After the shogun came to Iwagakure for assistance in retrieving the Elixir of Life from Kotaku, having become impatient with the first group, Shija, and a squad of Iwa ninja, was assigned to the second team to complete the mission and supposedly provide support to the first team. In actuality, the Iwa ninjas' true mission is to kill Gabimaru who was assigned to the first team and take back the alias.
Shija has long, slick dark hair, noticeable shadows below their eyes, and a shade of lipstick. Their attire consists of the standard uniform of a Iwagakure ninja, which is a black robe with long sleeves that are frayed, a black tattsuke bakama, and a white sash tied at the waist. They also wore a mask that was later cut in half by Kiyomaru.
As they prepare to go into battle, Shija ties their hair into a small bun in the back and has a bang parted to the right side of their face.
Shija is a reserved individual with the complete mindset of a shinobi. As a shinobi, Shija follows the shinobi rules, one of them being that they view themselves as a pawn for their master and only prioritizes on the orders they have been given on a mission no matter what the situation was. To this extent, they also hold no sense of concern for their ninja allies since they too follow the same belief. After Yamada Asaemon Kiyomaru ordered Kumokiri to kill himself, Shija was unfazed by his death and merely followed his orders of leading the squad before his passing. Another example being how they ignored the fact that a hand full of their subordinates were slaughtered by a Mōnshin and simply gave the order to one of them that was still alive to kill it despite the state they were in. They are also very observant as they had taken notes of the Asaemons personalities.
Shija has respect and a strong fondness towards Gabimaru, admiring his skills in ruthlessly killing his targets. Whenever they met or thought about Gabimaru, Shija would usually break out of their reserved attitude. They believe that the current inheritor is truly worthy of the name "Gabimaru" and will not stand by as others doubt him. Even after he had defected from the village, and is now seen as an embarrassment by the chief, Shija still holds their respect for Gabimaru, believing that the dangers of Kotaku would not be enough to kill him. Shija's love for Gabimaru can be seen as an obsession. They think of themselves as Gabimaru's supporter and was driven to commit horrendously violent acts from the shadows for his sake. During the training regiments, Shija killed all the other candidates to make sure that no one would interfere with Gabimaru's selection and killed the ones that were envious of him at the end of his ceremony. They also outwardly admitted to Gabimaru that they were even willing to die by his hands and that the only person they desired to kill was him, showing mental signs of insanity.
Shija is loyal to Iwagakure and puts the chief's orders above those of the missions they take. However, because of their love for Gabimaru, Shija chose to instead make it their task to drag him back to the village instead of following their orders of killing him.
In battle, Shija is very sadistic as they fight by exploiting their opponent's vulnerability, or their "love", and takes pleasure in it, believing that battles are not won through strength but by being wicked. While fighting Rien, Shija took advantage of the ships being of high importance to him by attempting to set them on fire and passed the Elixir of Life to the ninja, presenting them an opening to attack with shuriken and set him ablaze while he is distracted. Through this, Shija can be very perceptive. After they watched how Rien protected the ships from being destroyed by the ninja, Shija figured out that Rien was holding back his power to not damage them since they contained important cargo and knew that the gourd he had on him was the Elixir of Life based on his reaction to when they stole it and how he tried to retrieve it back.
When they were young, Shija underwent intense ninja training, along with many other children, to become Iwagakure's next "Gabimaru the Hollow". Among the candidates was a boy who Shija had developed a crush on because of his remarkable talent. Shija saw him befitting of inheriting the title and made sure it would happen by killing the other candidates one by one. Shija soon completed their ninja training and happily watched as the young boy they admired become the next Gabimaru. On the night of the Rite of Succession ceremony, Shija noticed how a few of their peers became jealous of Gabimaru and dealt with them by skinning them alive. Shija was then found by Gabimaru at the scene and explained to him that they have been supporting him ever since they were young.
During one mission, Shija, along with the other elites led by Gabimaru, were task with retrieving a ledger from the Temple Commissioner. The squad completed the mission but were oddly ordered by Gabimaru to only knock the men unconscious and not cause any bloodshed, causing them to become suspicious of him as a shinobi. Later, the squad takes on a mission to kill their previous employer and his wife but instead attack Gabimaru after he had refused to kill them. Shija becomes outraged but is informed by Kumokiri that they were carrying out orders from their chief to test Gabimaru's worth as a ninja. They then watch in delight as Gabimaru kills the ninjas and allows the employer and his wife to walk freely.
Lord Tensen Arc
Having become impatient with the first departed group to capture the Elixir of Life from a mystic island, the shogun hires Iwagakure and holds a screening where criminals had to fight to the death to determine the next participants. Shija participated in the screening and became one of the four ninja that had survived. Having caught wind that Gabimaru is part of the first expedition team, the Iwagakure chief assigns the ninjas with their main task of eliminating him while following the orders of the four hired Asaemon on the mission: Kiyomaru, Isuzu, Jikka, and Shugen. Shija is then told by the chief that they have been chosen as the next successor to become Gabimaru the Hollow but must first kill the current Gabimaru in order to take their rightful place.
During the departure, Shija's mask is cut off by Kiyomaru after boosting about his skills. He then orders Kumokiri to kill himself to prove their loyalty, but before following through with the order, Kumokiri passes on the task of leading the genin to Shija, which they accepts. Having proven himself, Shija assures the Asaemon of their duties and asks that they put their faith in them.
Upon arriving on the island, Shugen breaks down into tears after finding the corpse of Yamada Asaemon Eizen and holds a prayer. While this was proceeding, Shija takes note of the Asaemon's odd personalities and remembers their duties of eliminating Gabimaru. The group are then attack by a horde of Mōnshin led by a Dōshi. While the Asaemon attack them, Shija orders the genin to kill them. After finishing his prayer to the deceased Eizen, Shugen takes down the Dōshi and attempts to extract information from him. Shija requests that the ninja handle this task since they specialize in interrogation.
Palace Invasion Arc
Shija reports to Shugen that the genin have found traces of two more deceased Asaemon and found the Mōnshin nest for Shugen to use the Horse Flute to summon the Mōnshin. After using the flute, Shugen has the Mōnshin carry the Asaemon to Hōrai while the ninja follow them on foot.
After arriving in Hōrai, Shugen has the Mōnshin breach the walls of the Hōrai Palace and orders the Iwa ninja to kill the convicts and any Asaemon who have sided with them.
Abilities and Powers
Having been chosen to become the next successor to the alias, Gabimaru the Hollow, the strongest shinobi in Iwagakure, Shija is undoubtedly very powerful and stands above all other ninja in Iwagakure. During a screening held by the shogun where criminals had to fight to the death, Shija was capable of killing every criminal on the spot. As an elite shinobi and the next successor, Shija has the authority over the genin and has the capabilities of leading them.
As a shinobi, Shija is capable of using ninjutsu. Similar to Gabimaru, Shija is capable of using fire-based ninjutsu.
- Ninpō: Fire Monk (忍法 火法師 Ninpō: Hi Hōshi?): Shija sets themselves on fire by raising their body temperature to ignite the oil in their skin. Using this technique, Shija is capable of engulfing and incinerating their opponents. This is called Ninpo: Ascetic Blaze in the Viz Manga.
- Ninpō: Fire Bridge (忍法
火ノ 橋Ninpō: Hi Hashi?): Shija takes a deep breath and expels a large torrent of fire to ignite their target. This is called Ninpo: Pyro Bridge in the Viz Manga.
Shija has skills in stealth and infiltration, capable of entering and escaping a fortress made by Hattori Hanzō's descendants that is meant to confuse shinobi spies with its maze-like layout riddled with traps. Shija was also somehow able to get past Rien's Tao sensory and instantly arrive at the Hōrai Palace's floodgate in matter of seconds after just arriving in Hōrai.
- Shija's single bang covering the right side of their face could possibly be a homage to Gabimaru's hairstyle as part of their sign of respect.