Bandô Jûtarô I (1769-1840) was born in Osaka, the son of the sumô wrestler Edozaki Kosaburô. He debuted in 1788 and made his first appearances at the big theaters in Osaka in 1791, although from about 1800 to 1812 he played primarily hama shibai ("beach theaters," i.e., the lesser middle stages: 浜芝居). He also performed with traveling theater troupes at miyaji shibai ("shrine-ground theaters: 宮地芝居), that is, stages in temple and shrine districts. In 1812 Jûtarô and 20 other Kamigata actors moved to Edo, but he returned to Osaka that same year. Another brief jaunt to Edo took place in 1817, but again he returned to Kamigata (specifically Kyoto). He toured Nagoya in 1822, and finally, by 1824, his ranking in the tachiyaku (leading-man: 立役) section of the Kamigata hyôbanki (evaluation books: 評判記) rose to jô-jô-kichi (superior - superior - excellent). Over the years Jûtarô enjoyed a gradual ascent in the estimation of theater critics and fans. In 1828 he received a ranking of hakushi-jô-jô-kichi (almost unique - superior - superior - excellent. Further elevations were conferred in 1831, hakudai-jô-jô-kichi (almost grand - superior - superior - excellent); 1832, dai-jô-jô-kichi (grand - superior - superior - excellent; 1834, hakugoku-jô-jô-kichi (almost extreme - superior - superior - excellent); and 1836, shin-jô-jô-kichi (truly - superior - superior - excellent). Jûtarô acted in Edo for the 1839-40 season, but returned to Osaka in fall 1840, when he gave his final performance; he then passed away in the twelfth month. Once Jûtarô hit his stride in the 1820s, he proved to be talented actor who could play a variety of roles. His appearance, voice, elocution, and movement on stage were all of a high caliber, making him a very popular actor on the stages in Kamigata.
The plot of the play Mochimaru chôja kogane no kanzashi (持丸長者金笄剣) is unknown to us.
Here Shigeharu depicts Jûtarô in a dramatic scene as he breaks through a tiled roof while a heavy white rain pours down.
References: IBKYS-II, no. 154 (a more faded impression)