Kaz Kobayashi

Combining Japanese sword combat, contemporary dance, muti-media and original music, sword performer Kaz Kobayashi brings a man’s journey to become a real samurai on stage.

“Shi Shi-ken: The Path of Soul Transcendence” is one of the many offerings of the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival, and will have its U.S. premiere on Friday, June 21, at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre.

Samurai existential philosophy is the underlying theme, as a young warrior kills with his sword for the first time, only to find his values are broken when forced to face reality on the field of death.

“What am I?” “Why do I take my sword for?” “What is gi?” This play searches for true meaning of a life through his journey to become a samurai.

The work is written, choreographed and performed by Kobayashi, who holds black belts in several disciplines, and is well known as a specialist in sword combat as an actor and coach in Japan.

His TV and film credits include the Warner Bros. feature “Rurouni Kenshin Part II: Kyoto Inferno,” as well as the NHK drama series “Time Scope Hunter.”

Since 2012, Kobayashi has been actively producing and performing his own works, touring Japan with his solo sword fight choreography. With his new work included in the Fringe Festival, he is venturing out of his home country for the first time.

The sound design is by Keiji Kouzuma, with taiko performed by Yuta Kanazashi, photography by Takamitsu Sakamoto, and Ren Gyo Soh serving as associate producer.

“Shi Shi-ken: The Path of Soul Transcendence” will take the stage June 21 at 10 p.m., June 23 at 7 p.m. and June 29 at 5:30 p.m. All performances will be at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre, 5636 Melrose Ave. in Hollywood.

Tickets are $12 for the 45-minute show, recommended for audiences age 13 and older. For tickets and more information, visit www.hollywoodfringe.org

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