The Kazekage (風影; Literally meaning "Wind Shadow") are the leaders of Sunagakure. Feared and respected across the world, they are responsible for making Sunagakure a powerful and great village, despite its small size. However, being responsible for raising so many great shinobi seems to come at a heavy price, as all the Kazekage, including the current, so far have met untimely deaths at the hands of assassins. For this reason, the Kazekage lineage is sometimes considered cursed. Full-bodied statues of all the former Kazekage are kept in the room where Sunagakure's council convenes.
List of Kazekage
The First Kazekage (初代風影, Shodai Kazekage; Literally meaning "First or Founding Wind Shadow") was the founder of Sunagakure, and was said to have gathered all the desert-dwelling shinobi under his control with his overwhelming power.
The Second Kazekage (二代目風影, Nidaime Kazekage; Literally meaning "Second Wind Shadow") was the successor of the First Kazekage. He was the first to research the jinchūriki, in an attempt to greatly enhance the power of the village. He wore a mask that covered the lower half of his face.
Main article: Third Kazekage The Third Kazekage (三代目風影, Sandaime Kazekage; Literally meaning "Third Wind Shadow") was the former leader of Sunagakure and was recognised as the village's strongest Kazekage.
Main article: Fourth Kazekage Rasa (羅砂, Rasa) was the Fourth Kazekage (四代目風影, Yondaime Kazekage; Literally meaning "Fourth Wind Shadow") of Sunagakure. Attempting to create a powerful weapon for the sake of his village, he made his son, Gaara, a Jinchuriki while he was still in the womb. He is known to manipulate gold sand, as an extension of his Magnet Release Kekkei Genkai.
Main article: Gaara Gaara (我愛羅, Gaara) is a shinobi of Sunagakure. Shukaku was sealed into his body on the day he was born, a procedure that resulted in his mother's death. Regarded as a monster by the village and with nobody to love him, Gaara came to despise the world and began relying only on his own strength, gaining him the title Gaara of the Sand Waterfall (砂瀑の我愛羅, Sabaku no Gaara; English TV "Gaara of the Desert"). This power of self-love is later defeated by Naruto Uzumaki's unwavering dedication to his friends. From that point forward, Gaara begins emulating Naruto's method and changes Sunagakure's opinions of him. He eventually becomes the village's Fifth Kazekage (五代目風影, Godaime Kazekage; Literally meaning "Fifth Wind Shadow"), a position he maintains even after Shukaku is removed from his body by Akatsuki.
- The colour of the Kazekage's garbs was originally depicted as blue in the anime, but was changed to the manga's green colour in Naruto: Shippūden episode 199.
- In chapter #266, the Kazekage statues show the masked Kazekage as the First, and the bald Kazekage as the Second. However, the third databook, the masked Kazekage is shown as the Second, and the bald Kazekage, the First.