Chondara are clowns that encourage the performers, and entertain the crowds during Okinawa’s summer eisa dance performances. They can be young or old, but you see very few women chondara. Usually they wear a straw conical hat and a short striped basa kimono. The makeup is nearly always white with designs drawn on to the face. The designs on the face vary between the chondara, but more surprisingly, unlike western “whiteface” clowns, a chondara doesn’t always stick with the same face. Below we can see the same chondara at Ryukyu Mura with four different faces. Send in the clowns!
I regularly meet this chondara (Okinawan clown) when teaching my photography workshops, yesterday he had a new face pattern. I had presumed that each chondara would have a unique pattern they would keep for life, but I guess Okinawan clowns take these things lightly.