- Japanese: 奏者番 (soushaban, soujaban)
Sôshaban were samurai officials in the Tokugawa shogunate who played a primary role in overseeing ritual protocols and ceremonial matters, especially for events held within Edo castle. Sôshaban were typically daimyô from Matsudaira clan branch families, or other fudai daimyô families such as the Hotta clan.
Daimyô and other elites of particular levels of status or rank, when arriving in Edo, were formally met and escorted into the city by sôshaban. During formal audiences with the shogun, sôshaban often played a primary role in directing the ritual actions, announcing individuals' entrances into the hall, and directing individuals when to take certain actions, in the correct manner and the correct order. They also often handled formal letters and other objects in these ceremonies, serving as intermediaries in passing objects between the shogun, other shogunate elites, and the guests.
Sôshaban kept extensive records of protocols and practices, and kept these records, known as tedome (手留), in special cases known as tedome tansu (手留箪笥). These were kept in an organized fashion, such that sôshaban could later find records of specific past events, in order to determine or confirm the proper precedents and protocols.
- Edojô 江戸城, Tokyo: Gakushu Kenkyusha (1995), 120-123.
- Miyagi Eishô 宮城栄昌, Ryûkyû shisha no Edo nobori 琉球使者の江戸上り, Tokyo: Daiichi Shobô (1982), 106.
- Meanwhile, those of lower rank were met by lower-ranking officials, and daimyô and elites of higher rank were often met by a member of the rôjû.