Saturday, March 3, 2007


Akatsuki (? meaning "Dawn" or "Daybreak") is a fictional criminal organization in the anime and manga series Naruto. It is first introduced midway into the first part of the series, and its members gain significance as the main antagonists during the second part. The organization is composed of some of the most powerful criminals in existence.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.




Despite being composed of only ten (currently eight) members, Akatsuki is arguably the most powerful organization in the Naruto universe. Each member of Akatsuki is an S-class criminal, feared for their tremendous powers and ruthless nature. The exact criteria for admission into the group are unknown, but extraordinary fighting ability and ruthlessness seem to be prerequisites. Unique traits (genetic or otherwise) also seem to be a common factor among its members. Two of the more prominent members so far, Itachi and Sasori, both undertook some sort of challenging task at the time of their entering the group. Sasori mentions during his fight with Chiyo and Sakura that "[he] hadn't had this much difficulty since joining Akatsuki." Itachi was responsible for murdering his whole clan (save for his little brother, Sasuke) around the time he is believed to have entered, but it can't be said for certain that the two events were linked.


Akatsuki doesn't seem to have any strict organizational structure, though its members do maintain several unique practices. They rarely seem to meet in person, instead communicating through telepathy and astral projection when necessary. When their entire group is introduced at the end of the first part of the series, one member notes that it had been seven years since they had all been together in such a fashion. Their meetings are much more frequent in the second part of the series due to their increased activity. The members of Akatsuki seem to have little consistency in their individual goals. They only group together because Akatsuki's overall goal in some way benefits the individual goals of its members. Akatsuki members don't particularly value the lives of their comrades, either; a member's death in itself will not bother the other members, but rather the fact that someone was able to kill that member.


Akatsuki's overall goal is world domination. To achieve that goal, the leader has set up a three-step process to work their way to it. First, they plan to obtain a large amount of money to support their organization. Second, they plan to set up a mercenary group loyal to no village. To build their reputation, they plan to accept any mission below the usual cost, which is covered by the excess amount of funds earned in the first part of their plan. Because there haven't been any wars in some time, the established shinobi villages can't afford to charge such low prices, leading the smaller countries to hire Akatsuki over the more expensive shinobi villages. By using the tailed beasts, Akatsuki can start wars and then immediately quell them, solidifying their reputation and convincing every country to depend on them, thus cornering the market in shinobi labor. Without any business, the other shinobi villages will collapse due to a lack of funds. Finally, after Akatsuki is the only major force of shinobi in existence, they can easily conquer the other countries.

As a large part of their plan, they actively hunt the tailed beasts and their hosts. Once a tailed beast or its host is captured, they seal them in a large statue for use at a later time. Akatsuki possesses six tailed beasts: the one-tailed Shukaku, the two-tailed demon cat, the three-tailed demon, and three other unknown demons.


Akatsuki members usually work in teams of two. Teams are built to complement each other's abilities and talents to create a formidable duo. For example, Hidan and Kakuzu both use their immortality to their advantage by using attacks that indiscriminately destroy everything in their path. Due to Orochimaru's defection, their numbers are now uneven, so one or more members appear to be working alone. Currently, Zetsu, the leader, and the unnamed member are not known to be on any team. Each member thus far has shown at least a working loyalty to each other and their mysterious leader, and they have excellent working relationships. On a personal level, however, many of the team members exhibit outright animosity towards one another, though they do not let it get in the way of their missions.

Tailed beast extraction

The demon-sealing statue
The demon-sealing statue

Whenever an Akatsuki member captures a tailed beast or its host, it is taken to their lair. Once there, the Akatsuki leader summons a giant statue of a humanoid monster. The leader doesn't need to be present to summon the statue, nor do Akatsuki members need to be physically present for the statue to activate. Any Akatsuki members unable to reach the statue can use astral projection to appear at the statue. The statue itself seems to symbolize restriction or sealing. The creature's hands are handcuffed, its eyes are blindfolded, and a bit is in its mouth, which falls out when the Akatsuki members are sealing a tailed beast. On the creature's blindfold are nine closed eyes (eight eyes in two rows of four with the larger ninth eye in the center), each corresponding to one of the nine tailed beasts. The eyes don't appear to be in any specific order, as the eye representing the one-tailed Shukaku is the second on the upper row[1] while the eye representing the three-tailed beast is the third on the lower row.[2]

After the summoning, the host or tailed beast (depending on if it is sealed in a person or not) is placed in front of the statue while each Akatsuki member stands on the finger that corresponds to their specific ring. The members then perform Sealing Technique: Illusionary Dragon Nine Consuming Seals to draw the spirit of the beast (or the beast itself) into the statue. Once the beast is sealed, all the eyes open, and the pupil of the eye that corresponds to the beast appears, indicating that it has been successfully sealed. It's unknown if the statue serves any other purpose than to contain the captured tailed beasts.


Itachi's ring.
Itachi's ring.

Each Akatsuki member wears a single, unique ring, and no two members wear a ring on the same finger. Each member wears their ring on the same finger as the spot they occupy on the giant statue. In total, there are ten rings, but Akatsuki only possesses nine; Orochimaru kept the tenth after he defected from the organization. It still rests on the little finger of the severed left hand from his original body. The rings seem to have some special significance; Tobi believed that he could become a member after finding Sasori's ring, and although Zetsu claims it's not as easy as that, Tobi does indeed become a member. Deidara reinforces the significance of the rings after losing both his arms by expressing more concern for finding the arm with his ring, rather than finding the arm itself. Each ring bears a unique symbol, the first kanji of its name.

A diagram showing every member's ring position
A diagram showing every member's ring position

The various rings are:[3]

Clothing and appearance

Common Akatsuki clothing
Common Akatsuki clothing

Akatsuki members dress in similar clothing: a long, dark cloak bearing red clouds and a red interior with a chin-high collar. All members also wear purple nail polish on their fingernails and toenails (see ring image above). Large conical straw hats with small spike-like bells hanging from them also seem to be part of their outfit, but they discard them after being discovered. This seems to be an optional piece of the Akatsuki outfit, likely to further disguise their identities.

Forehead protectors

The members of Akatsuki continue to wear forehead protectors from their former home villages, but scratch a line across the symbol of their village. This is done to indicate that their ties to the village have been severed and they no longer give any allegiance to their former homes. Currently, the Akatsuki leader, Tobi, and the one unnamed Akatsuki member have not been shown wearing forehead protectors, so it is unknown where they are originally from. Additionally, Hidan's forehead protector, while clearly visible, features a symbol not corresponding with any known village, so his place of origin is a mystery, as well.


Akatsuki originally had ten members, but they are currently at eight following the defection of Orochimaru and the deaths of two members, Sasori and Kakuzu. Hidan is still alive, but currently incapacitated. Tobi, a former subordinate of the group, now takes Sasori's place. Orochimaru, however, has yet to be replaced, despite having left the group several years before its initial introduction; this is likely because Orochimaru took his Akatsuki ring with him when he left.

Though all of the members have been shown to some degree, two have yet to be named. The first has had some dialogue and been attributed to being the leader, while the identity of the other remains a complete mystery.

Akatsuki leader

The Akatsuki leader.
The Akatsuki leader.
  • Membership status: Active leader
  • Ring: 零 ("nothing")
  • Ring position: Right thumb
  • Partner: None or not yet introduced
  • First cameo: Chapter 238; Naruto Episode 135
  • First appearance: Chapter 327
  • Defining characteristics: Has a pair of bridge piercings or tattoos

The leader of Akatsuki is a mysterious figure. None of the other Akatsuki members refer to him by name, instead simply calling him "leader," and his face is rarely shown. He has the respect of most of his subordinates (Hidan, having recently joined, is an exception) and is the one directing their actions. He is also the one to initiate and supervise the jutsu that forcibly brings a tailed beast out of its host. He can also clone his subordinates using human sacrifices, allowing them to engage the enemy without risking themselves. When it becomes necessary to gather his subordinates, he can communicate with them over long distances through some form of telepathy.

The lower half of the leader's face.
The lower half of the leader's face.

While the leader has remained mostly anonymous, the cover of chapter 317 depicts him with auburn hair and a glimpse of his lower face shows what appears to be either tattoos or piercings on either side of his nose.[4] He is seen sitting on an odd statue with many tubes winding through it, commenting that Hidan and Kakuzu are always causing trouble. The statue is located in a city much more modern than is common for the series, and has tubes similar to those in the statue winding through its various buildings.

The leader has displayed at least a cursory knowledge of the various villages, as well as the underlying political and economic conditions in the country at large. When Hidan referred to the Konoha-nin as "godless heathens," the leader gave a short description of Konoha's "Will of Fire," then proceeded to note that all countries have some similar practice to justify their battles.


  • Membership status: Active
  • Ring: 青 ("blue", "green")
  • Ring position: Right index finger
  • Partner: Tobi, formerly Sasori
  • First cameo: Chapter 238; Naruto Episode 135
  • First appearance: Chapter 247; Shippūden Episode 2
  • Defining characteristics: Specialist in explosive-based jutsu using clay, clay manipulation with mouths in palms of hands, scope on left eye
  • Seiyu: Katsuhiko Kawamoto

Deidara (デイダラ?) is a missing-nin from Iwagakure and the partner of Tobi.

Deidara was originally teamed with Sasori, whom Deidara referred to as Master Sasori (サソリの旦那 Sasori no Danna?). This is probably because Deidara had a lot of respect for his fellow artist. He also admits that Sasori was a lot stronger. Despite that, Deidara still argued with Sasori about what art is and directly disobeyed his command in spite of a threat to be killed. Deidara held that art is transient, departing quickly. Sasori believed that fine art is something wonderful that's left long into the future. This reflects their individual natures (Deidara makes clay sculptures that explode, Sasori makes long-lasting puppets out of humans). Deidara outwardly seems to respect Sasori's beliefs, but couldn't resist getting a final jab in after Sasori's death: "Like anything that is left for the future as a thing of eternal beauty... He got killed straight off!"

One of Deidara's palm-mouths.
One of Deidara's palm-mouths.

A fancy and skillful fighter, Deidara uses special mouths in the palm of each hand to manipulate clay into many shapes, often making animals from it. He commonly creates a flight-capable clay bird as a mode of transportation. In addition to making animals from the clay, he can make the clay explode on command. He often molds the clay into smaller animals to make sneak attacks on unsuspecting opponents. He also has a scope on his left eye for long-range observation.

Deidara's first appearance is during his mission to kidnap Gaara from Sunagakure. Deidara initially seems to be no match for Gaara's powerful sand attacks. His forearm is even torn off by Gaara's Desert Coffin. The loss of his arm actually turns out to be part of his strategy. By threatening to destroy Sunagakure with a massive clay bomb, he successfully draws Gaara's attention away from the exploding clay that he had snuck into Gaara's sand through his mangled arm. Gaara is knocked unconscious by the subsequent explosion. Deidara remarked after winning that it was typical of a Kage to save his village over his own life.

Deidara later faces off against Naruto Uzumaki and Kakashi Hatake. Deidara loses his right arm to Kakashi's Mangekyo Sharingan, which Kakashi unveils for the battle. When Team Guy arrives to assist, Deidara attempts a last ditch attack on his opponents by having one of his clay clones swallow as much clay as possible, turning it into a massive bomb. Kakashi teleported the clone away from the scene while the real Deidara escaped. Deidara later returned to locate his right arm (specifically the ring on it), only to find Zetsu and Tobi next to it. Both express surprise that Deidara had managed to survive while Sasori had not. Tobi teases Deidara about his injuries then asks if he's alright, the answer being obvious with Deidara's missing limbs. Annoyed, Deidara threatens to assign Tobi a cause of death. Tobi asks if it's death by explosion again, having apparently already been assigned a cause of death once. In response, Deidara tells him death by suffocation and proceeds to strangle Tobi with his feet in a comical fashion.

Deidara has his arms reattached by Kakuzu sometime after this point, and now has Tobi as his new partner. Deidara gets impatient with Tobi fairly easily since Tobi rarely pays attention to what he is saying. Tobi also tends to take credit for their work, despite whatever Deidara did. After they capture the three-tailed beast, Deidara lectures Tobi about being too overconfident. He becomes greatly annoyed when he discovers that Tobi has fallen asleep and proceeds to "wake him" by blasting Tobi with his exploding clay.

His gender is sometimes confused due to the Japanese language's sparse use of third person pronouns, which forces translators to use their own ideas of Deidara's gender to make sentences flow smoothly. This has caused a lot of confusion, since both "he" and "she" were used to refer to Deidara in early English translations. However, Deidara speaks of himself using male pronouns and was initially given a very deep, male voice in the anime. His current anime voice is significantly lighter, but still clearly masculine. Deidara also has a habit of ending his sentences with a "hmph" or "hmmm" sound. Deidara has become the most popular member of Akatsuki among fans in Japan. In the most recent character popularity poll, Deidara ranked in third place, even higher than Naruto Uzumaki.


Main article: Hidan
  • Membership status: Incapacitated, unreplaced
  • Ring: 三 ("three")
  • Ring position: Left index finger
  • Partner: Formerly Kakuzu
  • Defining characteristics: Immortal, wields large three-bladed scythe

Hidan (飛段?) is a missing-nin from an unknown village and is the second-newest member of Akatsuki,[5] Tobi being the newest. Unlike the other members of Akatsuki, the Akatsuki leader does not seem to have Hidan's respect. He is the partner of Kakuzu, despite their obvious dislike of one another. Kakuzu has little patience for Hidan's battle style, rituals, and speeches, which he believes take far too long. Hidan, in turn, detests how Kakuzu fights solely for money. The first kanji in Hidan's name (飛) stands for hisha, the rook in shogi.

Itachi Uchiha

Itachi Uchiha
Itachi Uchiha

Itachi Uchiha (うちはイタチ Uchiha Itachi?) is an S-class criminal and a Konohagakure missing-nin noted even within the Bingo Book (a list of powerful ninja who have been marked for assassination). He is currently partnered with Kisame to capture Naruto for the nine tailed fox. Unlike most other two-man teams of Akatsuki, Itachi gets along well with his partner. The name "Itachi" means "weasel". In Japanese folklore, weasels are an ill omen, signifying bad luck and death.

Itachi graduated at the top of his Academy class at age 7, had mastered the Sharingan by age 8, became a Chunin at 10, and became an ANBU squad captain at the age of 13. Itachi was considered the best ninja among his clan. His father, who took an active interest in his son's career, said Itachi was the "pipe" that connected the clan to his village.

As a result of his father's involvement in Itachi's life, Itachi's little brother, Sasuke Uchiha was neglected. Itachi watched over Sasuke to a degree, convincing his father to spend time with Sasuke, such as attending Sasuke's entrance ceremony into Konoha's ninja academy, which required a guardian to be present. This changed after a confrontation between Itachi and his father.

After the suicide of Shisui Uchiha, who was believed to be Itachi's best friend, by drowning, Itachi was approached by three of his fellow clan members and questioned about the incident. Though they didn't state it outright, they considered him a suspect since both the circumstances surrounding the suicide and the suicide note seemed off. Angered, Itachi confronted the three and forced them to admit the truth. One of them mentioned that Itachi began behaving strangely about half a year after he joined ANBU. After a threat by one of the three, Itachi assaulted and effortlessly defeated all of them. In response to this, it was revealed that Shisui was told to keep an eye on Itachi due to his strange behavior. After being confronted by his father about his behavior, Itachi responded that "[he'd] lost all hope for this pathetic clan", but apologized regardless when asked to stop by Sasuke.

Not long after this incident, Itachi slaughtered his entire clan except for Sasuke, who had been at the academy during the slaughter. Sasuke returned home shortly after everyone was killed and found his brother standing over the bodies of their parents. When questioned on his motives by Sasuke, he claimed it was "to test [his] ability". He revealed he purposely played the part of the loving older brother as a way to test Sasuke's potential. Itachi also confirmed the truth of the suspicions that he had murdered Shisui in order to gain the Mangekyo Sharingan, for which killing one's best friend is a requirement. He then departs, telling Sasuke that he wasn't "worth killing" and that if he wants to kill him he must spend his life hating him and acquire the Mangekyo Sharingan.

Itachi mainly uses ninjutsu and genjutsu during battle, both of which are augmented by his Mangekyo Sharingan. In the former, Itachi's Mangekyo Sharingan allows him to use Amaterasu, a jutsu which creates black flames that are hotter than the sun and can penetrate any barrier. He also uses basic ninjutsu at such a speed that even another Sharingan user has trouble following the movements. With his Sharingan, Itachi is virtually immune to his opponent's genjutsu, simply reversing it back upon them using the copy abilities of the Sharingan. With the Mangekyo Sharingan, Itachi can also use Tsukuyomi, a genjutsu which traps his opponent in an illusionary world. Itachi can then torture his opponent for days on end, all of which takes place in the blink of an eye in the real world. Though the main strategy to avoid the Sharingan is to avoid eye contact and focus on Itachi's feet or body, as mentioned by both Guy and Kakashi,[7] even this is not a certain method of evading his techniques. By merely pointing at an opponent, Itachi can catch them in a powerful genjutsu.[8]

Kisame Hoshigaki

Kisame Hoshigaki
Kisame Hoshigaki
  • Age: 29 in Part I[9], 31 in Part II
  • Membership status: Active
  • Height: 195 cm[9]
  • Weight: 83.1 kg[9]
  • Birthday: March 18[9]
  • Blood type: AB[9]
  • Ring: 南 ("south")
  • Ring position: Left ring finger
  • Partner: Itachi Uchiha
  • First appearance: Chapter 139; Naruto Episode 80
  • Defining characteristics: Shark-like appearance, expert in water-based jutsu, exceptionally large chakra supply, high physical strength and speed, Samehada (sentient, chakra-absorbing sword)
  • Seiyu: Tomoyuki Dan

Kisame Hoshigaki (干柿鬼鮫 Hoshigaki Kisame?) is a missing-nin from Kirigakure and is partnered with Itachi Uchiha. Their first appearance was shortly after the attack on Konoha by Orochimaru, where they attempted to kidnap Naruto Uzumaki. They were thwarted by Jiraiya. Itachi later explained that it wasn't the proper time to kidnap Naruto yet, and that Naruto could be captured at any time given his skill level at the time. Unlike most other two-man teams of Akatsuki, Kisame gets along well with his partner.

Kisame has a distinctive shark-like appearance, complete with pale blue skin, small white eyes, gill-like facial structures, and sharp triangular teeth. Even his name, Kisame (鬼鮫), means "Demon Shark". Despite his rather brutish appearance and his apparent love for battle, Kisame speaks in a calm and polite manner compared to most of the other members of Akatsuki.

Kisame is also one of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist (霧の忍刀七人衆 Kiri no Shinobigatana Shichinin Shū?) and is known as the Mysterious Person (Monster) of the Hidden Mist (霧隠れの怪人 Kirigakure no Kaijin?). Zabuza Momochi and Raiga Kurosuki were also members. Like the other two members, he is somewhat overconfident in battle. He also clearly enjoys fighting and possibly mutilating his opponents; for example, he entertains the idea of removing Naruto's legs to keep him from running instead of the much simpler method of knocking Naruto unconscious. During his battle with Asuma Sarutobi, Kisame also took great pleasure in shredding his shoulder with Samehada.

Kisame's main weapon is Samehada (鮫肌, "Shark skin"), a large unique sword of comparable size to Zabuza Momochi's zanbatō. Unlike a regular sword, Samehada is covered in large scales that shave instead of cut, much like a shark's skin (hence the name). It also has the ability to absorb any chakra around it, allowing Kisame to literally cut through his opponent's chakra. The amount that it can absorb is unclear, but it can even consume the demon fox's chakra with no ill effects. Samehada is also a sentient weapon and only allows Kisame to wield it.[10] When Might Guy attempted to hold Samehada and use it against Kisame, it responded with a flurry of spikes from its handle and found its way back to Kisame.[11]

The amount of chakra Kisame possesses is apparently very large, even by Akatsuki's standards. Their leader commented on this; a Kisame body-double at thirty-percent power – made with the leader's Shapeshifting Technique – had as much chakra as Naruto while drawing on demon fox's chakra when he fought Neji during the Chunin exams, an observation made by Neji Hyuga when he observed Kisame's body-double with his Byakugan.[12]

Kisame has displayed astonishing speed and incredible physical strength. Like everyone seen from Kirigakure, Kisame uses water-based jutsu in combination with his powerful physical attacks. He has also demonstrated the ability to create water from nothing,[13] allowing him to turn any potential battleground into a lake for his other water-based attacks.


  • Membership status: Active
  • Ring: 玉 ("jewel", "ball"; also the king in shogi)
  • Ring position: Left thumb
  • Partner: Deidara
  • First appearance: Chapter 280
  • Defining characteristics: Orange mask with single eye-hole covered in a swirl pattern concentrated towards the right eye

Tobi (トビ?), formerly Zetsu's subordinate, became a full Akatsuki member after Sasori's death. He now wears the same ring as Sasori, having recovered it after Sasori's death, and took his place as Deidara's partner. Unlike the majority of ninja thus far, Tobi has not been shown wearing a visible forehead protector, so his place of origin is unknown. He wears an odd mask that covers his entire face save for his right eye.

Tobi's area of expertise remains unclear, as he has never been shown fighting. He and Deidara have recently defeated the three-tailed beast, but Tobi is never shown doing anything but running from it. After the battle, which goes largely unwitnessed, Tobi claims to have knocked it out with a single attack. Deidara disagrees with the assessment, claiming that it was his "artistic contribution" (exploding clay) that allowed them to win.

Tobi has a very formal and correct manner of speech. While his physical appearance remains a mystery, Zetsu has implied that he is relatively young when one side of him referred to Tobi as a "good boy". He respects Deidara, referring to him as Deidara-senpai. Tobi's personality is rather odd in comparison with other Akatsuki members. While most of the members are dedicated and serious, though somewhat argumentative or even hostile towards each other when not fighting, Tobi is more carefree and goofy, much like Naruto. His personality does not please Deidara, who believes that all Akatsuki members should be serious and calm. Tobi unintentionally irritates Deidara frequently, which usually results in Deidara attacking Tobi in a comedic fashion.

Unnamed member

The unnamed Akatsuki member
The unnamed Akatsuki member
  • Membership status: Active
  • Ring: 白 ("white")
  • Ring position: Right middle finger
  • Partner: None or not yet introduced
  • First cameo: Chapter 238, Naruto Episode 135
  • First appearance: None
  • Defining characteristics: Flower-like accessory in hair

This member has blue hair with some sort of flower-like accessory in it, but beyond that this member remains a mystery. This member has yet to play a part in the actual storyline as anything other than a shadowy apparition during the sealing ritual, and the only physical appearance of this member is on the cover of Chapter 317 of the manga, which shows a distant view of his or her back.


  • Membership status: Active
  • Ring: 亥 ("boar")
  • Ring position: Right little finger
  • Partner: None or not yet introduced
  • First appearance: Chapter 234; Naruto Episode 134
  • Defining characteristics: Venus-flytrap like extensions around body, dual personality, skin color split into white and black halves, cannibal

Zetsu (ゼツ?) is a mysterious missing-nin from Kusagakure. Not much is known about him, other than his allegiance to Akatsuki and his function as a spy. His head appears to be enveloped in a large venus flytrap, which can also envelop the rest of his body. The right side of his face and body is black in color while his left side is white in color. He has pupil-less eyes similar in appearance to those of a Byakugan user and superior vision. He also has the ability to merge with the ground, trees, and other plants, allowing him to travel long distances fairly quickly. Akatsuki members have so far generally seemed to report to Zetsu as if he was a superior, though perhaps only because he is often acting directly on the instructions of the leader.

Zetsu seems to have a split personality, as the white half of his face speaks only in Katakana (which could indicate a robotic voice) while the black side uses Kanji and Kana. The two halves also seem to converse with each other, and occasionally differ in opinion, such as whether to allow Tobi to fill Sasori's place in Akatsuki.

The leader often sends out Zetsu as a scout or courier. In addition to his role as a spy, Zetsu appears to function as Akatsuki's hunter-nin. He was sent to dispose of the corpses of those used for the leader's Shapeshifting Technique, as well as recover the rings of Sasori and Deidara. He performs the former function by devouring the corpses, which fits with his "venus flytrap" theme. His only known subordinate was Tobi, who later took Sasori's position in Akatsuki after Sasori's death.

Zetsu's first appearance was after the fight between Naruto and Sasuke at the end of the first arc, which he observed in secret. He later appeared during Akatsuki's extraction of Gaara's tailed beast. He was responsible for warning Akatsuki of the positions of the approaching Team Kakashi and Team Guy.

Former members


Main article: Kakuzu
  • Membership status: Deceased, unreplaced
  • Ring: 北 ("north")
  • Ring position: Left middle finger
  • Partner: Formerly Hidan
  • Definining characteristics: Able to extend life indefinitely through extraction and incorporation of foreign human hearts, can possess five human hearts at once, able to use all five chakra elements, body contains many threads for attack and body manipulation

Kakuzu (角都?) is a missing-nin from Takigakure and Hidan's partner. He and Hidan display the most animosity towards each other out of all members of Akatsuki, neither being very fond of the other's interests. The two often trade barbs with one-another, Kakuzu's usually being better timed than Hidan's. Kakuzu is the longest-lived known character in the series, having lived at least since the time of the First Hokage, whom Kakuzu mentions having fought at one point (he doesn't elaborate on the outcome). Kakuzu is defeated about thirty chapters after his introduction by Naruto Uzumaki and finished off by Kakashi Hatake. His partner, Hidan, is still alive, but in no condition to fight.


Orochimaru's severed left hand of his original body
Orochimaru's severed left hand of his original body
Main article: Orochimaru
  • Membership status: Defected, unreplaced
  • Ring: 空 ("sky")
  • Ring position: Left little finger
  • Partner: Formerly Sasori

Orochimaru was formerly a member of Akatsuki, where he worked as Sasori's partner. The circumstances behind his eventual defection from Akatsuki remain unclear. Orochimaru notes that he had planned to use Itachi as his next host, but couldn't because Itachi had become too powerful for even him to handle, thus why he turned his attention to Sasuke. Why Itachi's superiority alone would necessitate his defection is unclear. Upon leaving, he kept his Akatsuki ring, which is currently still on the severed hand of his original body. The apparent special nature of his ring, his knowledge of their plans, and bad blood have led to him being the target of a number of Akatsuki plots, one of which involved a member of his retinue being a (eventually double) sleeper agent. Orochimaru intends to eliminate Akatsuki, as well; however, he is currently content to let Konoha deal with the threat Akatsuki poses. This is in the hope that they kill some of the remaining members for him.

Whatever their remaining connections are, Orochimaru and Akatsuki also seem to be working off similar timetables, as the three years it takes Orochimaru to prepare to take over Sasuke's body seem to coincide with Akatsuki's plans for capturing more tailed beasts.


Main article: Sasori
  • Membership status: Deceased, replaced
  • Ring: 玉 ("jewel", "ball", also the king in shogi)
  • Ring position: Left thumb
  • Partner: Formerly Deidara, Orochimaru before that
  • Defining characteristics: Puppet master, puppet body, human puppets

Sasori was Deidara's first partner in Akatsuki. A powerful ninja puppeteer, he was a missing-nin from Sunagakure. In the Rescue Gaara arc, he assisted Deidara in his mission to capture Gaara from Sunagakure. While there, he fought against Kankuro, nearly killing him and easily destroying Kankuro's puppets in the process. After Gaara was delivered to the Akatsuki lair, he acted as a rear-guard for the rest of Akatsuki, fighting Sakura and his grandmother Chiyo. This battle turned out to be his last, as he was eliminated by two puppets he designed himself, "Mother" and "Father" (his actual mother and father converted into puppets), which Chiyo had taken possession of after Sasori left the village.

Sasori possessed double agents for Akatsuki in at least two other organizations. He had planted Yura as a spy in the Sunagakure council and Kabuto Yakushi in Orochimaru's retinue, both of which had memory-control jutsu placed on them. Orochimaru undid Sasori's control over Kabuto's memories. At the time of his death, Sasori had not yet captured his demon, and may have not yet known which one he was assigned to. His position was assumed by Tobi.

Former agents

Kabuto Yakushi

Main article: Kabuto Yakushi
  • Status: Defected

Kabuto Yakushi was a former spy for Sasori, forced into the position through a form of mind control. Kabuto was used by Sasori to infiltrate Orochimaru's group, but Orochimaru removed the mind control on Kabuto shortly after he joined. Kabuto then betrayed Sasori and Akatsuki in favor of Orochimaru.


Yura (由良 Yūra?), whose name means "beginning" in Japanese, served as a trusted member of the Kazekage advisory council of Sunagakure for four years. In reality, he was a sleeper agent for Akatsuki and a subordinate of Sasori. He was used in the Akatsuki leader's Shapeshifting Technique, which made him take on the shape of Itachi Uchiha and allowed Itachi to take control of his body. Naruto killed him with his Great Ball Spiraling Sphere while in this form.

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