Tozaigoe (the word tozai) (東西声)

Tozaigoe refers to shouts of 'tozai, tozai' (east west) from the backstage at the jobiraki (an opening) or before kojo (a ceremony to announce that an actor takes a new stage name) of kabuki (traditional drama performed by male actors) or ningyo joruri (traditional Japanese puppet theater). It may refer to the voice of "tozai." It may also refer to a starting sign of shouting "tozai."

Although its origin is unclear, it had been already heard at various performances in the mid-Edo period.

Since theaters are usually built toward south, 'tozai' is an address to the audiences from one end to the other. You may think that it is practically synonymous with 'sumi kara sumi made' (from a corner to a corner), which is usually heard at kojo.

There are short utterance 'tozai' and long utterance 'toozai,' and they are repeated several times each. There are several patterns.
However, they always end with 'toozai.'
Ending with falling intonation should be avoided (because of a common superstition that it leads to an empty house).

Examples of tozaigoe

The opening of the daijo (prologue) of kabuki "Kanadehon Chushingura" (The Treasury of Loyal Retainers)
(The right of the stage) Tozai toozai. Toozai, tozai, toozai. Toozai, toozai. (The center of the stage) Tozai, toozai. Toozai, tozai, toozai. (The left of the stage) Tozai, toozai.

It is said that it is repeated seven, five and three times.

The kojo of a ningyoburi (acting like a puppet) in kabuki
Tozai. Here comes the act of Okuniwa kitsunebi (Fox Fires in the Inner Garden). The narrator to tell a story is Takemoto such Tayu, Takemoto such Tayu, Takemoto such Tayu. Samisen by certain TSURUSAWA, certain TOYOSAWA and certain NOZAWA. Here is the cast. Princess Yaegaki is played by Tojuro SAKATA, Tojuro SAKATA.
The puppeteer is Kanjaku NAKAMURA
You may see them at ningyoburi. So, this is kojo.
Tozai, toozai.'

Tozai. Here is the cast. Oshichi is played by Matagoro NAKAMURA, Matagoro NAKAMURA. The puppeteer is Matazo NAKAMURA. You may see them at ningyoburi. So, this is kojo.
Tozai, toozai.'

[Original Japanese]