Several hundred years ago there dwelt in lands of the Hosokawas a widow and her daughter, a beautiful girl of seventeen, named Kazuye. O Kazuye San's father had been foully murdered some six months before, and both Kazuye and her mother had made up their minds to devote their fortune and their lives to bringing the criminals to justice. In these efforts they received no help, but spent the whole of their money, until at last they were almost forced to beg in the street for food. Day after day, however, they continued to pray in the temple for help, and never once lost heart or weakened in their purpose. O Kazuye told her mother that were she fortunate enough to gain the affections of a man, even he should be sacrificed in the effort after vengeance.
One day it came to pass that the poverty-stricken appearance of Kazuye and her mother, returning as usual from praying in the temple, aroused the mirth of a party of roughs, who proceeded to insult them. A handsome young samurai, Okawa Jomoyemon, happened to come along. Drawing his sword, he very soon put the roughs to flight. Having done this, and bowing low, he asked whom he had the honour of serving.
O Kazuye answered for her mother, and quickly recognised that this handsome youth was just such as she had longed to meet, so that he might fall in love and wish to help her in seeking out the murderer of her father. Therefore, not unnaturally, she encouraged him; and he fell in love with her. In the meanwhile an old friend of Kazuye's father, feeling great sorrow for her, had found a place for her in Prince Hosokawa's household; and there she won such favour in the eyes of the Prince (or, as the title then was, Daimio) that the other maids began to be jealous.