'The Shiranami Five', (Shiranami Gonin Otoko).
A notorious gang of bandits pull off their greatest scam... In the old city of Edo, danger lurks in the most surprising places! (The word shiranami means 'white waves' and is an old synonym for 'thief'!)
A beautiful and wealthy girl with her samurai servant arrives at an expensive kimono shop to buy material for her wedding trousseau. While looking at different textiles, the shop assistants think they see the girl steal a piece of crêpe, and immediately accuse the pair of theft. There is a scuffle and one of the shop staff injures the girl on the forehead with an abacus. This is a serious offense against a customer and when the samurai servant proves that they actually bought the crêpe somewhere else the shop is in big trouble!
Appalled by the mistake, the master of the shop must hand over money in compensation, but just then, another samurai appears from inside. This impressive man sees through the trick and quickly exposes the girl and her servant as the notorious thieves Benten Kozō and his accomplice. The beautiful young girl is actually a man in disguise! Lowering his sleeve to reveal a brightly tattooed arm, he proudly declares his real identity in an exciting and rhythmical speech of self-introduction.
But that is not all. This is only the beginning of an ingenious master plan to get even more money out of the rich shop owner. In reality, both Benten Kozō and his accomplice are members of a gang of five bandits whose leader is the infamous Nippon Daemon, a genius of the underworld. As the play continues, we will find out exactly who this other samurai is, and eventually the five thieves will reveal themselves in all their colourful splendour!