Hashira means wooden pillar and is an essential building block of Japanese wooden architecture. And in rope bondage, it refers to tying your partner onto a vertical beam. When I first started my bondage journey, I was taught how to use the single suspension point, that later developed into tying on a horizontal beam. Using an hashira or a bamboo allows to spread out the body in more directions to lessen the weight load on specific body parts, but also to create a wider variety of shapes.
Looking at old bondage pictures from 1940-50ths, then there are no single suspension points or bamboo. Back then, the hashira was the standard solution of rope bondage suspensions. I guess old Japanese houses don’t have many suspension points in the ceiling, but lots of pillars supporting the architecture.
Tying a person onto the hashira creates a lot of challenges. On a horizontal suspension point, the force of gravity spreads out, but on a vertical, it centres in one place. The hardwood hashira is pushing into the body, making it harder for the tied person to adjust their position. Soft ropes will adapt to the body, but the wood won’t, so any mistake in rope placement quickly gets more dramatic. Finally, as the body is attached to many different places on the hashira, there is not one point to untie to bring the person down. Going in and out of the tie is slow and tedious.
None the less, it makes for a good challenge for an experienced rope lover, and an exciting review of Japanese bondage history.