Last month, with the passing of Akechi Denki at age 64, one of the greatest of modern shibari masters, teachers and performers is gone. It will be a void difficult to fill and a loss especially poignant for true lovers of the Art of kinbaku. And that is “art” with a capital “A”.
With his tremendous skill (a genius for kinbaku, really), showmanship and entrepreneurial vigor, Akechi Denki helped legitimize the mania for shibari. Not only was he a superb performer in his own SM stage presentations where he played to small groups as well as audiences of 1000s, but he also appeared on mainstream Japanese TV to demonstrate his skills. Not only did he contribute to many “adult” videos as a technical advisor, but he also helped create some of the most beautiful of artistic shibari images. He owned clubs, taught classes, toured Europe and, wearing his trademark dark glasses, became an icon for those interested in kinbaku-bi, the beauty of shibari art. In the 80’s and 90’s he seemed to be everywhere. In short, he was a true artist and ambassador for one of Japan’s most beautiful erotic arts.
In Memoriam: Akechi Denki. Sep 11, 1940 – Jul 17, 2005 10:36 am (64 years).
Naturally, to lose someone still so youthful is a great tragedy but those that knew his history could only be grateful that he stayed with us so long. Afflicted with a congenital heart ailment, it was only a major operation in his 30’s that allowed him to live at all and he used his time to pursue what fascinated him most ever since he picked up a copy of the venerable Kitan Club magazine as a boy.
Certainly, in terms of his skill level and of his generation, Akechi Denki was one of the big three shibari masters of the late 20th century. Only the maestro, Nureki, and the gifted Yukimura Haruki stand at the same level in terms of knowledge and skill. Now there are only two.
Luckily, many of his performances have been captured on tape and DVD to be studied by future aficionados and so his legacy and the inspiration of his incredible rope skills will remain. What must never be forgotten is his philosophy; that Shibari is “an art for two like-minded hearts and must always be a loving exchange.”