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Kumadori prints by Konobu Hasegawa (ca. 1867–1879) via Artelino’s auction archives

One of the most visually striking aspects for a newcomer to kabuki is the exaggerated make-up worn by the actors, especially those playing the most dramatic roles. It is particularly vivid when associated with a supernatural character. The name of this style of make-up, kumadori, is derived from kuma—lines, wrinkles, and toru—to take, to follow.

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