|(暁, Akatsuki, Literally meaning: Dawn or Daybreak)|
|Manga||Volume #16, Naruto Chapter #141|
|Anime||Naruto Episode #81|
|Novel||Akatsuki Hiden: Evil Flowers in Full Bloom|
|Movie||Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie|
|Game||Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2|
|OVA||Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival!|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga, Novel, Game, Movie|
Akatsuki (暁, "Dawn" or "Daybreak") was a group of shinobi that existed outside the usual system of hidden villages. Over the course of several decades, Akatsuki took different forms and was led by different individuals. Though each iteration is viewed as either subversives or criminals, all seek to make the world a better place through their own means. Each Akatsuki tends to have multiple lairs across the world, inaccessible either due to their remoteness or the various security measures that protect them.
Akatsuki was originally founded by Yahiko during the Third Shinobi World War, alongside his childhood friends Nagato and Konan. Orphans of the Second Shinobi World War, the three created Akatsuki as a way to bring peace to their home country of Amegakure, which too often got caught in the crossfire of the Five Great Shinobi Countries' many conflicts. Their desire for an end to war attracted many fellow Ame ninja to their cause and, in time, word of their exploits began to travel beyond Amegakure's borders. Akatsuki's early fame was owed largely to Yahiko's leadership and his natural charisma, which kept the group united and motivated them to persevere despite the difficulties of their goal. Yahiko, however, viewed himself as merely a facilitator for Nagato, who would ultimately be the actual source of world peace because of his Rinnegan.
In time, Akatsuki's fame began attracting unwanted attention. They were first approached by Tobi, who claimed to be Madara Uchiha and offered to lend his assistance to Akatsuki, specifically Nagato. Yahiko was wary of Tobi and refused his offer, though Tobi claims Yahiko eventually agreed. Ame's leader, Hanzō, also became aware of Akatsuki and perceived them as a threat to his rule, a belief encouraged by Danzō Shimura in the anime. Hanzō approached Akatsuki offering to help them broker peace between Konohagakure, Iwagakure, and Sunagakure. When Yahiko, Nagato, and Konan arrived to meet with him, however, they were ambushed by Hanzō's men and Danzō's Root, who took Konan hostage and forced Yahiko to commit suicide in order to save her. Enraged by Yahiko's death, Nagato summoned the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path and used it to slaughter their attackers, though Hanzō himself escaped.
In the anime, the other members of Akatsuki were tipped off to Hanzō's plan and attempted to provide backup to Yahiko and the others. Tobi intercepted them and killed them all.
|Daibutsu (anime only)||Deceased|
|Konan||Survived to next iteration|
|Nagato||Survived to next iteration|
|Yahiko||Died fighting Hanzō|
With Yahiko's dying breath he entrusted the pursuit of peace to Nagato. Nagato, grieved by Yahiko's death, came to believe that the world would never willingly consent to peace and that Akatsuki's previously pacifist approaches were therefore futile. He concluded that the only way the world would turn away from its constant warfare would be to experience such catastrophic death and destruction that it could never again stomach the idea of conflict. Intending to be the one to show these horrors to the world, Nagato began using the alias "Pain" and formed the Six Paths of Pain, into which he integrated Yahiko's corpse so that he could symbolically continue leading Akatsuki. Nagato sought out Obito, under the guise of Madara Uchiha, and accepted his earlier offer of support, which he provided in secret.
After the Third Shinobi World War, Akatsuki began recruiting S-rank missing-nin, its members' competing personalities and aspirations unified behind Nagato's claimed objective of world domination; this may involve a certain level of force, as Deidara experienced. Once Akatsuki recruited its target of ten members, Akatsuki began following a three-step process to achieve this stated objective:
- Obtain enough money to support their organisation.
- Provide mercenary services at well under the competitive rate, using the money gathered in the first step to offset costs. This will make countries increasingly dependent on Akatsuki's services, corner the entire market for shinobi missions, and eventually put all of the shinobi villages out of business because they can't compete with Akatsuki's prices. By capturing and strategically deploying the tailed beasts, Akatsuki could quickly start and then quell wars, thereby speeding up the process.
- Once all other major shinobi forces have dissolved, Akatsuki will be able to quickly conquer all the countries of the world.
The early years of Nagato's Akatsuki were very successful, as the hidden villages increasingly hired Akatsuki to fight in wars and perform assassinations that the villages themselves were unwilling to get involved in during times of peace. The Fourth Raikage claims that only Kumogakure never hired Akatsuki, while the Third Tsuchikage in particular became a frequent employer. Despite being such a popular and successful group, Akatsuki was largely a mystery to those outside the organisation, with many (incorrectly) coming to believe they operated out of Kirigakure. Akatsuki experienced some turmoil amongst its members over the years: Kakuzu regularly killed his partners in fits of rage and stole their hearts for his Earth Grudge Fear; only being teamed with the immortal Hidan prevented him from continuing to do this. Orochimaru attempted to steal Itachi Uchiha's body after the latter joined the organisation, and when that failed he was forced to defect. Despite this, Akatsuki was able to begin working towards capturing the tailed beasts.
Nagato's actual objective behind acquiring the tailed beasts was to harness the tailed beasts' chakra to create a powerful kinjutsu, using it to wipe out one side in a conflict and, from the display, frighten the other side and the world at large to stop the fighting. If and when the fears abated and conflicts renewed, the kinjutsu would be deployed again, creating small periods of peace in an endless chain of hatred. Because all but one of the tailed beasts were in the possession of the hidden villages, their capture risked antagonising many of Akatsuki's former clients. Despite this, Deidara claims that the previous owners of the first two tailed beasts captured by Akatsuki (indicated in the anime to have been the Five-Tails and the Seven-Tails) were glad to be rid of them.
Akatsuki's mission to capture the tailed beasts gradually elevates them from the shadows of the world and, in turn, prompts a growing resistance by the hidden villages. After Deidara captures the One-Tail, Sasori is killed in battle with the Suna and Konoha forces sent to rescue the One-Tail's jinchūriki. Obito takes this open position as an opportunity to officially join Akatasuki as "Tobi", helping capture the Three-Tails. Around the same time, Hidan and Kakuzu capture the Two-Tails, but both are subsequently defeated in unrelated confrontations with Konoha's Nijū Shōtai. Kisame Hoshigaki later acquires the Four-Tails, after which both Deidara and Itachi separately die in battle against Sasuke Uchiha.
Because of their shrinking numbers, Tobi pressures Nagato into taking a more active role in capturing the remaining tailed beasts. In the anime, he and Konan are first sent to capture the Six-Tails, which was captured at some earlier point in the manga. They are afterwards sent to Konoha to capture the Nine-Tails, and in the course of the resultant Pain's Assault the village is destroyed. When he finally locates and meets with the Nine-Tails' jinchūriki, Naruto Uzumaki, Nagato begins to doubt the direction he has taken Akatsuki in since Yahiko's death. After Nagato's Six Paths of Pain are defeated, Naruto convinces him that a bloodless peace is worth pursing no matter how impossible it may seem. To make up for all the missteps he took, Nagato gives his life to revive the Konoha villagers that died during his attack, using his last breath to encourage Naruto to achieve the peace that he was never able to. With Yahiko and Nagato gone, Konan opts to leave Akatsuki.
|Name||Status||Village of origin|
|Deidara||Committed suicide fighting Sasuke Uchiha||Iwagakure|
|Hidan||Buried by Shikamaru Nara||Yugakure|
|Itachi Uchiha||Succumbed to illness while fighting Sasuke Uchiha||Konohagakure|
|Jūzō Biwa (anime only)||Killed by the Fourth Mizukage||Kirigakure|
|Kakuzu||Killed by Kakashi Hatake||Takigakure|
|Kakuzu's Partner||Killed by Kakuzu||Unknown|
|Kisame Hoshigaki||Survives to next iteration||Kirigakure|
|Sasori||Killed by Chiyo||Sunagakure|
|Tobi||Survives to next iteration||Konohagakure|
|White Zetsu||Survives to next iteration||None|
|Black Zetsu||Survives to next iteration||None|
Tobi approached Akatsuki in order to get close to Nagato, whose Rinnegan he needed to complete the Eye of the Moon Plan. Over the years, he remained in the shadows, allowing Nagato to appear to the world as Akatsuki's leader while Obito manipulated him towards his desired ends, specifically capturing all nine tailed beasts so that he can restore the Ten-Tails and use it to cast the Infinite Tsukuyomi on the world, ending all conflict by trapping everyone in a dream. Obito follows the Eye of the Moon Plan under instructions of the real Madara Uchiha, whose identity Obito assumed after Madara's death. Madara intended Obito to have Nagato revive him in the final stages of the plan, though Obito had no plans to uphold that end of the plan and intended to use Nagato to revive himself should anything happen to him. However this subterfuge was rendered moot by Nagato betraying Obito and using the Samsara of Heavenly Life Technique to revive everyone he killed during his invasion of Konoha.
Even before Nagato's death, Obito takes a growing role in Akatsuki's activities, due in large part to Itachi Uchiha's death. He reveals himself to Kisame, who worked with him during their time in Kirigakure and is happy to collaborate with him yet again. He also convinces Sasuke Uchiha and his team, Taka, to join forces with Akatsuki, an alliance that Obito believes is worth the losses of all the other Akatsuki members. While Nagato goes after the Nine-Tails, Obito sends Taka after the Eight-Tails, the only other remaining tailed beast. Although Taka initially appears successful, they are discovered to have been tricked by the Eight-Tails' jinchūriki, Killer B. When Zetsu shortly afterwards reports Nagato's own death, Obito is deeply agitated by the setbacks, particularity Nagato's betrayal, and increasingly irritated by Naruto's constant thwarting of his plans.
With their ranks so diminished and with the Five Great Shinobi Countries finally starting to mobilise against Akatsuki, both because of the attack on Konoha and the botched capture of Killer B, Obito is forced to start taking drastic actions. He first sends Kisame to capture B and then sends Taka to attack the Five Kage Summit. Sasuke does not perform as well against the Five Kage as Obito wished, as he had hoped they would be weakened enough to be forced to negotiate. Instead, he must approach them diplomatically, asking that they help him complete his Eye of the Moon Plan by surrendering the Eight-Tails and Nine-Tails. They refuse, prompting Obito to initiate the Fourth Shinobi World War.
While preparing for war, Obito is approached by Kabuto Yakushi, a former subordinate of Sasori and Orochimaru. Kabuto offers to bolster Akatsuki's fighting strength with the Impure World Reincarnation, reviving Akatsuki's past members and several other once-notable shinobi. Obito is reluctant until Kabuto blackmails him by reviving the real Madara Uchiha, on whose name Obito has been banking the credibility of his threats against the hidden villages. Obito is forced to agree. He then goes to Ame to take Nagato's Rinnegan, killing Konan in the process. News eventually reaches them of Kisame's death, but Kisame is at least able to send them intel that enables Kabuto to strengthen Obito's White Zetsu Army.
In the two days of the war between Akatsuki and the Allied Shinobi Forces, both sides suffer heavy casualties, yet Naruto and Killer B elude capture. When most of the White Zetsu are defeated and Kabuto is made to end the Impure World Reincarnation, Obito, having no more options, prematurely revives the Ten-Tails. Madara, having escaped Kabuto's influence, lends a degree of support, eventually leading Obito to become the Ten-Tails' jinchūriki. He is defeated by Naruto Uzumaki and Sasuke (who has since sided against Akatsuki) before he can perform the Infinite Tsukuyomi, and as a result Obito stops pursuing the Eye of the Moon Plan.
With Obito's surrender, Akatsuki's schemes officially end. Madara perseveres, sealing the Ten-Tails into his body and successfully performing the Infinite Tsukuyomi. He is afterwards betrayed by Black Zetsu, who has been scheming for centuries to revive Kaguya Ōtsutsuki, with first Madara, then Obito, and then Akatsuki itself being mere pawns used in pursuit of that goal. Kaguya is restored using Madara as a medium but, with Obito's help, she and Black Zetsu are defeated by Naruto and Sasuke and the Infinite Tsukuyomi is ended.
|Black Zetsu||Sealed by Naruto Uzumaki|
|Kisame Hoshigaki||Committed suicide on the Island Turtle|
|Obito Uchiha||Killed by Kaguya Ōtsutsuki|
|White Zetsu||Killed by Sasuke Uchiha|
Despite the defeat of Akatsuki during the Fourth Shinobi World War and the death and destruction they caused, Akatsuki's methods of peace remain attractive to certain individuals. Some, such as the Ryūha Armament Alliance and Gengo, carry on Akatsuki's goals in spirit. About fifteen years after the end of the war, a former test subject of Orochimaru's, Shin, develops a fascination with Itachi and adopts the Uchiha name while plotting to avenge Itachi by killing Sasuke. In addition, Shin goes so far as to adopt Akatsuki's name, believing its former goal of endless warfare is the perfect evolutionary tool, weeding out the weak and promoting strength for all of humanity. He composes Akatsuki with numerous clones of himself and seeks to start moving forward with Akatsuki's revival. Shin's plans start facing complications as soon as the Seventh Hokage becomes aware of him following an encounter between Sasuke and a clone. Shin uses drastic measures to counter Naruto and Sasuke, such as sending his clones to unsuccessfully kidnap Sasuke's daughter, Sarada Uchiha and forcefully take his wife, Sakura. Shin is soon afterwards betrayed and killed by his clones, who accordingly surrender and are dropped off at the Konoha Orphanage, ending his new Akatsuki before it ever truly begins.
|Shin Uchiha||Killed by his clones|
|Shin Uchiha (Clones)||Left organisation|
Members of Nagato's Akatsuki wear long, black cloaks with red clouds, a red interior, and a chin-high collar; Tobi and the members of Taka wear a similarly-marked hooded mantle. The red clouds represent the rain of blood that fell in Amegakure during its wars, and were viewed as a symbol of justice by its original members. The robes are very distinctive, allowing members of Akatsuki to be identified even from a distance. Though the robes are a standard feature throughout Nagato's tenure (with Konan even continuing to wear it after leaving Akatsuki), the robe falls out of use under Obito's leadership: Kisame stops wearing it owing to circumstances of faking his death, Obito does not replace his when it is destroyed by Konan, and Zetsu ceases using a robe once its two halves begin operating separately. During Shin's attempt to revive the organisation, he is the only individual to wear the robe, as none of his clones wear it.
Another trend started with Nagato is for members to cross out the symbol on their forehead protectors to symbolise the severed ties with their former villages, though some opt not to wear a forehead protector at all. All members also wear nail polish on their fingers and toenails (colours vary in the anime). When travelling, members sometimes wear conical straw hats with small ornamental torques and tassels hanging down over their faces, possibly to go unnoticed by the general population as most are S-class criminals.
Under Nagato, each member of Akatsuki is given one of ten rings, to be worn on a specific finger. Other than apparently signifying one's membership, the rings seem to have some role in sealing the tailed beasts into the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path, indicating which of the statue's finger the members should stand on. The rings are apparently important and irreplaceable: when Orochimaru defects he takes his ring with him, and for that reason he is never officially replaced; when Deidara loses the arm that his ring is on, he has greater interest in recovering the ring than the arm itself; Zetsu and Tobi specifically seek out Sasori's ring after his death, needing it for Tobi to replace him. When Tobi takes over, the rings are no longer important, as he simply discards it along with his damaged robe after battling Konan. Despite all this, the rings' exact significance is never explained.
The various rings are:
- Right thumb: "zero" (零, rei); worn by Pain. Its colour is purplish-grey.
- Right index finger: "blue", "green" (青, ao, shō); worn by Deidara. Its colour is teal.
- Right middle finger: "white" (白, byaku, haku); worn by Konan. Its colour is white.
- Right ring finger: "vermilion", "scarlet" (朱, shu); worn by Itachi Uchiha. Its colour is red.
- Right little finger: "sign of the boar" (亥, gai); worn by Zetsu. Its colour is green.
- Left little finger: "sky", "void" (空, kū); worn by Orochimaru. Its colour is slate blue.
- Left ring finger: "south" (南, nan); worn by Jūzō Biwa (anime only) and later by Kisame Hoshigaki. Its colour is yellow.
- Left middle finger: "north" (北, hoku); worn by Kakuzu. Its colour is dark green.
- Left index finger: "three" (三, san); worn by Kakuzu's Partner and later by Hidan. Its colour is orange.
- Left thumb: "jewel", "ball", also the black king in shogi (玉, gyoku); worn by Sasori and later by Tobi. Its colour is purple.
Eight of the ten kanji of the rings are taken from a kuji-in, a collection of nine hand postures used in meditation. Pain's "rei" and Zetsu's "gai" are not from this kuji-in. However, the only unused kuji-in kanji, 玄 (gen, "mysterious"), bears a strong resemblance to Zetsu's "gai", suggesting an error. It would be a consistent error, however, since the "gai" kanji has been used in every instance the ring's kanji has been shown.
Under Nagato, Akatsuki members are organised into teams of two, usually paired based on perceived similarities (such as Itachi or Kisame) or advantageous combinations (such as Hidan and Kakuzu). Although some pairs get along better than others, few seem to actually like each other; Sha no Sho notes that members always have separate rooms when staying at hotels. Hostilities tend to exist even between members who aren't partners, though they so rarely meet that this is rarely an actual problem. Teams travel the world pursuing Akatsuki's goals, only convening when summoned by Nagato, typically to seal a tailed beast.
As childhood friends and fellow members of the original Akatsuki, Nagato and Konan are the only members who consistently get along. Because Nagato is Akatsuki's leader, Konan tends to defer to him, doing as he instructs even when she personally disagrees. In Nagato's rule of Amegakure, Konan acts as the "angel" to his "god", communicating his will to Ame's villagers. It is kept secret from the rest of the organisation who Nagato is, instead having them believe that Pain is a living being and not a corpse remotely animated by Nagato.
- Target(s): None
Zetsu is an associate of Tobi who helped him approach Nagato and officially joined Akatsuki seemingly long before Tobi does. Although typically acting as a single individual, Zetsu is made of two separate personalities: White Zetsu and Black Zetsu. The two sometimes argue, but it never interferes with their duties: spying, evidence disposal, and resource acquisition. Zetsu is often the only member of Akatsuki other than their partners that members meet in person. Zetsu typically helps transport a jinchūriki to one of Akatsuki's hideouts for extracting the Tailed Beast.
- Target(s): Unknown
Orochimaru and Sasori were one of the earlier Akatsuki teams to be formed. Little is known of their deeds, but they apparently were quite effective together. They also got along well enough that Orochimaru knew how Sasori's actual "body" looked beneath his typical Hiruko carapace, although their relationship eventually deteriorated to the point of both of them wanting to change partners. Sasori held a grudge against Orochimaru after he defected from Akatsuki and took a personal interest in his activities afterwards.
Jūzō and Itachi worked very well with each other, being involved in at least three missions together, which involved assassination and sabotage. The two partners had an unique system of formations in order to better synchronise with each other. Formation A was used when both shinobi attacked individually using whichever ability they preferred, Formation B had Itachi open up with an attack involving genjutsu or shurikenjutsu while Jūzō killed the incapacitated shinobi with his sword, Formation C was a personal request by Jūzō to be killed by Itachi if he would be captured by Kirigakure and Formation D was to be proposed by Itachi but he refused to do so. Eventually, Jūzō was killed by the Fourth Mizukage during an assassination attempt of the two Akatsuki members against a Land of Water citizen and, after severely injuring Yagura, Itachi put the remains of Kubikiribōchō into his partner's hands, showing respect to his fallen comrade.
Kisame thought their partnership was appropriate as both were notorious for killing their fellow countrymen. Despite conflicting personalities, Itachi and Kisame get along well: Kisame has a greater predisposition towards violence, but always follows Itachi's instructions, even when it denies him an opportunity to kill someone. Kisame is sad after Itachi dies, and Itachi, once reincarnated, displays some regret on learning of Kisame's own death.
- Target(s): One-Tail (Deidara, Sealed)
Deidara is forcibly recruited (with help from Itachi) to replace Orochimaru as Sasori's partner. Each views themselves as an artist, though has little respect for the other's preferred art form: Sasori believes art is eternal, as in a puppet, while Deidara believes art is fleeting, as in an explosion. Deidara pays some deference to Sasori since he's more experienced, but is very disappointed by Sasori's death.
After Kakuzu killed all of his previous partners in fits of rage, he was paired with Hidan, an immortal he couldn't kill. Whereas other teams at least have moments of cooperation, Hidan and Kakuzu actively hate each other: Hidan believes Kakuzu's obsession with money is sacrilegious and Kakuzu desperately wants to kill Hidan because his habits constantly waste Kakuzu's time. Despite this, the two are arguably the most effective of Akatsuki's teams, variously called the "Immortal Combo" (不死コンビ, Fushi Konbi) and the "Zombie Combo" (ゾンビコンビ, Zonbi Konbi). If Hidan is dismembered, Kakuzu can sew him back together. Kakuzu, meanwhile, can launch indiscriminate attacks without needing to worry about Hidan being killed in the crossfire. Shikamaru Nara believes they are unstoppable so long as they are together.
- Target(s): Three-Tails (Tobi, Sealed)
When Tobi replaces Sasori in Akatsuki he also becomes Deidara's new partner. Per the persona he assumes, Tobi regularly annoys Deidara, either through open disrespect or out of apparent ignorance. Deidara attempts to kill Tobi several times out of irritation, but never manages to succeed, or at least follow through. Deidara, unaware of Tobi's true identity, takes him on as a sort of disciple, instructing him on the ways of the world and how to succeed in Akatsuki. Deidara even displays a certain fondness for Tobi at the end of his life, instructing him to get to a safe distance from his C4 and then apologising for what he assumes will be Tobi's death prior to using C0.
In addition to its core members, Akatsuki has several affiliates spread across multiple countries. Almost all of them associate only with specific members rather than the entire organisation.
- Amegakure - base of operations for Pain
- Kirigakure - previously controlled by Madara, and later Obito
- Yūra - Sasori's underling
- Mukade - Sasori's underling
- Funari - Kakuzu's subordinate
- Ginji - Kakuzu's banker
- Kyōya - Kakuzu's accountant
- Zangei - Kakuzu's bounty collector
- Taka - affiliated group
- Kabuto Yakushi - Sasori's spy, later collaborator with Obito
- Madara Uchiha - collaborator with Obito
- Tobi - ally of Obito and Madara
| ||The Springtime of Youth wiki has an article about this topic:|
- Akatsuki (暁) if written as "Aka Tsuki" (赤月), translates to "red moon".
- In Sha no Sho, Masashi Kishimoto stated that he originally planned on making Akatsuki a group of monsters with almost no human characteristics, with Zetsu emphasising that specifically.
- In Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie, the Akatsuki of the Genjutsu World is a well-known mercenary group.
- In the Naruto Collectible Card Game, Suigetsu Hōzuki, Karin, and Jūgo are incorrectly listed as Akatsuki members while in their Akatsuki robes.
- In the manga, the Three-Tails is sealed just before the Two-Tails. In the anime, the Three-Tails' capture receives its own arc, causing it to be sealed after the Two-Tails.
- In the anime, after the sealing of the Two-Tails, Pain states there are four tailed beasts remaining. Later in the anime, after Taka joins forces with Akatsuki, Kisame states there are three tailed beasts remaining. This retcon was put in place to allow an arc featuring the Six-Tails.
- All three survivors of the Uchiha Clan Downfall eventually work with Akatsuki.
- In the anime, within Tsunade's Infinite Tsukuyomi dream, the Akatsuki's goal is different as they are not searching for tailed beasts for world domination. The man behind the scene is not Obito, but Sasori, and he takes over Akatsuki after Nagato's defection. Sasori's motives are also different than Obito's.
- ↑ Chapter 509, page 3
- ↑ Naruto chapter 509, page 4
- ↑ Naruto chapter 329
- ↑ Third Databook, pages 56-59
- ↑ Naruto chapter 436, pages 15-16
- ↑ Chapter 512, page 14
- ↑ Naruto chapter 681, pages 11-16
- ↑ Chapter 509, page 2
- ↑ Naruto chapter 141, page 3
- ↑ Naruto chapter 353, page 14
- ↑ Tō no Sho, pages 180-181
- ↑ Naruto chapter 238, page 17
- ↑ Naruto chapter 335, page 7
- ↑ Naruto chapter 353, page 11
- ↑ Naruto chapter 329, pages 8-9