Born in 1851, Kenji was a member of the prestigious Hashimoto family. A clan of Japanese nobles who took particular pride in their skill with the flute, the Hashimoto were wealthy and prominent in the Japanese government when the Meiji Restoration occurred. Kenji was raised as a Samurai despite the numerous rapid changes in society, and the ideology and culture of the warrior instilled itself deeply in his heart and mind. A deep-seated discomfort grew within him as the Samurai class was forced, slowly but surely, to give up their traditions. Despite the majority of his clan acquiescing to the demands of the new Emperor, Kenji did not agree with the way society was changing. Things came to a head for him during the Satsuma Rebellion, with Kenji taking direct part in battle against the Imperial Army of Japan. After the rebels' failure to take Kumamoto and subsequent chase from Nobeoka, the young samurai fled. Making his way to an eastern port, Kenji signed on with a crew journeying to America. Planning to make a new life for himself, he sailed across the Pacific Ocean to California.
However, the crew were not what they appeared. Taking the young man into captivity, they sold Kenji to followers of the warlord Kang in the city of Shan Fan. He was transported away to a mining camp where he was forced to work extracting ghost rock from the Earth for the right to live. Fighting to keep both his health and his sanity, Kenji bided his time and endured the abuse of his captors. After what felt like an eternity, days and nights lost to the darkness of the mine, an opportunity arose to escape. Finally seeing his chance, the samurai seized it, carving a path through the camp. In the battle to retrieve his family daishō, other belongings, and a fine horse to make good his escape, misfortune struck. A lucky blow from one of Kang's minions cleaved his sword arm off at the elbow, leaving him injured and desperate. The samurai finished the fight and fled quickly, finding the closest oasis of civilization he could. Ditching the horse, he stowed away on an airship unknowingly bound for New Mexico.
His arm bound in rags and beginning to fester, Kenji sailed through the air for the first time. Making his way over the West, he eventually arrived in Brimstone. Alone and injured, he was found cowering in the cargo hold and brought into town."