Tairō (大老, lit. "great elder") was a high-ranking official position in the Tokugawa shogunate government of Japan, roughly comparable to the office of prime minister. 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.