About Gin-ken-shibu

Gin-Ken-Shibu is one of the many Japanese Traditional Arts and is also a general term for Ginei, Kenbu and Shibu. 

Ginei is a traditional Japanese style of singing in which one would attach a unique rhythm called “Setsu” to Chinese poems and sing it. Ginei has its origins in the BC (Before Christ) era where the lyrics for the songs were composed in ancient China. At that time in Japan, Ginei was seen as a way of expressing one’s feelings and emotions through singing contents from sources such as Kojiki (Japan’s oldest historical records), Nihonshoki ( Second Oldest book of Japanese Classical History) and Japanese poems. The modern way of singing Ginei was established at the end of the Edo era.

Kenbu is a traditional Japanese dance which primarily involves a Japanese sword (Katana) and is danced to the rhythm of Ginei. Kenbu has its origins in the Sengoku warring era in the 15th century where the samurai created a dance to express songs sung in Ginei utilizing their Katana techniques. Kenbu was seen as a way for samurai to display their gallantness and to boost the morale of their troops. As Kenbu was a dance invented by the samurais, the clothing worn in Kenbu performances are usually plain and simple such as family crest-engraved Japanese Hakamas.

Shibu is a traditional Japanese dance which utilizes a Japanese fan and is danced to the rhythm of Ginei as well. Shibu has its origins in the Sengoku warring era after the establishment of Kenbu where a Japanese fan was used to express songs in Ginei that cannot be expressed through the Katana. Shibu covers a wide range of songs in Ginei including love songs, songs about scenery and emotion. Like Kenbu, Shibu is a dance invented by the samurai, thus female characters are largely non-existent.