The Shirai Ryu (Kanji: 白井流) were a clan of Japanese ninjas in the Mortal Kombat universe credited with bringing ninjutsu and other secret martial arts to Japan from China.
For years, they were bitter rivals with the Lin Kuei, from which they had originally sprung. They were eventually wiped out by the necromancer Quan Chi, who destroyed all of the members of the clan (Hanzo Hasashi, also known as Scorpion, was murdered by the elder Sub-Zero prior to this).
The Shirai Ryu was formed many years ago by a Lin Kuei warrior named Takeda. He eventually grew tired of the Lin Kuei and left the clan. However, leaving the clan is punishable by death, and Takeda was sought after by Lin Kuei assassins. He left China and returned to his homeland in Japan, where he offered his services to the lords and generals. His art gradually spread throughout Japan and developed into the art of ninjutsu. In addition to teaching his new art form, he also taught modified versions of Lin Kuei tactics, as well as revealing many of their secrets. This only further infuriated the Lin Kuei when Takeda's teachings became well-known with many followers throughout Japan. His followers became known as the Shirai Ryu.
The Shirai Ryu and the Lin Kuei became tremendous rivals. Takeda's clan mocked the Lin Kuei by dressing in similar outfits of yellow color and teaching modified versions of their own secrets. While Takeda managed to avoid many assassination attempts well into his later years, he was eventually killed by poison in his tea. It was never known if the Lin Kuei was responsible for his death. The animosity between the Lin Kuei and Shirai Ryu continued after his demise, as the Shirai Ryu became more prominent.
During the events of Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, the sorcerer Quan Chi hired members from both rival clans to find the Map of Elements giving directions to the Amulet of Shinnok: Lin Kuei warrior Bi-Han and Shirai Ryu member Hanzo Hasashi were the members of the clans respectively chosen for the task. Quan Chi had originally sent Bi-Han to find the map, but he had also sent Hasashi in the event that Bi-Han failed in his arduous quest. Neither warrior knew of the other's involvement until they discovered each other in the room of the Shaolin Temple containing the map and immediately engaged each other in battle. Bi-Han won the battle with his ice-powers, killing Hanzo in the process, and retrieved the map. He gave the map to Quan Chi, and as payment to the Lin Kuei, he wiped out the rival Shirai Ryu clan.
Hanzo returned from death as Scorpion, and met his murderer in the Netherrealm, where Bi-Han had gone to stop Quan Chi from releasing the fallen Elder God Shinnok. The two engaged in a rematch of their earlier battle with Bi-Han once again emerging as the victor. Unable to exact his revenge, Scorpion waited until Mortal Kombat, where he battled Bi-Han for a third time. This time, Scorpion would be victorious and finally avenged his own death by killing Bi-Han. Bi-Han was reborn in the Netherrealm as the demon Noob Saibot, only to have his younger brother take his place in future tournaments using the Sub-Zero name.
As part of a deal with the Elder Gods in order to combat the threat from Onaga, the Shirai Ryu were resurrected in exchange for Scorpion serving as the Champion against this evil. However, their deal was only partly followed as after Onaga's defeat, the Shirai Ryu were resurrected but not as flesh and blood Humans but rather as Undead Hellspawn like Scorpion himself. Scorpion would take his undead clan and wage eternal enimity against the Elder Gods for the crimes they had committed. At this point, the Shirai Ryu were also called Hellspawn.
In Scorpion's Armageddon ending, as the fire of Blaze was extinguished and divine powers were given to him, what appeared in its place brought elation to Scorpion's tormented soul: His ninja clan, the Shirai Ryu, had been fully resurrected and as complete flesh and blood human beings. Numbering in the thousands, they covered the surface of the Pyramid of Argus awaiting Scorpion's command. It seems that Hanzo Hasashi (Scorpion) was now the absolute leader of his people. Among them was Scorpion's wife and son. He was finally able to see and hold his family in his arms, yet however their reunion was to be short-lived. The wicked sorcerer Quan Chi suddenly appeared among them. He grabbed Scorpion's young son and disappeared through a portal to the Netherrealm. Enraged, Scorpion ordered his clan to hunt down the sorcerer. He will not rest until his son has been rescued and recovered.
In Mortal Kombat (2011), Scorpion, the last remaining member of the Shirai Ryu, still holds a grudge against the Lin Kuei clan, including the elder Sub-Zero, whom he believes was responsible for the murder of his family and the massacre of his clan.In Scorpion's MK 2011 ending, he returned to his destroyed village that was once home to the Shirai Ryu. While being there, he was suddenly visited by apparitions that revealed to be the souls of the Shirai Ryu clan. His fallen clansmen told Scorpion the truth: the true identity of their murderer was none other then the dark sorcerer Quan Chi, who deceived Scorpion all the time and tricked into believing that theElder Sub-Zero was responsible for their massacre. After Scorpion finally learned the truth, he was no longer Quan Chi's puppet. He and his clan together sought out the treacherous sorcerer and made him pay with his life. Justice was served at last.
After the Battle of Earthrealm had ended, Scorpion at some point met Kenshi, a blind swordsman and one of Earthrealm's surviving champions. Kenshi helped the Wraith find inner peace and free him of the corruptive influence of his "Scorpion" persona. Thus, the newly re-dubbed Hanzo Hasashi later aided the forces of good win the Netherrealm War, which was Shinnok's invasion of several realms, and soon rebuilt the Shirai Ryu clan. Enlisting survivors of tragic events and inhabitants of realms that suffered due to the Netherrealm War, Hanzo had a temple near the Himalayan Mountains of Earthrealm become the home of the Shirai Ryu.
Years later, the Shirai Ryu became a powerful group within Asia, with their territory covering the Himalayan Mountains and having countless members. When his friend needed help, Hanzo rescued Kenshi and his young son, Takeda, raising the latter and taking him under his wing. Along with this, Raiden asked the clan to safeguard the Kamidogu dagger he had Sub-Zero retrieve, which they accepted. Teaching Takeda for years as well as other students such as Fox, Hanzo was eventually contacted by Raiden, who warned him of a coming demonic entity that had escaped during the outbreaks of Netherrealm, and that Hanzo had to be on the alert.
However, Fox was soon possessed by the demon through the Kamidogu dagger. After horrifically disfiguring himself, Fox poisned Hanzo to relive his worst memories so Fox could kill a majority of the clan during the same night. Although overpowered, Takeda was able to survive and defend his sensai long enough from Fox before Scorpion reawakened, who aided Takeda in killing their possessed enemy. With most of the Shirai Ryu eradicated once again, Hanzo and Takeda burn the corpses of their kin before leaving the Shirai Ryu temple, vowing to rebuild their clan once they had avenge their fallen members.
- Throughout the series, the Shirai Ryu's name is mispronounced as Shirai Rye-yu (when the correct would be Shirai Ree-oo). Also, given that "Ryu" is the Japanese suffix for "style", the name would be more properly parsed as "Shirai-ryu". Shirai Ryu means "Style/Flow of the White Well".
- Interestingly, the history of the Shirai Ryu clan is similar to the real world Shirai-ryu Shurikenjutsu samurai fighting style, which many believed to have died-out in the twentieth century, but was resurrected by Saito Satoshi.
- In the Mortal Kombat X Comic Series after Scorpion rebuilt the Shirai Ryu, it's implied the clan is allies with the Special Forces and now has great influence in Earthrealm. Evidence includes the fact the Himalayan Mountains are now the territory of the Shirai Ryu clan, the Red Dragon retreat after the Shirai Ryu come to rescue Kenshi and his son Takeda, and Kenshi informs Scorpion of Special Forces information.
- Quan Chi is connected, if not responsible, for both iterations of the Shirai Ryu massacre, as he helped the Lin Kuei destroy the original iteration in exchange for Bi-Han to retrieve Shinnok's Amulet in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero and in the Mortal Kombat X (Comic Series), the demon which possessed Fox to kill a majority of the second iteration did so through the Kamidogu dagger, which is connected to Quan Chi in some way.
- Currently, Takeda and Scorpion are the only known active members of the Shirai Ryu clan.