Masks and Costumes


The colorful costumes used in Nohgaku portray the role by their color, pattern, and the way they are worn.

Noh Costumes

In Nohgaku, costumes are called “shozoku.” They feature gorgeous and elaborate designs that may include interwoven patterns using various silk colored threads, lavish embroidery, and gold and silver foil. The costumes are not realistic; an actor playing a woman from a rural village could appear wearing an exquisite embroidered kimono. There are rules regarding the colors of the costumes, how they are combined, and the way they are worn that vary by various factors such as the age, social status, and occupation of the role. For example, a female costume containing red indicates a young character’s role.

Kyogen Costumes

Kyogen costumes are generally simple and mostly made of hemp. They are determined based on the role. For example, Taro Kaja, a role that appears frequently in Kyogen, wears a kind of vest or jacket called “kataginu,” paired with hakama trousers that come down to the ankles. The back of a kataginu displays fun patterns with bold designs of an animal, plant, personal belonging, or other themes.