So, two days ago, we finally got the suspension frame set up at the studio, and it is a glorious beast!
But being the silly bugger that I am, I’m overly concerned as to what to call it…
Initially, I was going to simply call it a Torii (鳥居), but the design itself eventually shifted towards something more like gallows, and being endlessly inclined towards the Japanese language, I turned to the dictionary, for which I found the term Kōshudai (絞首台).
The problem with Kōshudai, however, is that it literally refers to gallows and the activities therein:
- “Kō” (絞) means to strangle; constrict; wring.
- “Shu” (also read kubi; 首) refers to the anatomical neck.
- “Dai” (Tai or several other pronunciations; 台), is a pedestal; or a stand.
So this specifically refers to a pedestal for hanging or strangling the neck – not quite what we do or want to encourage.
There is also the late Yukimura Haruki‘s term kamoi (鴨居), however, this is specifically the frame for sliding doors in classical Japanese houses, for which he made considerable use of in his work. Thus, this term is further away from what we are looking for than even the gallows.
At this point, Kōshudai seems the closest to what were dealing with in regards to shibari and kinbaku, where the body is suspended by rope in various formations.
 Kamoi (鴨居) Means lintel. In traditional Japanese house it’s the beam where the top of sliding doors (fusuma; 襖) or paper windows (shoji; 障子) can be inserted and slide. It’s really easy to find pictures of people tied up to the kamoi.