Swords. Shadows. What else do you need?

It’s hard to tell, even after a couple of viewings, just what’s going on in this performance. The Japanese actor Taichi Saotome, 19, is known for his work as an onnagata – female impersonator – and for performing in the style known as taishu engeki, which is something like the better-known (to me) kabuki. This piece is billed as a “Sword Dance and Shadowgraph,” filmed early in January. When you’re tempted to ask whether the Internet is a wonderful tool or a bloodsucking waste of time, this video provides the answer: yes.

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