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The Shinra Electric Power Company (神羅電気動力株式会社 Shinra Denki Dōryoku Kabushiki-gaisha?), or simply the Shinra Company (神羅カンパニー Shinra Kanpanī?), was a powerful mega-corporation which acted as a de facto government for much of Gaia.
The Shinra Company grew from a small weapons manufacturer into a large conglomerate after the discovery of mako energy which Shinra used to fuel the planet. In addition to their monopoly over mako the company employed a large military to secure their control over much of the planet. However, the company collapsed following the Meteor Crisis and now operates on a far smaller level. Despite this downsizing the company still plays a major role in world affairs. According to materials pertaining to the original Final Fantasy VII, the company's name is parsed "Shin-Ra", though this parsing has not appeared in any English localizations and has been disused in Japan. "Shinra" is written with the Japanese kanji 神羅. This does not appear to be an actual Japanese surname, although its on-reading is the same as many others. The individual kanji mean god/divine and snare/net/silk, respectively. The name Shinra may also be connected to Jenova, one of the major antagonists in Final Fantasy VII. Jenova is indicated to be an extraterrestrial lifeform, composed of strange cells that carry her will and power even when separated. It may be that JENOVA is portmanteau of Jehova and the Latin stem novus or nova meaning new. This explanation may be alluded to by the many times throughout the game in which Sephiroth mentions he wishes to become a god, and the theme that plays during one of the final fights, Birth of a God. Exactly why this name was chosen and what it might imply are unknown, although "Shin-Ra" could mean capturing a god, or the essence of a god, such as Mako. It could also mean "Soul (of) Rome" since 神 in Japanese can also mean "soul" or "spirit" (see kami) and 羅 can represent "Rome" thus being a name representation of the game design idea behind Shinra and Gaia. Company Ethos
Shinra acted as a world government and as such had its own policy on world affairs. The first leader of the company is President Shinra who followed a doctrine of using Shinra's vast reserves of money to maintain control over the world's populace. The means by which the money was deployed is never made clear however the notion is similar to the Bread and Circuses method of Rulers in Ancient Rome which kept the people in-line by providing them with food and entertainment- a costly policy but one which maintained order. President Shinra was murdered by Sephiroth in Shinra Tower and succeeded by his son Rufus Shinra. As President, Rufus felt his father's methods were too exhaustive and decided a change in policy was required. Rufus argued that establishing a climate of fear and using that fear to maintain public loyalty would be far more effective than the Bread and Circuses model of his predecessor. During Diamond WEAPON's attack on Midgar, WEAPON launches a barrage of energy missiles at Shinra HQ, Rufus is engulfed in the explosion and presumed dead by the Company Board. This gap of leadership allowed two directors, Heidegger and Scarlet, to seize control of the Company. Whatever policies Heidegger and Scarlet had in mind for Shinra were never made clear as soon after their coup they were killed by AVALANCHE. Shinra may have appeared finished at this point but for the miraculous survival of Rufus. After his near-death experience Rufus formed a new policy concerning the company's direction- rather than controlling the planet it should help save it. Management
The Shinra Company is led by a president and board of directors, each with their own portfolio and responsibility for a sector of the company's operations. The highest office in the company is that of the President. The President has total control over company affairs, convenes the board and acts as its chair. Next is the office of the Vice-President, however the duties of this office are never made clear other than acting as a successor in waiting to the President. After Rufus succeeds his father he makes no known appointment to the Vice-Presidential office. The Department of Public Relations and Public Safety Maintenance was Shinra's largest department and headed by Heidegger. This department controlled Shinra's military and policing service as well as the elite SOLDIER unit. SOLDIER was originally a separate portfolio but was brought into the Public Safety Maintenance Department by Heidegger after the demotion of Lazard, who had previously been the director of SOLDIER. The members of SOLDIER were specially trained, elite fighters divided into Third, Second, and First Class branches. Sephiroth, Zack Fair, Angeal Hewley, and Genesis Rhapsodos were First Class members of SOLDIER before the Nibelheim incident. The Department of General Affairs was also incorporated with the Department of Public Relations and Public Safety Maintenance by Heidegger after he seized control of the department from Verdot but maintained semi-autonomy through the "Investigation Division of the Department of General Affairs", better known as the Turks. This division formed Shinra's special security force, under the leadership of Tseng who reported to Heidegger. The Turks performed covert operations on behalf of the company, including espionage, kidnappings and assassinations. They also acted as scouts for potential candidates for Shinra's elite military unit, SOLDIER, and serve as bodyguards for the Shinra executives. After the demise of the company the Turks remained loyal to Rufus and acted as his bodyguard and carried out Intelligence operations to aid the reconstruction of the company. Shinra had a large Department of Science and Research, originally under Dr. Gast until he was replaced by Professor Hojo, which dealt with research into the Cetra, Mako energy, bio-chemistry and genetics. The department was also in charge of the Jenova Project which was used to create Sephiroth and the "perfect" SOLDIERs. Mako was one of the two main components in biologically enhancing members of SOLDIER. It was also used in a series of experiments by Professors Gast and Hojo on living people. SOLDIERs are not only infused with Mako, however. They are also injected with Jenova cells. Jenova's cells together with Mako gives them far greater strength and cognitive ability than ordinary humans possess, provided they are mentally strong enough to handle the Mako infusion process without suffering from mako poisoning.
The Department of Weapons Development was led by Scarlet and was tasked with the development and manufacture of new technological advancements to aid Shinra's forces. The department was behind the creation of Shinra's robot guards, the Junon "Sister Ray" Cannon and the plan to use Huge Materia to destroy the meteor. The Department of Urban Development was in charge of maintaining the cities under Shinra's control- Midgar, Junon and others as well as controlling the Mako Reactor network which spread across Gaia. Reeve Tuesti was the Director of Urban Development and de jure administrator of Midgar--as opposed to the public officials, namely the Mayor of Midgar. The Department of Space Exploration was created as part of Shinra's aspirations to explore space. However, the department was not fit for its purpose and under the incompetent Palmer's leadership failed to achieve its goal. However the Department was never abolished and played a major role in the attempt to blow up the Meteor.
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Shinra Corporation's cover photo
Mako as an energy source
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Rufus and The Turks
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