Nara Shikaku is the father of Shikamaru and the husband of Yoshino, and, like his son, he was part of an Ino-Shika-Cho trio, together with Choza Akimichi and Inoichi Yamanaka. Like his son, he is the Shika in the group name. He is married to Yoshino Nara who, as his son says, has him whipped. Despite his claim that "a woman is always tender to the man she loves," his son is never convinced. As a member of the Nara clan, he raises deer, whose antlers can be used to make a medicine which halts the destructive effects of the Akimichi clan's three colored pills. Since his son became a Chunin, Shikaku has taken a great interest in Shikamaru's training as he knows his son has much greater potential than he gives himself credit, regularly playing him at shogi to further refine his son's intellect and teaching him more of their clan's secret techniques. He is probably the most skilled strategist and shogi player in all of Konoha, he beats Shikamaru on a regular basis.
When he is first seen, he is portrayed as a bit of an alcoholic, and at times uses some of Shikamaru's catchphrases ("What a drag" in English, "How troublesome" in Japanese). Like his son, he thinks that women should be tender and sweet, but as his son says, his wife has him whipped. Also like his son, he is a very lazy person, but he is also quite caring, and is ready to jump into action when needed. Unlike his son, his resolve is much stronger, as even during the most depressing or dangerous of situations, he has shown to maintain great determination and understanding as shown from how he has repeatedly helped his son regain his sense of worth. He also seems to be very smart as he has defeated Shikamaru in shogi.
Like his son, and the rest of his clan, Shikaku uses a special secret clan type of Jutsu, that utilizes the manipulation of shadows in various combatable ways. Although he has only been seen in combat once, as the head of his respective clan, it is highly presumed that he has mastery of his clan's techniques. During Orochimaru's invasion of Konoha, Shikaku perfectly used the Shadow Neck Bind Technique against three opponents at the same time.
He has also shown on several occasions to be a very intelligent man, repeatedly giving insightly words of advise to his Shikamaru, as well as repeatedly beating him in shoji, strongly hinting at having an intellect that surpasses his son's. Shikaku's intelligence and skill as a ninja, has also earned him the position of Jonin Commander - the highest-ranking position to which a normal Shinobi can be promoted.