A battle during the Third Shinobi World War.

The Third Shinobi World War (第三次忍界大戦, Daisanji Ninkai Taisen, English TV: Third Great Ninja War) was the third of the four shinobi wars that involved the majority of the shinobi villages. It took place more than ten years prior to the beginning of the series. Because of a decline in national power, the reign of the Five Great Shinobi Countries was crumbling. Along their borders, skirmishes with smaller nations broke out all the time. The prolonged conflicts gradually spread their flames far and wide, until at last it developed into an all-out war. The conflict turned into an unprecedented war of attrition, tormenting all nations with a shortage of war potential. Not even excluding a great power like Konoha, very young children, some of whom were barely out of the Academy were thrown onto the battlefield, eventually losing their young lives during the war.[1]


Konohagakure and Iwagakure fought across Kusagakure after the latter had infiltrated it in order to lay siege to the border of the Land of Fire. It was not until the destruction of the Kannabi Bridge that the war began turning in Konoha's favour. Iwagakure was also known to have been fighting Kumogakure with various skirmishes between the two villages.[2] Sunagakure also participated in the war. Kumogakure was also seemingly a part of this war, with at least Konohagakure clashing with shinobi from this village, specifically Minato and A.[3] This is also the war in which the Third Raikage died and the Fourth Raikage was appointed.[4] Kirigakure also partook in the war against Konohagakure and made Rin Nohara into the jinchūriki of the Three-Tails.[5] Rin chose to die by Kakashi's hands, rather than be used as a tool to destroy her own village.[6][7] The Kiri shinobi were adamant in retrieving Rin's body and not allowing it to fall into enemy hands.[8] Rin achieved this by letting herself be stabbed by Kakashi's Chidori which not only stopped the Three-Tails from being released but also resulted in Rin's death. Grief-stricken Obito Uchiha, who unbeknownst to his teammates, had survived and was a witness to Rin's murder, massacred the Kiri shinobi by himself, despite their best attempts. Some time after this, Madara Uchiha would pass away, but not before passing his plans onto Obito to fulfil until the time of his resurrection.[9] Ao from Kirigakure also defeated a member of the Hyūga clan and took the member's Byakugan for his own right eye socket.[10] The Battle of Kikyō Pass took place in this war.

The war that swallowed up shinobi from every land came to an end after an armistice agreement between Konoha and Iwagakure, which were the principal aggressors of the war, was concluded.[11] In the anime, the Tsuchikage was more reluctant to accept the peace treaty, only accepting it after Minato single-handedly stopped an invasion consisting of a thousand Iwa shinobi.


In Konoha, although the war had been proceeding favourably for the village, the Third Hokage established a policy of reconciliation to bring an end to the fighting with an unprecedented offer to not seek reparations from Iwa. Advocates for the war opposed Hiruzen's seemingly weak decision, and to keep dissatisfaction in the village in check, he decided to step down as Hokage. The Konoha shinobi that received the most attention for their war efforts in the village were the Sannin and the surviving members of Team Minato. Out of the two teams, Minato who was the key factor in the war that gained the moniker of Konoha's Yellow Flash (木ノ葉の黄色い閃光, Konoha no Kiiroi Senkō) alongside Orochimaru, were the only two candidates village officials put forward to succeed Hiruzen. Ultimately, it was Minato who became the Fourth Hokage.[12]

Between Fugaku Uchiha not receiving praise for his work during the war alongside his name not being put forth to become Hokage, members of the Uchiha clan came to despise village officials.[13] Itachi Uchiha was traumatised by the violence of the war and grew to seek peace at any cost because of it: an experience that would lead to the Uchiha Clan Downfall and prevent his clan triggering the Fourth Shinobi World War. However, Obito Uchiha who had been saved from death by Madara Uchiha during the war eventually caused the next world war, after witnessing Rin Nohara die and taking on his saviours identity.

In Sunagakure, Sasori earned fame as Sasori of the Red Sand (赤砂のサソリ, Akasuna no Sasori), due to his ingenious puppets dyeing the sand red with his enemies' blood. In Kirigakure, Ao gained a Byakugan from a Hyūga clan member he killed during the war, which in term lead him to be known as Byakugan Killer (白眼殺し, Byakugangoroshi). In Konoha, Kakashi Hatake eventually gained fame throughout the shinobi world as Copy Ninja Kakashi (コピー忍者のカカシ, Kopī Ninja no Kakashi), after he gained a Sharingan from a dying Obito during their mission to destroy the Kannabi Bridge.

In Iwagakure, the Jinchūriki of the Five-Tails, Han became known worldwide for his prowess with steam ninjutsu.[10]

In Amegakure, Yahiko, Nagato, Konan, and many other shinobi formed a group that eventually fought the rule of Hanzō. Initially, they were merely preaching peace for Amegakure. They were supported and even invited to negotiate peace by Hanzō himself. In the anime, they unknowingly disrupted Danzō's attempt to stop a ceasefire between Konohagakure and Iwagakure with a group of Root members disguised as Iwa shinobi attacking Yahiko, Konan and Nagato with Yahiko killing one of the men in self-defense. When the rest of the group approached Yahiko and Konan, Nagato began to panic, remembering the night his parents had been murdered and the time they had been attacked by an Iwagakure chūnin. Fearing for their lives, Nagato unwillingly summoned the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path which emerged to stop a group of Root members from attacking Nagato himself with the Statue proceeding to kill a few more Root men before Yahiko intervened, bringing Nagato back to his senses. Once Nagato had passed out, Yahiko and Konan retreated, bringing Nagato back to their hideout to recover. Danzō immediately arrived at the location seconds later, impressed by the Rinnegan's powers and to ensure peace didn't exist between Iwagakure and Konoha for the sake of Konoha itself, had his surviving men who by now had revealed themselves to be shinobi collect the dead bodies and erase Root's trace in the incident. Sometime later, Danzō and his men met Hanzō, Danzō revealing the corpses of his dead men were those belonging to Hanzō's clan who Danzō and his men had found while on their way to a peace conference which left Hanzō surprised. Danzō then informed Hanzō the Akatsuki who Hanzō had originally thought shared his intentions were in fact murderers or wolves in sheep's clothing and if they remained unstopped, would eventually take over the country. Fearful of losing his power, Hanzō later sided with Danzō, the two men working together to banish the threat of Akatsuki who Hanzō believed had become power hungry with the intention of unsurping his power. Danzo later approached Akatsuki, disguised as "Kanzō" and informed the group Hanzō wished to meet them, giving them a scroll and resulting in the group suspending their normal duties and celebrating. As that happened, Konan who was on patrol was captured. When Yahiko and Nagato arrived at the location early the next day, they discovered the meeting was a trap with Danzō and his Root Anbu in attendance while Hanzō held Konan as a prisoner, demanding Nagato kill Yahiko in exchange for Konan's life or they would all die if Nagato refused. Not wanting Nagato to live with the guilt of killing him, Yahiko intentionally committed suicide by impaling himself on the kunai Nagato was holding before he slumped to the floor, dead. This left Konan devastated and prompted Nagato to first stop the kunai from hitting himself and Yahiko's dead body. He then rescued Konan but at the cost of having his legs badly damaged by Hanzō's Fire Release: Exploding Flame Formation. When Root and Amegakure shinobi approached them, intending to eliminate them, Nagato summoned the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path and by using the black receivers which embedded itself into his back, it was able to slaughter all of the Amegakure and Root shinobi who had been instructed to kill Nagato. Not completely satisfied, Nagato also attempted to kill Hanzō who fled seconds later via the Body Flicker Technique. With Yahiko and the other remaining members of the group dead, Nagato and Konan were the only survivors left. In the aftermath, Nagato slashed his forehead protector, revealing he no longer wanted to be associated with Amegakure and with Yahiko dead, also became the new leader of Akatsuki, Konan his second. Furthermore, as a result of summoning the Statue and linking with it, Nagato became severely emaciated and spent the rest of his life confined to a machine. Eventually, a civil war erupted, splitting Amegakure with the battle ending when Nagato's Six Paths of Pain eliminated the members of Hanzō's fraction while Nagato, using Yahiko's body confronted and later killed Hanzō.



  1. Second Fanbook: The Shinobi World War Secret Files, pages 112-115
  2. Naruto: Shippūden episode 318
  3. Naruto chapters 542-543
  4. Naruto chapter 543, page 13
  5. Naruto chapter 629, pages 14
  6. Naruto chapter 604, pages 10-19
  7. Naruto chapter 629, pages 14-15
  8. Naruto chapter 605, pages 3 and 11
  9. Naruto chapter 606, pages 9-17
  10. 10.0 10.1 Fourth Databook, page 15
  11. Itachi Shinden: Book of Bright Light page 11
  12. Itachi Shinden: Book of Bright Light page 11-14
  13. Itachi Shinden: Book of Bright Light page 13-14
  14. Naruto: Shippūden episode 347