Shina Ringo Yumiko Shiina was born in Saitama Prefecture to Koutarou Shiina, an employee of an oil company, and Akiko Shiina, a full-time housewife. She was born with an illness in which the esophagus become more narrow as it gets closer to the stomach, resulting in many surgeries.
Her understanding of the arts began with her father's interest in jazz and classical music. Also, her mother majored in dance in college and practiced ballet. In her house were a large collection of music, a piano, and a guitar. Shiina 's father was also devoted reader of music magazines. The young girl began practicing piano at age 5, as well as starting classical ballet.
While Shiina was a very outgoing girl in her early child life, she later became shy and quiet. The pseudonym Ringo, meaning apple, comes from how she would blush bright red like an apple when she was in front of people, as well as from her love of the Beatles' Ringo Starr and singer Fiona Apple.
Her parents remember her as a mostly trouble-free child, except that she could not stand being alone, throwing tantrums if she could not have a friend to play with.
By age 15, Shiina had become involved in several bands as well as performing solo. In 1995, she received recognition from the Teens Music Festival as a member of the all-girl band Marvelous Marbles. Later on, she received an Award of Excellence as a solo artist in the finals of the annual Music Quest competitions.
In her later teen years she became a fan of the indie rock group Number Girl, attending various shows when possible.