Soon after, the lonesome sound of a shamisen can be heard as Ryokan (portrayed by Tanaka) enters the stage, illuminated by a man holding a light. The woman and Ryokan face each other for a moment, but quickly move apart. The relationship between the woman and Ryokan is portrayed intermittently thereafter. At one point, their relationship is enigmatic; at another, playful, as the pair happily jumps rope with a rope made of obi-himo cords. The woman’s identity is never made clear, but two women, Ikyo-ni and Teishin-ni (both nuns), are known to have been important figures in Ryokan’s life. Teishin-ni, in particular, although four decades younger than Ryokan, admired him greatly and even exchanged waka poems with him containing the character for “love.” She was also the person who cared for him in his final days. The woman in the red kimono could be a symbol of the woman who lit a light in Ryokan’s heart.
Somewhere along the way, several cube-shaped frames emerge from the abyss and take the shape of a house. At first, Ryokan wanders around outside, but then he enters the house with the woman. The image of falling snow is projected on the screen. Along with music by Hidetaro Honjoh, a waka poem by Teishin-ni is recited: “Kites are with kites / sparrows sparrows, herons herons / a crow with a crow—what is odd about it?” This poem reveals the close relationship between Ryokan and Teishin-ni, who called each other crow. In another part of the performance, a poem akin to the hifumi-uta, a song sung using an old method of counting in Japanese, is recited. Hi-fu-mi (meaning one, two, three) was one of Ryokan’s favorite lyrics, and he incorporated it into many poems and waka poems, one of which he composed in response to the first waka poem that Teishin-ni sent to him.