Noh, this is Kabuki

If you’re not familiar with Kabuki, or may have heard the term but never understood it, today is your lucky day.  As a form of traditional Japanese theatre, Kabuki dramas are instantly recognizable by the distinct costumes and make-up the performers wear.  Originally performed by all female casts, the practice was deemed too erotic, and women were banned from performing.  Following the ban, the style continued on with all male casts, until further bans were placed on the actors as the young men playing the female parts were often used as prostitutes.  Eventually both bans were rescinded, and the tradition carried on, and is still being practiced to this day.

With Kabuki theatre, the make-up the performers wear is called Kumadori, and is extremely important as it can instantly let the audience know what character is being portrayed.  This sleeve that was sent in by IAM: MinusAll features a number of Kumadori make-up styles, including Dannosuke, Yakkodako, Modoibashi, Sukeroku, and Shoomaru.


The use of the make-up designs on what appears to be parchment, is a nice nod to the practice of having the designs posted backstage as a point of reference when actors are doing their own make-up.

You can get a better look at it in the oriental-style tattoo gallery.

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