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Jutsu (Naruto)

In the anime and manga series Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto, a is a general term referring to any technique a ninja might use that an ordinary human would likely be unable to naturally imitate. Jutsu often rely on the manipulation of chakra by various methods, the most common of which is hand seals.

In the series, several hundred different jutsu have been revealed, which have slightly different names depending on the media in which they appear. The English versions of the Naruto manga and anime both use different names for the jutsu, which usually do not match the literal translation of the Japanese name for the jutsu. The English dub of the anime tends to leave the word "jutsu" untranslated, whereas the English manga translates it to "[jutsu name] Technique" or "Art of [jutsu name]".

Creation and conception

The concept of jutsu was developed by Masashi Kishimoto in order to explain the superhuman feats that ninja performed in the series. Kishimoto's design for the ninja in Naruto was intended to dispel preconceived notions about ninja popularized by other manga and bring an original take to the presentation of ninja in manga. The use of hand seals was a substitute for the incantations for magic found in other sources, and was based on the motions of ninjas in various role-playing games. The hand seals are based upon the characters of the Chinese zodiac, which is a longstanding tradition in Japan, and Kishimoto used them specifically to draw upon that tradition.

Although the concept of chakra is found in Indian mythology, Buddhism and other belief systems, in an interview, Kishimoto claimed that none of these influences were the basis for his use of chakra in Naruto. He further asserted that it was a term to apply a concrete definition to ninjas' ability to use jutsu in Naruto, and was comparable to the Force in Star Wars or magic points in role-playing games.


is a vital force generated within the cells of living organisms. Combined with , or force of will and mental fortitude, it can be harnessed to a variety of uses, such as the production of the superhuman stamina used in taijutsu. It can also be used for formation of the energy known as , essential to the use of even the most basic of jutsu.

Once created, chakra moves about the body to any of its release (Chakra) points, utilizing a network of passages not unlike the circulatory system. By various means -- handseals being the most common -- it can then be manipulated to the end materializing effects otherwise impossible under the laws of nature, such as walking on water. The quality of chakra can be altered with what is called . There are six kinds of nature manipulation. Five basic kinds, more commonly known as the elements.

The five basic kinds of nature manipulations are Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Lightning. Each element is stronger than the next, but weaker than the previous, with Lightning looping back into Earth. For example, a lightning-based attack would be very effective against an earth-based defense, but easily countered by a wind user. Additionally, elemental techniques can be countered by techniques of the same element, provided the technique being countered is of equal or lesser power. Generally, everyone has a natural affinity to one of these elements, and thus can learn jutsu relying on that element with greater ease. However, having an affinity for one element does not mean that one cannot learn how to use other elements. Most Jōnin are able to use two different elements, while Kakashi Hatake has been shown to use at least four (the only one he hasn't shown is wind).

Certain shinobi have the ability to mix two different elements into a new element. Examples are Haku's Hyōton jutsu, mixing Water and Wind into Ice, and the First Hokage's and Yamato's Mokuton jutsu, mixing Earth and Water into Wood. The host of the four-tailed beast was capable of using Yōton jutsu, a mix of Fire and Earth.

Eight Gates

The are eight specific points on a person's chakra circulatory system. They limit the overall flow of chakra within a person's body. The basis for the idea of the chakra gates comes from the body's limits on the functions within it. This makes the body much weaker, but it keeps the body from expiring too soon. By opening these gates, the user can surpass their own physical limits at the cost of extreme damage to their own bodies causing even death. Rock Lee is able to open the first five gates. Might Guy, who taught Lee the skill, is able to open at least six.

Hand seals

The most common way to manipulate chakra to perform jutsu is through the use of hand seals. While there are numerous specialized hand seals throughout the series, there are twelve basic seals used. When put into specific sequences, these seals are used to perform various jutsu. The origin lies in traditional Iengei or mundra, which are part of Taoist and Buddhist religious, and mystical practices. These hand seals consist of a combination of twelve-animal symbols that derive from the Chinese zodiac.

Basic information

Generally speaking, jutsu are divided into three categories: genjutsu, ninjutsu, and taijutsu. Ninjutsu also has two sub-categories: sealing jutsu and cursed seal jutsu, which are jutsu used to create seals for various purposes. Senjutsu, a concept introduced in the second half of the series, uses three types of energy: the psychic and physical energy of the shinobi and the energy of nature, which greatly increases the power of other jutsu types. There are also kekkei genkai abilities. These are not actually jutsu, but genetically-inherited abilities that are only possessed by specific clans.

Depending on the difficulty or skill necessary to perform a jutsu, they will be ranked differently. There are a total of six ranks (from E to S), plus two informal ranks for special circumstances. The rank of a jutsu does not necessarily mean it will be more effective than a lower-ranked jutsu, just more difficult to perform properly. The overall effectiveness of any given jutsu is largely based on individual skill. The two informal ranks are and . Secret jutsu are passed down from generation to generation within a clan. These jutsu are not ranked since no one outside the clan knows how to perform them. Forbidden jutsu, on the other hand, often do fall into one of the six main ranks, but are an exception because they are forbidden to learn or perform. A technique can be categorized as forbidden if it either causes great harm to the user, such as opening the Eight Gates, or if the techniques are dark or sinister in nature, such as those used by Orochimaru.

Cursed Seal jutsu

are jutsu that use a special "cursed seal" to put someone under the control of the user or elicit an unnatural effect in the one they are placed on. They can be used to cause either pain (including death if the pain is large enough) or invoking various mutations in the recipient.


are techniques that use the chakra in the victim's nervous system to create illusions; basically an advanced intellectual ninjutsu. Those with special abilities like the Uchiha clan's Sharingan or those with high intelligence have an easier time executing and countering genjutsu, as attention to detail is key. The most commonly seen genjutsu is the simple creation of phantasms – causing the targeted person(s) to hear, see, smell, taste and/or feel sensations that are not actually there in order to manipulate them. In other words, genjutsu affects the five senses, though other applications of genjutsu exist. Those under the influence of genjutsu either freeze in place or lose consciousness, depending on how capable they are in recognizing and defending against it.

There are several ways to counter genjutsu. Because it uses the victim's own chakra against them, the target can cancel the genjutsu by disrupting their own chakra flow. This is called . Alternatively, should they fail to cancel the genjutsu, intense pain (though not that caused by the genjutsu) can snap them out of it. Someone else can disrupt their chakra flow for them through forcing their own chakra into the recipients body, breaking the chakra flow and thus the genjutsu. Finally, if the victim's ally attacks the caster of the genjutsu, the jutsu will end and the victim freed.

Kekkei genkai

are abilities passed down genetically in specific clans. Most clans have developed special jutsu related to their kekkei genkai and their related jutsu cannot be taught or copied by others, as they require the specific genetic trait to work. Kekkei genkai abilities that work via the user's eye are called , such as the Byakugan, the Sharingan and the Rin'negan. Other kekkei genkai, like the First Hokage and Yamato's Mokuton ability, and Haku's Ice Jutsu, revolve around a simultaneous combination of two separate chakra elements.


is a vague term referring to almost any technique that uses chakra and allows the user to do something that they otherwise would be incapable of doing. The earliest forms of ninjutsu are said to have been created by the first owner of the Rinnegan. Unlike genjutsu, which makes the opponent see illusions, the effects of ninjutsu are quite real. They vary greatly in purpose, with the simpler ninjutsu serving such tasks as transforming the user or allowing them to evade attacks. These techniques are often second-nature for experienced ninja, who can use them at will. More complex ninjutsu manipulate one's surroundings or utilize the elements. These elemental ninjutsu can be classified as such: , , , , . The phrase "Ninja Art" (Ninpō) is occasionally added to the beginning of a non-elemental jutsu. While the elemental name may be added before an elemental technique, such as Fire Style, Water Style, Earth Style, etc.

Sealing jutsu

are jutsu that seal something inside objects or living beings. The most common application of this is sealing weapons or other objects within scrolls to efficiently carry a large number of items. Sealing jutsu are also utilized to restrict access to things, such as chakra or entry to a building.


refers to the use of chakra created from psychic and physical energy within the shinobi as well as energy from nature. This results in the drastic increase of physical attacks, ninjutsu, and genjutsu. Natural energy is invoked by enormous amounts of chakra and only those who can generate that quantity of chakra can achieve Senjutsu. Senjutsu seems to be unique to the toads, as only they and their human students (such as Jiraiya and Naruto) are familiar with it.


refers to any techniques involving the martial arts or the optimization of natural human abilities in general. In other words, taijutsu is executed by accessing the user's stamina directly, rather than converting the user's stamina to chakra in order to execute a ninjutsu or genjutsu technique, meaning that taijutsu is much quicker to execute than (though not always as powerful as) ninjutsu and genjutsu. In some cases, chakra is used to enhance the techniques, particularly in the Hyuga clan's Gentle Fist style where the user sends small bursts of chakra into the persons body to attack the chakra system or chakra points. Generally speaking, however, most taijutsu users rarely use chakra in their attacks.

Recurring jutsu

Many jutsu are only performed once during the series or are used by only one character. The following are jutsu that are commonly used throughout the series by more than one character.


The is an that naturally occurs in members of the Hyuga clan. Byakugan possessors are characterized by their white, pupil-less eyes. When the Byakugan is activated, their pupils somewhat appear and the veins near their temples bulge. Protection of the Byakugan ability is very important to the Hyuga clan, and has led to the development of an elaborate family hierarchy. Members of the lesser branch house are branded with a cursed seal on their forehead at a young age. Whenever a branch house member dies, the cursed seal will seal the Byakugan ability so that enemies will not be able to discover its secrets.

A person with the Byakugan has a nearly 360 degree field of vision, except for a small blind spot at the back of the neck above the third thoracic vertebra. Byakugan users can detect anything around them within a small radius, the greater the user's skill with the Byakugan, the larger the radius is, which makes them close-range combat experts. The Byakugan also gives the user the ability to see through almost any matter over extremely long distances. A small degree of telescopic vision is also present, as a Byakugan user can focus on a single object at any point within their range of vision. Possessors of the Byakugan are also capable of using the Gentle Fist style of combat, because the Byakugan can detect one's chakra network

IGN ranked Byakugan in the 3rd spot of the Top Ten Naruto Techniques, mentioning the applications for this kind of technique in everyday use are infinite in number.


Chidori (千鳥, literally "One Thousand Birds") is an example of nature manipulation created by Kakashi Hatake. The Chidori requires the user to channel a great deal of lightning-based chakra to their hand, so much so that the ordinarily invisible chakra becomes visible to the naked eye. Due to the high concentration of electricity the attack creates, it emits a sound that is reminiscent of chirping birds (hence the name). Once the attack is formed the user rushes at their opponent and thrusts their arm into a certain part of the body, such as the heart. While the technique is usually fatal to its target, the speed at which the user moves causes them to experience tunnel vision, leaving them open for attack. If the user possesses a Sharingan, however, they are able to take in more detail while moving, allowing them to avoid counterattacks.

The Chidori requires a great deal of control in order to be properly utilized; Kakashi, being the creator of the technique, has reached the peak of control over the ability. Because of this, Kakashi's version is referred to as the , a higher ranked form of the ability with which he once split a bolt of lightning. Due to the high levels of chakra required to form the technique, those able to perform it are limited to very few usages a day. Sasuke Uchiha, has used the fundamentals behind the Chidori to create a number of lightning-based attacks.

Chidori took the 2nd place spot in the IGN Top Ten Naruto Techniques article. The Chidori has ranked 2nd in every official Shonen Jump jutsu popularity poll and came 1st in polls of the first Databook , while the Lightning Blade has ranked 3rd once.

Gentle Fist

The style of combat aims to damage the opponent's chakra circulatory system, thus inhibiting their use of chakra. It can alternatively be used to damage the opponent's internal organs, to which the chakra circulatory system is closely tied. This is accomplished by the user injecting some of their own chakra into the opponent upon even the slightest amount of physical contact. As there is no way to train the internal organs to become stronger, this technique is capable of causing damage no matter how physically powerful the opponent is. Because the chakra circulatory system is invisible, the Byakugan is required for this style to be used effectively and thus it is exclusive to the Hyuga clan. Due to the effectiveness and power of this style, teaching of its secret abilities is restricted only to members of the main branch of the Hyuga clan, though prodigious Gentle Fist users can replicate the same effects without being taught.


The jutsu are techniques that combine earth and water-based chakra to create plants, specifically trees of varying size and shape. Wooden objects, such as houses complete with doors and windows or copies of the user, can also be created for a variety of purposes. Mokuton techniques can be produced from anywhere, including the user's body, as the user's chakra is literally converted into a source of life. The First Hokage, the first known possessor of the technique, used the ability to grow the trees that served as the foundation of Konohagakure, the primary reason for his being given the title of Hokage. After the First's death, Yamato was injected with the First's DNA in an attempt to replicate the ability. Yamato survived the experiment and is the only known living user of Mokuton. A possibly unrelated technique, but unique to the First and Yamato, is the ability to suppress a tailed beast's influence over its host. This is done by producing wooden poles from the ground that attach to the host and force the tailed beast's chakra to recede.

Orochimaru's cursed seals

Orochimaru's cursed seals were first developed through his experimentations on Jugo. Jugo's body naturally produces an enzyme that transforms the user into any number of different forms, drastically increasing their chakra supply in the process. By extracting this enzyme from Jugo's body and refining it, Orochimaru is able to apply it to whichever of his followers he wishes.

Once the cursed seal is applied, the applicant stands a 10% chance of survival and they lose consciousness as their body accepts or rejects the seal. Should they survive, receivers of the cursed seal are given access to the seal's first level. When activated the seal's unique pattern spreads across their body from the point of application; the more body coverage there is, the more the user is drawing upon the seal's effects. The seal forcibly draws chakra from the user's body and grants them with increased physical abilities, though consequently leaves them exhausted once the seal is deactivated. Their mind slowly corrodes while the seal is active, opening them to Orochimaru's influence and simultaneously advancing the seal to its second state.

Advancement to the second level of the cursed seal mark is a long process, so long in fact that Orochimaru developed a special drug to speed up the process. Once the second level is achieved, the user can enter the state by fully covering their body with the cursed seal. This is followed by an unnatural alteration of the user's body, with the only common features being yellow eyes with a black sclera. Aside from the first and second levels of the seal, skilled users of the seal are able to perform partial transformations in which level two state can be accessed without completely altering the entire body. The power of the cursed seal can even synchronize with the user's regular body with extended use, increasing the power of his/her natural state.

Puppet Technique

The was created in order to convert a form of entertainment into a style of combat. The technique utilizes strings of chakra extending from the user's fingers to control a puppet's movements. These chakra strings also allow puppeteers to manipulate other people or objects, controlling their movements to help or hinder their progress. Those who can effectively use this ability are rare, but once mastered the user can hide in a safe location while his puppet does the work for him. Skilled puppeteers are able to manipulate multiple puppets simultaneously, with Chiyo being able to use each of her ten fingers to control a different puppet. Sasori's bodily modifications allow him to control one hundred puppets at once.

The art of puppetry varies in usage from person to person, as puppets can be equipped with an array of different weapons and tools to make a battle easier. Puppeteers can also combine the abilities of their puppets to increase their effectiveness; Kankuro, for example, can use one of his puppets to capture an enemy while a second bombards them with weapons, killing them. Standard puppets, however, are limited to attacks not dependent on chakra, as soulless beings cannot utilize it. Sasori has created a workaround for this shortcoming by converting the body of a still-living person into a puppet. Because they were once human, these puppets are able to perform jutsu, giving them a drastic advantage over ordinary puppets.


The Rasengan (螺旋丸, literally "Spiraling Sphere", Viz "Spiral Chakra Sphere", Uzumaki Chronicles "Power Strike") is a technique invented by Minato Namikaze after three years of development. It requires no hand signs to perform, instead relying entirely on the chakra control of the user. The Rasengan grinds into whatever it touches, causing major damage as well as significant internal injury. If need be, the potency of the attack can be lessened to keep from harming the target.

The level of chakra control required is very high, and because of this the teaching of this jutsu is split into steps in which the user learns to form their chakra into a spherical shape. Minato taught the Rasengan to his student, Kakashi Hatake, and his former teacher Jiraiya who in turn teaches it to Naruto Uzumaki. While most users of this jutsu are skilled enough to perform it with one hand, Naruto uses three or more hands with the aid of a shadow clone – one hand to supply chakra and the others to spin and shape it. Though he continues to use this workaround to make the Rasengan simpler to form, Naruto has been able to create it single-handedly when covered in a Nine-Tailed Demon Fox shroud.

The Rasengan was created as the ultimate example of chakra form manipulation. However, Minato had intended to combine it with nature manipulation, which proved to be as impossible as "looking left and right at the same time". Minato and Kakashi have both been unsuccessful in the attempt. In Part II, Naruto finally accomplishes the feat by using two shadow clones – one to manipulate form and one to infuse the Rasengan with his own wind-based chakra.

IGN calls the Rasengan the best jutsu in the series. The Rasengan has ranked 1st in every official Shonen Jump jutsu popularity poll.

Shadow Clone Technique

The creates actual copies, not illusions, of the user. The user's chakra is evenly distributed among every clone, giving each clone a fraction of the user's overall power. Because of this, the technique itself is considered dangerous; when creating multiple copies of one's self it is possible to use up all of one's chakra fairly quickly. This is considerably more dangerous with the jutsu's forbidden form, the . While the standard Shadow Clone Technique typically creates no more than five clones, the Multiple version allows the creation of a limitless number of clones so long as the user has enough chakra. Due to the danger of the ability it is typically used by only the most advanced ninja, often at or above Jonin rank. Naruto Uzumaki, however, learned the technique prior to even becoming a ninja, and thanks to his large amount of chakra he can use it to create thousands of clones and never worry about running out of chakra.

Any experience the shadow clones gain during their existence is transferred to the user once they are dispersed (occurs at the clones discretion or after it receives a fatal or direct blow). This makes the technique ideal for spying, since the user can simply send a clone to spy on a target and then have the clone disperse itself to quickly pass the information back to the user. It's also useful for training purposes, since the total amount of experience the user gains is multiplied by the total number of clones being used to train. This is especially seen in Part II as Naruto creates hundreds, possibly thousands, of shadow clones to accelerate his training.

In an interview, Maile Flanagan, the voice actress for Naruto in the English anime, states that the cloning scenes are her favorite scenes to make dialogues. IGN, a popular multimedia and reviews website, although ranking this jutsu at 9th in the Top Ten Naruto Techniques, refer to it as a very useful jutsu.


is an that naturally occurs in a select few members of the Uchiha clan. The Sharingan is thought to be descended from the Byakugan, but grants the user different abilities and a different insight. The Sharingan does not automatically appear from birth in a user; instead, it will usually appear when the user is in a life-threatening situation, where the power of the Sharingan could save them. After this first appearance, the user can then activate the Sharingan any time they wish. The power of the Sharingan is judged through the number of tomoe in the eye, with a maximum of three in each. The characters that possess the Sharingan in the current Naruto storyline are Sasuke Uchiha, Itachi Uchiha, Madara Uchiha, and Kakashi Hatake.

The Sharingan's first and most well-known ability is to memorize any technique that it witnesses. It can memorize any standard form of jutsu with perfect accuracy, allowing the user to use the techniques as his own. In order to reproduce copied jutsu, however, one must have the necessary skill or ability to perform them. Its second ability grants the user incredible clarity of perception, allowing them to track fast-moving objects with ease and even predict the subsequent movements of those objects. This perception is great enough to see through genjutsu and to observe the movement and flow of chakra, but not to the same extent or clarity as the Byakugan. The Sharingan's third capability is a unique brand of hypnosis that involves suggesting actions and thoughts to the opponent. When used in conjunction with the aforementioned aspects of the Sharingan, this allows the user to perfectly mimic every move their opponent makes, even before they do, making it appear as if the user can see the future. It also allows for other forms of hypnotism, such as putting an opponent to sleep, replaying memories to someone else, creating various illusions to fool an opponent, or even controlling them.

It is possible to transplant Sharingan eyes from one person to another, as occurred with Kakashi and his deceased teammate Obito Uchiha. However, transplanted eyes do not work as well in a non-Uchiha body; Kakashi's eye is always active, causing him great strain when he uses it and forcing him to recuperate for extended periods of time after a battle. Uchiha clan members are not burdened with this weakness; while activation of the Sharingan does consume chakra, the drain is so small as to be almost insignificant. Itachi in particular seems to have no trouble keeping his Sharingan activated near-constantly.

IGN has described the Sharingan as one of the best abilities that a ninja could have but, due to its main power being imitation, has also said it is not particularly original.

Mangekyo Sharingan

is a heightened form of Sharingan. It was first awakened by Madara Uchiha, who was able to use it to gain control over the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox. Over the generations other Uchiha came to possess their own Mangekyo Sharingan, though Madara Uchiha, Itachi Uchiha, Kakashi Hatake, and Sasuke Uchiha are the only characters to have possessed it in the current Naruto storyline. Unlike the standard Sharingan, the Mangekyo Sharingan's appearance and abilities differ between users, changing the form of the Sharingan's tomoe seal when activated and usually granting the user a number of unique abilities. Those who possess a Mangekyo Sharingan suffer from ever-deteriorating eyesight, a process that becomes faster through repeated usage and culminates in blindness. Only by taking the eyes of a sibling can one's eyesight be permanently restored, combining the two Mangekyo Sharingan and granting them immense strength in the process.

When the Mangekyo Sharingan is first introduced, Itachi tells Sasuke it can only be gained by killing one's closest friend. Though Itachi and many other Uchiha have done this to obtain their versions, at least one other method exists: after Itachi himself dies, as a person with whom Sasuke shared a close relationship, Sasuke's Mangekyo Sharingan is awakened. Which, if either of these methods, Kakashi used to gain his own Mangekyo Sharingan remains unknown.

Summoning Technique

allows the user to call forth a creature or object in a puff of smoke. Before a summoning can be performed, the user signs a contract with their own blood, each contract differing depending on what creature is to be summoned. Once this is done, the summoner need only perform the proper hand seals and offer a few additional drops of blood with the same hand they signed the contract with to perform the summon. The amount of chakra offered at this time is directly proportionate to the size of the summoned creature. Summons have their own abilities that they can use by themselves or in conjunction with the summoner. Some summons are so powerful that they may even challenge the summoner, or will demand something in order to contribute to the battle.


is a taijutsu frequently used by Rock Lee, Might Guy, with variations of the technique used by other characters like Kakashi Hatake and Sasuke Uchiha. The lotus is performed with a powerful series of high speed hand-to-hand combat blows to the opponent, causing a high amount of damage to the opponent’s body and bones. The technique forces the opponent into the air, where a final blow drives them into the ground. The technique’s power can be greatly multiplied by opening greater and greater numbers of chakra gates. The opening of the chakra gates can upgrade the technique to the initial lotus, primary lotus, and secondary lotus forms. If the lotus is further increased by opening a fourth chakra gate, the strain of the lotus may cause the subsequent immobility of the user due to muscle destruction.


IGN, a popular multimedia and reviews website, mentions that one of the most entertaining parts of the Naruto franchise is the amazing variety of secret ninja techniques the characters use. They mention that complicated and impressive-looking hand gestures, the unique physical attributes, and the pure unadulterated destructive power of the ninjutsu are some of the things that make the series wildly popular.


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