Lord Shimura (志村 Shimura) is the tritagonist  of Ghost of Tsushima. He is the jito (地頭; lord) of Tsushima (appointed by the shogunate) and Jin Sakai's maternal uncle. After Jin's father died, Shimura continued Jin's training in the way of the samurai. He is voiced by Eric Steinberg (English) / Akio Otsuka (Japanese).
Lord Shimura, his first name undisclosed to the player, was one previous clan lord's sons. His father and brothers were killed by Tokiasa Yarikawa during the Yarikawa Rebellion, leaving him as the sole and immediate successor of his father.
Sometime in the past, Shimura's sister married Kazumasa Sakai of the Sakai Clan. Years later, Kazumasa is killed in a battle and Shimura attended the ceremonial funeral for Kazumasa and approached a mourning Jin. Feeling for Jin's loss of both his parents, Shimura took Jin under his wing and adopted him into his Clan. Shimura trained Jin how to fight and taught him their Code of Honor as he grew up.
During the Mongol landing, Lord Shimura led the samurai forces against the Mongols on Komoda Beach. The defense ended in disaster as the Mongols killed the majority of his forces and invaded the island in a manner of hours. He was captured by the Mongols under Khotun Khan and held captive on Castle Kaneda. In Kaneda, he was pressured by Khotun to surrender the island and join forces with him to conquer the Japanese mainland, but Shimura refused to surrender. As time went on, Khotun would taunt Shimura with news that Jin has been killing without honor, with Shimura refusing to believe Khotun's words.
Shimura was eventually rescued by his nephew Jin Sakai and other allies, who then recaptured Castle Kaneda from Mongol hands. After they retake the Castle from the remaining Mongols, Shimura has Jin contact a smuggler to deliver a message requesting reinforcements to the mainland as the island is surrounded by Mongol ships. After the smuggler successfully escapes the Mongol ships, Shimura revealed to Jin that he also put in a request to officially adopt Jin as his own son, making him heir to Clan Shimura.
Soon after, before the battle to retake Castle Shimura, Shimura broke the news to Jin that the shogun sent reinforcements to the island as well as their approval of Jin's adoption. During the battle, Shimura is shocked by Jin's dishonorable tactics, such as beheading a Mongol leader to terrify his troopers. When the Mongols are pushed back into the castle's inner keep, Shimura orders a frontal charge, which results in massive casualties for the samurai. Though Shimura intends to order another frontal charge at dawn, Jin knows the tactic will result in more unnecessary losses for the samurai, and proposes that he poison the Mongols instead, a tactic that Shimura deems as an act of terror. Jin and Shimura both refuse to budge, leading Shimura to hit Jin in the heat of the moment. Regretting hitting his nephew, Shimura tried to apologize but Jin, realizing his uncle is too stubborn to listen, leaves.
Later that night, Shimura entered the Castle to find the Mongol forces poisoned by Jin, outraged that Jin disobeyed him and used dishonorable tactics against the enemy, but Jin is content that Shimura's ways cannot save their people. Knowing that the Shogun will want someone executed as punishment, Shimura asks Jin to blame Yuna as a scapegoat, even using the form of approval for Jin's adoption, but Jin refuses, accepting his new role as the Ghost, much to Shimura's sadness. Shimura has Jin put in a cell to be shipped to mainland Japan and taken to the Shogun for his crimes, although Jin later escaped to continue fighting the Mongols.
Sometime after, Shimura is seen giving a speech to the new recruits sent by the shogun to retake the island and defeat the Mongols. Jin, having discovered Khotun Khan's whereabouts, snuck back inside Castle Shimura and left behind a letter in Shimura's room, requesting his aid in the upcoming battle.
During the final battle, Shimura and the samurai enter the battlefield and indirectly aid Jin, who eventually defeated the Khan, once and for all. After the battle Shimura sent word to Jin to return home to talk. When Jin turned up, Shimura expressed surprise, confessing his uncertainty that he would show up. Shimura takes Jin for a walk with him, the two discussing their actions in the war, with either sides defending their methods and refusing to apologize for them. The two eventually arrive at Kazumasa's grave, where Shimura reveals to Jin that the shogun have demanded Jin's head for his actions in the war, with Jin realizing that Shimura has been assigned to kill him. The two men separate as Jin composed a death poem for either of their Clans as Shimura waited in tears.
As Jin finished the poem, Shimura and Jin unsheathed their blades and began their final duel, with Jin besting his uncle in single combat. Defeated and wounded, Shimura asks Jin to honor him with a warrior's death, leaving Jin with two options: honor his uncle's wish for death, or spare him.
If Jin chooses to honor his wish, he promises his uncle that he will be remembered as the honorable man he was in life. In response, Shimura thanked him and acknowledged Jin as his son, telling him to find him in the afterlife. Jin promises to do so, before killing him and breaking down in tears, having lost the last of his family.
If Jin instead spares his uncle's life, he tells him that while he has no honor, he will never kill his family. Shimura warns his nephew that the Ghost will be hunted for the rest of his days. Accepting his fate and new identity, Jin puts on his Ghost mask and departs as Shimura watches.
When we fight, we face our enemy head on. When we take their life, we look them in they eye, with courage and respect. This is what makes us samurai. Only cowards strike from the shadows.
― Lord Shimura teaching Jin Sakai how to fight
Lord Shimura is a staunch defender of the traditional samurai code of honor, courage, and loyalty. At first, he appears as a wise, caring and honorable man who strictly adheres to the samurai code, but as the game goes on, more of Lord Shimura's negative qualities are shown.
Shimura has views contrary to the beliefs he spoke of, making him a hypocrite. While he insists that samurai must serve as an example of honor and courage for the commoners, Shimura shows himself to be a classist and views the common soldiers as expendable and only acknowledges the deeds of samurai or higher ranked society. He condemns Yuna for her past as a thief, showing no gratitude towards her for saving his nephew after the failed attack on Komoda Beach, yet has connections with Goro, a pirate and smuggler that Shimura kept in his back pocket. Shimura insists on samurai controlling their emotions, yet he struggles with it, shown when he slaps Jin after being called out for sacrificing the Yarikawa soldiers during the siege of Castle Shimura. He was also willing to lie, which was proven when he tried to persuade Jin to frame Yuna for the poisoning at Castle Shimura, though he tried doing it to save his nephew from being executed.
Shimura's rigid adherence to the samurai code also harmed his abilities as a commander, with all his strategies essentially being a full-frontal assault, seemingly oblivious of the odds. Also, even in the face of heavy casualties, Shimura refused to consider tactics that go against his code. Ultimately, he comes off as prioritizing his honor over people's lives, which was one of the biggest factors in his falling out with Jin.
Shimura cared greatly for Jin, standing in as a father and mentor figure in the absence of Kazumasa and later going as far as to officially adopt him into the Shimura family as a son. One can argue his somewhat parental love towards Jin is centered on the idea that Jin could had been his ideal successor; he was willing to look past or ignore Jin's defiance to the Samurai code when it bode no consequence, but as Jin's "crime" became undeniable with the Shogun's force standing witness, and Jin himself unbending in his ways, Shimura did not hesitate to imprison Jin and later even accept the Shogun's order to execute him personally, though he did so regretfully, giving Jin closure and a fair chance at defending himself and writing his will, and was undeniably devastated during the ordeal.
Despite his two-faced and obsessive traits, Shimura does show unexpected wisdom that stretch beyond his devotion of the Samurai's way; When Jin infiltrated Castle Shimura to plant his message, Lord Shimura's conversation with another commander suggests that the Shogun was putting pressure on the Jito to get rid of the "Ghost" as soon as possible, which Shimura refuse to heed in favor of fighting off the Mongols first. Shimura is also the only person in the entire story to rightly predict the unwanted and irreversible consequences of embracing the "Ghost" and openly oppose tradition, as evidently, the common folk of Japan had begun to use poison against each other for their own selfish ends after the invasion, and there's even a rising army of the "Ghost" that acted outside of Jin's control which he is not even aware of.
- "Shadow of the Samurai"
- "A Message in Fire"
- "A Reckoning in Blood"
- "The Fate of Tsushima"
- "From the Darkness"
- "Eternal Blue Sky"
- "The Tale of Lord Shimura"
- Lord Shimura is possibly named after Japanese actor Takashi Shimura ( 志村 喬) who is noteworthy for his appearances in 21 of 30 films by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa (more than any other actor) including Rashomon (1950), Seven Samurai (1954) and Throne of Blood (1957).
- Lord Shimura is possibly inspired by Koremune Shigehisa, a member of the real Tsushima Sō clan who was awarded the title of Jito after ending a rebellion started by the Abiru clan. This is very similar to the in-game Yarikawa rebellion in which Lord Shimura ended a rebellion started by clan Yarikawa and was awarded the title of Jito.
References and notes
- "Honor and Ash"
- Ghost of Tsushima credits