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Every Naruto Hand Sign (& What They Mean)


Being a ninja is tough, even when it involves eating bowl after bowl of ramen. For Naruto Uzumaki’s peculiar ninja world, the stress is double; he usually has to deal with an emo best friend who loves to disappear apart from dealing with other ninja lessons. Some of them can even be too theoretical to be fun. In Naruto‘s world, specifically in the Hidden Leaf Village of Konoha, one has to memorize a lot before finally being able to practice being a ninja.

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It just so happens that ninjutsu and genjutsu (two of the main ninja disciplines in Naruto) require lots of textbook knowledge. Nearly each and every technique of the two disciplines is based on twelve basic hand signs or seals. Do a bit of math and the possible combinations are comfortably in the millions, even if repetition were to be disallowed! Luckily, fans can quickly learn the meaning of those hand signs so they can start their ninja training right away. Hey, no one said it was easy wanting to be a Hokage.

Updated on June 30th, 2021 by Amanda Bruce: Eagle-eyed Naruto fans will notice that not all jutsu completed in the manga or anime are done with a simple thought. They require intense practice and specific movements on the part of the characters. Fans who want to learn some of those movements can use the 12 basic hand signs used in the series to figure out just how to create their favorite jutsu, though they won’t create the same magical bursts of power in the real world.

12 TORI (BIRD)

Tori, or Bird, is based on the Chinese zodiac sign, the Rooster. As such, this Naruto hand sign represents the element of Wind or the Wind Release nature transformation. It allows the user to procure wind-based ninjutsu techniques. One of the most prominent users of this hand sign or the techniques associated with it is Naruto himself, especially when using Rasengan.

The hand sign is quite simple but confusing in fast and precise motions. The middle finger and pinky have to form an angular arch while making your ring finger and index fingers intersect; meanwhile, the thumbs need to touch tips.

11 I (BOAR)

I, or Boar, is based on the Chinese zodiac sign of the Pig. It is not crucial for any particular basic nature transformation technique. Nevertheless, it is quite essential to a successful summoning jutsu (the one first introduced to Naruto by Jiraiya to summon giant sentient toads).

At first glance, it looks easy but a shinobi might actually strain their muscles first trying it out. They have to form a partial fist and stick their palms together while keeping their forearms parallel to the ground. It’s really effective for summoning a dual carpal tunnel syndrome.

10 INU (DOG)

Inu, or Dog, is – unsurprisingly – based on the Chinese zodiac sign of the same animal. Like Tori, the hand sign is also instrumental in nature transformation techniques; this one is for the Water Release.

As such, a lot of water-proficient ninjas, such as Zabuza and Kisame, use this hand sign a lot. Inu is one of the easiest hand signs to perform. It only involves placing the left open palm atop the right fist.

9 TATSU (DRAGON)

Also known as the Dragon, the Tatsu is based on the Chinese zodiac sign of the same creature. It has no attached elemental property to it, meaning it’s not needed as a precursor for nature transformation jutsu. However, when used in conjunction with those, it produces a dragon-shaped manifestation of that particular element.

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It’s fancy, sure, but the cost is giving the shinobi some nasty cramps in their fingers. It’s quite difficult for a normal human to perform the hand sign since it requires stacking four of the half-closed fingers alternately with both pinkies sticking out at the bottom and touching at the tips.

8 USAGI (HARE)

The Hare, or Usagi in Japanese, is based on the Chinese zodiac sign of the Rabbit. It’s not necessary for basic nature transformation but it’s commonly used by Sasuke or Kakashi whenever they are channeling the Chidori or lightning hands.

The hand sign is quite easy on paper but confusing in practice. A shinobi can do it by forming a finger pistol with the left index finger and thumb sticking out while sliding the right pinky between them; easy, right?

7 UMA (HORSE)

The Uma, which is Japanese for the Horse, is based on the Chinese zodiac sign of the same animal. Again, it’s unnecessary for basic nature transformation release but Sasuke can be seen commonly using the hand sign for his Fireball technique. It’s also used in dispelling illusory genjutsu techniques.

It’s not as difficult as the Tatsu but a shinobi will need to stretch their fingers quite a bit to do it successfully. The index fingers must connect at the tips while you stack the other finger’s knuckles with the right digits always at the top. Both palms must also face inward.

6 SARU (MONKEY)

Saru is based on the Chinese zodiac sign of the Monkey. Again, it holds no vital importance to nature transformation release but Sasuke (again) uses it quite a lot in the first two phases of channeling his Chidori. Sasuke sure knows his hand signs, which contributes to his fighting ability in the series.

Doing the Saru is pretty simple. One will only need to slide their right pinky between their left thumb and index finger while putting your palms together horizontally.

5 USHI (OX)

Ushi, or Ox, is based on the Chinese zodiac’s corresponding animal. It’s not required for use in any nature transformation release but a lot of ninjas still use the Ox in plenty of fire jutsu or techniques, particularly Sasuke and his older brother Itachi; basically every big name on the Uchiha family tree.

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The Ushi is quite powerful when paired with Fire Release but it can be quite disorienting to perform. A shinobi will have to stick all their fingers out, minus the thumbs, and cross them together without closing them. The left hand has to be on the outward side while the right hand is inward. Then, lay the left ring and middle fingers on the back of the right hand – don’t forget to keep the forearms horizontal!

4 HITSUJI (RAM)

The Histuji is based on the Chinese zodiac sign the Goat. While not a requirement of basic nature transformation releases, the Ram is probably one of the more frequently seen and iconic hand signs in Naruto. That’s because Naruto himself uses it a lot when summoning his shadow clones.

The Ram is even one of the most noticeable hand sign steps whenever Naruto is doing the shadow clone jutsu. All a shinobi has to do to perform the Ram is raise their left and right index and middle fingers upright and stick them together with the right fingers sliding lower. They also have to overlap the left ring finger and pinky over the right ones.

3 NE (RAT)

Ne or Nezumi, which is Japanese for Rat, is based on the Chinese zodiac sign of the equivalent animal. Like many of the hand signs, it’s also not crucially associated with any nature transformation release but it’s a prominent hand sign of the Nara clan, where Shikamaru comes from. It’s an important part of their Shadow Imitation Techniques which is distinct for them.

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Performing the Rat hand sign is quite a breeze; a shinobi only has to raise their left index and middle finger before wrapping their right fingers around them while keeping the left index finger looser than the others.

2 MI (SNAKE)

The Mi is based on the Chinese zodiac sign of the Snake. This hand sign is actually one of the busiest ones in the franchise since it is associated with Earth, Lightning, and Wood Releases. As such, you’ll often see the Snake used in many powerful ninjas’ signature jutsu.

Due to being a key hand sign in a lot of techniques, the Mi is arguably the easiest hand sign to perform. All one has to do is stick their open hands together upright and then intertwine their fingers as if in prayer.

1 TORA (TIGER)

Finally, Tora is based on the Chinese zodiac of the Tiger. It’s a necessary precursor for the Fire and Earth Releases. The Tora is definitely the coolest albeit one of the most straightforward hand signs ever. It’s often used by Sasuke in his clan’s signature fire jutsu.

Performing the Tora is a no-brainer for a shinobi. They clasp their hands together and intertwine their fingers as they would in prayer, but with their forearms horizontal. From there, just raise the left and right index and middle fingers, then keep them together. Don’t forget to take a deep breath before that ball of fire!

NEXT: 10 Reasons Naruto Is Better Than Boruto


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