Alert reader NuitdeTokyo has sent in the following interview with the late grandmaster Akechi Denki. What makes this contribution so special is that the interview first appeared more than 30 years ago in a little-known magazine called Venus (now defunct).
NuitdeTokyo reports: Inspired by the extensive bibliography in Master K’s recently released book “The Beauty Of Kinbaku” I found myself bargain hunting for rare books and facsimile in downtown Tokyo, when I came across this little magazine. It featured a very sexy vanilla cover, but the inside was exclusively SM content. This issue of Venus is probably from around 1976, and to my delight it carried an interview with Akechi Denki at a time when the full talent of the maestro was yet to be discovered; at a time before he had started doing public performances – yet was already active for 20 years in the Shibari scene.
In Shibari Untie Speed Is King
Why private play and public performances aren’t the same
In this article, we are introducing Akechi Denki a master with more than 20 years of SM history. Now in his late thirties, while managing his own business, he is working as a nawashi, acting as adviser for shows.
“My very first interest in SM was sparked when I was in the sixth year of primary school, I saw an old issue of Kitan Club (a legendary sm magazine, now defunct) in a second-hand bookshop. I remember what a shock it was. After that I became a regular reader of erotic books as well as magazines such as Decameron and Uramado (two other legendary magazines of that time). When in junior high school, I used to ride my bicycle for 15 minutes to visit a rental bookstore to rent erotic books. By the time I was in high school, I went one level up reading Nikutai no Mon (The Gate of the Flesh) (a well known pornographic magazine at the time) and other photo albums while cutting classes. At the same time, I was already practicing Shibari techniques on my own body.”
“As I was living in an old house, on the second floor there were several beams, which I could use easily to set up the ropes. While my parents were away, I often tried ropes and candle wax in that space, putting a candle on my foot or arm and letting it burn until the flame extinguished by itself as part of my training. The hard part was the rope, especially sakasa-zuri (inverse suspension), as I would use a chair as a launching pad to throw me in the air, sometimes weighting me down with a stone. I had to pull myself up from the Shibari, the training was hard but would prove extremely useful later when I would use the techniques on other persons.”
“Approximately at that same time I was diagnosed with a severe heart condition and had to undergo an operation whose success rate at the time was only 10%. I was told I would only live until age 30 and I decided to do only the things I like in the time I had left.”
“Finally the operation was a success and I am still alive today. And I have not stopped playing. I tied up my first girl when I was 26. She was my girlfriend at the time. She shouted and resisted a lot. As I thought it was the end of it, I treated her rather cruelly. I used twisted cotton instead of jute rope and gave her a lot of hot wax. In total I did three sessions with her, but I did not manage to make myself understood and we finally split up.”
“I can usually find whether a girl has an M side or not. When meeting, one of the ways of finding out is by grabbing her hair and pulling her down slowly to the ground. Also, if se has shaved her underarms it is a strong indication. (This is very context dependent, as underarm hair is a strong erotic stimulus for Japanese.) Of course, if you have no experience it is hard but you can understand her reaction in nine cases out of ten.”
Mr Akechi is presently in charge of the Shibari for approximately 10 photos sessions a month. (At the time a number of “photo clubs” were organizing photo sessions with models for their members. If the theme was Shibari then a nawashi was called in to do the tying.)
“As for Shibari, one could have the impression that anyone who can memorize the knots could do it, but in fact when performing in public it is a very different and difficult thing to do. First, the girl also has things she likes and it is necessary to act in accordance with her preferences. At the very least, one needs to know at least 40 o 50 Shibari techniques and it is also important to always research new patterns.”
In my case, I always try out a new model first. It is very dangerous to start too abruptly. Then the next time, when more ropes are used, it is hard work to make sure that the first rope does not become loose. Also if we tie the first rope too tight and we are forced to loosen it, it will slip later. This is the very important task of the Nawashi.”
“The point is not to tie fast, but to untie fast. If you tie to the utmost limit and it takes time to undo the tie then the situation may become dangerous.”
As I asked Mr Akechi if he had any intention of performing as a Semeshi (literally a master of torture) he said this was difficult.
“I am very much a fetishist and my private plays are very different from shows. When I tie a girl I usually only untie her after one hour, one cannot do something like that in a show, for a private play you need time. Still I will probably end up doing shows.”
When that time comes, it will surely be a superb show and we all be looking forward to it.