Oguri Hangan mono or Oguri mono (Oguri Hangan plays, 小栗物) were dramas whose plots were based on various legends about Oguri as well as Chikamatsu Monzaemon's (近松門左衛門) 1698 puppet play Tôryû Oguri Hangan (當世流小栗判官) and the military chronicle Kamakura daizôshi ("Great copybook of Kamakura": 鎌倉大絵双紙) concerning the master of Hitachi Castle, Oguri Hangan no Sukeshige (小栗判官助重), and Terute-hime (照天姫). Oguri's father Oguri Mitsushige, a provincial daimyô, failed in his revolt against the ruling Ashikaga clan, whereupon father and son were forced into hiding. Oguri's adventures follow many complicated paths, including political and military intrigues and episodes with supernatural phenomena. At one point, he is murdered with a poison administered by Terute's father and brother, but is then resurrected and takes his revenge against his wife's family. One of the better known theatrical examples was Hime kurabe futaba ezôshi (Picture-book comparison of twin blades and the princess: 姫競双葉絵草紙), and it is possible that Kunimasu's design was meant to show a scene from that play, but as it appears to be a mitate (analog, picture, 見立), it would be an image portraying an actor in a role that is not recorded in the kabuki annals.
This dramatic portrayal is one of Hirosada's most compact but animated single sheets. Oguri rides his black steed, Onikage, into the sea at Fujisawa (station no. 7 along the Tôkaidô) in Sagami Province. He grips the handle of a fan whose tassel is looped over his wrist. The view is telescoped and thus depth-of-field is flattened, situating both Oguri and Onikage's head together in nearly the same pictorial plane. Oguri was celebrated for his horsemanship, and many portraits show him on Onikage, a fierce equine that could be controlled only by Oguri. (Other popular images in various media depict Oguri with his horse standing on a goban or go board).
The colors on our impression are especially fresh and the printing quite fine, featuring embossing (karazuri, 空摺) for the nose and and fabric printing (nunomezuri, 布目摺) in the cartouche at the upper right, plus burnishing (shômen-zuri 正面摺) of the headgear and the application of silver-colored brass or zinc pigment for all the horsehairs.
References: WAS-VI, no. 21 (inv. no. 016-1979); Rijksmuseum; Sadamasu web page