Toshi (messenger from the Kamakura bakufu to the Imperial Court in Kyoto) (東使)

Toshi, also known as Kanto-onshi, is a messenger dispatched from the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) to Imperial Court in Kyoto, to Rokuhara Tandai (the bakufu deputy in Kyoto) or to Kanto-moshitsugi (liaison officer mediating between the bakufu and the Imperial Court), etc. and was employed for communication of the bakufu's opinions of issues of special political importance to Kyoto.
(However, the term could also be used on messengers dispatched by the Imperial Court to the bakufu in Kamakura.)

For this reason, the toshi made frequent trips between Kamakura and Kyoto in important political developments, such as accession of a new Emperor (appearing frequently in documents such as "Masukagami" (The Clear Mirror) that records activities in the Imperial Court at that time). Depending on the issue, the toshi was able to pass over the Rokuhara Tandai and negotiate directly with the Court, or sometimes it was granted the authority to issue orders directly to Rokuhara Tandai.

The toshi was very often selected from specific families of shogunal retainers well versed in the literary art and in imperial protocol, such as the Nagai, Nikaido and Adachi clans. In addition, the toshi could at times be accompanied by a vassal of Tokuso (the patrimonial head of the main branch of the Hojo clan) and Shikken (shogunal regent).

[Original Japanese]