Shinichi was born to Yusaku and Yukiko Kudo, mystery writer and former movie star respectively. He was born on the 4th of May, but he repeatedly forgets his birthday every year. He is a genius savant, and even from a young age, was very intuitive and observant. In addition, his father often made him puzzles and games to help sharpen his mind even more as he grew up.
Due to the influence of his father, and the generally laissez-faire environment at home, he has long been an incessant and persistent reader, especially of mystery novels-- he finished the entire collection of mystery novels in his elementary school library during his elementary school years. Also, Yusaku started to bring young Shinichi to crime scenes until Shinichi was in sixth grade. This has caused Shinichi to have a love of crime investigation, and for that reason, peers like Ran Mouri and Serena Sebastian called him a mystery geek (推理オタク suiri-otaku?) in passing.
His life between ages 6 to 16 is not well-documented. During junior high school he was made a starting midfielder in the school's soccer team as a freshman. The head of the soccer club even fell in love with him, but he rejected her nicely due to the fact that he was secretly in love with Ran.
His parents moved to the United States when he was 14 to pursue their own careers, while he was left in Tokyo. As Conan, he claimed to have learned many skills while on vacation with his parents in Hawaii, including sharp shooting, piloting an airliner, and driving a Ford Mustang, which has become a running gag among fans of the series.
At the beginning of the series, Shinichi is a 17-year old student at Titan High School (Teitan High School in the original Japanese versions). He is already a well-known detective who closed many difficult cases, and known as the savior of the police force. That same year, he left the soccer club, but even Ran considered his soccer skills at national level. He told her that he liked to play because he considered soccer as a way to train his reflexes-- akin to his idol, Sherlock Holmes's practice of fencing-- for his detective skills; he aspires to be the Sherlock Holmes of the Heisei era.
Shinichi is also known for his inability to sing; but since he can still distinguish different musical notes, by definition he cannot be referred to as tone deaf.
He apparently can speak English, as evident in Volume 21 of the manga, where he conversed with and translated for an American diplomat (in a flashback Ran had of a case that Shinichi solved before he was shrunk).
As Conan Edogawa
At the beginning of the series, Shinichi brings his best friend Ran to a local theme park called "Tropical Land," to celebrate her victory in the Metropolitan Karate Championships. He later ends up solving a murder case involving a decapitation that occurred on the train car of the "Mystery Coaster" that they had been riding on. As they are leaving, Shinichi witnesses a suspicious exchange between an unknown man and a person dressed in black in a secluded area just outside the park. He leaves Ran, who heads home reluctantly, and goes off to find out what is going on. As he tries to listen in to the quiet conversation-- a blackmail over an arms deal that was apparently worth 100 million yen-- he does not notice an accomplice sneak up behind him. This accomplice, another man in black, attacks him by clubbing him on the head with a metal pipe, and then forces him to swallow a new experimental poison. They then leave him to die. This poison, known as APTX 4869, is extremely potent and designed to kill a person while leaving no traces of its existence in the victim after death. However, instead of killing Shinichi, a rare side-effect occurred. It slowly and painfully shrinks his body, reverting his appearance back to that of his six or seven year-old self. In desperation and confusion, Shinichi heads back to his house and runs into his next door neighbor and close family friend, Dr. Hiroshi Agasa. Dr. Agasa is a kind, but somewhat eccentric scientist, and although he is retired, he still likes to invent many odd things that later help Shinichi adjust to life as a little kid again while solving cases. Shinichi tries to tell him what happened and eventually manages to convince him that he was shrunk by some men in black who attempted to kill him. Dr. Agasa tells Shinichi that he absolutely must keep his identity a secret, because if the wrong person/people were to find out about his predicament, these people, who he later finds out call themselves the Black Organization, would definitely come back and kill him, along with anybody associated with him-- including all his friends and family. They also both worry because there was no dead body recovered, so the strange men may come back looking for him due to that as well. Conan reluctantly agrees that until he learns more about them, it is best to keep anyone from finding out that he is really someone who is supposed to be dead. He especially does not want Ran involved.
Ran soon goes over to Shinichi's house (where Shinichi and Dr. Agasa were) looking for him because she is worried, and sees the little boy. She thinks that he is adorable and asks him what his name is. Shinichi quickly comes up with an alias, Conan Edogawa (江戸川 コナン Edogawa Conan) , after Arthur Conan Doyle and Edogawa Rampo. Dr. Agasa tells her that he is a distant relative whose parents were in an accident overseas and that it may be better if he stays with her, since he doesn't know much about taking care of kids. "Conan" then goes to live with Ran and her father, Kogoro Mouri, a private detective, and hopes that by living with a detective, he can stay on top of current cases and be able to gather clues about the "Black Organization". Unfortunately, Detective Mouri is so incompetent that Shinichi usually has to solve the mysteries for him. Shinichi frequently knocks out Kogoro with a watch that shoots mini tranquilizer darts and uses his voice-changing bow tie to imitate Kogoro's voice. (These gadgets were made by Dr. Agasa for him, and he later amasses many more gadgets that help him out.) Because of this, Kogoro gets all the credit and quickly becomes famous for his incredible deductions. Cases also begin to pile up, which occasionally gives Shinichi a chance to gather hints on the Black Organization.
In order to keep Conan's secret safe, Dr. Agasa enlists Conan at Titan Elementary School (帝丹小学 Teitan Shōgaku?), where Conan befriends three of his classmates, Amy Yeager (吉田 歩美 Yoshida Ayumi?)), George Kaminski (小嶋 元太 Kojima Genta?), and Mitch Tennison (円谷 光彦 Tsuburaya Mitsuhiko?)). Together, they form the Junior Detective League (少年探偵団 Shōnen Tantei-dan?). Conan realizes that even though these kids are really kids, they are very astute and often help him solve difficult cases.
As the story progresses, Conan also befriends Anita Hailey (灰原哀 Ai Haibara?), who grew up within the Black Organization and is a former member of it along with her sister. Her real name is Shiho Miyano, and she is a gifted biochemist and creator of the APTX 4869 poison. She took the drug in an attempted suicide after her sister was murdered by the same men who attacked Shinichi and shrunk him while she was trying to arrange for herself and Shiho to leave the organization. The drug backfires on her too, and she becomes a little kid again as well. Through her child-like guise, she escapes the organization, and then Dr. Agasa finds her and takes her in to live with him. She proves to be a valuable ally to Conan and the gang as she continues her search for an antidote in addition to helping him gather information on the Black Organization in order to bring them down.
Shinichi/Conan has returned to his normal form several times throughout the series. First was during episodes 48-49 where he temporary returns to normal after drinking alcohol while infected with a cold. He quickly turns back into Conan after solving the case. The next time was during episodes 191- 193 (Files 3-7 volume 26), where he returns for about two days after taking the prototype antidote for APTX 2896. He solves two cases, and had an unfinished date with Ran in the restaurant where his father purposed to his mother. During files 647 to 654, Conan returns to his Shinichi self while helping solve a murder case. He accidentally took a prototype antidote for APTX 4896, mistaking it for a cold pill and became Shinichi again. After the case is solved, his time is up and he manages to hide in a bathroom stall from his friends. Though he returns to being Conan, Ai gives him a second antidote, giving Shinichi another 24 hours as himself. She warns him however that if he continues to take the antidote on a regular basis, it will be less effective each time and eventually he will develop immunity to it. However, it is implied that Shinichi has already developed some immunity, when he returns to being Conan after about 4 hours.