Gift Wrapped

The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage, a coffee-table book from Mistress Midori

This Christmas it pays to be naughty. While good boys and girls might get a nifty scarf set, naughty ones could find their stockings stuffed with Fetish Diva Midori's new coffee-table book, The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage. A gift that's bound to keep giving back, the guide offers a detailed exploration of shibari, the ancient sexual practice of bondage that has a 2,500-year history in Japan. Rope has had many uses in Japanese culture, from decorative packaging to fashions such as the kimono to the medieval martial art called hojo jitsu, in which samurai bound their prisoners with twine and string. Published by Greenery Press, an Emeryville-based publishing house with the motto “reading for the sexually adventurous,” the how-to manual features Craig Morey's large color photographs of the finished poses — the “open leg crab,” the “bamboo rod,” the “tortoise shell body harness” — and step-by-step instructions illustrating how to tie the knots or select the ideal rope.

Mistress Midori is the perfect player to write about the subject: Anyone with even a passing interest in BDSM in this city has heard of the sexpert, a regular at local erotic events. Born in Kyoto and raised in a “feminist intellectual Tokyo household,” Midori has long been in the business of fetish and fantasy, with her own dungeon in Upper Market. The professional dominatrix cites as some of her passions “fuzzy bunny things, suspension, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts”; she retired this November to teach S/M full time and focus on her writing. Though she's no longer available for private sessions, devotees shouldn't panic: The UC Berkeley graduate (she holds a degree in psychology) and former U.S. Army Reserves intelligence officer and sex educator at San Francisco Sex Information still gives seminars, tutorials, and workshops for couples and individuals. Describing her career as one that has allowed her to “live in vibrant Technicolor” rather than have a “dull, sepia-colored life” in the corporate world, Midori is adept at much more than the typical games of master and servant. A specialist in rope bondage, she explains that much of the appeal comes from the style's aesthetic value. “It's not enough to simply use rope to safely reduce the submissive's mobility. The rope must create visual pleasure for the one binding, the one bound, and any other observers.”

At the book-signing, both experienced practitioners and timid voyeurs will have the chance to study enlarged copies of the photographs and ask questions of the authors and models. Rumor has it that the “ambassador of kink” may even be kind enough to show off her skills with impromptu demonstrations.

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