Yoshitsune ( Genji Family General)
Benkei (Yoshitsune's warrior-monk retainer)
Shizuka Gozen ( Yoshitsune's concubine)
Anewa ( Tosanobo's retainer)
This play derives from the Noh play "Shozon." It takes place at Minamoto Yoshitsune's palace on the Horikawa river in Kyoto (Rokujo and Aburanokoji), thus it's name Horikawa Palace. Kamakura is the seat of government and it is run by Yoshitsune's older brother Yoritomo. Shozon comes to Kyoto from Kamakura to kill Yoshitsune at his brother's command. The aggressive action between Benkei and Shozon builds tension in the first half of the play. The action is released when Anewa and Shozon are fought and defeated by Benkei.
Tosanobo Shoshun (Shozon) comes as Yoshitsune is having a feast with his retainers. Benkei is convinced Shozon has come on orders from Yoshitsune's brother to kill him. Shozon insists he is on a religious pilgrimage. Shozon is forced to sigh a pledge that he did not come to kill Yoshitsune. He does and a drinking party follows. Shozon becomes stressed at the situation and flees. Yoshitsune commands Benkei and his retainers to capture Shozon. That evening Anewa returns to kill Yoshitsune but is thwarted by Benkei. When Shozon appears Benkei also captures him and ties him up.