Igagoe norikake kappa (A raincoat and riding at the Iga crossing: 伊賀越乗掛合羽) was one of several Igagoe mono, a popular series of plays in the puppet and kabuki theaters dramatizing one of Japan's three celebrated tales of revenge (the other two theatrical groupings being the Chûshingura mono and Soga mono). The inspiration for the Igagoe mono lay in an actual vendetta that took place in 1634 at Iga Ueno (between Nagoya and Nara), when Watanabe Kazuma and his brother-in-law, Araki Mataemon (a skilled swordsman), sought vengence against Kawai Matagorô, the murderer of Kazuma's father, Watanabe Yukie. One of the standard versions of the tale was Igagoe dôchû sugoroku (Crossing at Iga along a sugoroku journey: 伊賀越道中双六), written in ten acts by Chikamatsu Hanji and Chikamatsu Kasaku for the ningyô jôruri (puppet theater: 人形淨瑠璃) in 1783, premiering at the Takemoto Theater. (A kabuki version was staged in 1793 at the Naka Theater in Osaka.)
The dramatization changes the names but retains the original story in its broad strokes. After various intrigues and complicated plot twists, Wada Shizuma takes his revenge at Iga Pass against his cousin Sawai Matagorô, who had tricked him into pawning a family heirloom sword (resulting in Shizuma's being disinherited) and murdered his father, Wada Yukie. Gofukuya Jûbei, the subject of the present print, is a dry goods merchant and an ally of Matagorô; he also carries a powerfuly effective medicine for curing injuries that belongs to Matagorô. At one point, he encounters a beautiful young woman names Oyone, who happens to be Shizuma's lover and, unknown to each of them at first, Jûbei's sister. Thus, Jûbei is faced with an untenable conflict of loyalties. Oyone and their father (Heisaku) are tracking down Matagorô and realize that Jûbei might lead them to the villain. Jûbei knows this, but when his father commits suicide to pressure him for the information, Jûbei divulges the whereabouts of Matagorô. He also allows them to give the medicine to Shizuma, who has gone blind, in the hope that he might then be obligated to the man whose medicine cured him. Shortly before the final vendetta scene, Shizuma slays Jûbei, who asks that Shizuma care for his sister Oyone. The play culminates in a tachimawari ("standing and going around," i.e., choreographed fight scenes: 立回り) in which the two adversaries and their cohorts engage in a bloody fight and Shizuma kills Matagorô.