Tairō (大老, lit. "great elder") was a high-ranking official position in the bakuhan taisei government of Japan. The tairō would preside over the governing Rōjū council in the event of an emergency. A tairō would be nominated from among a group of samurai families who supported Tokugawa. Generally, the office holder was the shogunate's chief policy maker, and provided Japan with a capable temporary leader in the absence of a shogun, or in the event that the shogun was incapacitated.