What's this Challenge about?
What is Kenbu?
Kenbu, also known as ginkenshibu, is a Japanese classical performing art that combines dance with a sword or fan, and shigin (or gin’ei) recitals of Chinese or Japanese poems with unique melodies. Kenbu allegedly originated from performances by young people in the late Edo period who, concerned about the future of Japan, took to the stage while wielding their swords. Kenbu eventually became popular as a stage art across Japan in the late 19th century, and can be understood as a performing art that has been conserving the samurai spirit and culture up to the present age.
The author, Magari Auga
Magari Auga is the female successor of Seigaryu, a Kenbu school located in Shiga, Japan. She opened the "Samurai Kenbu Theater & Dojo" in Kyoto in 2010, providing a Kenbu show & a casual kenbu experience workshop. Her purpose was
1. To get Kenbu more recognized, and 2. To raise "professional" Kenbu performers.
1. Getting Kenbu more recognized
Magari Auga was born in the 1980s and started training in Kenbu since childhood, but she was always dissatisfied because her friends at school didn't understand what she did. From this experience, when she grew up and decided to work on Kenbu as her career, she focused on improving Kenbu's lack of recognition as her top priority.
2. Raising "professional" Kenbu performers.
Although there are more than 100 Kenbu schools in Japan, only a few people who are the head of schools are able to do this as full-time work. There is no system for becoming a professional performer or gaining livelihood as an instructor, even if you train over a period of decades. As you can dream to become a prima ballerina if you learn ballet, Magari Auga wanted to give children the dream of becoming a professional by creating a space for them to perform.
Samuai Kenbu Theater & Dojo
The “Samurai Kenbu Theater” is a training and performance hall in Kyoto. Programs offered here include performances of about one hour, designed especially for people who have never seen kenbu before, as well as trial lessons where participants can try and practice kenbu with actual swords. The place welcomes any visitor with an interest in kenbu and samurai culture.
Since its opening in 2010, more than 6,000 tourists visit annually from around the world. It has been ranked among the top 10 spots in the category of "Popular tourist spots for foreigners" by Trip Advisor for for two consecutive years. Additionally, many companies use Samurai Kenbu when getting overseas human resource teams to learn about Japanese culture.
Why did we attempt to undergo this campaign?
We have heard so much from our customers, including comments like this: 'I came to know about Kenbu for the first time and it is very beautiful. I want to learn more about it in my hometown.'
Unfortunately, there are few Kenbu dojos overseas. Instead, we thought we should publish a book about Kenbu (and open an online school). Luckily, an art publishing company was interested in our idea, and the book will be published in April, 2020.
About the book
Title: Kenbu: A Performing Art Shaped by Samurai Aesthetics
Author: Magari Auga
Published by: Seigensha Art Publishing, Inc.
JPY1,800 (tax excluded)
Chapter 1: Knowledge and Appreciation of Kenbu
The Origins of Kenbu
Things to Know about Kenbu
Three Key Points for Appreciating Kenbu
Kenbu Programs and the History of the Samurai
Samurai Values and Mentality
Sword Dance around the World
Chapter 2: Training and Performance of Kenbu
Training Sessions and Things to Bring
Procedure of a Training Session
Selection of Eight Kenbu Pieces
Chapter 3: Deeper and Wider
The History of Kenbu
The Future of Kenbu
Discussion: on "The Artistic Qualities of Kenbu"
"We don't have enough money for translation...!!"
This book was planned as a series themed around: "Enjoy Japanese culture bilingually" by publisher Seigensha, as their second installment to "The Perfect Guide To Sumo," for overseas readers. A native English speaker who has a deep knowledge of Japanese culture translated the book at a very reasonable rate, and the publisher also offered a modest budget, but it is still quite costly compared to normal books. Therefore, we decided to take on the campaign of crowdfunding for the first time, and we would like to ask for help from those who agree with our vision.
"Kenbu", which the samurai culture in the world!
This is the first attempt to publish a bilingual book of Kenbu for beginners commercially, as opposed to going through private publishing. We hope that people around the world will learn about the traditional performing art of Kenbu through this book. We will continue our efforts and activities to spread Kenbu to the world, like karate spread from Japan (Okinawa) to the world.
*Thank you for your warm support.