Set in Tokyo in 1926, Kagero-za features 1970s action star Matsuda Yusaku as Matsuzaki, a playwright of modern Shinpa theatre. One day he crosses paths with a solitary woman who asks him to accompany her to the hospital where her friend is dying, unnerved by the presence there of a sinister older woman selling the "bladder cherries" of the Chinese Lantern Plant, which are rumored to contain the souls of women. He refuses, but finds himself unable to shake off this seductive apparition, whom it is revealed may or may not be the deceased wife of his wealthy patron Tamawaki. The mystery deepens when it is hinted that Tamawaki had two wives, one a blonde, blue-eyed European whom he married during a stay in Germany and attempted to change into a traditional Japanese bride by making her wear dark lenses and dye her hair black. Suzuki melds Kabuki-esque flourishes into his adaption of the 1913 source story of the same name by Izumi Kyoka, a pioneering figure in the field of Japanese supernatural gothic literature, to create a super-stylized meditation on the fragile boundaries behind the ostensible and the illusionary.