Masks and Costumes
In Noh, the main character performs wearing a mask in most cases. In Kyogen too, characters sometimes wear masks according to their roles. Masks used in Noh and Kyogen are called “omote,” and the act of putting on a mask is called “tsukeru” or “kakeru.” The masks are carved out of wood and painted, some of which are highly valued as pieces of art.
In Noh, actors perform wearing masks when they transform themselves into their roles, such as gods and ogres. There are currently dozens of types of masks categorized according to role, gender, age, and other classifications. Different masks are used depending on the play and performance style.
Kyogen is principally performed without wearing masks. Compared to Noh, there are fewer types of masks. Because daily events are often depicted comically, many masks have familiar expressions that exaggerate the features of the face and draw laughter from the audience, indicating characters such as an old man or woman, ogre, and animal.