Benimurasaki aide someage was a drama involving the chivalrous commoner (otokodate) Tôken ("China Dog") Jûbei,
a confederate of the legendary Banzuin Chôbei (a friend and ally of Shirai Gonpachi).
There is only one recorded performance of this role by Ebijûrô I, which was in 8/1816. The style of this composition places it much
later, probably in the spring of 1822 when the actor returned to Osaka from Edo. It would seem to be a mitate or "imaginary" design.
There are at least five states of this memorable design with varying combinations of inscribed names, plus an edition of crepe prints (chirimen-gami-e).
The present impression appears to be the third state, printed on a yellow ground, and omitting the block cutter Kasuke's seal and the actor's name.
The poem, by Hôrai Sanjin, has been translated as: "Even the goddess of spring might be tempted; the prawn of the Island of the Immortals is
the greatest actor of the spring."* There is a pun on the word for "prawn" (ebi), the first
character in the actor's name.
References: IKBYS-I, no. 111; WAS I-4, no. 155; KNZ, no. 141; OSP, no. 39; TWOP, no. 21* [English translation]