Kumadori was the make up method unique to Kabuki (traditional drama performed by male actors) play. It supposedly started when Danjuro ICHIKAWA (first generation) put a make-up with lipstick and charcoal as the role of hero Kinpira SAKATA, who was the son of SAKATA no Kintoki.
The classical Chinese play or Beijing opera also had unique kumadori called renpu and both had the similarity in stressing personality
Definition of Kumadori
Kumadori was supposedly created after the first generation Danjuro ICHIKAWA took a hint from dolls of Joruri (dramatic narrative chanted to a samisen accompaniment), and painted in order to stress the blood vessels and muscles of face, and Kumadori and color differed depending on the role.
The 'ippon-guma' (one line red shadow of kabuki makeup) was strong but calmer than thick crimson 'sujikuma' (striking style of red facial make-up), and they were both used for a hero who was young and filled with strong morals and used separately depending on the scene in one play. Umeomaru of "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami" (Sugawara's secrets of calligraphy) and the main character of Shibaraku were both famous examples.
Mukimi' that painted crimson along the lower eyelid is used for beautiful male that seemed to resemble flowing water even if it contained the same crimson color. SOGA no Goro Tokimune in 'Sukeroku' was the famous example.
Black and navy was used for the make-up of 'Kugeare' (wild kuge (noble)), who was the villain (FUJIWARA no Sihei of "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami") that schemed to overthrow the government, female that turned into ogre with jealousy ('hannya-guma' (makeup like hannya, female demon) (Shirabyoshi (a women who play Shirabyoshi (Japanese traditional dance)) Hanako of "Musume Dojoji" (Young Woman) whose real name was Kiyohime (Princess Kiyo)), female monster 'kijo-kuma' (makeup like a female ogre) (female ogre that gathered autumn leaves or ogre that disguised itself as the female of Modori-bashi bridge, 'borei-guma' (ghost make-up) that expressed the grudge of crazed evil spirit (TAIRA no Tomomori of Funa Benkei) that roughness equaled that of crimson colored Kumadori, but used on villains who were cruel or used spiritual power.
代赫色(brown) is used in ancient and cruel roles such as Tsuchigumo (The Demon Spider), but had less variety.
As shown above, it had certain structure, but Kumadori was different for each individual since actor applied it himself.
Some Kabuki fans bring kempon (a painting or calligraphy executed on silk) to the back stage and make actors to copy their own kumadori and make it into their collection.
The 'Kumadori' of kabuki assumed the human face shape and generally used only for humans ('kaen-guma' (makeup like flames) of Genkuro Gitsune that appeared in Yoshitsune Senbonzakura (Yoshitsune and One Thousand Cherry Trees) represented not animal but spiritual power), but there were several kumadori that assumed the animal role starting with the Kumadori of Goku SON in 'renpu' of Chinese opera.
Asian stage make-up including renpu uses not only red and black but green and yellow to stress out not the expression, but focuses in on the abnormality (in positive and negative definition) and functions as a mask of a masquerade.
Development of Kumadori
The first Kumadori was done by first generation Danjuro ICHIKAWA after taking a hint from a doll to paint in crimson and charcoal in order to perform theatrical adaptation of a script of ningyo joruri (traditional Japanese puppet theater) as the main character Kinpira SAKATA.
It is believed that Kumadori at this point was gaudy and rough.
Although the validity is uncertain, but 'blur' technique unique to Kumadori was created by second generation Danjuro ICHIKAWA after observing the peony flower, and Kumadori became more refined with time since then.
Aragoto (Kabuki play featuring exaggerated posture, makeup, and costume) of Edo referred to Buddhist statue such as Nio Zo (statue of Deva Kings) that expressed muscles and refined facial expression of the noh mask.
Sukeroku HANAKAWADO, who was the main character of 'Sukeroku' that represented attractive Kabuki male figure had alluring Kumadori of 'Mukimi' is currently known as strong male of Edo, but was originally a character from Kabuki at Kamigata.
Many Kumadori that still passed on today was left by Shinjuro ICHIKAWA, who was the master disciple of ninth Danjuro ICHIKAWA. Shinjuro, who knew well of Kumadori in all ages and countries wrote a research text "Kabuki Kumadori" with an assistant from Masamitsu OTA. According to the words of Hidejuro NAKAMURA, 隈 (Kumadori) appeared on the face of dying Shinjuro and did not disappear despite washing many times.