Prince of Twist, Kenzo Shirai: Full Bio

Kenzo Shirai, aka Prince of Twist, is a famous gymnast from Japan. He is best known for his competitions in both team events and the single vault.

Furthermore, Kenzo is a part of the Japanese National Olympic team. As a result, he is ranked among the most popular gymnast and celebrities born in Japan.

In fact, Kenzo has made a name for himself in the category of the gymnast as the youngest gymnastics to win the gold medal in Rio at the age of 19.

Kenzo Sirai competes on the Pommet horse at Artistic gymnastics World Championshio at Montreal, 2017. (Source: USATODAY.com)
Kenzo Shirai competes on the Pommet horse at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championship in Montreal, 2017. (Source: USATODAY.com)

Soon after entering the international gymnastic game at the 2013 World Championship, Kenzo Shirai had made a name as one of the most original gymnasts of all time.

Besides, as of now, six techniques are named after the Kenzo, which are Shirai-Nguyen, Shirai 2 & Shirai 3 floor skills. Similarly, Shirai-Kim, Shirai 2 & Shirai 3 Vault Skills.

In this article, we will give deep insight into the reason behind Kenzo’s retirement, his early life, net worth, injuries, and other pieces of information.

But before that, let’s take a glance at some quick facts about ‘Twist Prince’ Kenzo Shirai.

Kenzo Shirai: Quick Facts

Full nameKenzo Shirai
NicknameTwist Prince, Prince of the Twist, Flipping Prince
BirthdateAugust 24, 1996
BirthplaceYokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Residence Japan
NationalityJapanese
EthnicityAsian
ReligionChristianity 
HoroscopeVirgo
Age25 Years Old
Father’s nameMasaki Shirai
Mother’s nameNorimi Shirai
SiblingTwo 
Sibling Name Unknown
Education QualificationMaster Degree
High School Tsurumi Junior gymnastic Club
CollegeNippon Sport Science University
GirlfriendsUnknown 
Marital statusUnmarried
ProfessionArtistic Gymnast
LevelSenior International Elite
ClubNSSU (Nippon Spot Science University)
Height5’4″ (162 cm)
Weight51 kg (112 lb)
Body MeasurementNot Known
Eye ColorBlack
Hair ColorBlack
LanguageJapanese
Hero/IdolJapanese artistic gymnast Kohei Uchimura
Philosophy/Motto“Believe in Yourself”
Head CoachesYoshiaki Hatakeda (club), Hisashi Mizutori (national)
Awards & Achievements
  • Prize of Elegance (2017)
  • Kanagawa Sports Olympic Award (2016)
  • Excellent Athlete Award (2013 & 2015)
  • Rookie of the Year Japanese Olympic Committee (2013)
Net Worth $1.5 Million 
SalaryUnknown
Social Media InstagramTwitterFacebook 
Number of Techniques Named after HimSix
Last UpdateNovember, 2021

Kenzo Shirai: Early Life & Education

Early Life of Prince of Twist

Twist Prince Kenzo Shirai was born on August 24, 1996, in Yokohama, Japan. Similarly, his father, Masaki Shira, and his mother, Norimi Shirai, owned Tsurumi Junior Gymnastics Club.

Since both of his parents were also gymnastic coaches, he was family influenced and started training early.

Childhood picture of Kenzo Shirai with his father and brothers. ( Source: @kenzoshirai)
Childhood picture of “Twist Prince” Kenzo Shirai with his father and brothers. (Source: @kenzoshirai)

Instead of playing at the daycare, Masaki and Norimi brought Shirai and his older brothers to the gym. This gym was his second home, and he started practicing gymnastics at a very young age of three.

Besides, he was influenced by his two older brothers, who were also into gymnastics. 

Moreover, his older brother Shotaro won a gold medal in artistic gymnastics (team event) at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

Ever since Kenzo was a teenager, his dream was to win the gold medal in Olympics.

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Education

However, Kenzo never attended a regular school like some elite athletes. Instead, he got his training from his parent’s training club Tsurumi Junior Gymnastics Club, during his early days. 

Kenzo Shirai father and mother. ( Source: @kenzoshirai)
Kenzo Shirai’s father, Masaki, and mother Norimi who are also gymnastic coaches at Tsurumi Junior Gymnastic Club. (Source: @kenzoshirai)

Furthermore, Shirai graduated from high school in March 2015; he got a chance to attend Nippon Sport Science University (NSSU).

In fact, this University is famous among elite artistic gymnastics to train and to study. Kenzo’s coach Kohei Uchimura was also a former student of the same University. 

Thus, getting admission to NSSU was indeed a turning point in Kenzo’s career.

Later, twist prince Kenzo also got his master’s degree in physical science from NSSU and became an assistant professor at the University.

Kenzo Shira: Age, Height & Weight

Born on August 24, 1996, Kenzo is 25 years old. At such a young age, he can become one of the wealthiest gymnasts in Japan.

Though Kenzo appears leam and slim, he has got enough arm strength. And he stands 5 feet 4 inches tall (162 cm) and weighs 51 kg (112 lb).

Furthermore, in artistic gymnastics, light bodyweight is advantageous for the athlete.

Prince of Twist Kenzo Shirai: Career

The official career started for Kenzo Shirai at seventeen when he competed in the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

He there competed with South Korea Kim Hee-Hoon and performed the Shirai or Shirai-Kim on vault for the first in the World Championship.

Moreover, Yokohoma native caused a sensation during that time since he was only a high school student.

Price of Twist Kenzo Shirai in the middle with a gold medal at the men’s vault final award ceremony of World Cup Gymnastics in Melbourne, Australia, in February 2017.

He qualified for both floor and vault apparatus finals.

Again, in 2014 Kenzo performed at the 2014 Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Nanning, China. Unfortunately, due to a straightforward mistake, he lost gold and took the silver medal home.

Luckily, Kenzo won his second World Floor title at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastic Championship in Glasgow, UK. Shirai successfully delivered his challenging routine.

However, the trivia point in the career of Kenzo Shirai came at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Summer Olympics. Successfully, he took gold in the team event and bronze in the vault final.

In this way, Kenzo played a prominent role in the national team’s first win in 37 years at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

In March 2020, Kenzo returned to his hometown Yokohama, Japan, after he was not allowed to use the training venue at NSSU due to Covid-19.

But, he got a chance to train with his former coach Haruo Mizuguch at his parents, Tsurumi Junior Artistic Gymnastic Club.

As an Olympic gymnast for the Japanese national team, he is among the ranks of other team members, including Ryohei Kato and Kohei Uchimura.

Skills 

Kenzo Shirai has six eponymous skills under his name.

Shirai-Kim Vault: round-off, back handspring, a triple twist (2013 World Championships).

Shira 2 Vault: round-off, back handspring, 3.5 twists in the (2016 Olympic Games).

Shira 3 Vault: full-on-double full off (2013 World Championship).

Shirai-Nguyen Floor: backward layout quadruple twists (2013 World Championship).

Shirai 2 Floor: forward layout triple twists (2013 World Championship).

Shirai 3 Floor: backward double layout with three twists (2015 Toyota International Gymnastics Competition with petition).

Kenzo Shirai: Injuries

Since bursting onto the international gymnastic scene at the 2013 World championships, Shirai made a name for himself as one of the most original gymnasts on the circuit.

Again in 2014, he damaged his ligaments and suffered bone bruising in his right ankles. Besides, he required six weeks of rest.

Unfortunately, Kenzo damaged his muscles and suffered a left shoulder subluxation during a horizontal bar training session in 2019. This injury ruled him out of the 2019 All Japan Senior Championship.

Then, he competed at the 2019 All Japan Individual All-around Championship in April despite suffering the injury.

Consequently, a left ankle injury ruled him out of the 2019 American Cup in Greensboro, NC, United States of America.

During these challenging times after severe injuries, he even thought to quit the sport. Also, he had already told people close to him, including his parents, also gymnastic coaches, that the Tokyo Olympic qualifying event could be his last performance.

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Kenzo Shirai: Retirement

Popular Olympic gold medalist Kenzo Sirai missed out on competing in the 2020 Tokyo Games announced his retirement from the sport on June 16, 2021.

In fact, the 25-year old, who also took the individual vault bronze in Rio, missed out on selection for the Japanese squad named earlier in June for the Tokyo Games.

Furthermore, Kenzo shared his retirement news with the public by holding a press conference.

Gymnastic Kenzi Shirai attends a press conference on his retirement at the age of 24 in Yokohoma, Tokyo. (Source: kyodonews.com)
Gymnastic Kenzo Shirai attends a press conference on his retirement at 24 in Yokohoma, Tokyo. (Source: kyodonews.com)

In recent years, Shirai had struggled to produce high scores that had vaulted him to among the sport’s elite with the nagging left ankle injury.

Passing his retirement news, Kenzo shared that he has no regrets and had an incredibly blessed gymnastics career.

Similarly, Kenzo has left behind a half dozen gymnastic techniques named after him. Thus, the “Flipping Prince” has already made a name in the history of Japanese artistic Gymnastics.

But in his last game, fans in the stand roared at the sight of Shirai performing a signature backflip with four twists, a technique that he had sealed off for years due to injuries.

Coaching Career

Following his retirement, Kenzo moved straight into coaching following the national apparatus championship. Although Kenzo said it’s easy for him to get out of competitive gymnastics, he enjoys teaching other gymnastics rather than developing his skills.

Ever since he was at Nippon Sport Science University, his enthusiasm for teaching younger students increased, and he thought it was a suitable time to retire.

However, Shirai denied that the injury’s dire consequences and hardships were not the reason behind his retirement and leaving the floor forever. 

Coach of NSSU Kenzo Shirai,
Coach of NSSU Kenzo Shirai

More importantly, the biggest reason for his retiring is to help athletes at NSSU to grow in his experience. Further, he mentioned all those obstacles he faced as an athlete had nothing to do with his decision to retire.

But when he was not selected for the Tokyo Olympics, he was not happy, but still, he didn’t want to hold grudges. 

Now, Kenzo Shirai is working as a coach at his alma mater, Nippon Sport Science University (NSSU), and very happy with his decision.

Kenzo Shirai: Net Worth 

According to some online sources, Kenzo Shirai’s estimated net worth in 2021 is around $1 million to $5 million.

Also, the primary revenue supply source is through professional gymnastic games.

Now, he has started a new career as a coach after his retirement. From this new career also he will earn a fair salary.

Unfortunately, we can’t get many details about his vehicles, houses, and other similar assets.

However, Kenzo has already made quite a good amount of fortune for himself, which can help him to lead a luxurious lifestyle.

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Kenzo Shirai: Social Media Presence

Kenzo Shirai is active on various social media sites. Through his social media, he shows his profession-related pictures and news related to his games.

Also, sometimes he shared pictures of his parents and friends. In fact, he tries his best on social media platforms to connect with his fans and give little insight into his life.

  • Instagram: @kenzoshirai- 64k followers (as of 2021)
  • Twitter: @kenzo8824- 122.2k followers (as of 2021)
  • Facebook: Kenzo Shirai- 5,437 followers (as of 2021)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many relationships did Kenzo Shirai have?

He had one relationship in the past. Some online sites have linked Kenzo with Mai Murakami fellow women gymnast. 

How many children does Kenzo Shirai have?

Kenzo Shirai has no children yet. He is not married yet. Also, his relationship affairs are not disclosed in public.

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