The Kazekage (風影, Literally meaning: Wind Shadow) is the Kage of Sunagakure, a title bestowed on the village's leader. The Kazekage is generally regarded as the strongest shinobi in the village. There have been five Kazekage in the village's history.
The Kazekage position was created after the formation of Suna by Reto, the village's founder, that in anime was the last of the five Kage to emerge. Although it is not expressly stated how a candidate for office is selected, in Gaara Hiden suggests that the Kazekage position is hereditary, or at least that relatives of the Fourth Kazekage are most suitable for the position; this lineage is referred to as the "Kazekage Clan". If the occupant of the post is dead or reported missing after a long period of time, the next Kazekage is chosen by the Suna Council. Once the duties of the office are assumed, they usually move to the Kazekage's Office.
Throughout history, the Kazekage have earned a reputation for being feared and respected around the world, due be responsible for keeping Suna on an even footing with the other villages despite its small size. However, the Kazekage title is sometimes considered cursed, as all the Kazekage, including the current, have met untimely deaths at the hands of assassins; the village's affairs are decided by the Suna Council in the interim between Kazekage. Full-bodied statues of all the former Kazekage are kept in council's meeting chambers.
List of Kazekage
Main article: Reto Reto (烈斗, Reto) was the First Kazekage (初代風影, Shodai Kazekage, Literally meaning: First or Founding Wind Shadow) who founded Sunagakure in the Land of Wind, and was said to have gathered all the desert-dwelling shinobi under his control with his overwhelming power.
Main article: Shamon Shamon (沙門, Shamon) was the Second Kazekage (二代目風影, Nidaime Kazekage, Literally meaning: Second Wind Shadow) of Sunagakure. He was the first to research the jinchūriki in an attempt to enhance the power of the village.
Main article: Rasa Rasa (羅砂, Rasa) was the Fourth Kazekage (四代目風影, Yondaime Kazekage, Literally meaning: Fourth Wind Shadow) of Sunagakure. Renowned for his ability to use Gold Dust, Rasa's reign as Kazekage was marked by his frequent quelling of rampages by the One-Tailed Shukaku, which he had sealed into his youngest son, Gaara.
Main article: Gaara Gaara (我愛羅) is a shinobi of Sunagakure. He was made the jinchūriki of the One-Tailed Shukaku before he was born, causing the villagers of Suna to fear him as a monster. With nobody to connect to, Gaara grew up hating the world and looking out only for himself, giving his life meaning by killing anyone he came across. After being defeated by Naruto Uzumaki — a jinchūriki like himself who found strength in his friendships — Gaara starts emulating him. He becomes Suna's Fifth Kazekage (五代目風影, Godaime Kazekage, Literally meaning: Fifth Wind Shadow) so that he can protect the village and all those who live there, dispelling the fears he cast on the villagers.
Fourth Kazekage Impersonator
Main article: Orochimaru
After killing the Fourth Kazekage, Orochimaru took on his guise and acted as the Fourth Kazekage for several weeks in order to have Sunagakure assist him in the Konoha Crush. He dropped the guise at the start of the battle with his former master Hiruzen Sarutobi.
- 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 the third databook, the First and Second Kazekage are mistakenly switched.
- In Gaara Hiden, before Shikadai Nara was born, the Suna's counsellors state that if his uncles die without heirs, Shikadai, as a descendant of Rasa's bloodline, would become the next Kazekage; Suna considered it a crisis for a Konohagakure-born shinobi to become Kazekage, and this reasoning was used to force Gaara into taking a wife.
- Three of the five Kazekage were killed by three different Akatsuki members. The three also owned the same kekkei genkai and had their techniques based on sand or powdered minerals.