Naruto ninja ranks

From Academic Kids

In the Naruto anime and manga series, characters who are part of Hidden Villages undergo qualifications to be ninja. Not all ninja are considered of equal skill levels, and there are also some qualifiers that differentiate some types of ninja from others.

The words "ninja" and "nin" (short for ninja) are both singular and plural.


Academy Students

The academy is where would-be ninja start at; they are not actually considered ninja until they graduate. Academy students take formal and practical tests of all sorts and are taught the basics: usage of weapons (such as Kunai and Shuriken), basic ninja skills (such as Art of Transformation (Henge no Jutsu) and Art of the Doppelganger (Bunshin no Jutsu) and chakra control.

Upon graduating, students receive a special band of fabric with a metal bar bearing the symbol of their village (which can be worn in many ways) and become Genin. It's commonly referred to as a "forehead protector".

What is required for graduation varies from academy to academy.


(Genin, 下忍, literally "Low ninja")

Genin are the lowest level of Ninja and also the ones that display the most divergence in power (Compare Sakura and Neji, who are both genin). When they become genin, ninja start to do their bit for their village's economy- being sent on missions that the village gets paid for. They are typically sent either on D-rank missions, which are the lowest rank and are generally simple, risk-free jobs of manual labor, or C-rank missions, which are a cut above that and begin to verge on real "ninja" work--though they are still generally risk-free. Recently, Konohagakure has been shorthanded in upper-level ninja, and has been forced to occasionally send Genin on B-rank missions.


(Chūnin, 中忍, literally "Middle ninja")

Chūnin are ninja who are qualified to watch over and guide other Ninja. Some of them function as teachers (such as Iruka) and others serve as military strategists in charge of small teams who need to make decisions and utilise the skills of the shinobi under their command to the maximum effect. Chūnin are typically sent on C-rank missions or B-rank missions.

To become a chūnin, a genin has to go through an exam containing three stages: the first stage tests their information gathering abilities and decision-making abilities, the second stage tests their mission accomplishing and adherence to guidelines ability and the third consists of fights between those who passed the previous two stages, watched by a council which decides who becomes a chūnin and who does not.

In the English manga, the level is also known as the "Journeyman" level.

Tokubetsu Jonin

(Tokubetsu jōnin, 特別上忍, literally "Specialised high ninja")

Tokubetsu Jōnin are ninja who, rather than all-around Jōnin training, have chosen to specialise in a single area of the training. They are elite specialists in their areas and are often assigned as subordinates to regular Jōnin when their services are needed.

One example of a Tokubetsu Jōnin would be Morino Ibiki for his unique ability to completely understand the workings of the human mind, which makes him a very effective Interrogation expert.


(Jōnin, 上忍, literally "High ninja")

Jōnin are generally ninja with great individual skill who have a lot of experience and serve as military captains. They are often sent on A-rank missions, and experienced Jōnin may even be sent on S-rank missions (which are considered of even greater risk and difficulty than A-rank.) They are sometimes assigned as sensei for three-person teams of Genin. It is as of yet unknown what one has to undergo to become one.

There are also ninja who have gained power far beyond the Jōnin rank. These ninja are called S-rank ninja; however, their official rank with a village will usually still be that of a Jōnin although sometimes it can be lower (or they can have no rank at all) since S-rank is not an offical rank. The allegiances of these ninja range from being part of the village's own ninja, for instance the leader of a noble clan; wandering ninja who have an allegiance to one village, but is not under any formal control like Jiraiya; a member of an ninja organization like the Akatsuki; or Missing-nin. Ninja of this class are often noted in the Bingo book, a book of notable ninja that each ninja village provides for its members.

Ninja of the S-class are highly revered, often signified by nicknames allies or enemies give them. Some ninja who have gained this special status are the Densetsu no Sannin (Legendary Three Ninja): Jiraiya the "Gama Sennin" ("Toad Hermit"), Orochimaru, and the current Hokage Tsunade who carries the nickname "Densetsu no Kamo" ("Legendary Sucker") though this has nothing to do with her ninja skills; the Fourth Hokage who was recognized even before he was the hokage with the nickname "Konoha no Kiiroi Senkō" ("Konoha's Yellow Flash"); the father of Hatake Kakashi Hatake Sakumo known as the "Konoha no Shiroi Kiba" (Konoha's White Fang); and the Akatsuki members. Most ninja, even Jōnin level ones, choose to flee rather than face someone of the S-class.


Missing image
The five Kage: (from left to right) Mizukage, Kazekage, Hokage, Tsuchikage, Raikage

(Kage, 影, literally "Shadow")

Those who achieved the title of Kage are the leaders of the Hidden Villages. Kage are usually the most powrful ninja of the village. There may be exceptions--for example, a ninja may be the most powerful ninja at the time of being installed as a Kage, but he might age as time wears on and a new ninja will be more powerful because of youth. Kage are an elite group not only because there can only be one per village at any given time but also because of the make-up of the kage. Most kage have family members who were previous Kage or was personally taught by a former Kage or one of their students. The Kage- Hokage (火影, Kage of Konohagakure(Hidden Leaf)), Mizukage (水影, Kage of Kirigakure (Hidden Mist)), Tsuchikage (土影, Kage of Iwagakure (Hidden Rock)), Raikage (雷影, Kage of Kumogakure (Hidden Cloud)) and Kazekage (風影, Kage of Sunagakure(Hidden Sand))- stand equally with the rulers of their countries, oversee the activities of their villages and are the leaders of Ninja culture.

Nukenin (Missing-nin)

(Nukenin, 抜け忍, literally "Missing ninja")

Missing-nin are ninja who have abandoned their Hidden Village. These Shinobi are considered traitors and are hunted down because of the secrets they may hold. Other Hidden Villages would be interested in purchasing this information because it could be useful in gaining an upper hand in battle. Villages create special units of Shinobi Hunters to take care of this problem.

Oinin (Shinobi Hunters)

(Oinin, 追い忍, literally "Chasing Ninja")

Shinobi Hunters are sometimes codenamed "The Undertaker Squad". Each Hidden Village has a team of hunters, given the specific duty of hunting down Missing-nin. They kill, then completely dispose of the body of their prey, leaving no trace of it and often having wild birds eat at the dead Missing-nin's internal organs and skin. This is done in order to make sure the Village secrets which a Ninja's body holds- such as Chakra types, herbs eaten and Ninjutsu- won't be revealed.

In unofficial translations, they are known as "hunter-nin" or "body erasers".

ANBU (Black Ops)

Missing image
A typical mask that an ANBU will wear at all times while on duty.

(ANBU, 暗部, literally "Dark side") The Black Ops, known in the Japanese versions as "ANBU", is a team of extremely talented shinobi of Chūnin rank or higher who are chosen for assassinations, for village protection from exceptional threats (somewhat akin to deploying SWAT units during a presidential inauguration), for conducting high-risk missions into enemy countries, and for dealing with extremely strong ninja (S-Rank). They wear animal masks to distinguish themselves from normal shinobi, as well as to conceal their identities. The Black Ops is also unique in that they carry around swords; this is somewhat unique in that Naruto, although being a ninja anime, has very few swords. Not to be confused with Shinobi Hunters, the Black Ops is an organization that is under the direct command of the Kage. Hatake Kakashi was a former member and Uchiha Itachi became an Black Ops captain at age 13. Morino Ibiki, the proctor of the first chūnin examination, is the head of the interrogation and torture division of the Black Ops.

ANBU stands for Ansatsu Senjutsu Tokushu Butai (暗殺戦術特殊部隊), translated into English, it roughly means "Assassination Tactics Special Squad".

Konoha Keimu Butai (Konoha Military Police)

(Konoha Keimu Butai, 木ノ葉警務部隊, literally "Konoha Military Police Force")

In the past, the Military Police in Konoha almost completely consisted of Uchiha clan members; however, now that the Uchiha Clan is almost completely destroyed, this is obviously not the case anymore. The MPs are in charge of law enforcement within the village, and their jurisdiction is virtually unlimited except matters that are under the Hokage's direct control. They also respect ANBU's (Black Ops) own investigative system and inner-organization discipline.


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