The Hokage (火影, Literally meaning: Fire Shadow) are the leaders of Konohagakure. They are generally acknowledged as the strongest in the village, although ideology and renown plays a large part in their being chosen for the position. Four shinobi and one kunoichi have gained this title so far, with another shinobi gaining the title of Hokage Candidate.
Generally, the new Hokage is selected by the current Hokage upon their retirement, but if the old Hokage dies or is incapacitated before being able to do so, the Fire Daimyō will appoint a Hokage Candidate upon the recommendation of the Konoha council and the Fire Daimyō council. Afterwards, the candidate will need to be approved by the jōnin of the village to become officially Hokage.
After being approved, they move into the Hokage Residence to live in and have their faces carved out in the monument behind it. If the former Hokage is still alive, they will generally keep helping out, making the transition easier and more stable. The Hokage carry their title for life, even after retiring from active duty. The Hokage's office is located in the administrative section of the Academy.
List of Hokage
Main article: Hashirama Senju Hashirama Senju (千手柱間, Senju Hashirama) was the First Hokage (初代火影, Shodai Hokage, Literally meaning: First or Founding Fire Shadow) of Konohagakure. He was famous in life as the God of Shinobi (忍の神, Shinobi no Kami, English TV: The Supreme Shinobi) for his unmatched ninja prowess. Despite that, Hashirama only wanted peace, and to that end founded Konoha with his childhood friend and rival, Madara Uchiha. Although he was not able to achieve peace during his lifetime, his legacy would live on, continuing to shape the village for decades after his death.
Main article: Tobirama Senju Tobirama Senju (千手扉間, Senju Tobirama) was the Second Hokage (二代目火影, Nidaime Hokage, Literally meaning: Second Fire Shadow) of Konohagakure. Alongside his brother, the First Hokage, who founded Konoha, Tobirama worked behind the scenes to achieve political stability and implement the institutions that made the village work, thus ensuring Konoha's prosperity.
Main article: Hiruzen Sarutobi Hiruzen Sarutobi (猿飛ヒルゼン, Sarutobi Hiruzen) was the Third Hokage (三代目火影, Sandaime Hokage, Literally meaning: Third Fire Shadow) of Konohagakure. A disciple of the village's previous Hokage, Hiruzen was a powerful ninja, hailed as a God of Shinobi (忍の神, Shinobi no Kami, English TV: The Supreme Shinobi). Though he was only ever directly the teacher of the Sannin, generations of Konoha ninja benefited from his wisdom during his lifetime.
Main article: Minato Namikaze Minato Namikaze (波風ミナト, Namikaze Minato) was the Fourth Hokage (四代目火影, Yondaime Hokage, Literally meaning: Fourth Fire Shadow) of Konohagakure. He was famous in life for his speed, leading to the moniker of Konoha's Yellow Flash (木ノ葉の黄色い閃光, Konoha no Kiiroi Senkō, English TV: Yellow Flash of the Leaf). He died during the Nine-Tails' attack on Konoha, sacrificing his life to seal a part of the fox into his newborn son, Naruto Uzumaki.
Main article: Tsunade Tsunade (綱手, Tsunade) is one of Konohagakure's legendary Sannin. Though celebrated as the world's most powerful kunoichi and its greatest medical-nin, Tsunade abandoned the life of the ninja for many years in pursuit of other goals. She is eventually persuaded to return to Konoha and becomes its Fifth Hokage (五代目火影, Godaime Hokage, Literally meaning: Fifth Fire Shadow), where her skills were invaluable to the village.
Sixth Hokage Candidate
Main article: Danzō Shimura Danzō Shimura (志村ダンゾウ, Shimura Danzō) was an elder of Konohagakure. As the founder and leader of Root, Danzō gained notoriety as The Darkness of the Shinobi (忍の闇, Shinobi no Yami, English TV: The Shinobi of Darkness) because of his frequent unsanctioned actions and his often-suspected (but rarely proven) undermining of specific Konoha personnel. Despite his decades of suspicious deeds, Danzō only ever acted in what he believed were the village's best interests, a loyalty that secured his appointment as the Sixth Hokage Candidate (六代目火影候補, Rokudaime Hokage Kōho, Literally meaning: Sixth Fire Shadow Candidate) just before his death.
- All of the former Hokage have been sealed away in the stomach of the Death God summoning; the Fourth was sealed when he sealed the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox within Naruto, while the First and Second were sealed away by the Third. As for the Third, he was sealed when he gave his life to seal Orochimaru's arms. As such, Kabuto Yakushi notes that none of them can be reincarnated via the Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation technique.
- All Hokage have had some connection to each other: the First and Second were brothers, the Third was the student of the Second and First, the Fourth was the student of Jiraiya, who was a student of the Third, and the Fifth is the granddaughter of the First, the grandniece of the Second, and the student of the Third. Jiraiya, a fellow Sannin and student of the Third, was also nominated for the title of the Fifth, but turned it down. When Kakashi was considered for the position of the Sixth, his connections as the Fourth Hokage's student almost cemented his selection. The former acting Hokage, Danzō, was once a rival for the position as Third Hokage, and disagreed with the peaceful ideologies of the five Hokage although he was once Hiruzen's close friend and fought under the Second Hokage during the First Shinobi World War.
- At least three of the Hokage are known descendants of the Senju clan.
- At least four of the Hokage had their official office photographs taken while wearing a ceremonial necklace of sorts.
- In Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3, Naruto became the Hokage for one whole week.
- Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Third Hokage, was said to be the strongest Hokage in the village's history, as well as strongest of the Five Kage of his era.
- Kakashi Hatake has been considered a prime candidate for the position as Hokage by several characters. He would have been officially appointed as the Sixth Hokage if Tsunade hadn't woken up moments before hand.
- According to Asuma Sarutobi, his student Shikamaru Nara has the ability to become Hokage, but won't due to him being too lazy to want to.
- Orochimaru was once a prime candidate to be the Fourth Hokage, but due to his lust for power and lack of love for the village, the Third passed him over.
- After Orochimaru was passed over for this position, Hiruzen intended to choose Jiraiya to be the Fourth Hokage, but Jiraiya refused due to his journeys as an author and his quest to chase down the renegade Orochimaru. After Hiruzen and Minato died, Jiraiya was once again offered the position as the Fifth, but he once again rejected it. When Tsunade went into a coma, the Fire Daimyō commented how he would have liked Jiraiya to be the Sixth, but by that time Jiraiya had already died.
- In the alternate world in Naruto 6: Road to Ninja, Kizashi Haruno was the Fourth Hokage, however, like Minato in the real world, he died protecting the village.
- In chapter 17 of Rock Lee no Seishun Full-Power Ninden, Might Guy was temporarily appointed Hokage while Tsunade was away. During his time, he preferred to be referred to as Guy-kage, and he had all the shinobi in the village follow the Springtime of Youth and dress up as him.
- ↑ Chapter 172, page 7
- ↑ Chapter 577, pages 1-2
- ↑ Chapter 459, page 1
- ↑ Naruto chapter 520, page 11
- ↑ Naruto chapter 94, page 7
- ↑ First Databook, pages 117 and 265
- ↑ Naruto chapter 94, page 12
- ↑ Naruto chapter 140, page 3
- ↑ Naruto chapter 450, page 15
- ↑ Naruto chapter 488, page 14
- ↑ Naruto chapter 488, pages 15-16
- ↑ Naruto chapter 328, page 8
- ↑ Naruto chapter 121, pages 6-7
- ↑ Naruto chapter 366, page 12
- ↑ Naruto chapter 140, page 10
- ↑ Naruto chapter 450, page 14