Michael Dana Kennedy is a Boston native. After graduating from Harvard University with a dual major in history and political science, he attended Tufts University School of Medicine for two years before withdrawing to pursue a career in clinical research.  In the late '80s he returned to academia when he entered M.I.T., with a focus on computer science.  Kennedy founded two medical technology companies, both of which he sold.
He then turned his attention to his life-long interest in history and began researching and writing his debut novel, The Flowers of Edo. Research for the book led him to live in Japan for six months. He spoke before members of Japan's Ministry of Defense at their headquarters in Ichigaya, Tokyo, where he was presented with an official daishō sword set for his findings.