Shigeru is the Emperor of Nihon-Ja in Book 10. He is one of Horace's best friends and allies after they both stopped a rebellion led by an ambitious lord of the arrogant Senshi class, Arisaka. He is known for his great courage and as a fair ruler. He is very popular with the people of Nihon-Ja.
Shigeru is the Emperor of Nihon-Ja, coming to the throne some years ago after the last Emperor died without an heir. He is a compassionate person, caring for the poor in his kingdom unlike his predecessors.
Shigeru makes his debut in this book. When first mentioned, he is staying at his summer palace with his cousin Shukin, Horace, George Carter ( a former wardmate), and other members of his staff. When he is travelling back to his winter palace in the capital of Nihon-Ja news is brought of a rebellion against Shigeru.
The rebellion is led by Lord Arisaka and members of an arrogant Senshi class who were tricked into believing that Shigeru was trying to usurp their authority. Shigeru and Shukin act quickly and turn around, heading for the mountains where they plan to seek refuge against Arisaka and his army.
As they set off they are ambushed. George is shot in the shoulder with an arrow and Shigeru is knocked to the ground. He is about to be killed when Horace leaps in and sees off the rebel Senshi who flee. Shigeru is unharmed.
As George and Horace are about to say their goodbyes Horace suddenly decides to stay behind, telling George that he is now involved after taking down the soldiers. Shigeru is pleased to have another warrior at his back.
After Shukin dies defending a small pass with a few of his men Horace becomes a member of those leading Shigeru's supporters to the legendary fortress of Ran-Koshi.
Later at Ran-Koshi Shigeru gives Horace a new sword which Shukin had had crafted for him. It was identical to Horace's old sword apart from that it was made in the style that the Nihon-Jans used, the metal being harder and stronger so the sword wasn't liable to be shattered by a powerful strike from a katana.
When Halt, Cassandra, Alyss, Selethen and Will arrive he welcomes them gladly recognizing the Rangers' worth as tacticians. He joins in the battle at the pass of Ran-Koshi right before the snows which block the pass despite the other trying to persuade him not to as he is not an expert with the katana (though he is competent with it).
He later offers advice to Cassandra and Alyss when they leave to go and get help from the Hassanu and tribe who live on the far side of a great lake to the northern part of Nihon-Ja.
In The Bridal Dance (a novella featured in The Lost Stories) Shigeru appears for the wedding of Horace and Cassandra. He is in the role of Patron-Sponsor (created by Lady Pauline for the King at her and Halt's wedding) and gives them a very expensive gift: a castle in Nihon-Ja.
Though small, Shigeru has a surprisingly deep voice and a loud laugh, he is also strong and a competent swordsman. Shigeru has dark hair flecked with grey but it is not easy to guess his exact age though it is known he is in his fifties. He almost always saw the bright side of things.
He is a great leader, and takes a deep interest in the members of the lower class in Nihon-Ja who are often trodden on by the Senshi and have been treated badly by his predecessors.
Though not a great military leader but he knows how to inspire loyalty and those who support him, support him to the end. He has a compassionate nature, willing to give himself up and abdicate his position as emperor to Arisaka to end the war.
Swordsman - although not the best of fighters with a katana he can still more or less hold his own in a fight but is better at affairs of state than dealing with war.
Leadership - Shigeru is a natural leader of the people and is kind-hearted and considers everyone's best interests as well as being headstrong which is what makes him popular with the kikori who are often frowned upon by people of higher ranking.
Naturally, Shigeru is close to his cousin and after he is killed is saddened at his death.
He becomes close to the young warrior in his time at Nihon-Ja and they both develop a close relationship, Horace looking to Shigeru as a father-like figure. Shigeru was also one of the most important guests at Horace and Cassandra's wedding and made them a lord and lady in Nihon-Ja as a wedding present.
- Shigeru was the name of one of John Flanagan's friends.