As the youngest son of the master of the Shimada ninja clan, Genji lived a life of luxury and privilege. He had little interest in the family's illegal businesses, and although he excelled at and enjoyed his ninja training. Following the clan leader's death, Genji's older, Hanzo, demanded that Genji take more active role in their late father's empire. The tension between the brothers built to a violent confrontation that left Genji on the verge of dying.
Hanzo believed that he killed his brother, but Genji was rescued by Overwatch and the intervention of Dr. Angela Ziegler. The global force saw Genji as a potential asset in its ongoing operation to combat the Shimada clan.