Kenji drives his 180SX as part of the Akina SpeedStars, his childhood best friend Koichiro Iketani's team. During a team meetup on top of Mt. Akina, the SpeedStars are confronted by the Akagi RedSuns, who challenge them to a downhill battle in one weeks time. After being thrashed by the RedSuns during their practice runs, Kenji and the other SpeedStars momentarily consider selling their cars and giving up racing, however they decide against this. After Iketani crashes his car during a practice run, Kenji is set up to race against Keisuke Takahashi, however he is replaced with Takumi Fujiwara when he arrives to battle in the SpeedStars place.
The SpeedStars all drive up to Akina in the 180 before Takumi's race with Takeshi Nakazato, with Kenji and Iketani heading to Takumi's house to find out if he is going to race. During the gum tape deathmatch between Takumi and Shingo Shoji, Kenji followed Iketani down the mountain in his 180, just in case either of the racers had crashed.
Kenji, Takumi and Itsuki follow Iketani when he heads to his date with Mako Sato. Instead of hanging around in Karuizawa, the three decide to check out Usui pass and its racing scene. They stick around until night, when they head to the mountain with Iketani.
During Emperor's Gunma sweep, Kenji and Iketani head over to Akagi to watch the battles between Emperor and the RedSuns.
During Takumi's time in Project D, Kenji often stopped by the gas station to talk with Itsuki and Iketani, as well as giving information about their upcoming battles.