Among other things, The Master Puppeteer is a coming-of-age story. Over the course of the story, Jiro matures considerably, overcoming many obstacles and much adversity in his journey to manhood. Yet early on, Jiro already shows the skills and aptitudes one normally associates with leadership. His family are dirt poor and on the brink of starvation. Jiro seizes the initiative and runs away to the theater, where he hopes to be able to help out his family by becoming an apprentice. In doing so, he's effectively taking over the leadership of his family from his poor, incapable parents.
Jiro's leadership skills are much in evidence later on in the story when he stands guard at the theater to protect it from an angry, starving mob, the so-called "night rovers." Even more courageously, Jiro plunges headlong into a full-scale riot to rescue his mother and Kinshi and lead them back to the relative safety of the theater.