GIO was the mistress of Kiyomori (1118-1181), the greatest of the Tairas. One day there arrived at his camp a famous dancing-.girl called Hotoke. Kiyomori was for sending her away; but Giō, who had heard wonderful stories of Hotoke's beauty, was anxious to see her, and persuaded Kiyomori to let Hotoke dance before him.
Kiyomori fell in love with the dancer, and after a while Giō was dismissed. She became a nun, and with her mother and sister lived in a hut in the wilds of Sagano.
Hotoke, full of remorse at her rival's dismissal, found no pleasure in her new honours, and saying "It was I who brought her to this," fled in nun's clothing to the hut at Sagano. Here the four women lived together, singing ceaseless prayers to Buddha.
In the play the ghost of Hotoke appears to a "travelling priest" and tells the story, which is indeed a curious and arresting one.