The Academy (忍者学校, Akademī; Literally meaning "Ninja School") is a huge building in Konohagakure located directly at the base of the Hokage Mountain. It consists of both a training centre for Academy students before they become genin as well as an administrative side where the Mission Assignment Desk as well as the Hokage's office is located. It was founded by Tobirama Senju, the Second Hokage out of military necessity. The Jōnin Standby Station is also located on the compound.
The Academy is quite large and is comprised of several buildings which were erected over time. The building can be identified by the tree in front of it which has a swing on it and more so, by the giant sign with the kanji for Fire (火) on it. Classrooms in the Academy are large and have high ceilings, based on a theory that larger classrooms lead to expansive education, expanding even to the blackboard itself. In front of the blackboard is a podium, situated far from the students' desks and put in a position where the teacher can view everyone at once.
Along with being a school, it is also the area where the Hokage's office is located, missions are dispatched and the day-to-day running of the village takes place. The Hokage's office is a large, somewhat oval room usually filled with stacks of unfinished paperwork. Behind the Hokage's desk is a large window through which the Hokage can survey the entire village. On the desk itself is a stylised kanji for shadow (影, kage) followed by the symbol of the village. There is also the Mission Assignment Desk where missions are usually dispensed to shinobi.
Admission Requirements for Konoha's Academy
- Love the village and hope to help preserve peace and prosperity.
- Have a mind that will not yield, able to endure hard training and work.
- Be healthy in mind and body.
If the above conditions are met, admission to the Academy will be granted.
Aside from the obvious lessons one would learn from a Ninja Academy, all students receive essential knowledge, such as reading, writing, mathematics, science, geography, etc. Sakura Haruno and Ino Yamanaka are also shown to have taken special kunoichi classes, where they were taught things about other cultures and how knowledge of things like flower arranging will help them to blend in during an infiltration mission. Students also have to study the Shinobi Rules. Special lectures read by highly experienced shinobi are sometimes held.
Taught by chūnin instructors, all ninja potentials are lectured on tactics and strategies. They are instructed on the basics of trap-setting as well as how to strengthen their minds and bodies. They are taken through the handling of ninja weapons and tools, like shuriken and kunai, learning how to throw and wield them through target practice. Academy students are also taught about chakra and how to use it, hand seals and the basic levels of:
- Taijutsu classes serve as the Ninja Academy's equivalent of Physical education class. In taijutsu class, students are engaged in physical activities to help train their bodies and develop their stamina.
- Ninjutsu classes provide the bulk of what potential ninja learn at the Academy. The subject of ninjutsu encompasses techniques that use chakra and allows the user to do something that they otherwise would be incapable of doing. Techniques such as the Transformation Technique and the Clone Technique are taught to students at the Academy that will build up to what they'll learn from their jōnin-sensei.
- Genjutsu classes are not touched much upon except for explaining what genjutsu is. When learning about genjutsu, students are advised to determine if they are trapped in a genjutsu, and then how to release themselves from it.
Graduating from the Academy usually consists of taking both a written exam and a practical exam, administered by a chūnin instructor, to earn enough marks to pass. Upon graduating, students receive a forehead protector, proof of their achievement. Graduating students are then separated into squads of three genin and assigned to a jōnin-sensei to instruct them further. At this point, they will be tested once again by their jōnin teacher to assess whether they would be able to handle the demands that will be made of them as ninja (i.e. the dynamics of teamwork). The graduates of the Sannin and Team 7 were given the bell test to see if they could make the cut; it is unknown if the rest of the would-be teams in Konoha use the same test. According to Kakashi, there is a 66% chance of failure, since only nine of the twenty-seven graduates of his time of testing would be allowed to pass this secondary test.
Students who don't pass the tests set by their chūnin-sensei may be held back for another year. However, students who do pass the tests set by their chūnin-sensei, but later fail the tests administered by their assigned jōnin-sensei, may either be sent back to the academy or else, depending on their performance, dropped from the program at their jōnin-sensei's discretion.
Although students are only instructed in the use of basic level genjutsu, ninjutsu and taijutsu, knowledge of these techniques are ultimately not pivotal to their success as ninja; Naruto Uzumaki, who failed to perform the Clone Technique, an E-rank technique, but could effortlessly perform the Shadow Clone Technique, a B-rank jōnin-level technique, is an example of this.
Graduation requirements vary from academy to academy. In Konoha, the graduation exam is comprised a kind of written test, as well as the testing of a student's knowledge of the basic techniques. Some limited details about the other Hidden Village Ninja Academies have also been disclosed:
- The Suna Ninja Academy: Not much has been mentioned about the previous curriculum, but during the final Pre-Shippūden filler arc in the original anime it was revealed that the Ninja Academy at Suna has adopted a new training program that emulated that same training program as the Konoha Ninja Academy, and in Part II the success of the new training program was commented upon.
- The Kiri Ninja Academy: During Yagura's reign as the Fourth Mizukage, the Kiri Ninja Academy final graduation exam consisted of pitting all of the Ninja Academy's graduates against each other in a battle to the death, with the winners/survivors graduating; this was a method to eradicate emotions in exchange for combat efficiency, and was the very reason that Kirigakure was nicknamed "Village of the Bloody Mist". After Zabuza Momochi, not yet himself a student, imposed himself into the fight and slaughtered all one hundred of that year's students, the practice was discontinued in favour of more humane and less depopulating methods.
- Although the Japanese name for the Ninja Academy is simply Academy (Akademī; usually written as アカデミー), it's written with the kanji for ninja school (忍者学校; usually pronounced as "ninja gakkō").
- In the anime, there is also an academy that teachers must pass in order to teach the next generations of ninja. It was destroyed from a battle between Iruka and Mizuki.
- Part of this building has often been confused with the Hokage Residence due to the fact that the Hokage's office is located here. However, according to official releases, they are in fact two separate places.
- The youngest know graduate is Kakashi Hatake, who graduated at age 5
- A list of general skills that are used by shinobi that are either learned while an Academy student, built on the principles learned there or simply used by most if not all shinobi.