Designed by Akira Yasuda, the character was initially named "Sumo". As his initial name implies, Honda is meant to have above average strength, but below average speed. The developers intended for the character to be popular in Japan, but to also make Japanese fighting styles appeal to foreigners. Honda's shikona for sumo is mentioned as "Fujinoyama." He wears his black hair in a chonmage and dresses in a blue and white striped yukata over a red mawashi, with the upper half of the yukata folded down over the belt to leave his upper body exposed. His face is painted in the kumadori style of makeup used in kabuki. Honda's signature move is the Hyaku Retsu Harite (lit., "Hundred Violent Sumo Hands"; commonly referred to as the Hundred Hand Slap).
In his backstory in Street Fighter II, E. Honda is mentioned to have begun his training as a child, singularly focused on becoming the greatest sumo wrestler of all time. He would eventually achieve the highly revered title of "Ōzeki" (in the English localization of the early Street Fighter II ports, he is stated as having achieved the title, Yokozuna). Honda became upset that the rest of the world did not view sumo wrestling with the reverence of the Japanese. He entered into the second World Warrior tournament intent on showing everyone that sumo wrestlers rank among the greatest fighters in the world. Beyond this, he yearns also to improve and prove his own strength, as well as earn the title of Yokuzuna. While involved in the tournament, he takes the opportunity to investigate Shadaloo, in response to sumo wrestlers having taken drugs he traced back to the organization. His face painting and culturally-ambiguous name assisted him in his covert operations. Following the tournament and the fall of Shadaloo, Honda returned to Japan where he continued wrestling professionally and continuing to run his bath house and training his disciples.
Honda makes a cameo appearance in Street Fighter Alpha 2, during Sodom's storyline. Sodom, obsessed with both Japanese culture and trying to revive Mad Gear, attempts to recruit sumo wrestlers, citing them as strong warriors. To achieve this he enters a sumo wrestling competition and faces "Fujinoyama", who is revealed to be Honda. Agreeing to the match, Honda defeats Sodom but is impressed by his effort nevertheless according to their dialogue in Alpha 3. In Street Fighter Alpha 3, his storyline in this game serves more of a prologue to his appearance in Street Fighter II, with him traveling the world looking for strong opponents and to show the strength of sumo wrestling. Here he meets Ryu and has a sparring match with him, and tells Sakura later on where she can find him. About this time he fights Sodom again in a friendly match as well. His wanderings lead him to Shadaloo's base where he meets Zangief, and while the actual extent of which is unknown the two are confirmed to have worked together to help destroy the base. In the aftermath he took in a few of Bison's Dolls to give them somewhere to stay until they could regain their memories (which ones in particular is never exactly certain due to Capcom reusing sprites in his ending for the Dolls). According to this game's ending and supported by his card profile in SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters DS he may additionally have given them training in sumo during their stay, though none of his pupils in other games are female leaving this definitely up to question.
Honda returns for Street Fighter IV, which is set shortly after the events of the second World Warrior Tournament. His goals have not changed, as his bio states that he is fighting to promote the technique of sumo. To this end, he goes on a world tour. It is revealed that he is a haridashi-yokozuna (effectively meaning that he is of yokozuna level skill and achievement, but has yet to be officially promoted). His rival fight is against El Fuerte, after which the two share a meal.
Honda has made several appearances outside of the main Street Fighter franchise. SNK vs. Capcom continues his Street Fighter II storyline, as he strives to prove the strength of sumo to the world. He mentions his disciples in his ending, placing this version of him closer to his SFII counterpart in terms of continuity. Marvel vs. Capcom features a stage titled A stage titled "Honda's Bath House", however, this version appears drastically different from its Street Fighter II counterpart. Honda makes a cameo appearance in Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix, in the bar stage, sitting next to Cammy and being served by Dee Jay.