Moto's family were among the many citizens of Sorret who are not magic-users. His mother was one of the few spirit-talkers in Sorret who were not also Sorreters. His father was a bladesmith, and both his parents were skilled swordsmen, who taught their children the basics of swordsmanship. They were also fans of stories from Earth, particularly ones that involved swordsmen, and they named Moto after a famous Terran swordsman named Miyamoto Musashi. The names of Moto's parents and siblings are not known, and what is known of Moto's early life mostly comes from the biographical writing he did, starting in his early 30s. It should be noted that, while most non-magical citizens of Sorret bear little or no resentment toward Sorreters, Moto's parents were different. And it seems they passed their attitude on to their children.
Moto refers in his writings to an incident that occurred when he was 16 years old, an altercation between his siblings and himself, and a group of young apprentice Sorreters, who also studied swordsmanship. He said that in spite of his certainty that the skills he and his siblings had learned from their parents were superior to the skills his rivals had learned from their own master, he and his siblings were defeated. He blamed this defeat on the Sorreters' use of magic during the sparring match. It was this incident that prompted him to set off on his own as a wandering adventurer, in the hopes of learning different sword techniques from various masters in other villages. In 870, at the age of 30, he returned to Sorret, having learned all he could and having developed a technique of his own (called Chakra Over Mana), which he had designed specifically to counter various possible spells which might be used by Sorreters to give them an advantage in battle. (In fact, the technique need not be used against Sorreters, but may have any number of applications in more traditional battles, whether one on one or one against a group.) At this point, the childhood incident was long-since forgotten by both his siblings and their rivals, but not by Moto. Over the protests of his siblings, he challenged their old rivals to a swordfight, all of them against him alone. He even encouraged the Sorreters to use spells against him. They didn't want to fight him, but he left them little choice. And in the end, Moto inadvertently injured one of his opponents very badly, permanently debilitating him, in spite of his intention to win the fight without doing any serious harm. He barely avoided killing the man.
Moto spent five years in prison because of this accident, having pled guilty. In fact his guilt led him to decide to give up swordfighting forever, and it was during his time in prison that he began writing. After his release in 875, he moved to Shipsister, where he became a playwright, as well as continuing to write stories of his adventures. However, in 880, he was approached by an adventurer (and former apprentice Sorreter) named Noson, who was interested in learning the Chakra Over Mana technique. At first Moto refused, but Noson said he could help him refine the technique, learn to use it in a more controlled way, so as not to do any more harm than intended. Additionally, Noson related a story to Moto about why he himself had abandoned his potential career as a Sorreter. The details of the story are not provided in Moto's writings, though apparently the story helped convince him. And so, together the two of them did indeed refine Moto's technique, which in later years Moto would teach to several other students. Though of course, he chose his students carefully, wanting to be sure they were level-headed enough never to misuse the technique. It is unknown exactly how many students he had over the years, though it is known that only a select few of them were chosen to learn Chakra Over Mana. Among these students were Tom Morales and Jade Nishikigoi.
After the passing of the surname law, Moto (aged 64 at the time), chose the surname "Jiandao" after his two favored sword types, the jian and the dao (which had been specialties of his father's crafting, based on Earth stories told by a spirit friend of Moto's mother). It should be noted that Chakra Over Mana is meant to utilize these two swords, though variations on the technique were later developed by Jade.
Moto's birthday falls on "Daughter's Day" (see Holidays of the Land).