Aragoto (荒事), or 'rough style',[1] is a style of kabuki acting that uses exaggerated, dynamic kata (forms or movements) and speech. Aragoto roles are characterised by the bold red or blue makeup (kumadori) worn by actors, as well as their enlarged and padded costumes.[2] The term "aragoto" is an abbreviation of the term "aramushagoto", which literally means "wild-warrior style".[3]

A woodblock print of two kabuki actors, the foremost wearing large, brown robes, an elaborate hairstyle and red kumadori makeup. The actor in the background wears pink and blue robes with no kumadori makeup.
Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII in the lead role in Shibaraku, a role considered definitive of the aragoto style. Ukiyo-e print by Utagawa Kunisada.

The aragoto style was created and pioneered by Ichikawa Danjūrō I,[4] a kabuki actor in the Edo period (1603-1867), and has come to be epitomized by his successors in the Ichikawa Danjūrō line of kabuki actors. Roles such as the leads in Sukeroku and Shibaraku are particularly representative of the style. Aragoto is often contrasted with the wagoto ("soft" or "gentle") style, which emerged around the same time but focuses on more naturalistic drama. It is also contrasted with onnagata or "female-like style".[5][1]


  1. ^ a b McDonald, Keiko I. (1994). Japanese Classical Theater in Films. Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 43. ISBN 0838635024.
  2. ^ "Aragoto in Kabuki Glossary". Archived from the original on 19 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
  3. ^ Cavaye, Ronald (2012-07-09). Kabuki a Pocket Guide. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 9781462903993.
  4. ^ Takashi, Ogata; Taisuke, Akimoto (2019). Post-Narratology Through Computational and Cognitive Approaches. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. p. 203. ISBN 9781522579809.
  5. ^ Mezur, K. (2005). Beautiful Boys/Outlaw Bodies: Devising Kabuki Female-Likeness. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 30. ISBN 9781349529919.