Jyowa – Rope Stories. A review.

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We’ve all been looking forward to the release of Pedro’s DVD. And now it’s here ! :)

The issue is a very stylish black sleeve with white kanji on the front.

Here’s the content of the DVD as described by the makers:
“Jyowa is a made-up word created by Yukimura Haruki, which merges the characters for “rope” (nawa) and for “speaking or communicating”, hence it can be translated as “communicating through ropes” or “rope stories”.
This project was started in Tokyo in 2011 as a documentary film, yet it ended up becoming more of an aesthetic experience that takes the viewer into the unique universe of five of Japan’s top rope artists (by order of appearance): Naka Akira, Yukimura Haruki, Nawashi Kanna, Urado Hiroshi and Hajime Kinoko. In each of the the five chapters we can see two people taking a journey into a deep and profound level of communication in which rope takes a very special place.”

These are indeed the top riggers at the moment. All have proven their skills extensively and earned their stripes over the years.

The way in which their sessions have been documented by Pedro’s camera and microphone is intense in a gripping way. If you like bondage you will be grabbed by the intensity. It’s quiet, it’s relaxing and at the same time immensely exhilarating. Not a word is spoken. Now, that’s also hidden in the title of course; only the rope speaks, apart from a squeek and sigh from the girls or a grunt from the rope rigger here and there ;-)
Extreme close-ups, out of focus images changing to super sharp. It’s all a voyeurs dream, so to speak. Pedro’s camera looks where I would look myself, if I would have been there in person. Incredible detail is the power of fetish… and my fetish is rope. It goes to show that it’s Pedro’s too. Therefore this film is such a welcome piece of art for the rope connaisseur too.

What strikes me a lot, watching the person binding, is the lightness in touch of the rope. And at the same time sadistic but caring. This superb “lightness”, this Fingerspitzengef├╝hl as the Germans say, is a sign of incredible skill to me. Next to that the focus of the riggers is totally at the girls. Watching, hearing, sensing every response.

There is not much detail to be seen about the technique. I mean, it’s definately not a “learning-the-ropes” DVD. This of course is hommage to the historical background. One shouldn’t show or give away how the tie is made.

In the background, but still very present you hear wadaiko or taiko drums. Their hypnotising sounds, sometimes rhythmically mostly not, are a beautiful soundtrack, totally fitting the feel of the scenes.

Concluding; Jyowa is a must see. To my opinion a little gem in the wildly growing global rope scene.

Update, breaking news… Pedro is travelling to Japan shortly to make more beautiful imagery of this oh so gorgeous rope art that is kinbaku.