Togaki (stage direction) (ト書き)

The term "Togaki" refers to a stage direction which is distinguished from dialogues spoken by actors and actresses in a play, script, etc. A playwright directs entrances, exits, motions of the actors and actresses, changes in stage lighting and stage acoustics, etc. by writing Togaki.

If a playwright does not double as stage director, Togaki means a kind of direction by the playwright for staging, for which the stage director should be originally responsible. Accordingly, there are various types of script such as one with detailed Togaki, one with very little Togaki, etc., depending on preferences of playwrights and stage directors.

The term 'Togaki' (literally, "writing of 'To'") comes from 'To' in the word 'suruto' (then). It is derived from an expression formerly used in kabuki scripts (traditional drama performed by male actors). If a playwright needed to write Togaki in order to direct actors and staging, he wrote, for example, 'To (abbreviation of suruto) ryonin ayumiyori ---' (Then both actors walk up to each other, and ---), 'To Genzo furikaeri ---' (Then Genzo looks back, and ---), etc. next to a dialogue of actors. The term comes from the 'To' placed at the beginning of each direction.

[Original Japanese]