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Esinem Interview

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LFAJRB_2011 (167)

Esinem is a Japanese style bondage (shibari/kinbaku) artist who regularly appears at UK and international events such as Torture Garden, Erotica, Rubber Ball, Wasteland, Boundcon, Nuit Demonia and most recently represented the UK at Japan’s first international kinbaku event, Toubaku.  He is also known for his monthly bondage courses and evening classes, which run regularly in south London and as co-organiser of the London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage.

Esinem is one of the very few non-Japanese who could come to Japan 
and dazzle the locals with his rope.” Osada Steve, Tokyo

Over the last few years, he has been improving his skills in Japan with the help of two of their best known and respected kinbakushi, Arisue Go and Osada Steve. More recently, he has benefitted from tuition from Kinoko Hajime, Japan’s hottest young star. Whilst drawing from classical methods, his style is distinctive, blending sensuality and sadism in equal measures, often departing from the typical serenity of shibari shows and flying in the face of tradition to produce some striking and unusual performances.

And if I had to put my finger on my favorite non-Japanese newaza man, it’ll be YOU without hesitation.” Osada Steve, Tokyo

In addition, he has worked on various videos, artistic collaborations and photo shoots both on and off camera. He recently contributed to Rope, Bondage & Power, edited by Lee Harrington and is currently involved with a number of documentaries on kinbaku.



SM: When you look back when you first got interested in Bondage is there something you would do differently knowing what you know today?

Esinem: I wish I’d started by looking at what the experts are doing in Japan, not at western interpretations based on almost zero knowledge of the real thing.

SM: Where do you get your inspiration?
Esinem: I’m obviously heavily influenced by my teachers: Osada Steve, Kinoko Hajime and Arisue Go but I’ve always tried to hold on to my own style. I love the photos that Sugiura takes. More recently, I have been looking at the old style kinbaku as I’d like to do something a little different from the ubiquitous 2 and 3-rope takate kotes and futo-momo suspensions.

SM: Can you tell me anything about your creative process? Where do your ideas originate, how do you bring them to life? Is it a long process?
Esinem: I love to be able to launch into some involved and esoteric explanation but the truth is that it’s more like having sex and I don’t have a 3-point plan for that either. Most the time I’m not sure what I’m going to do until I have done it.

SM: In your opinion how long does it take to become a professional rigger? and what all does that entail to be deemed professional?
Esinem: How long is the proverbial piece of string? It depends on ability, dedication, tuition and imagination. To coin Osada Steve’s expression: The richness of ones’ nawa soup, i.e. whether one is making money. I seem to recall a pro being distinguished from an amateur by that ability.

SM: What do you like to do for fun?
Esinem: Apart from tying up hot girls? Travel, motorbikes, diving, photography (just as well!), sticking a finger up at authority, e.g.

SM: Do you do many performances?
Esinem: Well, I’m usually doing some public play most weekends and I’m pretty much part of the furniture at places like Torture Garden or Resistance Gallery. That tends to get referred to as ‘performances’ but I would use the word more strictly. In terms of scheduled performances, a dozen or so a year

SM: What is your upcoming schedule like?
Esinem: Over Easter, we are launching BOUND, which is an evening of shibari shows mixed with a munch at the Flying Dutchman in Camberwell.  I’m teaching at Schwelle 7 in Berlin next month for a week and performing at Boundcon in Munich in May. In the summer, I’ll be at Secret Garden Party with S&Mpathy, then off to Australia for more teaching. Then, of course, we have the London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage to plan….there’s lots of other stuff in between: classes, shoots…

SM: Do you like to use colored rope?
Esinem: My main set at the moment is burgundy. I have black, blue and even day-glo pink.  Black is a nightmare to tie with as it just blends into an inky mess in bad light.

SM: Do you have any rolemodels?
Esinem: I wouldn’t say there is one specific one. I have always been aware of the danger of becoming a clone so I try not to draw just from one source. Each kinbakushi seems to have a particular strength, so I’m hoping to extract the best of each. A tall order admittedly but good to strive for even if I never get a fraction of the way there.

SM: Most important Advice to riggers?
Esinem: Extract as much as you can from one piece of rope before you pick up the next. It’s a language, not just a means of restraint.

SM: How has your style and technique changed over the last ten years?
Esinem: Beyond recognition, even in the last couple of years! In the first 5, I learned very little of use apart from becoming familiar in handling it. Around the cusp of the first and second 5 years, I went to Japan and it confirmed the inkling I had that this was all about communicating with rope and that restraint was merely a by-product. Over the past 5 years, I have developed both my tying and, most importantly, how I use that rope to put my submissive in the state we both desire.

SM: What are the top ten facts a rigger should know about rope before getting or using any?
1.    It is a tool of communication, an entire language.
2.    It is an extension of your hands.
3.    How not to hurt people accidentally.
4.    Learn some good solid techniques from somebody who provide evidence a) They can tie well b) They have learned from a reputable source
5.    Practice
6.    Practice with your eyes closed
7.    Practice till your brain has forgotten how to do it but you hands remember
8.    Keep a safe means of release handy, e.g EMT shears
9.    Use a suitable rope. For shibari, I suggest a 3-ply twisted natural fibre rope of 5-6mm diameter and 7-8m in length. My preference is jute as it is lighter, ages better and doesn’t have the rank smell of some hemp.
10.    Stay within your abilities and knowledge. It is better to leave them wanting more than saying “Never again!”

SM: In your opinion what should an experienced rigger always keep in mind?
Esinem: Never get complacent. Even rope gods are human. A couple of pros dropping models recently underlines that.

SM: In your opinion Can nerve damage be avoided?
Esinem: No, not even by not doing bondage.  I have permanent nerve damage in both feet from squatting for prolonged periods in heavy boots. It’s all part of that terminal condition from which we all suffer: Life. Sure, shit happens.  That is not to say I am dismissive about it. I have done a lot of research and the only conclusions are some very general guidelines about rope placement and avoiding tightness in certain places. What is fine for one person can be very injurious to another, we are all so different in where the nerves are or to what extent they are vulnerable. Some people are just not designed for tying up, others are bomb-proof, like pro-bondage models.  Proper technique and an understanding of your partner’s body are essential, as is their feedback, in order to minimise the risks. Suspension is particularly liable to result in injuries of this type. Now that shibari suspensions are all the rage, I can foresee more and more people who should not be suspending those who shouldn’t be suspended. They forget that they are often trying to emulate a rigger at the top of his profession with a model who is nothing short of a trained athlete. I mean they wouldn’t enter Formula I with their ageing Ford, would they?

SM: Can you explain your rigging technique?
Esinem: A friend who a tied in Tokyo described the session as being like a small vessel riding a storm at sea. I liked that.

SM: How did you choose the name EsinEm?
Esinem: One of my early shows was a parody of Eminem’s stage persona with a hockey mask and a chainsaw. Kumi, my model, who claimed no acting talent, did an immensely convincing job when I chased her on stage with it. When, I queried her professed lack of thespian talent, she answered with a tremulous voice “…but I wasn’t acting. I have never been chased with a running chainsaw before!”. So, anyway, S&M seemed an apt corruption of M&M (Marshall Mathers) and a pretty strong brand name.

SM: Do you give private lessons or workshops?
Esinem: Both, in the UK and abroad.

SM: What type of art do  you like and Who is your favorite artist in general?
Esinem: Art Deco. As I have already alluded, I’m a big fan of Sugiura Norio’s photos. I am also fond of Japanese art. Yoshitoshi’s somewhat gruesome Lonley House on Adachi Moor has pride of place in my home.

SM:: Any inspirational Thoughts, words of wisdom, or advice to new Bondage, Rigger, BDSM enthusiast?
Esinem: Compare my work from the earlier part of the last decade and what you see now. If that doesn’t give you hope, I don’t know what will. It was beyond awful. Today, good teaching is so accessible. Japanese experts are teaching worldwide and even if you can’t get to a course first hand, there are now a lot of good western teachers.

SM: Do you like winter, spring or summer better?
Esinem: Ha! That’s a trick question. It depends where I am. I’m not fond of cold, wetness or greyness. Yes, I appreciate the contradiction with choosing to live in the UK. Mind you, I can tolerate winters like the one we seem to be having here right now.

SM: Three people you would you like to see interviewed?
Esinem: Real living people or those of a disputed existence?  If the latter, God and the Devil by Michael Parkinson. It would be worth videoing. I think Lord Lucan could be an interesting one…
George Bush with Osama Bin Laden and Julian Assange?
I think Osada Steve covered most of the ‘bakushi on Tokyobound, even the late Akechi Denki. Hmm, I wonder what he’d have to say about the scene now?



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