Shindo was born on April 22, 1912 in the Saeki District of Hiroshima Prefecture. He was the youngest of four children. His family were wealthy landowners, but his father went bankrupt and lost all his land after acting as a loan guarantor. His older brother and two sisters went to find work, and he and his mother and father lived in a storehouse. His mother became an agricultural labourer and then died during his early childhood.