The play Otokodate itsutsu karigane ("Karigane’s five brave and chivalrous men": 男作五雁金) was written for the puppet
theater by Takeda Izumo II and premiered in 9/1742 at the Takemoto Theater. It was one of the most popular Karigane gonin otoko
mono ("Karigane’s five-men plays": 雁金五人男物) about so-called otokodate (chivalrous commoners, literally
"standing men": 男伊達 or 男作). The real-life Karigane gonin were members of a loosely knit gang of 11 or more outlaws led by
Karigane Bunshichi. Guilty of beatings, theft, and murder spanning several years, they were executed on 8/26/1702. Takeda’s
drama helped to mythologize these criminals and transform them from street thugs into heroes.
Arashi Kitsusaburô was an earlier name used by Arashi Rikan II until 1828.
Hotei Ichiemon holds portable paper lantern (chôchin) with the character Ho and a cloth sack, emblematic of
the otokodate's namesake, Hotei, one of the Seven Lucky Gods (Shichifukujin). The treasure-sack motif is repeated as
crests on each shoulder of the blue robe. The end of a shakuhachi (wooden flute: 尺八) is visible at Hotei's back, an accessory
often associated with the Karigane gonin. There is an unusual mottled pink background behind Kitsusaburô.
Okada (a celebrated private Japanese collection not seen in public for more than 70 years until its recent dispersal
— a blockbuster event in the world of kamigata-e; see KAM).
References: KNZ, no. 324; WAS I-4, no. 250; KNP-6, p. 125; IKB-I, no. 2-392