The origins of kenbu as a performing art go back to 1873, when the swordsman Sakakibara Kenkichi began to show kenjutsu (swordplay) performances, called Gekiken fencing show, as a measure against the decline of kenjutsu dojo (training halls). In the manner of sumo wrestling, kenjutsu matches used to be staged in front of the general public, with sword dance performances inserted for entertainment between the matches. This is how kenbu became widely known at one bound, and Gekiken fencing show and kenbu rapidly increased and gained popularity all across Japan. One of the kenjutsu masters at the time was Hibino Raifu, who founded the Shinto-ryu (Shinto school) in Tokyo, and thereby established the style of present-day kenbu combining poetry recitation and dance with swords and fans. Next to the Shinto-ryu, there exist a number of other schools as well that helped originate kenbu, and it is via branches of such schools that kenbu established itself as something to be practiced in okeikogoto (“individual enrichment courses”).