What are the Naruto hand signs? How real are they?
When I saw Naruto with my little brother, he was fascinated by the hand signs Shinobi was throwing and immediately tried to copy them to summon a horse.
While I knew that the ‘Gang-Like’ Signs that the Shinobi were throwing were fake, it made me Google these Hand seals and where they originated.
Let’s get down to brass tacks and ponder the question that’s been buzzing around like a persistent mosquito – are Naruto hand signs real?
1. Mudras: Real-World Magic
Those elemental-flinging, mind-blowing hand signs aren’t just whimsical scribbles. They have a basis in reality, and it’s all about mudras.
Let’s take a detour to the real world. Mudras are a deal here – symbolic hand gestures used in various cultures, most notably in Hinduism and Buddhism.
These gestures aren’t just fancy handwaving; they carry meanings and are used to invoke spiritual energies, focus the mind, and even aid meditation.
Mudras inspire those signs. While Naruto’s hand signs might not summon real-life fireballs or clones (bummer, I know), they still borrow from the idea of invoking power through specific gestures.
2. The Zodiac Relation
Some Signs in the Hidden Leaf Village also represent the Chinese Zodiac signs.
The creators of Naruto, including Masashi Kishimoto, drew inspiration from various sources, including cultural symbols, mythologies, and traditions, to enrich the depth of the series.
The Chinese zodiac, which consists of twelve animal signs, each representing a year in a 12-year cycle, is one such source.
In Naruto, these zodiac signs are the basis for some hand signs associated with specific jutsu techniques. For instance, the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig signs correspond to the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac.
Here are their Meanings:
I. Bird / Tori
The Bird hand sign is based on the Rooster of the Chinese zodiac, and as such, it represents the element of wind.
This is one of the signs we have often seen, as Naruto himself used it when performing Rasengan.
II. Boar / I
The Boar sign is based on the Pig of the Chinese zodiac. It is one of the first signs we were introduced to in Naruto, i.e., when Jiraiya summoned the toads.
It was later used multiple times throughout the series by various other characters.
III. Dog / Inu
Based on the dog’s Chinese zodiac sign, this hand sign is commonly affiliated with the water element, especially the Water Release technique.
In the series, we have often seen Zabuza and previous members of Kirigakure use this sign.
IV. Dragon / Tatsu
The Dragon sign, based on the Chinese Zodiac of the same, produces a dragon-shaped manifestation when used in conjunction with any other sign.
For example, when used with the Fire elemental hand sign, the released fire will take the form of a dragon.
V. Hare / Usagi
Based on the Chinese zodiac’s Hare, this sign requires its users to execute it fluidly. Ninjas such as Sasuke and Kakashi perform Chidori and the Lightning Release.
VI. Horse / Uma
Like all others, the Horse sign is based on the Chinese zodiac of the same animal.
The application of this was first seen in the series when Sasuke used it to perform the Fireball technique. It is also one of the few signs used to dispel Genjutsu.
VII. Monkey / Saru
In Sasuke’s signature move, Chidori, the Monkey hand sign, is essential in performing it.
Furthermore, it was also seen six times in a row when Zabuza performed the Long Water Dragon technique.
VIII. Ox / Ushi
Based on the Chinese zodiac’s Ox, this sign is often used in fire techniques, and almost every member of the Uchiha clan has been seen using it.
IX. Ram / Hitsuji
The Hitsuji or Ram is one of the most noticeable signs in the series, as being a vital part of Kage Bunshin, it is used by Naruto all the time.
Like others on this list, this sign is based on the Chinese zodiac animal, i.e., Ram.
X. Rat / Ne
Based on the Chinese Zodiac’s Rat, this sign is prominently used by the Nara clan to perform their Shadow Imitation Techniques. Shikamaru uses this sign in the series to trigger his Shadow Possession Jutsu.
XI. Snake / Mi
Based on the Chinese zodiac sign of the Snake, the Mi sign is one of the most versatile due to its association with Earth, Lightning, and Wood Releases. Therefore, it has been used by quite a few characters in the series.
Despite being one of the most valuable signs, it is elementary to perform. All one has to do is clasp their hands together and pray.
XII. Tiger / Tora
Commonly affiliated with fire and earth releases, this sign is based on the Chinese Zodiac Tiger. Sasuke has often used it when performing his clan’s signature Fire Jutsu.
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This connection between hand signs and the Chinese zodiac adds another cultural significance to the series.
3. Hand Signs of Your Favorite Jutsus!
I. Kage Bunshin / Shadow Clone
Kage Bunshin has been Naruto’s signature Jutsu ever since he learned it in episode 1.
While he uses only one sign to perform this technique, others must use the Ram, Serpent, and Tiger signs quickly to achieve the same results.
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Through this Jutsu, creatures such as toads, snakes, and slugs have been summoned to aid their summoner. To perform this sign, you must imitate the hand movements of the Boar, Dog, Bird, Monkey, and Ram signs.
To conclude, you must draw blood from your thumb and slam it on the ground. There, now you have your very own unicorn.
III. Water Dragon Jutsu
This technique is imprinted in all the fans’ minds due to the mind-blowing fight between Kakashi and Zabuza, where the latter seamlessly displayed his copy abilities and did justice to his nickname as ‘Copy Ninja Kakashi.’
With a whopping number of 44 signs, this technique requires the most hand seals in the series. One must execute the following signs to perform this technique in quick succession.
Ox → Monkey → Hare → Rat → Boar → Bird → Ox → Horse → Bird → Rat → Tiger → Dog → Tiger → Snake → Ox → Ram → Snake → Boar → Ram → Rat → Yang Water → Monkey → Bird → Dragon → Bird → Ox → Horse → Ram → Tiger → Snake → Rat → Monkey → Hare → Boar → Dragon → Ram → Rat → Ox → Monkey → Bird → Yang Water → Rat → Boar → Bird.
IV. Dead Demon Consuming Seal
One of the forbidden techniques, the Dead Demon Consuming Seal, can call upon the power of the Shinigami. The Third Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, and the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, both used it.
To perform this seal, one must execute the Snake, Boar, Ram, Rabbit, Dog, Rat, Bird, Horse, and Snake signs in that particular order and conclude it by clapping their hands.
V. Edo Tensei / Impure World Reincarnation
Edo Tensei, or the Reincarnation Jutsu, places a deceased person’s soul into a living vessel, thus restoring and binding them to the summoner’s command.
This technique was developed by the second Hokage, Tobirama Senju, and was later acquired by Orochimaru and Kabuto. To use this technique, one must quickly repeat the Tiger, Snake, Dog, and Dragon signs and seal them by clapping their hands.
Let’s wrap this up – Naruto hand signs are real in that they’re rooted in the concept of mudras, the real-world symbolic gestures. But these are pretty big. They’re unreal because you can’t use them to perform jutsu or unleash hidden powers.
Naruto’s hand signs are a testament to the fusion of creativity and cultural inspiration. They’re a nod to the depth that anime and manga can add to their fictional universes.
So, while you might not summon chakra beasts anytime soon, you’re free to let your imagination run wild and create your ninja adventures. And hey, that’s a jutsu worth mastering.
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5. About Naruto
Naruto is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. Its publication began on September 21, 1999, and continued till November 10, 2014, in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump. The manga has collected 72 volumes in tankōbon format.
Naruto Shippuden is Part II of the anime series, which follows an older Naruto as he attempts to save his friend Sasuke while at the same time – addressing the looming threat of the criminal organization – Akatsuki – who are targeting him for their grander scheme.