Ichinotani futaba gunki (Battle chronicle of two young leaves at Ichinotani: 一谷嫩軍記) was originally written for Bunraku (puppet theater: 文楽) and staged at the Toyotake no Shibai, Osaka in 12/1751. It was adapted for kabuki in the following year with a performance in Edo at the Morita-za in 4/1752, and in Osaka that same year in the 11th month at the Naka no Shibai. This jidaimono ("period piece" or history play: 時代物) is a fanciful adaptation based on tales of the Genpei wars (1156-1185), the pivotal struggle between the Minamoto (Genji) and Taira (Heike) clans. It's main plot features a dramatized version of the real Kumagai no Jirô Naozane (熊谷次郎直実 1141-1208), one of kabuki's most celebrated roles, as a general serving under the legendary Minamoto no Yoshitsune (源義経 1159-1189). Kumagai must face in battle a youth of only 15 named Taira no Atsumori (平敦盛 1169–1184), son of a general. As it happened, Kumagai owed a debt of gratitude to Atsumori's mother, for she had saved Kumagai and his wife from execution 17 years earlier. Having no other way to honor his debt, Kumagai substitutes and sacrifices his own son Kojirô for Atsumori. This shocking turn of events only delays the inevitable, and finally Kumagai must slay Atsumori. Distraught at the loss of his son and his failure to save Atsumori, Kumagai renounces his allegiance to the Minamoto and takes up the vows of a Buddhist priest.
In the present scene, the principals are Atsumori's mother, Fuji no Kata; Kumagai (Kumagaya), and Sagami, Kumagai's wife and mother of Kojirô. From an adjacent room Fuji no Kata has just overheard Kumagai declare that he has severed the head of Atsumori in battle. She rushes to attack Kumagai, intent on taking revenge as she lifts a dagger. Kumagai, however, calms her with a tale of her son's great courage, whereupon Fuji no Kata accepts the honorable fate of Atsumori.
There is, in this deluxe edition with metallics, also some fine karazuri ("empty printing" or rubbing: 空摺), printing without pigment or ink, that is, embossing or gauffrage. A later impression (atozuri: 後摺) from a namizuri (ordinary edition: 並摺絵) is also known.
For another scene from this same production, see HSD34.
References: IKBYS-IV, no. 285