Shinshû kawanakajima gassen (Battles at Kawanakajima in Shinshû: 信州川中島合戦) is a five-act puppet play written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon (近松門左衛門, real name Sugimori Nobumori, 杉森信盛 1653-1725). It premiered at the Takemoto no Shibai in 8/1721 and was adapted for kabuki in 5/1742 by Iwai Jôsuke and Katsu Sôsuke, with a staging in Kyôto at the Kitagawa no Shibai. The only part of this drama still in the kabuki repertoire is the first scene of the third act. That action concerns the famous military strategist Yamamoto Kansuke, who serves the warlord Takeda Shingen of Kai province. Shingen's rival is Nagao Terutora (whose later name is Uesugi Kenshin), lord of Echigo province, who wants to bring Kansuke over to his side. When Karaginu, the wife of Terutora's chief retainer, invites Kansuke's mother Koshiji for a visit, Terutora decides to use the opportunity to charm the old lady into influencing her son to switch his allegiance. When Koshiji sees through Terutora's pretence, a confrontation ensues, to the dismay of Kansuke's wife, Okatsu, who has accompanied her mother-in-law on the visit. Terutora's temper gets the better of him and he draws his sword to slay Koshiji, but Okatsu lifts her koto (a kind of horizontal harp: 琴) and holds it up as a shield to protect her mother-in-law. She then plays the instrument and, through song, offers to sacrifice herself in place of Koshiji. This filial gesture calms down the angry Terutora, who lowers his sword and spares Koshiji's life.
Rikan II strikes a bold mie (pose or display: 見得), balancing himself with a naginata (a lance or halberd: 長刀 or 薙刀). The poem on the left is by the actor.
Other impressions are in Ikeda Bunko Library Collection and the Victoria & Albert Museum; the latter was used to illustrate the dust jacket of the book Chikamatsu: 5 Late Plays by C. Andrew Gerstle (trans. & ed.), Columbia University press, 2001. It also appears on p. 202.
References: IKB-I, p. 98, 2-430; KNP-VI, p. 265; NKE, p. 592