Naruto is filled with diverse, powerful ninjas, each possessing unique skills and abilities. And much like in the real world, these mighty warriors are categorized in an official ranking, which also doubles as a convenient powerscaling tool. Should an aspiring ninja wish to reach the apex, they can only procedurally climb the ranks step by step.

The ninja rankings system in Naruto plays a pivotal role in defining the hierarchy and status of each ninja in the shinobi world. It not only serves as a measure of a ninja's strength and abilities but also determines their roles, responsibilities, and potential for growth within their respective villages. From the fresh and aspiring genin to the revered Kage, each rank signifies a unique stage in a ninja's journey.

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Everyone Starts As A Genin

genin about to take chunin exams naruto

The genin rank serves as the foundation for every aspiring ninja in the shinobi world. These young and promising ninjas, usually in their early teens, embark on their journey at the lowest level – Genin rank. While this is the lowest level in ranking, becoming a Genin is not that easy. An aspiring ninja will have to first graduate from the ninja academy. This requires passing a written exam, and mastering the Clone Technique. After that, a Jonin will asses them to determine if they deserve their Genin status.

If they pass, the Genin form three-person squads led by a Jonin and are entrusted with missions that range from D-rank – the simplest tasks, to C-rank – which involve more significant challenges. It is during this period that a ninja will have to learn the essence of teamwork, while also furthering their mastery over various jutsu.

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The Chunin Are More Capable Shinobi

New Chunin Exams, Naruto Shippuden

Only after completing a certain number of missions and proving their capabilities can the genin be recommended by their Jonin leaders to take the Chunin Exams. The Chunin Exams vary depending on the year, but it is a multi-stage test that ends as a tournament. However, the tournament isn't necessarily just about winning. The competitors are judged based on their performance rather than their rankings.

After proving their mettle in the Chunin Exams, these skilled ninjas become leaders and gain the responsibility of guiding younger Genin in their growth. The Chunin are often assigned missions of greater complexity, ranging from C-rank to B-rank, which may involve reconnaissance, escorting, or low-level combat. The Chunin are also considered full-pledged ninjas, so they are no longer supervised by a Jonin. They may even be assigned to lead a genin team of their own, like how Shikamaru led Naruto, Neji, Choji, and Kiba for the Sasuke Retrieval Mission.

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The Jonin Are The Elite

Izumo and Kotetsu, jonin of Naruto

The Jonin rank represents the elite and most experienced ninjas in the shinobi world. These accomplished warriors are often assigned S-rank missions, which involve high-level combat, intelligence gathering, and diplomatic responsibilities. Some Jonin serve as mentors to young ninja teams, nurturing and honing their skills.

Similar to becoming a Chunin, one must first prove their qualifications prior to being considered for the rank. One of the prerequisites is mastering two chakra natures. For instance, Kakashi uses Lightning and Earth Release, while Yamato commands Earth and Water Release. The Jonin rank holds a significant position in the village's hierarchy, and their contributions are vital in maintaining peace and security. Since the Jonin are considered the village treasures, there are only a few of them.

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The Anbu Are The Villages' Secret Agents

kakashi anbu naruto running

The Anbu black ops, shrouded in secrecy, are an elite force assigned with covert missions and protecting the village from internal and external threats. Identified by their distinctive animal masks, Anbu operatives are selected from exceptional Jonin and Chunin for their exceptional combat skills and loyalty. The training process for Anbu members is rigorous and demanding, focusing on physical prowess, mental fortitude, and mastering various jutsu. The Anbu play a crucial role in safeguarding the village, often operating in the shadows to neutralize high-value targets and handle delicate situations.

There is no clear hierarchy within the Anbu, since their status and ranking are measured through merits and accomplishments. Because of that, promising ninjas can be recruited and trained at an early age. The Anbu also mostly work under the shadows, so their identities are mostly hidden from the public. However, there are certain exemptions where they are tasked to reveal their identities, like when Yamato is tasked to become Team 7's new leader.

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The Kage Are The Leaders Of Their Respective Villages


The Kage, meaning "shadow," represents the highest echelon of power and leadership in the ninja world. Each of the five great ninja villages has its own Kage, serving as the village's supreme authority and protector. Konoha has a Hokage, while Suna has a Kazekage. There is also the Mizukage for Kirigakure, Raikage for Kumogakure, and Tsuchikage for Iwagakure. The Kage is a symbol of strength, wisdom, and responsibility, and their leadership is crucial in maintaining peace and prosperity within their village. As such, they are chosen by the land's daimyo with the guidance of the village elders, jonin commander, and a representative from the Anbu.

Each Kage faces numerous challenges during their tenure, including external threats, internal politics, and the well-being of their villagers. Their wisdom and strategic acumen are tested time and again as they make decisions that impact the safety and prosperity of their village. The role of a Kage extends beyond military leadership, as they also act as ambassadors, negotiators, and representatives of their villages in the world's political landscape. They are also responsible for nurturing the next generation of ninjas, providing guidance and mentorship to young shinobi. But most of all, they are the mightiest defenders of their villages, so most Kage in Naruto perished in service.