Ryōtarō Shiba's real name is Fukuda Teiichi. He was born under this name in 1923 in Osaka, Japan. Shiba's father owned a small pharmacy, while his grandfather manufactured Japanese sweets and cakes. He had an older brother but he died before Shiba was born, as well as two sisters, one older and one younger than him. Shiba had the beriberi disease during his early years, which is why he was taken to his mother's hometown in the Nara prefecture, where he lived his first three years of life.