Wow, this is big. We have been worried about police crackdowns for a while, especially with the upcoming Olympics likely to become an excuse for exerting state power.

Could this be the tip of the iceberg?

Top Tokyo BDSM club KUNKUN raided by police, shibari rope bondage master Kinoko Hajime arrested

Police have raided one of Tokyo’s top BDSM clubs, KUNKUN. The Ueno club is pretty big (we’ve been there) and also fairly new (it opened in mid-2012). It is the base of one of Japan’s best-known shibari (kinbaku) rope bondage art masters, Kinoko Hajime (Hideto Hiramatsu).

Top Tokyo BDSM club KUNKUN raided by police, shibari rope bondage master Kinoko Hajime arrested

Of course, there is a thin line between being bondage club where a show may take place and being a “happening” place where patrons indulge in sexual activities. KUNKUN certainly trod that line in best possible way, though happening bars are illegal. Popular and foreign-friendly ones such as Silk in Shinjuku have closed down in recent years.

They tend to have a limited lifespan and have to shut and move on when the cops get wise. It counts as “public indecency”, even though the sex happens behind closed doors. Of course, the cops don’t touch the Yakuza-controlled sex clubs, so this is very much a case of double standards.

Top Tokyo BDSM club KUNKUN raided by police, shibari rope bondage master Kinoko Hajime arrested

It was announced on May 16th that police in Ueno had raided KUNKUN, arresting Hajime and two other staff for abetting public indecency, and four patrons. They also seized the massive cache of costumes that customers could borrow.

Top Tokyo BDSM club KUNKUN raided by police, shibari rope bondage master Kinoko Hajime arrested

The club opened in August 2012 and has made sales of around 330 million yen in that time. Male patrons would pay 15,000 JPY to enter while it was free for girls.

Top Tokyo BDSM club KUNKUN raided by police, shibari rope bondage master Kinoko Hajime arrested

Kinoko Hajime is an acclaimed kinbakushi and has been the subject of much press attention in the past. Vice also once did a documentary on his work.

Free Kinoko Hajime!

Authors: Tadashi Anahori

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