Back to the Basics: Chakra

Renee here, aka Elfarren, getting back to more serious manga matters this time around. I’ve noticed a lot of debates going on in the comments over the past few weeks that all come down to one thing – chakra – and the more I thought about it, the more I realized how complex Kishi has made the entire concept, so I wanted to round up everything we know and lay some ideas out for everyone to chew on ^_^

We’ve been learning more about chakra throughout Shippuden, yet there is still a lot we don’t understand. From yin versus yang to Kekkai Genkai to accessing the full potential of the Kyuubi, Kishi has left readers quite a bit to speculate about. So, without further ado, let’s go back and review what we know about the Narutoverse’s most basic guiding principle: chakra.

Sakura's Lesson

Anyone else notice the yin/yang symbolism there? Keep in mind that was from chapter 17, when the manga was still in its infancy. Some 392 chapters later, in the Hurricane Chronicles, Fukasaku reminds us of Sakura’s lesson, complete with his own illustrations reinforcing the yin/yang symbolic representation in our minds.

Fukasaku's Lesson

The Sage chakra drawing kind of reminds me of the sharingan eye wheels, but getting into a debate about that will push me totally off topic, so I’ll leave that for all of you in the comments section. Getting back to the issue at hand, in addition to Sakura and Fukasaku, we also get an impromptu lesson on chakra from Maito Gai during the final preliminary rounds of the Chuunin exam.

Iron Fist Vs Gentle Fist

This panel screamed at me when I was looking for material, because in many ways it’s a perfect explanation for the fundamental disparity between yin/yang as it applies to chakra. Both fighting styles cause severe damage, but Lee’s reliance on physical chakra is unbalanced by his complete lack of spiritual chakra. In the same sense, Neji is also unbalanced by relying so heavily on his spiritual chakra (Gentle Fist) as opposed to his physical chakra (Iron Fist). Looking at these examples, what if the explanation behind yin/yang is as simple as separately manipulating the two main types of chakra – to unbalance them, if you will? It’s tempting to consider … until Yamato throws a wrench in this simple explanation.


Thanks to Yamato, we now know that physically recomposing yin/yang chakra isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. It is the defining characteristic of secret clan techniques like Shikamaru’s shadow jutsu, Choji’s expansion jutsu, and Ino’s mind transfer jutsu; in other words, it is so difficult it takes the knowledge of generations to pass on just one set of techniques. The recomposition of yin/yang chakra also has something to do with medical jutsu and genjutsu, which are both difficult to master if we take Tsunade and Jiraiya’s word on the matter.

Medical & Genjutsu

So, where does this leave us? Well, in its most basic form, we know that:

Spiritual energy + physical energy + hand signs = an awesome jutsu.

Taking it one step further:

Spiritual energy + physical energy + natural energy + hand signs = a totally awesomeness jutsu (or possibly the sharingan *clears throat*)

And, because of Maito Gai, we also know that you can apply chakra while fighting in two ways: externally (Iron Fist) and internally (Gentle Fist). Add to that our knowledge of how hard medical and genjutsu are to learn, and all I can say for sure at this point is that this whole chakra business is more difficult to explain than first meets the eye. But it doesn’t stop there …

Kekkai Genkai

Kekkai Genkai 2

Did you catch that? There is another wholly separate application – that we don’t know about yet – involved in the physical recomposition of chakra associated with having a kekkai genkai. Not only that, it can be learned! Kishi has laid it out for us plain and simple here: if you can manipulate two separate elements together at the same time, you will have one type of kekkai genkai. I’m not talking about the eye techniques of the Hyugas and Uchihas, but bloodline limits such as Haku’s or Yamato’s. Someone with the right pedigree *coughNARUTOcough* could create their own if they have the skillz, with a z. I’ve said all this before, though, so moving on …

Seal/Key Explanation

Last but not least, we come to the Nine-Tailed Fox Demon. After a short lesson about Minato’s sealing method, Jiraiya realizes the “key” to unlocking the Fox’s chakra is heightened emotional or personal danger. Then, to prove his point, he throws Naruto into a ridiculously jagged ravine and tries to kill him, thereby breaking Minato’s seal.

I’ve been reconsidering the whole debate about unsealing the Fox’s yin chakra lately, and using what Jiraiya said above with what we know of the “key” before his fight against Pain, I’ve begun to wonder if Jiraiya began that process in part one. We know he used their two and a half years of training together to keep tweaking the seal bit by bit, resulting in his near death experience, but which half does it represent? Does Naruto already have access to the yang chakra and yin is represented by the seal, or did the yin chakra go with Minato into the Death God and yang is represented by the seal?  If anyone can find some real, undisputable, no questions about it answer in the manga, please let me know! LOL


~ by elfarren on February 23, 2009.

55 Responses to “Back to the Basics: Chakra”

  1. Fiiiiiiiirsssssssst!

  2. DAMN YOU BONOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Second! 😉

  3. THRID?

  4. AHHH its suposed to do stuff when i hit post 😉

  5. lol 🙂

  6. Wow, thx a lot for the breakdown and review Elfarren! It really helped me a lot in remembering all that chakra business. As for the Yin/Yang chakra business with the fox I believe as you said that Minato and the fox’s Yin chakra are dancing in the belly of the beast for all eternity That’s why that chapter is called the eternal battle. The one who performs the seal and the victim of the seal souls are locked into eternal battle afterwards. I wonder though does that mean the Kyubi couldn’t be revived from the Death God’s realm. I mean the Kyubi is just a hunk of chakra and as we all know from the ‘law of conservation of energy’ energy (chakra) cannot be created or destroyed. So perhaps the Kyubi’s Yin chakra could be revived making a pseudo-Naruto! Just a little theory I’ve been working on. 😉

    Oh yeah, and I wonder what two elements Minato combined to make the Yellow Flash jutsu…wind and lighting maybe…is it even a kekkei genkai? If not how is Naruto supposed to inherit it like so many people have been saying?

  7. @elfarren- nice post but i have some issues with the kekkei genkai being learnable…yamato/kakashi never mentioned that it was doable, they simply said
    “it’s a completely different thing…and that’s what’s called kekkei genkai”
    looking at that and from a LOT of other clues from the manga and my (un)common sense, i say it’s not doable till you have that particular genome…

  8. Though the bloodline limit being controlled by a gene is completely stupid anyways…i mean, it would mean that Darwin(actually it wasn’t darwin if i remember…it was some dude experimenting with peas, i cant remember his name) was a bumbling idiot,leave to much to chance, since we have two sets of each gene(i don’t really remember since i gave up biology 2 years ago…), and when we’re formed we get one set each from the male and female, any child could inherit a dominant and recessive gene which could allow for a NON-bloodline limit gene to become a recessive gene, but going by the evidence in the manga, i don’t suppose there’ve been any err…skipovers in any generation of a clan…
    so there ya have it…Kishi DID drop out…

  9. Elfarren, cool article! Nice chakra refresher…I needed that. The sharingan shape that you’re thinking of is called the mitsu domoe. Wikipedia says that “Some view [it] as representative of the threefold division (Man, Earth, & Sky) at the heart of the Shinto religion.” But it’s very popular in Japan and can refer to a lot of different sets of three. Sometimes the symbol is used to protect from fire, flood and theft. That sort of thing.

    (By the way, if you search “mitsu domoe” on Google, the first image that pops up is a joystick my husband made. ^_^)

  10. So I’ve been theorizing between me and my friend for ages on what Naruto’s next element will be. We both say his next element is water.

    Minato’s full name means “waves and wind” or “discord” (Namikaze) and “harbor” (Minato).
    Taken from the bottom of the page of this link:
    This hints that Minato had wind and water as elements.

    Naruto supposedly has the same ninjutsu style as his mother, according to this page:

    His mother is from Whirlpool Country. This hints that she most definitely had water element.

    All the information above hints that Naruto’s next element will be water.

    If I remember correctly, Minato wasn’t born in Konoha. He was said to have been born in Hidden Rain. If true, that would prove even more that Naruto’s next element will be water.

    Hopefully you’re all convinced by now that Naruto’s next element will be water. Me and my friend are, but we also remembered that Haku was wind and water.

    My friend states that if Naruto has control of wind and water, then he can use ice jutsus like Haku. I don’t believe so, yet I couldn’t prove him otherwise

    Thanks to the information from this page, I have definite proof that my friend is wrong! ^_^

    According to Kakashi and Yamato. The ability to use two elements simultaneously to create a NEW element is called a Kekkei Genkai(bloodline limit)!

    There may MULTIPLE ninjas that can use wind and water, but NONE of them will be able to use ice jutsus if they don’t have the BLOODLINE LIMIT. There may be multiple ninjas that can use water and earth, but none of them will be able to create wood if they don’t have the bloodline limit.

    So even if you were born with all five elements, you still won’t be able to use ice jutsus or wood jutsus or other kinds of Kekkei Genkai if you don’t have the bloodline for it.

    Understand? ^_^

  11. did i mention that i are awesomeness…

  12. Yes you am. 🙂

  13. Sharingan’s third set of energy, IF they do have a 3rd set, isn’t natural energy. Plus, you don’t need to use hand-signs to activate/use the Sharingan.

    Anyways, according to NinjaBuzz’s translation of Chapter 370, the Yin chakra was sealed into Naruto. But according to the one posted on Onemange, the Yang was sealed into Naruto. I guess we have no choice but to wait till the Anime’s release to clarify it.

    But to me, NinjaBuzz’s translation just made more sense.

    Anyways, I believe Minato found a loophole in the Demon Seal. The Demon Seal takes the user’s life, in case the user fails to take the opponent’s life. That means the Demon’s priority is on sealing the user so that its guaranteed to feed on at least ONE SOUL.

    Minato could have sealed the WHOLE of Kyuubi’s chakra into Naruto, and the Demon wouldn’t have known about it. The Demon would just assume that the user failed to capture the opponent. The Demon don’t give a rat’s ass because at least he got to swallow the user’s soul.

    I believe Minato sealed the other half of the Kyuubi into himself. That means the Demon took his soul along with the half of Kyuubi he sealed into himself. Why would he do that?

    Because once Naruto activates “that jutsu”, Naruto will be able to bring out the other half of Kyuubi’s chakra… and Minato along with it!!!!! MUUUAUHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!! *insert evil face*

  14. You guys are probably wondering why Minato would make it so “that jutsu” would “revive” him. Remember, according to Jiraiya, Minato knew that Madara was behind all this.

    No one can touch Madara, because of some space/time jutsu. No one can touch Minato either, because of space/time jutsu. They’re fit to fight each other.

    So why didn’t Minato just defeat the Kyuubi and then Madara? Simple, he’d lose because it was two on one(they’re all technically on the same level).

    So why’d he seal the Kyuubi into Naruto? So that Madara could no longer have control of the Kyuubi… Naruto would.

    But he knew that if he sealed the Kyuubi into Naruto, then he’d die. Then it’d be Naruto vs Madara. So as a failsafe, he used the Demon’s loophole so that one day, Naruto would be able to revive him! ^_^

  15. when orochimaru fought against sarutobi, he tried a third summoning (beside first and second hokage). my guess is that he tried to revive minato. anybody agrees?

  16. @stupidbadger:

    Kishimoto didn’t let Orochimaru summon the Fourth, because the Third would have had to seal him ONCE MORE. Which would probably break the bond that Naruto has with the other half of Kyuubi(and Minato).

  17. that was what puzzled me. if he was in shinigami’s belly how could oro summon him?!! and if he kept the bad part of kyuubi with him, the monster would appear too??

  18. Wow, Naruto accidently reviving his dead father from the depths of a shinigami when trying out “that jutsu” to call forth the other half of the Kyubi’s power. It’s so crazy….it just might work! But I’m not betting on it. 😉 It’s more plausible to bring back the soul of the nine-tails which is just an entity of chakra than a human soul, but who knows…Kishi does! 😉

  19. i don’t think that ichigo would let naruto to bring back his father 😉

  20. @stupidbadger:

    Yup, if my theory is correct, then Naruto would be able to bring back the FULL Kyuubi and Minato. But Naruto would only do that when Naruto has enough skill to tame and perhaps combine with the Kyuubi like Sage Mode.


    Yea, but if the entity of chakra is sealed within a human soul that is within the depths of Shinigami, then it just might work! ^_^

    Anyways, its just a far-out theory that I made up in order for us to HOPEFULLY see Minato again… alive. ^_^

    But it DOES make enough sense to be considered slightly plausible… I think.

  21. very good refresher for us. You should make more of these kind of articles on differnt things like summonings, the use of sage mode, kyuubi “mode” and whatever else happens in this series…

    @everyone or anyone…why would you combine sage mode with the kyuubi if kyuubi hurts him more than sage can heal him? also when he’s in kyuubi he kinda looses all rationality so him being in kyuubi and sage mode should turn him into either a frog or stone statue because of it… just trying not to flip out…*sigh*

  22. @shinobimadness:

    We don’t know how much Sage mode heals him yet.

    Also, he only loses rationality in Kyuubi form because he hasn’t gained control of it yet. Just like how he turns into a frog when he hasn’t gained control of it.

    Of course, he’d have to learn how to fully control the Kyuubi before he tries using BOTH forms at once.

  23. TWENTY-SECOND B*TCHES!!! F U ALL!!!!!!! (j/k) @_@

  24. @ rockleex if he could control both kyuubi and sage mode do you think he would be able to make his own kekke genkai and not the suppossedly jutsu of his dad?…*( i don’t think naruto should learn that jutsu tho…its what made his dad so scary)
    anyways i think naruto needs more wind techs b4 learning a 2nd one at least 2 more and months of training and use…hes getting too powerful too fast…he’s gotta get his a** kicked in order to want to get even stronger…

  25. i hope my pic is showing now…

  26. @ Harshy and Rockleex: I made sure to point out that you’d have to have the right pedigree (“a distinguished ancestry” according to Merriam-Webster) for a Kekkai Genkai, and for as powerful as both of Naruto’s parents were, I believe he has the potential to create his own KG. This is all imho, of course, but I thought it was interesting enough to make note of.

    @ Supertrek: I doubt that Minato’s space/time jutsu is a KG, mnostly because of something Kakashi says around chapters 394-395 (I think, too lazy to check right now). During the fight against Madara before they find out Sasuke has defeated Itachi, Kakashi says something along the lines of Madara’s s/t jutsu being even more powerful than the 4ths, implying it’s just a really advanced technique.

    @ PSI: Thanks for the info! I always enjoy learning new stuff as it relates to the manga ^_^

    @ Rockleex: Though I think it’s very unlikely, that would be something to see Naruto pull out the other half of the Fox and his father in the same battle! LOL

    @ Shinobimadness: I was considering writing a series of Back to Basics articles, but it all depends on what it seems like the readers want to see I guess.

    And I wanted to say thanks to Jeremiah for posting this today – it’s my birthday! ^_^

  27. I really don’ think you can “create” your own kekkei genkai…UNLESS you get bitten by a radioactive spider/come from krypton/have a burning green rage inside you/unless some wierd dude cal galactus makes you all silver so the chicks deg yaa etc…etc..etc…

  28. Happy birthday, Elfarren! Thanks for the post. =)

    You asked for difinitive proof of which energy is sealed in Naruto and the Death God.
    Shiki Fuujin:

    The jutsu is the seal which brings the Death God, requiring the soul of the summoner as a guaranteed sacrifice. Some people read this page and say the yin chakra was sealed in Naruto, but the yin was sealed in the death god (Shiki Fuujin).

    If you understand the difference between yin and yang it’s easy to tel by his behavior which he has inside. =) Regardless of differences in translations. ^.^

  29. @Harshy, I don’t think she’s saying that you can create your own, but I could be wrong. Discover?

    You are both acknowledging that the kekkei genkai means 2 elemental manips and a familial/genetic affinity for the super jutsu. This is why Kakashi, who can copy any jutsu and can do all sorts of manipulations, can’t copy a kekkei genkai.

  30. @rockleex, that’s crazy, but i like it. I could just see the dumbfounded look on Naruto’s face when Minato pops up.

  31. @ Ibiki: Create, discover … pretty much the same in Naruto’s case, at least the way I see it. If his family does hold the predisposition for him to have a KG, he’d have to figure it out through supreme effort of will, either creating or discovering this ability inside himself. I could totally see it happening if Naruto learns to manipulate a second element as the next step in his training, and then uses his down time like he did at Myobokuzan to refine his new technique(s).

    @ Harshy: Never say never! Kekkai Genkai’s have to start somewhere, so why not with Naruto? (You know I’m arguing for the sake of playing Devil’s advocate, right? LOL)

  32. I could see him using a 4th shadow to solely focus on element A, so we would have no need to focus on two at once. One, supplies chakra, next spins, next blows it, and if there’s water, everything wet.

  33. With Naruto, it doesn’t matter much. He isn’t good with hand signs unless it’s summoning, and if it ain’t rasengan, or possibly sexy no jutsu, it’s not getting blown or getting wet.

  34. Hey, the MAAAIIITOOO GAAAAIII picture above should also make the innuendo page. If you notice, it almost looks as though Lee is going to squat down on Gai’s thumb… Not sure how Neji’s going to take his thumbin’ there, but it’s a’waitin..

    “DOUBLE DYNAMIC (thumb) ENTRY!!!!”

  35. Supertrek: “HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELFARREN!!!…what I missed it?…dammit!” 😦
    *walks away with head hanging down*

    Elfarren: “Oh, it’s alright” *gives Supertrek a hug and a peck on the cheek*

    Supertrek: *Blushes and does Goofy impersonation* “Oh Gosh, a-huck-huck-huck” 0_0

    (note: skit is just my delusional fantasy and elfarren had nothing to with it) 😉

    FIN 🙂 Happy Belated Birthday Elfarren!

  36. hmm.. i just thought of something…if naruto is a windtype jutsu and his next element is water(going by this name theory) then if he is to create a kekke genkai wouldn’t be plausible to make a HURRICANE like the title Huricane Chronicles? hmmm that would be the best jutsu because it would be like the frs…awww what am i talking just going insane it could never happen…

  37. No shinobimadness don’t doubt yourself! Keep the dream ALIVE! I was starting to believe what you were saying until you shot your own theory down. 😉

  38. I think I’ve also heard that theory here once before. I for one would say if he manages to discover a kekke genkai, It would definitely be a hurricane. They start with a rotation in the air (Rasengan), throw in a strong wind current (Wind Element), then as you add water, it swirls violently and destroys a village…oh harshyt!
    Wouldn’t that also create a lot of electrical current?

  39. @ supertrek i was kinda joking on the last part…

  40. Ahem, me too…

  41. @Ibiki- Those people who got confused by that whole Shiki Fuujin Death God seal, which energy went where thing… should have turned to the next page. Jiraiya goes into yin/yang sealing for dummies mode. He says, “…Only sealing the yang chakra into Naruto, was so that he could leave it for Naruto.” Pretty durn definitive. 🙂

  42. @ prawlkage: That last bit made me practically snort my drink out of my nose! LMAO

    @ supertrek: Thank you for the belated b-day wishes, complete with skit ^_^

    @shinobimadness: I’ve been considering the same idea, and trying to imagine it in my head, but I just can’t see a hurricane jutsu … maybe, eh?

  43. well it would be kinda like when naruto and yamoto vs kazaku’s fire and wind jutsu. i think it would be a bit more controlled tho like he did underwater near episode 100 but with wind…

  44. So, i know it’s old but I really like the idea that maybe Minato could be summoned from Death God via frog key. Though could you imagine his expression when he finally had a royal flush, then BAM. Naruto is confused and Minato’s like
    “WTF?! I almost cleaned Oro’s out of the tournament completely! Stupid kid!”

    anywho, I believe kekke genkai’s involving say water and wind can have several out comes. Ice, Hurricanes, inconvenient puddles, watery wind, and anything of the like. This topic is too shrouded and i’d like it to be resolved before a time skip.

  45. *Oro’s arms

  46. @ajd: Lmao, I can see a poker game betwwen Oro’s arms, Sarutobi, Minato, and the Yin half of the Kyubi going on in the realm of the Death God! XD

    @Elfarren: Hahaha, no problem! 🙂

  47. i have no evidence of what he sealed into naruto but from what i’ve heard, people say that Minato sealed the “good” chakra in him. We’ve seen naruto using the “evil” chakra because many people sensed the evil side of narutos chakra so could it be that the good chakra is much stronger than the bad?

  48. @elfarren You had a birthday, congradlution, happy birthday.

    Someone had already mentioned this, but the yang chakra was sealed into Naruto. Jiraiya stated that specifically. Also its been said before but Yin and Yang don’t nessary separate into good and evil.

    For the Kekki Genkai, I believe its possible to learn however the reason its a skill passed down by blood and clan is because the user who originally developed it obtained the skill to do so or unlocked portions of their chakra allowing that to occur. I think that ability would pass through generations. The skill required to use it is attached to the individual, however it becomes active more often if passed down by blood. The same way the rinnegan was unleashed by Nagato when his friends were in danger. Its not something blood related and its not stated that he was born with it. Nagato found the inner ability to use it and if he were to procreate with say Konan, or anyone else then the then factors in him pass down to that person more easily.

  49. naruto should go in a gravity chamber and go super sage

  50. This is a well laid out article. It really expanded my understanding of Chakra.

  51. @Elfarren – really nice article.

    I am just thinking out loud here, so please forgive me if I babble a bit.

    Bushybrow’s inability to do ninjitsu or genjitsu is because he only has physical chakra. When he releases the chakra gates, he turns red. Kakashi also said releasing the chakra gates sped Lee’s healing (

    Since the Kyuubi’s chakra is red and also speeds Naruto’s healing, does this imply the Kyuubi provides purely physical chakra for Naruto?

    Also, after being hit by Neji, Naruto was able to heal his chakra circulation system by drawing on the Kyuubi’s power. Would Lee be able to open his chakra gates and heal if Neji had cut off his chakra flow?

  52. @ jxhwp: I dunno about the last part with Lee healing himself using the 8 Gates, but that’s a damn interesting theory about the Fox! If Minato only sealed one half in Naruto, that half being the physical half makes sense, especially given my theory that yin/yang chakra is the same thing as physical/spiritual chakra ^_^

    @ kingcam07: Thank you!

  53. Have you guys read the newest manga yet? I guess my theory about Minato being summoned was PRETTY CLOSE to coming true! 😀

  54. what about all of the trouble that clans go through to protect the bodies of dead ninja? isn’t the risk duplication of the KG?

  55. Wow, I’ve been searching for sites like these and i’ve found the perfect one =^_^=

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