B09 A crowd of audiences before Kido
Ō-Edo shibai nenjū gyōji "Kido Haori"
Ōban, Colour print
Artist: Adachi Ginkō; Published: Meiji 30 (1897) by Hasegawa Sumi
Ritsumeikan Art Research Center (arcUP2060)
Kidoban are theatre employees who arranged themselves in front of the main theatre entrance and were responsible for hawking customers and selling and collecting tickets. Their attire included a small towel (tenugui) wrapped around the face and a long outer garment (haori), which was a gift from the troupe's top female-role actor and was therefore marked with that actor's crest. The small towel and folding fan were provided by the troupe leader (the top male-role actor) and carried his crest, so passersby would know right away who the troupe's top stars were. The practice of calling out to attract customers was terminated in the Meiji Period, but these men remained responsible for managing and preventing trouble at the theatre entrance.