|This is the article on the kind of exams. For the story arc, head to Chūnin Exams.|
The Chūnin Selection Exams (中忍選抜試験, Chūnin Senbatsu Shiken) are an opportunity for genin to be promoted to chūnin. The exam structure and evaluation processes differ from one exam to the next so that genin cannot come prepared. Villages originally held their own individual exams. Following the Third Shinobi World War, exams that are open to all villages started being held bi-annually, with villages taking turns for hosting responsibilities. These shared exams improve relations between the villages, present up-and-coming ninja to clients, and create an opportunity for gambling.
Although the exams, specifically the final round matches, are designed for there to be an ultimate "winner", success does not guarantee promotion nor does failure preclude it; if the observing ninja and daimyō feel a genin displays the necessary qualities for a chūnin, that genin will be promoted regardless of how they place in the exams. For this reason it is possible for as many as all of the finalists to pass, or even for none of them to. Being victorious simply expands the participant's chances of demonstrating their qualities in the next match.
Having too many participants to advance to the next stages seems to be an undesired result, as the examiners tend to run additional preliminaries to reduce the number of finalists.
Konohagakure held one of its own Chūnin Exams around the time of the Third Shinobi World War. Genin had to enter as part of a three-man team. The three stages were not held consecutively, allowing participants to recuperate between stages.
Held in the Forest of Death, the second stage consisted of tournament battles between three-man teams. The Third Hokage and the team's leader monitored the fights remotely. Loss of a match did not necessarily prevent a genin from continuing to the finals.
- Known fights
- Team of Ibiki Morino, Hayate Gekkō, and Tokara defeated Team Orochimaru.
- Team Minato fought Team Chōza.
The finals consisted of one-on-one tournament battles.
- Known fights
- Might Guy defeated Obito Uchiha.
- Kakashi Hatake defeated Might Guy. Kakashi was successfully promoted to chūnin.
At the start of Part I, Konohagakure hosts the first of the year's two Chūnin Exams. Genin must enter as part of a three-man team. Prior to the first stage, Izumo Kamizuki and Kotetsu Hagane (disguised as genin) try to discourage others from participating.
|Village||Participants (manga)||Participants (anime)|
Proctored by Ibiki Morino, the first stage is, at a glance, an hour-long written test of ten questions. However, the first nine questions are too difficult for an average genin to be able to answer. The real objective, therefore, is to cheat: either copy from one of the few genin that can answer the questions or from one of the chūnin embedded with the examinees. If a genin is caught cheating five times, they and the rest of their team are disqualified. The goal is also to force the genin to apply critical thinking. In most cases, being caught cheating means instant failure, but the two-point reduction is meant to give them a chance instead of trying again without being caught and make them realise they have to cheat. Getting the correct answer to these nine questions is not ultimately important, as it is possible to pass without answering any of them at all.
Forty-five minutes in to the first stage, genin are given the opportunity to answer the tenth question. They are first warned that, if they answer the question incorrectly, they will not be allowed to take the exams ever again; if they forfeit - which also disqualifies the rest of their team - before hearing the question, they will be allowed to retake the exams another time. This option is, itself, the tenth question; if a genin is willing to face the unknown of the tenth question, they are ready to be a chūnin. Ibiki tried everything imaginable to get as many genin to drop out as much as possible. Naruto Uzumaki's open determination to face this unknown inspires all of the remaining genin, causing a higher than average number to pass to the second stage.
Proctored by Anko Mitarashi, the second stage takes place in the Forest of Death. Three-man teams are given either a Heaven Scroll (天の書, Ten no Sho) or an Earth Scroll (地の書, Chi no Sho) before entering the forest. They then have five days for the entire team to reach the building in the centre of the forest with one of each scroll in their possession; how they acquire the other scroll is up to them, by force or by trade being the most common options. Because of the natural hazards of the forest, the absence of services or outside assistance, and the likely conflict with other teams, genin must sign liability waivers before entering to release Konoha from responsibility for any injuries or deaths.
If a team loses their starting scroll they are not automatically disqualified, as they may use the remaining time to acquire another copy of the scroll they've lost. By the same extension, acquiring both scrolls does not guarantee completion of the second stage, as they still must reach the centre building in time. As the second stage goes on, team that have lost their scroll will tend to gather around the building, hoping to prey on on those with both. Alternately, teams that already have both scrolls can linger outside the building, taking scrolls from others to reduce the competition of later stages.
Genin are forbidden from opening either scroll until they have reached the central building. If they follow this instruction, the scroll will summon a higher-ranked ninja to grant them advancement to the next stage. If they do not follow this instruction, the ninja will render them and everyone else in the area unconscious for the duration of the second stage.
The Three Sand Siblings, in particular, have broken the previous record by making to the tower with both scrolls in 97 minutes.
Anko herself was surprised 21 genin made it even though less than half would make it due to the nature of the test, but she thought no more than 3 teams would pass. Even more surprising was all nine Konoha rookies passed the second test, debunking Iruka's claims they were not ready.
|Gate||Participating Team||Village||Starting Scroll||Outcome|
|8||Team Shigure||Amegakure||Heaven||Killed by Gaara|
|15||Team Shiore||Kusagakure||Earth||Killed by Orochimaru|
|29||Team Oboro||Amegakure||Heaven||Failed; defeated by Team 7|
|??||Team Shibire||Konohagakure||Earth||Failed; opened scroll early|
Because too many genin end up passing the second stage, a single round of randomly selected one-on-one matches is held where only the victor will get to continue on. Participants' advancement to the finals is no longer contingent upon the success of their teammates; it is for this excuse that Kabuto Yakushi forfeits before the preliminaries start. Matches are refereed by Hayate Gekkō while others are free to observe. Genin are encouraged to watch each others' fights carefully to help them prepare for fighting each other in the finals; indeed, after the preliminaries are finished the finalists are told who they will fight in the first round so they can plan accordingly.
|1||Sasuke Uchiha vs. Yoroi Akadō||Sasuke wins|
|2||Zaku Abumi vs. Shino Aburame||Shino wins|
|3||Misumi Tsurugi vs. Kankurō||Kankurō wins|
|4||Sakura Haruno vs. Ino Yamanaka||double knockout|
|5||Tenten vs. Temari||Temari wins|
|6||Shikamaru Nara vs. Kin Tsuchi||Shikamaru wins|
|7||Naruto Uzumaki vs. Kiba Inuzuka||Naruto wins|
|8||Hinata Hyūga vs. Neji Hyūga||Neji wins|
|9||Gaara vs. Rock Lee||Gaara wins|
|10||Dosu Kinuta vs. Chōji Akimichi||Dosu wins|
The finals are held a month after the completion of the preliminaries so that finalists have a chance to recuperate and prepare. This also allows news of the matchups to get around and attract greater publicity for the event. The finals consist of one-on-one tournament battles refereed by Genma Shiranui (originally planned to be reffed by Hayate Gekkō before his death).
Shikamaru Nara was originally scheduled to fight Dosu Kinuta in the first round of the finals, and the victor of that match would then fight Temari. However, Dosu is killed before the finals take place, so Shikamaru and Temari are matched from the beginning. The finals themselves are interrupted by and cancelled because of the Konoha Crush. Shikamaru, though he forfeits his match, is ultimately the only participant to be promoted to chūnin.
|First Round||Second Round||Final Round|
|Naruto Uzumaki vs. Neji Hyūga||Naruto vs. interrupted||interrupted|
|Gaara vs. Sasuke Uchiha|
|Kankurō vs. Shino Aburame||Shino vs. Temari|
|Temari vs. Shikamaru Nara|
In the anime, Konohagakure and Sunagakure hold a joint Chūnin Exam during the gap in time between Part I and Part II. Although they invite all the other respective villages to participate, only Takigakure, Kusagakure and Amegakure accept. The participating genin must enter as part of a three-man team. Although publicly meant to symbolise the growing alliance between Konoha and Suna, the exams are actually held to help restore Konohagakure's reputation after the events of the last exams being interrupted. A second hidden goal for these exams was to draw out Akatsuki, with the Fifth Kazekage (a jinchūriki) being the bait.
Proctored by Shikamaru Nara, the first stage is a written test that takes place in Konoha. Members from each team are split into in one of three rooms while taking the test. The goal for this test is to see how well the team-mates know each other, as each member of a team must answer one of three questions and depending on the question picked will decide whether the team passes or fails. Ultimately, the team members have to achieve a combined score of 100 points.
Along with the three question choice test, there is a bonus question that must be answered unanimously by each team which asks what member of their respective team would be chosen to be a decoy and the one picked will be disqualified. This happens to be a trick question as all members of a team must be present in order to be qualified for the second round. Communication between team-mates is allowed.
|Participating Team||Room 1||Room 2||Room 3||Village||Outcome|
|Team Asuma||Chōji Akimichi||Ino Yamanaka||Sakura Haruno||Konohagakure||Passed|
|Team Guy||Neji Hyūga||Rock Lee||Tenten||Konohagakure||Passed|
|Team Kurenai||Hinata Hyūga||Shino Aburame||Kiba Inuzuka||Konohagakure||Passed|
Because too many genin passed the first phase, a preliminary round was held, where the first 30 teams to reach the Demon Desert within three days were allowed to participate in the second phase.
Proctored by Temari, the second stage takes place in Suna's Demon Desert. Teams are given either a Heaven Scroll or an Earth Scroll before entering the desert. They then have three days for the entire team to reach the building in the centre of the desert with one of each scroll in their possession. Because of the risks involved with this second stage, genin must sign liability waivers before entering.
Because of attacks on the Kazekage and one of the exam's participants, the exams are cancelled at the end of the second stage. Performance reports on all participants, including those who did not acquire the necessary scrolls, are instead sent back to their respective village, with the choice to promote them left up to their village's leader. Known promotions are:
Five Village Co-Sponsorship
In Boruto: Naruto the Movie, set around fifteen years after the end of the Fourth Shinobi World War, the villages of the Five Great Shinobi Countries for the first time co-sponsor the year's Chūnin Exams, which is held in Konohagakure. In addition to genin of the five sponsoring villages, genin from Amegakure and Kusagakure are also seen. The participating genin must enter as part of a three-man team. 48 shinobi, divided into 16 teams participated in the Exams.
Although most ninja tools are permitted, the Seventh Hokage forbids the usage of the Kote, a recent invention that enables anyone to use any ninjutsu without training or chakra. As the Hokage explains, the Kote defeats the exams' purpose of nurturing the shinobi arts.
Proctored by Sai Yamanaka and designed by Shikamaru Nara, the first stage is initially presented as a simple true or false question. All teams are given the same question regarding the fifth volume of a book on shinobi strategies and, as a team, are instructed to stand next to a flag representing what they believe the correct answer to be. Once all teams gather at their selected answer, they are dropped into a pit because, in truth, there is no fifth volume of that book and therefore no correct answer. Shortly before being dropped, the genin are warned that anyone who "turns black" will fail.
The actual objective of the exam is for genin, once dropped into the pit, to not get any of the ink that pools at the bottom of each pit on themselves. By not falling in the ink, genin demonstrate quick thinking and a willingness to persevere despite apparent failure, thus allowing them to continue to the second stage.
|Metal Lee's team||Konohagakure||Passed|
|Unknown Kiri team||Kirigakure||Passed|
|Unknown Ame team||Amegakure||Passed|
|Unknown Kusa team||Kusagakure||Passed|
Eight teams made it to this round. Proctored by Tenten with assistance from Shino Aburame, the second stage is held three days after the first. Teams are paired against each other in a game of capture the flag. Teams must simultaneously defend their own flag and capture the opposing team's flag in order to pass to the final rounds. The movie's novelisation adds that teams are not allowed to kill opponents, partly for humane reasons, but also in order to test genin's ability to keep and benefit from prisoners.
|Team Moegi vs. a Kusa team||Team Moegi|
|Team Yurui vs. an Ame team||Team Yurui|
|Team Shinki vs. Metal Lee's team||Team Shinki|
|Team Konohamaru vs. a Kiri team||Team Konohamaru|
Four teams passed the previous round and made it into the finals. The finals are tournament matches held in a stadium, observed by the five Kage and any other interested parties. Refereed by Rock Lee, the first two rounds are one-on-one matches and the third round is a three-way match between the remaining finalists.
Boruto Uzumaki is caught using the Kote during his second match and for that reason he is disqualified by the Hokage. The Hokage is immediately afterwards attacked by Kinshiki and Momoshiki Ōtsutsuki and the stadium is destroyed in the ensuing battle, thus forcing the tournament's cancellation. In the novelisation, the exams continued after Momoshiki's death.
|First Round||Second Round||Final Round|
|Yurui vs. Boruto Uzumaki||Boruto vs. Shikadai||Shikadai vs. interrupted|
|Shikadai Nara vs. Yodo|
|Sarada Uchiha vs. Tarui||Sarada vs. Mitsuki|
|Toroi vs. Mitsuki|
|Inojin Yamanaka vs. Araya||Araya vs. Shinki|
|Chōchō Akimichi vs. Shinki|
Although only four Chūnin Exams have been depicted in the series, many others have been referenced:
- Manabu Akado has taken and failed the exams on seventeen prior occasions.
- The Third Hokage remembers Kabuto Yakushi dropping out before the finals during a previous exam. Kabuto's records state he has failed five other times as well.
- In the anime, Ibiki Morino proctored the first stage of the exams before. Each time he changed the tenth question, such as giving the choice of either quitting and having the whole squad fail or continuing and having the lowest scoring member of the squad be forced to remain a genin forever (solution is to quit, rather than sacrifice squad members for personal gain).
- In the anime, during an escort mission, Idate Morino was failed during the first exam by Ibiki for risking the future of his squad, and in fact was forbidden from ever taking the exams again.
- Shikamaru Nara is in the planning stages for another Chūnin Exam at the start of Part II, the obligations of which prevent him from participating in the Tenchi Bridge Reconnaissance Mission.
- As the exams are an opportunity for gambling, observers who placed a wager may tend to sabotage the opposing genin participant for their own benefit, as two chūnin (Midori and Shiba) were sent to stop Gaara from competing at all against Sasuke Uchiha, though the two were brutally killed instead.
- In Find the Four-Leaf Red Clover!, Kakashi says that genin who went to and returned from Akagahara were accepted as chūnin.
- In Chūnin Exam on Fire! Naruto vs. Konohamaru!, use of senjutsu is against the rules as it would give Naruto Uzumaki an unfair advantage. Indeed, Naruto, who was not listening when this was explained, was immediately disqualified when he used senjutsu.
- ↑ Naruto episode 60
- ↑ 'Naruto chapter 39, page 3
- ↑ Naruto chapter 39, page 10
- ↑ Naruto episode 23
- ↑ Naruto chapter 39, page 18
- ↑ Naruto chapter 43, page 19
- ↑ Naruto Anime Profiles, Vol. 1, page 159
- ↑ Naruto Shippūden episode 395
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Naruto Shippūden episode 397
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 396
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 398
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 413
- ↑ In the novelisation, this is a Suna team.
- ↑ Naruto episode 105