He grew up in the Satellite District of New Domino City and had a poor upbringing. To survive he focused his dueling skills heavily as well as hand to hand combat. Before the series began, a custom D-Wheeler (Duel running in the 4kids dub) was stolen from him by his foster brother Jack Atlas, who used it along with his own duel skills to obtain fame and fortune in New Domino City.
For the first part of the series, Yusei's main goal is to get his D-Wheeler back. When he defeats Jack Atlas in the first part, he becomes a member of the Signers, unique and skilled duelists destined to save the world from the king of the Underworld.
He is the first person to show kindness towards Akiza Izinski, the Rose Duelist, which in turn causes her to fall in love with him over time. Towards the end of the series (not shown in the 4kids dub), it is heavily implied he returned her feelings before he left to become a scientist.
Yusei is very intelligent when it comes to machinery and computers, having built a custom D-Wheeler and several hacking skills. He is also very kind and selfless, caring deeply for his friends and was able to renew his friendship with Jack Atlas. His deck consists of warriors and the ability of Synchro summoning.