Along with Ippitsusai Buncho_ (fl. c. 1765-92), Katsukawa Shunsho_ championed a new style of Kabuki print in which the figures clearly resembled the actual actors who played the roles. This reflected the growing popularity of Kabuki, as well as the public's keen interest in popular actors. The celebrated Kabuki star, O_tani Hiroemon IV, is the subject of this print. Shunsho_ depicted him in a scene from the play, Masakado kamuri no hatsuyuki (First Snow Falling on Masakudo's Helmet), performed at the Nakamura-za theater in 1777. O_tani, in the role of a highwayman, is dressed in black and carries a black metal lantern that he uses when stalking his victims. His brown-hued kumadori, traditional Kabuki make-up, is rendered in a manner typically used to connote villains. The emblem on the highwayman's sleeve is O_tani's family crest.