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), renowned as the God of Shinobi (忍の神, Shinobi no Kami), was a legendary ninja who hailed from the Senju clan that together with the Uchiha clan, established the first shinobi village: Konohagakure. He would later go on to become the village's First Hokage (初代火影, Shodai Hokage; Literally meaning "First or Founding Fire Shadow").
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. He hails from the Senju clan, who, along with the Uchiha clan, founded the first shinobi village. Tobirama would also become the leader of his own team that consisted of Hiruzen Sarutobi, Homura Mitokado and Koharu Utatane.
Main article: Hiruzen Sarutobi Hiruzen Sarutobi (猿飛ヒルゼン, Sarutobi Hiruzen) — the third man to hold the title God of Shinobi (忍の神, Shinobi no Kami) — was the Third Hokage (三代目火影, Sandaime Hokage; Literally meaning "Third Fire Shadow") of Konohagakure who hailed from the village's Sarutobi clan. He was part of Team Tobirama alongside Homura Mitokado and Koharu Utatane under the leadership of the Second Hokage. He was also trained by the First Hokage and would later become the teacher of the Legendary Sannin: Tsunade, Jiraiya, and Orochimaru.
Main article: Minato Namikaze Minato Namikaze (波風ミナト, Namikaze Minato), renowned as Konoha's Yellow Flash (木ノ葉の黄色い閃光, Konoha no Kiiroi Senkō; English TV "Yellow Flash of the Leaf"), was a legendary shinobi who became the Fourth Hokage (四代目火影, Yondaime Hokage; Literally meaning "Fourth Fire Shadow") of Konohagakure. Following the event of the Nine-Tails' attack on Konoha, Minato was able to seal the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox, Kurama by separating its chakra into two parts and sealing the Yang half into his son, and the Yin portion within himself before dying heroically.
Main article: Tsunade Tsunade (綱手, Tsunade) is the Fifth Hokage (五代目火影, Godaime Hokage; Literally meaning "Fifth Fire Shadow") of Konohagakure — a position which she succeeded after the death of her teacher, Hiruzen Sarutobi, and a major supporting character of the series. She hails from the village's Senju clan, and is also a descendant of the Uzumaki clan through her grandmother Mito. Along with former team-mates Jiraiya and Orochimaru, she is recognised as one of the "Three Legendary Shinobi" (伝説の三忍, Densetsu no Sannin). Tsunade is considered to be the most powerful kunoichi in the world, and is celebrated as the greatest medical-nin of all time, credited with creating the official system which governs them.
Sixth Hokage Candidate
Main article: Danzō Shimura Danzō Shimura (志村ダンゾウ, Shimura Danzō) reputed as The Darkness of the Shinobi (忍の闇, Shinobi no Yami; English TV "The Shinobi of Darkness") — due to what was often seen as his militant and archaic views on the role of a shinobi — was an anti-heroic shinobi from the Shimura clan and an elder of Konohagakure. He was also the leader of the disbanded ANBU faction: "Root". He was later appointed as the official Sixth Hokage Candidate (六代目火影候補, Rokudaime Hokage Kōho; Literally meaning "Sixth Fire Shadow Candidate") after Pain's invasion, but died before he officially entered the position of Hokage.