Aibunawa (愛撫縄) means “caressing rope”. It is the opposite term to Semenawa and is one of the core concepts in Yukimury-Ryû. It describes the way the rope is used, namely tenderly and carefully. The goal is to reduce pain and unpleasant sensations as much as possible.

It is about gentle stimuli and subtle interactions, so that a harmonious togetherness unfolds between Bakushi and Ukete. It is about loving and gentle interaction that helps bring out sensuality and deep emotions. This way of doing shibari is the trademark of Yukimura Haruki.

To me, shibari is an emotional exchange between a man and a woman. That´s unique to Japan – to express love and emotion entirely through the medium of rope. So Shibari is not how you do this tie or that tie, it’s how you use the rope to exchange emotions with another.

Yukimura Haruki

It can be significantly more difficult to do Aibunawa than Semenawa. Semenawa requires clear guidance, and Ukete knows what is expected. The physical challenge of it already generates a lot of tension and intensity and helps to get into the right mental mindset.

Aibunawa, however, leaves more space and demands more cooperation. Depending on the the preferences of Bakushi and Ukete, it can be advisable to focus on Aibunawa or Semenawa.

Ambivalence as Style Element

Aibunawa generally requires less rope and is tied more loosely than Semenawa. This allows the illusion that escape from the rope is still possible, while, however, the subtle skills of Bakushi always lead Ukete further. The hierarchy is hidden, not suspended or undermined, and the more Ukete understands how inescapable the situation is, the more intense the experience becomes.

Aibunawa thus has an ambivalent meaning and deliberately plays with this ambiguity.


Aisatsu (挨拶) means “greeting”. These shibari patterns are warm-up and familiarization exercises that are technically simple and easy to learn. Defined patterns are used in Osada-Ryû, but with the right mix of minimalism and concentration, each pattern becomes an aisatsu, for example, the marriage proposal (求婚縛り) or one-rope techniques (一本縄).

The aisatsu techniques are an excellent warm-up exercise. This makes the transition from everyday life to the shibari-encounter easier and bakushi and ukete tune into each other. A short duration of ten to 15 minutes is already enough to mentally tune into the shibari encounter or lesson.

However, these techniques have more than one function. One can also use aisatsu techniques to test ukete’s agility or explore the mood. By varying tension and distance, bakushi can make different offers to which ukete responds.

Depending on how ukete reacts, the next steps become clear. This basic technique can be further used later, when more complex patterns are executed.

Bakushi and ukete start a conversation in which bakushi asks and ukete answers. This allows both partners to steer and create a shared shibari experience.

Gentle leading plays a big role, because if bakushi works with too much energy, ukete cannot freely explore and express a reaction.

Osada Steve zeigt das Aisatsu-Shibari, 2018 in der Harukumo-Juku
Osada Steve zeigt das Aisatsu-Shibari. Harukumo-Juku, 2018

That is why slowness and attention are at the core of aisatsu patterns. Finding the right timing is also a preparatory exercise for later to be used in more complex patterns.

Technically, these patterns use simple braking techniques instead of knots and the rope does not yet have to be completely used up. That means that, for example, no Kazari is necessary. The concentration is fully on the interaction and on developing a feeling for the rope and the opponent.


Aomuke-zuri (仰向け吊り) means “supine suspension”. It is one of the simplest and safest suspensions taught. It allows clear, straight lines and is a good base for transitions, for example into Sakasa-tsuri.

Aomuke-zuri, Osada Steve, Studio SIX, Tokio
Aomuke-zuri, shown byn Osada Steve in Studio SIX, Tokyo

The basic position is horizontal. It is important to distribute the weight appropriately between the main hanging rope, the corset hanging rope and the ropes at the ankles.

The pattern is an integral part of Osada-Ryû and is taught as one of the first suspensions. The basis is the Tasuki Takatekote with a corset around the waist, but alternatively a hip harness can be used. However, since the corset is built faster, it is very suitable especially for performances.

The Aomuke-zuri allows many variations. That is why this pattern is a popular basic variant, from which creative transitions are often executed.

The relative safety of the basic technique is a plus point here. This allows the next step to be planned with a little more calm and deliberation than with other suspensions.

Aomuke-zuri, Variation des Themas, Harukumo-Juku 2021
Aomuke-zuri, Variation, Harukumo-Juku, 2021

Aomuke-zuri seem of something stiff, because there are only a few oblique lines in it. But this is quickly changed by the transition to the Sakasa. Ukete also has many possibilities to pose. This makes aomuke forms very interesting and versatile.

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