Kenji Midori, nicknamed the “Little Giant”, was born April 18, 1962, on the island of Amami Oshima, to the family of a prominent businessman. Having a finished secondary school in 1976, Midori moved to Tokyo in order to prepare for the University. In that same year, Midori started training Kyokushin Karate under the guidance of the famous Kyokushin Karate-ka and teacher, Tsuyoshi Hiroshige.
Midori began competing in 1980 and for the next 10 years placed in the All Japan tournaments. At the beginning of 1991, Midori’s father wanted to transfer the management of the family business, a large building company, to his son. Kenji returned home and took over the leadership of the company. On the threshold of the 5th Kyokushin Karate World Championship the founder of Kyokushin Karate, Masutatsu Oyama, went to Amami Oshima to persuade Midori’s father to give his son the chance to become the world champion. He told him: “Your son has the abilities to become a world champion. How do you feel about your son being fully focused on karate before the world championship? I really ask you to agree.” The father could not say no to the special guest. On November 4th, 1991 Kenji Midori became the winner at the 5th Kyokushin Karate World Championship.