The play Keisei setsugekka (Courtesan: Sun, moon, and flowers: けいせい雪月花) premiered at the Kado Theater at the New Year in 1830. It was written by the superstar actor Nakamura Utaemon III under his penname Kanazawa Ryûgoku. Later, just one act (called Kari no tayori) was taken from the whole and performed as a light-hearted piece without the drama featured in the larger play. It is this extracted piece that is mostly known today.
Tamizô II portrays the infamous bandit Ishikawa Goemon (石川五右衛門 1558 – 10/8/1594)) in one of the many tales about this legendary rônin (lit., "wave man" or masterless samurai: 浪人). In real life, Goemon, at the age of sixteen, murdered three men during a robbery. He was finally captured many years later in 1594, when the shogun Hideyoshi had him boiled in oil. The Ishikawa Goemon mono (plays about Ishikawa Goemon: 石川五右衛門物) endowed the outlaw with supernatural powers and devilish abilities to disguise himself, which provided playwrights with opportunities for fantastical action — often aided by clever stagecraft — and surprising plot twists.
This is another brilliant effort from the brush of Kunikazu as realized by the block carvers and printers. The use of metallics is especially fine here. Note the stunning shishi (lion: 獅子) rendered in faux gold and actual copper on Kichisaburô's upper robe. Capable of walking on earth, moving through fire, and riding on clouds, but unable to live under water, mythical shishi (karashishi) were subordinate to dragons in the panolpy of legendary beasts in Japanese folklore.
References: IKBYS-IV, no. 578