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 nomination for the position. Six shinobi and one kunoichi have gained this title so far, with another shinobi gaining the title of Hokage Candidate.
The title and role was created by Hashirama Senju shortly after the establishment of Konoha. 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 appoints 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 are obliged but not mandated to move into the Hokage Residence to live in and have their faces carved out in the Hokage Rock. 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. Because of this, they maintain some authority over the village, such as Hiruzen's order of barring young shinobi from participating in the Nine-Tails' Attack on Konoha. 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 a member of the renown Senju clan, who, together with his elder brother, and the Uchiha clan founded the first shinobi village: Konohagakure. Tobirama would work tirelessly to achieve political stability and implement the institutions that made the village system work, thus ensuring Konoha's continuity and prosperity. After his brother's death, he would succeed the title of Second Hokage (二代目火影, Nidaime Hokage, Literally meaning: Second Fire Shadow).
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". 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 Nine-Tails 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, the repeated loss of her loved ones caused Tsunade to abandon the life of a shinobi for many years. 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 proved invaluable to the village.
Main article: Kakashi Hatake Kakashi Hatake (はたけカカシ, Hatake Kakashi) is a shinobi of Konohagakure's Hatake clan. After receiving a Sharingan from his team-mate, Obito Uchiha, Kakashi gained recognition as Copy Ninja Kakashi (コピー忍者のカカシ, Kopī Ninja no Kakashi) and Kakashi of the Sharingan (写輪眼のカカシ, Sharingan no Kakashi). His prodigious talent, skill, and Sharingan prowess have made him one of the village's most capable ninja, and as such, both highly renowned and feared throughout the ninja world. Later appointed the leader of Team 7, Kakashi used his years of experience to train his students as skilled shinobi in their own rights. In the aftermath of the Fourth Shinobi World War, Kakashi takes up office as the Sixth Hokage (六代目火影, Rokudaime Hokage, Literally meaning: Sixth Fire Shadow).
Main article: Naruto Uzumaki Naruto Uzumaki (うずまきナルト, Uzumaki Naruto) is a shinobi of Konohagakure. He became the jinchūriki of the Nine-Tails on the day of his birth — a fate that caused him to be ostracised by most of Konoha throughout his childhood. After joining Team Kakashi, Naruto worked hard to gain the village's acknowledgement all the while chasing his dream to become Hokage. In the following years, through many hardships and ordeals, he became a capable ninja regarded as a hero both by the villagers, and soon after, the rest of the world. He soon proved to be one of the main factors in winning the Fourth Shinobi World War, leading him to achieve his dream and become the village's Seventh Hokage (七代目火影, Nanadaime Hokage, Literally meaning: Seventh Fire Shadow).
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.
Alternate Fourth Hokage
- Hashirama Senju was the one to coin the term "Hokage", and actually intended the position to be held by Madara Uchiha. The decision, however, was left up to public consensus, and Hashirama was chosen for the position.
- Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Third Hokage, was said to be the strongest Hokage in the village's history (up to Tsunade's reign at least), as well as strongest of the five Kage of his era.
- At least six of the Hokage had their official office photographs taken while wearing a ceremonial necklace of sorts.
- 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.
- Naruto Uzumaki was made Hokage for a week in the storyline of Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3. Might Guy was also made Hokage (Guykage as it was named) in the Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth Full Power Ninja Chronicles spin-off.
- Each Hokage has been a combatant in one of the Shinobi World Wars, with all seven having participated in the Fourth Shinobi World War.
- As opposed to the Kazekage and Tsuchikage positions, which appear to be inherited within a specific family line or clan, the Hokage title appears to be inherited by a mentor-pupil relationship, as most Hokage can be traced back into the same line of mentors/sensei and students:
- The Third was the student of the Second.
- The Fourth was the student of Jiraiya (who repeatedly turned down the position himself), who was a student of the Third.
- The Fifth was the student of the Third.
- The Sixth was the student of the Fourth.
- The Seventh was the student of the Sixth and Jiraiya.
- ↑ Chapter 625, page 7
- ↑ Chapter 172, page 7
- ↑ Chapter 577, pages 1-2
- ↑ Chapter 459, page 1
- ↑ Chapter 625, pages 7-13
- ↑ First Databook, pages 117 and 265
- ↑ Chapter 94, page 12
- ↑ Chapter 140, page 3
- ↑ Boruto: Naruto the Movie
- ↑ Chapter 328, page 8
- ↑ Chapter 121, pages 6-7
- ↑ Chapter 366, page 12
- ↑ Chapter 140, page 10
- ↑ Chapter 450, page 14