INVITATION TO KABUKI Guide to Japanese Traditional Performing Arts KabukiINVITATION TO KABUKI Guide to Japanese Traditional Performing Arts Kabuki

Characters and ActorsVarious Kabuki Roles

Sekibei (Otomo no Kuronushi)

Piece this appear in | “Tsumoru Koi Yuki no Sekinoto” (The Snowbound Barrier)


Among the katakiyaku (villains character) in Kabuki, kunikuzushi is viewed as larger-than-life, and is character particularly evil due to his involvement in plots to take over the entire nation. In this play, Otomo no Kuronushi pretends to be a local barrier station guard named Sekibei. As the story develops, however, he is forced to reveal his real identity as a wicked villain intent on conquering the land.


January 1991
National Theatre, Large Theatre
“Tsumoru Koi Yuki no Sekinoto” ‘Osakayama Sekisho’ scene
Sekibei (Otomo no Kuronushi): Ichikawa Danjuro XII

In the scene in which Kuronushi is exposed as a villain, Sekibei’s costume instantly changes to sokutai, the traditional formal dress worn by court nobles. At the same time, his hairstyle also transforms to that of oji often used to portray katakiyaku in the world of Kabuki. These sudden changes in accordance with the change in characters of roles show the distinctive feature of costume and hairstyles in Kabuki which conveys the roles in a simple way.