Ero Ouji is today one of Japan's leading Bakushi with his own distinctive style, and a favorite amongst the ladies in his audiences. His performances are a fusion of libido, sensual domination, sado-masochism, love and eroticism. The last performance I saw him give culminated in the lady sitting next to me exclaiming, “God! That man is pure sex!” He never seems to take his eyes off his model when he is tying, and even when he is behind her, he appears to stare right through the back of her head, as if to read every little nuance of reaction to what and how he is tying, and to make it look as it truly is – that she is the only thing existing in his world at that time.
Ero Ouji: My rope bondage is mostly my own style: the method of my Takatekote, tying legs or fingers and suspensions, are my own trial-and-error methods. The point is that it is not rope bondage to show off, to flaunt, or to brag, but the rope bondage from which I myself get sexually aroused the most. Nowadays I sometimes do performance rope bondage at shows or Nawakai rope gatherings, but the majority of my rope-play is still very much private.
Sin: How did you start in kinbaku and who were your influences?
Ero Ouji: It has been more than 35 years since I had my first taste of Kinbaku. It was during the late 1970s, when Japan still had only a weak perception of sexual matters, and it was still considered a disgraceful act for women to strip naked in the presence of others, unless she was a stripper or a porn actress. When I was about 20 years old I had learned the simple Takatekote tie from a Bakushi. I was taken, sexually speaking, by an older woman, and since I was still so young, although I was of course fascinated with women in a sexual way, I was not so much fascinated with Kinbaku. However, the older woman wanted me to tie her up. I couldn't really understand her, but I wanted to see how she reacted. So I tied her up. That was my first hands-on experience of Kinbaku. Her reaction was far beyond my sexual knowledge. I thought that she was acting, but she wasn't. I was shocked that she climaxed so many times and had an orgasm in only a Takatekote. After that, I shifted away from tying for a while. Maybe I wanted to get away from her because she was beyond my ability and discretion. But during the 1990s, I watched a BDSM performance at a strip joint and recalled that experience from my youth. So I took up the ropes again, and now here I am. I asked the late great akechi denki san for private lessons several times. I showed him my rope bondage, but he just said, “It's all right” and there was almost no actual practice. But, I watched him tying a model before my very eyes, and it was very enlightening.
Sin: When you are in performance, you and your model look like a couple indulging in a private scene, and this makes what you do even more pleasing to watch. Can you describe for our readers your emotions and feelings during a performance?
Ero Ouji: There is no routine. It depends on each other's feelings, physical condition, time, plans for the next day, Etc. Even if I tie the same woman in the same room in the same pattern, it will not be the same rope bondage. Even if I tie her in the same spirit, it always depends on the rope bottom's feelings. So, using ropes, I snuggle gently, maintain eye contact, give a gentle light kiss when she closes her eyes, clasp and hold her arms tightly, entwine tongues, make her feel how horny I am becoming in my breathing, give her an uplifting feeling before becoming frantic with each other. Afterwards, I give her a kiss of thanks to express my satisfaction, and tell her that I would like to embrace her again if I have a chance. Expressing these things to my satisfaction in the order that the rope bottom desires, this is my process of rope-play.
Sin: You use a very long bullwhip in your performance, and your style mixes eroticism with SM.
Ero Ouji: Of course, I also make sadistic rope-play that is associated with pain in the most effective way.
Sin: When you use rope-play, what are the considerations you recommend in respect to the rope bottom's welfare and pleasure?
Ero Ouji: In my opinion, Japanese women tend to be physically brittle compared with Western women. It seems to me that Western women have more resistance to pressure. So when you tie up a Japanese woman, you may injure her unintentionally. But, your inclination will be to have another session with such a wonderful person. Do you see? If you have succeeded in making her/him feel that she/he wants to be tied up again, the possibility of injuring will be extremely low. In any case, the rope bottom should feel delight when the rope top gets sexually aroused with her/him. So I believe the rope top should not be conscious about only making ‘beautiful rope bondage' for showing off. Kinbaku in which the rope top feels voluptuousness should be the most beautiful as a result.
Sin: You often use a bamboo spar to suspend your model. Can you explain any difficulties or particular hazards to be careful of when working with bamboo?
Ero Ouji: It is important that you use bamboo that has enough density, and no cracks or sharp parts at the joints. Some bamboo is strong enough even if it is cracked, but burrs and sharp joints can injure the rope bottom or damage the rope. You must be aware to avoid the bamboo hitting the rope bottom, and when tying, always secure at a joint so that the rope will not move or slip.
Sin: You are also known for your scented rope. Can you tell us the reason why, the rope you use, how you prepare it, and which scent works best?
Ero Ouji: Maybe I was the first to scent ropes, and nowadays it seems that many rope tops are trying to put a variety of scent in their own styles. But, it often seems that it does not work too well – too strong a scent, or mixed up with the scent of the rope itself, so the end result does not become as was expected, or the scent is only present for a short duration. In my case, I use jute Asanawa rope soaked in sake in order to clean off the jute batching oil before I treat for Kinbaku use. I do not boil in hot water. Because when I boil rope, it becomes softer than is my particular preference. Although my method doesn't clean off the oil completely, after soaking in sake my rope becomes scentless. Finally, I soak the rope in a fruit liqueur with essential oil. It seems that each scent is mixed between the rope and the Furoshiki wrapping cloth. My preparation allows the scent to linger for about two years. The scent is so faint that you cannot smell it unless you put your nose close to the rope. Sometimes it spreads while tying and the scent lingers on clothes and skin. The rope bottoms seem to like this, and for this reason I recommend you try it in your own way.
Sin: I know that you and Shigonawabingo san are close friends, and that you often frequent Bar -UBU- in Shinjuku. How important would you say that this and other locations are to people interested in Kinbaku, and can you describe your relationship to the Bar -UBU- and -mitsu- team?
Ero Ouji: The co-owner of Bar -UBU- and –mitsu-, Yoi Yoshida san and I were on speaking terms when we met at a Nawakai rope gathering before the establishment of Bar -UBU-. Yoi san was holding a Nawakai at a studio in Yotsuya, Tokyo, and I was attending frequently along with visiting many other Nawakai all over Japan. I met Bingo san when he was first starting with rope. He asked me to introduce him into a Nawakai, so I introduced him to Yoi san's, and that was the first encounter of Yoi san and Bingo san. Later, Yoi san and Bingo san established Bar -UBU- together, so there were two friends to drink with… so I am now a regular customer. Each Nawakai has its rules, and most prohibit alcohol. But there is no such rule in an SM bar where adults enjoy playing and drinking in moderation, and often together with Kinbaku. So Bar –UBU- is an SM bar with mostly Kinbaku.
Sin: I have noticed your humility and lack of ego. Would you say that an over-inflated ego and lack of etiquette and respect is a barrier to fully understanding the psychology of Kinbaku?
Ero Ouji: I do not show off, or be discourteous to other rope tops (mainly men), and likewise to rope bottoms that I may not tie (mainly women). If I gain respect or admiration from them, it may not come to anything, because I may not tie. It is same as in a golf party. A person who has an excellent score does not need to boast about it, and a person who has a bad score then does not feel a sense of inferiority. One should just reflect on or feel delight about oneself… I think that the skill of rope-play is not what is evaluated by anybody else. If both the rope top and the rope bottom are satisfied, then it is perfect. Alternatively, I treat the person who I want to tie in a confident manner. If a rope top feels anxious, it will reflect to the rope bottom right away, and then the rope bottom feels anxiety magnified. In order to avoid this, I believe we need a certain amount of self-confidence. If we do the same tie to the same person, the rope skills and ability to observe and communicate will not improve. I am a little overconfident with my skill, but I have an adventure. Hence, I always try new ties. The role of the rope top is to act in harmony with the reaction of the body and feeling of the rope bottom devoting themself. A rope top has to lead, and then interpret feedback from the reactions of the rope bottom, and then dominate her. But I must stress this – even a rope bottom who likes hard play sometimes feels that they want to be treated gently today. The rope top and rope bottom both must have the taste of the moment together – violent, gentle, stern, erotic, Etc. Moving closer together by fully using all my senses… that is my Kinbaku. Let us all enjoy rope forever.