two Knotty Boy’s books. The first book showing you the ropes suffers a bit from its black and white photos compared to the more glossy feel of Back on the Ropes. These books focus on fusion style rigging as opposed to kinbaku, but they have introduced many people to rope work and are partially of interest to people who like decorative ties.