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Samurai Kembu

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.

Last updated: 29 March, 2024
Time Business hours: Reservation required, open all year round
Venue Samurai-Kembu Theater
Sanchome 35-7, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 601-8477