Last fortnight, for our fourth session of Lorewatch, we took a look at Hanzo and his remorseful past.

This week, it’s only fair that his brother Genji take the stand. Join me as we delve into the lore behind the unapologetically low-health cyborg.

Lore session five: Genji

The youngest son of Sojiro Shimada, master of the Shimada clan, Genji Shimada was often scorned for his overindulgent and opulent lifestyle. As mentioned in last week’s session, Genji had little to no interest in his family’s business, preferring to spend his time with alcohol, girls, parties, and a side of ninja training. With his unpredictable ambidextrous abilities (throwing shurikens and summoning Dragonblade with his right hand, and using his sword in his left), Genji had the potential to be one of the clan’s top assassins. Once Sojiro Shimada passed, Hanzo tried to discipline his brother so that the two could take over the clan, together. However, Genji refused and tension between the young brothers reached an all time high – catastrophically concluding in Hanzo striking down his brother.

With Genji presumed dead by the hands of his older brother, Hanzo fled the clan. Unbeknownst to his archer brother, however, Genji survived. Bruised and battered, Overwatch and Dr. Angela Ziegler (AKA Mercy) rescued the man formerly left for dead. The rescuers offered Genji an ultimatum; help them take down the Shimada clan, and they would rebuild his body in return. Through modern technology and state of the art medicinal techniques, Genji entered cyberization, further enhancing his ninja skills. His swiftness, dexterity, and agility reached non-human altitudes, making him a ninja assassin not to be reckoned with. From then on, Genji worked alongside Overwatch and their covert ops division, Blackwatch, in an attempt to terminate the Shimada clan and their criminal activities. Over the years, Genji trained with Lena Oxton (AKA Tracer) and Winston, as well as fighting against Akande Ogundimu (AKA Doomfist).


After abandoning Overwatch, Genji struggled with his cyborg body and half-human form, feeling ashamed and sickened by what he had become. Living a nomad lifestyle, he wandered for a number of years, battling his inner demons and trying to come to terms with his new life. It was only after crossing paths with Zenyatta that Genji began to heal, albeit slowly after initially snubbing the omnic monk’s words of wisdom and knowledge. Zenyatta became the cyborg ninja’s mentor, teaching him to understand and appreciate his existence as both man and machine.

“Mi o sutete mo, myōri wa sutezu.”

Kanji: 身を捨てても、名利は捨てず

English: Even though I’ve lost my body, I will never lose my honour.

Coming to the realisation that his soul was still intact, even though his full human body was not, Genji accepted himself and reached a higher level of self awareness.

Now, Genji continues to wander, exploring freedom’s path.

Click here to read Hanzo’s Lorewatch article, and here to learn about more of Overwatch’s lore.