Minato Namikaze波風ミナトNamikaze Minato
Anime and Manga
Minato Namikaze (波風 ミナト, Namikaze Minato), also known as Konoha's Yellow Flash (木ノ葉の黄色い閃光, Konoha no Kiiroi Senkō), was the Fourth Hokage (四代目火影, Yondaime Hokage), and the father of Naruto Uzumaki.
According to those who knew him, Minato was a very talented ninja-having graduated from the Academy at the age of ten. He came under the tutelage of Jiraiya, and under his guidance, learned to develop his skills. Impressed with Minato's determination to succeed, Jiraiya took it upon himself to teach the latter the Toad Summoning Technique, which Minato quickly mastered. His skills would further grow with the development of his own jutsu, the Rasengan and Flying Thunder God Technique.
After attaining the rank of Jonin, Minato was given direction of his own team, which consisted of Kakashi Hatake, Rin and Obito Uchiha. Along with Kakashi, Minato's reputation greatly increased during the Third Great Ninja War, where his skills earned him the moniker of Konoha's Yellow Flash. As a gift for Kakashi's advancement to Jonin, Minato gave him a unique kunai marked with one of the Flying Thunder God transportation markers. Shortly afterwards, he informed the team of their mission: destroy a bridge that aided the enemy Rock ninja force. For the mission, Kakashi took Minato's place as commander of the team while he went to a different battlefield, where he was able to defeat a large number of Iwa ninja singlehandedly. His team, however, was unable to complete their mission, as differences between Obito and Kakashi lead the team to be caught in a trap. Obito, however, was unable to survive the mission, instead helping Kakashi save Rin by giving Kakashi his Sharingan eye before being completely crushed by rocks. When Rin used Kakashi's kunai, Minato arrived and easily defeated the Iwagakure ninja. Unfortunately, by the time he arrived Obito was already dead, though he managed to save Kakashi and Rin. They would later go on to fulfill their mission and help repel the invasion.
In the months to come, Minato was chosen by the Third Hokage to lead as the Fourth Hokage. His first choice, Orochimaru, became power crazed and abandoned the village, though the Third thought Minato to be a fine replacement. His devotion to the village and his love for his friends inspired all those around him, and as such, Minato Namikaze became well-liked by the villagers. During his time and relationship with Kushina Uzumaki, Jiraiya showed Minato one of his developing books, which features a fictional character named Naruto. Minato appreciated the name and he would name his unborn son after the fictional character. Jiraiya, however, did not think the name was worthwhile. Kushina approved of the name, so Jiraiya had not much of a choice when both of them had approved. However, just moments after Naruto's birth, the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox attacked Konoha. Minato rushed to the village, where he and Gamabunta faced off against the Tailed beast. Near the end of the battle, Minato made the ultimate sacrifice; using the Dead Demon Consuming Seal, he sealed the demon fox into his newborn son, in exchange for his own life. His dying wish was that Naruto be viewed as a hero, and not as the container of the demon fox, a request not honored by most of the villagers. The only few people who did honor the request was the Third Hokage, and some other ninja of the village but not most of the villagers.
Since the Fourth Hokage never had a chance to pick his successor, Sarutobi resumed his role as Hokage. Soon after the sealing of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox, the Third Hokage made a decree that Naruto's being a demon container should never be mentioned. This was done in the hope that if the children of Naruto's age grew up not knowing his true nature, they would not hold him in contempt like their parents did. Nevertheless they still shunned him because of their parents' attitude towards him. Because of this, Naruto was isolated and became mischievous.
When sealing the demon fox, Minato divided the demon fox's chakra in two halves as he sealed it into Naruto. He sealed the Yin chakra with the Dead Demon Consuming Seal making it inaccessible to Naruto, while using the Eight Trigrams Sealing Style and the Four Symbols Seal on the Yang chakra to give Naruto access to it. This way, Naruto could call upon the demon fox's chakra without being completely controlled by it, though the Four-Tailed Transformation seems to negate this effect. Jiraiya states Minato wanted Naruto to have the Seal Key that matched Naruto's Trigram Seal to help complete a yet to be identified technique.
Jiraiya and Tsunade point out that, while Naruto physically bears great resemblance to the Fourth, his personality and style of ninjutsu are almost identical to his mother. This and an earlier statement from Jiraiya on the mission to retrieve Tsunade imply that Naruto and Minato had somewhat different personalities.
This is later supported in the Kakashi Gaiden arc where Minato behaved in a calm but cheerful manner, while dispatching sage-like advice and sound military sense when necessary. When faced with an enemy, he could kill in cold blood, and seemed well aware of the terror his reputation inspired in his foes. He appeared to be respectful of those around him, as he was reproachful of freely speaking of others' pasts, not at all concerned about putting his faith in Jiraiya in regards to his son's upbringing, and was said to have been a very nice person.
Jiraiya has said that the Fourth was not the type to do something without reason. All in all, Minato was known for determination and drive which he passed on to his son.
Jiraiya noted that, although he was quite a genius, the Fourth's greatest aspect was his desire to succeed, largely attributing his success to hard work.
The Fourth created several distinctive techniques, including the Flying Thunder God Technique, which essentially allowed him to teleport to any location with the use of a special seal. He also created the Rasengan, a technique that does not rely on hand signs, but instead uses a concentration of spinning chakra in the palm that causes immense damage to its target on contact. Later in the series it is revealed that this signature technique is actually incomplete. Minato had planned to add his own nature manipulation training to the Rasengan, making it even more powerful, but couldn't manage to combine the two prior to his premature death. Minato's possibly last technique was the Dead Demon Consuming Seal, which was used to seal the demon fox into Naruto, at the cost of his own life.
It is unknown exactly how strong the Fourth was in combat. He was undoubtedly extremely powerful, as enemy nations considered fighting him certain death for the ninja sent against him, leading to a flee-on-sight order. Once, during the Third Great Ninja War, he was able to defeat 50 enemies just by directing his kunais with the special seals on them. It seems to be that he kept teleporting around the terrain because, he was able to defeat them all shortly and without a scratch. It is possible that like his master before him that Minato learned Sage Arts from Ma and Pa, though there is no actual evidence of this. His son Naruto is also currently learning these arts.
Before it was revealed, many fans speculated that the Fourth was Naruto's father, mostly because of their nearly identical physique and looks. The two characters also have the same blood type and technique styles. Throughout the course of the series, characters who knew the Fourth Hokage had also given references to the Fourth when talking about Naruto. One might also add that Minato had access to a child, Naruto. It is unlikely, based on his personality and the reverence others have for him, that he simply grabbed a random child, and made them a container for the Nine-Tailed Fox. He would only use his own son, rather than someone else's child, or a stray orphan. However, until it was strongly hinted at in Chapter 367, and revealed in Chapter 382, information about Naruto's family relations had been carefully avoided.
Before Pain was revealed, some speculated that Minato was the leader of the Akatsuki, considering they both have nearly identical hairstyles and the leader's apparent knowledge of the leaf shinobi and their beliefs, his knowledge of this is due to being a student of Jiraiya.
- According to Jiraiya, the Fourth is one of the most skilled Leaf shinobi ever to live. So much so, a flee-on-sight order was given to enemy shinobi during the Third Secret Ninja War.
- Minato's relationship with Kushina appears to have been secretive because there are very few people in the village who have confessed knowing of it; only the ones closest to the Hokage seem to be fully aware that Naruto is their son.
- During the battle between the Third Hokage and Orochimaru, coffins containing the animated corpses of the First Hokage and Second Hokage were called up by Orochimaru to battle the Third. A third coffin also emerged, but was blocked by the Third Hokage before it could fully rise. Presumably, this coffin would have contained the Fourth Hokage, since (in the anime) the symbol "four" is seen on it. In the manga, the coffin disappears before it's shown.
- Out of all of the Hokages, Minato was the youngest, as well as the second youngest to be invested as Hokage; the first was Sarutobi
- Minato's full name means "wind and waves" or "discord" (Namikaze) and "harbor" (Minato).
- He was the only Hokage not to live in the Hokage mansion during his tenure; most likely because he didn't have time to move in.
- He appears in all the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Games as a jutsu of Naruto's called "Mysterious Aid arrives" and is a playable character in Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 and Naruto Shippuuden Accel's 1-2
- Minato appears in the fourth installment of the Naruto OVA called:"Konoha annual sports festival!" where he is seen walking down a hallway as Naruto is rushing by to use the bathroom.
- Minato can be seen in the background of the Naruto Shippuden season 3 intro standing behind Naruto and Sora in reference to the Demon Fox Attack of Konoha that binds all three characters.
- Minato apparently didn't like smiling for pictures, this is odd given that in flashbacks he is shown to smile a lot.
- Minato is the only Kage shown that has not been seen wearing the traditional Kage robes and triangular hat. Instead he wore a long coat with flames along the bottom with the words Fourth Hokage (The kanji 四代目火影 Yondaime Hokage) down the back over the standard Konoha Jonin tactical vest and his forehead protector.