Kano is a vicious mercenary and devoted member of the Black Dragon, a dangerous group of cutthroats feared and respected throughout crime's inner circle. Orphaned as a small child by an American woman in Tokyo, the Black Dragon is the only family Kano has known. Through his treacherous dealings, he learned of the Mortal Kombat tournament and it's host, Shang Tsung. Mistakenly believing Tsung's palace to be made of gold, he traveled to Tsung's island to enter the competition. He was followed there by a U.S. para-military police force led by Sonya Blade, and was ambushed. Both parties found themselves taken captive by Tsung's forces, and were taken to the palace to be entered into the tournament. Kano managed to survive the bloody fights, but was taken prisoner by a fleeing Shang Tsung and taken to the Outworld.
Once in the Outworld, Kano found himself chained up to Shao Kahn's throne, alongside his nemesis Lt. Blade. When Kahn was defeated in the second tournament, Kano escaped and hid in the dark recesses of the Outworld. Unfamiliar with the territory, he was soon recaptured and taken before Shao Kahn. He managed to persuade Kahn to spare his life by promising to teach Kahn's armies how to use Earth weapons. When Kahn invaded the Earth, Kano lured part of the army away on a false mission and destroyed them using a stolen weapon. He fought through the remaining warriors until he reached Kahn's castle. Once there, he attempted to take over the spirits which Shao Kahn once possessed, but was unable to control the spirits as they escaped and attacked him. He suffered a violent death, ignorant to the fact that he actually helped save the world that he tried to conquer.