Hojojutsu is the traditional martial art of restraining an opponent with rope, with Samurai carrying rope for attack, defence, for use as a tool, and to bind prisoners.

During the Edo period (1602-1868) Japan was free from the civil war that had previously ravished the country. During this period low ranking samurai assumed posts as police officers, responsible for day to day crime fighting. Due to a self-imposed isolation from the West, Japan wasn't able to obtain metal technologies such as chain and handcuffs, and therefore constables used rope and hojojutsu techniques to restrain prisoners.

Keeping ones place in society was important in Edo period Japan, even as a prisoner. Therefore there were different patterns for different social classes (samurai, farmers, artisans and merchants) in addition to there being differing patterns for different punishments. Being bound in Japan is a shameful act, signifying disgrace and ostracism from society. Therefore prisoners were often paraded, meaning the average citizen of Edo (Tokyo) would have seen many different hojojutsu ties in everyday life.

In addition to the capture and transport of prisoners, hojojutsu was also used to extract confessions from prisoners. Two of these methods (
ebi-zeme or the prawn tie, and tsuri or suspension) have been converted into safe versions for use today.