Valiantly dressed in a crested kimono and hakama, the performer vigorously draws his sword for successive displays of fencing techniques while shuffling across the stage. He uses his fan to imitate fallen petals as an expression of the vanity of life, accompanied by the sonorously energetic voice of a poetry reciter in the foreground. Such is kenbu, a performing art established by samurai.
“Kenbu (Gin’ei-kenshibu)” is a traditional Japanese stage performance art that utilizes the Katana (traditional Japanese sword) and Japanese fan while expressing the poems that were mostly written by samurai. In feudal times samurais performed Kenbu to give themselves courage or to achieve mental concentration. In the movie "The Last Samurai" you can see the actor performing Kenbu on the day before the battle.
The “Samurai Kenbu Theater” is a training and performance hall in Kyoto. It was established in 2014 by Magari Auga (successor of the Seiga-ryu) with the general aim to “increase the presence of kenbu.” We offer programs including performances of Kenbu, designed especially for people who have never seen it before, as well as trial lessons where participants can try and practice kenbu with the sword and the folding fan. We welcome any visitor with an interest in kenbu and samurai culture.
Essences of Kenbu
The leaders of the late Tokugawa period were the first to perform dances with their swords.
As in any other field, the question “when it all began” is difficult to answer precisely also in the case of kenbu. When the sword itself was brought to Japan from the Asian continent,...
Meanings of expression of Kenbu
One of the most famous kenbu programs is “Kawanakajima” This classical Chinese-style poem by Rai Sanyo, a samurai and master of Chinese poetry in the late Edo period, illustrates the rivalry between Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen in the sengoku era of civil wars,...
'Samurai’ and ‘Kenbu’
Kenbu is a form of performing arts created by samurai. While there have existed a variety of warrior groups around the world, the “samurai” were a rather exceptional case of a group that ...
Kenbu piece of the month
The author, Otomo no Yakamochi (718-785) was the eldest son of Otomo no Tabito, a powerful chief councilor of state who served the Yamato government in the Nara period. Born into the family of a military officer...
Kyoto JPY9000 (With costume rental)
An authentic course which allows you to experience the Samurai Spirit through performing “Kenbu”, a traditional Japanese art. Learn basic techniques of “Kenbu” such as handling a Japanese sword, performing slashing techniques and some simple samurai actions. You can also learn how to handle a Japanese fan and the way of bowing and walking in traditional arts. Compete your session with perform with your sword on stage, accompanied by a song of a poem written by a samurai. There is some time allocated for picture-taking after changing into the costumes. The instructor will help you with some cool Samurai poses.
Kyoto JPY7000 (With costume rental)
You can learn about, and practice, some aspects of the etiquette of samurai classes as well as practice basic kenbu, including how to use the Japanese sword. We have many outfits (Kimono and Hakama) used in actual “Kenbu” performances available during the workshop. Feel free to choose whichever you prefer. We recommend the gold-brocaded Hakama for those who want to try something special. There is some time allocated for picture-taking after changing into the costumes. The instructor will help you with some cool Samurai poses.
The one hour stage show is performed by our kenbu masters. You can satisfy your intellectual curiosity with in-depth talks. *This program is provided only at the Kyoto theater. At the Tokyo branch, you can book an optional 15-minute performance instead if you book a Full lesson or Light lesson.
REGULAR KENBU TRAINING
If you are a Japanese resident, you are welcome to enter our Kenbu school. *We do not accept online reservations. Please contact us by E-mail.
This is a must-do experience for anyone that wants to learn about samurai.
This was one of the highlights of my trip to Japan. The staff was friendly, spoke great English, and was very knowledgeable.
My father and I opted for the full lesson with costumes, and had a great, fun time. The costumes were gorgeous and we were able to take a lot of pictures.
I really can't say enough good things about this place, you should go and experience it for yourself!
Today's samurai class was an absolutely amazing experience.
We were dressed up as Samurai and learnt sword striking techniques.
At the end of the class we even performed and recorded an exert from a famous Japanese poem - great memory!
You should definitely book the full class.
Auga MAGARI (CEO)
Born as a grandchild of the grand master of SEGIA Kenbu School.Founded Samurai Kenbu Co. in 2014.
Born as a child of the grand master of SHOTEN-SHINDORYU Kenbu School.
Born as a grandchild of the grand master of SEGIA Kenbu School.
Started training Kenbu at SEIGARYU Kenbu school in 1994.Obtained the title of 'Shihan'(Master) in 2014.
Started training Kenbu at HOKUSHIN-SHINOURYU Kenbu school in 2000.Obtained the title of 'Shihan'(Master) in 2014.
Started training Kenbuat SEIGA Kenbu school in 2011.Obtained the title of 'Jokyoshi'(Assistant instructor) in 2016.
Started training Kenbuat SEIGA Kenbu school in 2011.Obtained the title of 'Jokyoshi'(Assistant instructor) in 2017.
Samurai Kenbu Theater (Kyoto dojo)
Open 11:00 Close 21:00 (Mon.-Sat.)