Keisei haru no tori (契情青陽𪆐) was written by Tatsuoka Mansaku (1742-1809) in 1794 for the Kado no shibai, Osaka.
Nakamura Tamashichi (1837 - 2/15/1860) was only twelve years old when performed the role of Nobutaka, which took place barely more than a year after the death of his father, Nakamura Shikan III (1810 - November 1847). Tamashichi became a young rising star in Osaka kabuki until he died prematurely at age 24. When he first became ill at age 21, theatre managers and fans worried that Tamashichi would be forced to retire and that attendance in the theaters would drop after the departure of so popular an actor. Desiring to please his fans, the dedicated Tamashichi continued performing. His health continued to decline until, after performing for 15 days in Hime kurabe futaba ezôshi ("Picture-book comparison of twin blades and the princess") given at the Shijô Kitakawa, Kyoto, 2/1860, he received "last day" gifts from his fans and retired to his dressing room in the evening, where he collapsed and died. The next day, Tamashichi's body was transported to Osaka for his funeral. At least 7 shini-e ("death prints": 死絵) were hastily produced, a high number for such a young Osaka actor, and the writers of hyôbanki ("actor critiques") composed tributes mourning a "flower dying before full bloom."
The historical Oda Nobutaka (1558–1583), third son of Oda Nobunaga, was a samurai in the Oda clan. He was called San Shichi (三七) from possibly being born on March 7 on old Japanese calendar system. While battling Toyotomi Hideyoshi's forces at Gifu Castle, he was forced to surrender and thereafter exiled to Daimidoji at Noma in Owari Province, where he was pressured to commit seppuku ("incision of the abdomen" or ritual suicide: 切腹).
The theatrical Oda Sanshichirô Nobutaka (織田三七郎信孝), the deceased Harunaga's son, is seemingly sunk in a life of dissipation in Osaka's Shinmachi pleasure quarter. He learns of a plan by Mashiba Hisayoshi to honor Harunaga that involves sending 3,000 ryô (gold coins: 両) to pay for a mortuary temple. On the Yamato Bridge In Sakai, Nobutaka kills the horseman carrying the money — this is the Yamatobashi umagiri ("Horse killing at Yamato Bridge") section of the play. Afterward, it is revealed that Nobutaka was feigning dissoluteness so that his son, Mihôshimaru, could become head of the Oda clan while Nobutaka tried to recover an heirloom sword named Aseimaru. In addition, Hisayoshi had all along intended the 3,000 ryô for Nobutaka.
Here, Nobutaka holds the reins of the horse belonging to the envoy from Hisayoshi. The money cases are strapped to the saddle.
References: IKBYS-IV, no. 176