In the world of Naruto, becoming a Kage is the dream for a lot of young shinobi. The Kage is the village leader, responsible for keeping things running smoothly, and making plans for the shinobi in the event of war. It’s a highly respected position, but it requires some serious power and political knowledge.
In Naruto’s home of the Village Hidden in the Leaves, the village leader is called the Hokage. The variation for the name comes from the village name - Konohagakure. All of the previous Hokages have been leaders who performed as exemplary shinobi during their training days. They also all had unique jutsu that were difficult for others to learn. The First Hokage used Wood Release, a chakra type rarely seen following his demise. Many of the high level jutsu developed as the shinobi world rose was created by the first three Hokages. The Fourth, likewise, created the Rasengan. In Naruto’s generation, we saw Tsunade try to keep peace among the nations as the Akatsuki sought power.
In the Naruto spinoff series Boruto, Naruto finally achieved his dream of becoming the Hokage, following his team leader Kakashi in the role. As the Seventh Hokage, his powers blow everyone else’s out of the water. There will come a time when someone has to become the Eighth Hokage, though. Depending on just when that time comes, there are plenty of characters who might have the chance to fill his shoes.
With that said, here are the 15 Characters Who Could Replace Naruto As Hokage (And 15 Who Aren’t Powerful Enough).
30 Not Powerful Enough: Ino
Like many of the characters in Naruto’s generation, Ino has some very specific skills. Hers happen to be inherited from her father’s Yamanaka clan. Ino’s family inherits jutsu that target the mind. She can actually place her own mind in someone else’s body to control them, communicate telepathically with someone, and probe someone’s mind for information. It’s an incredible powerful skill, but that’s nearly where her skills end.
While using her jutsu, her body is also left vulnerable, meaning she’d always need someone with her in a confrontation. It’s also hard to imagine any of the other nations trusting a Hokage who could read their thoughts.
29 Hokage Material: Kakashi
Kakashi might have been Naruto’s predecessor as Hokage, but that doesn’t mean he can’t take on the job again. After all, when the Fourth Hokage lost his life protecting Konohagakure, the Third Hokage stepped back into the role. Kakashi might not be as powerful as the Third, and he might not have been a war-time leader, but he commands great respect in the Hidden Leaf Village and outside of it.
If something were to force Naruto to step down prematurely, he would be a great candidate for the role again. He also loves the village enough that he wouldn’t outright refuse if asked.
28 Not Powerful Enough: Rock Lee
Rock Lee might be a fan-favorite, and he might just be the most determined character in the franchise, but it’s unlikely he’ll ever become Hokage. Though he has a unique style of fighting, Lee is only proficient in hand-to-hand combat. It’s impossible for him to achieve Hokage level power because he has no way to access ninjutsu. As the primary defense for his people, that would make Lee an incredibly vulnerable Hokage.
Because of the respect Lee has for Naruto, he would likely be willing to fill in for his friend, but there’s no way he would be asked to do it.
27 Hokage Material: Tsunade
Like Kakashi, Lady Tsunade already filled the role of Hokage once. The village turned to her, despite her being a wandering gambler for decades, after the Third Hokage lost his life in a battle with Orochimaru.
Part of the reason for choosing Tsunade was because she knew the village’s enemy better than anyone else except Jiraiya. When Orochimaru is no longer the enemy, she might not be the best fit for the village, but unlike most of the Konohagakure options, she’s actually led the village into war. Tsunade knows the boring parts of the diplomatic job and the rapid fire responses needed when the village is threatened.
26 Not Powerful Enough: Might Guy
Guy spent much of his time as a shinobi competing with Kakashi. It would seem logical that since Kakashi became a candidate for the Hokage position, Guy would be a good fit as well. However, he doesn’t quite make the grade. Unlike the other Hokages, Guy doesn’t have a variety of specialty jutsu to pull from. He typically excels in hand-to-hand combat instead of fancier moves. Using the Eight Gates nearly destroyed him, leaving him not nearly as strong as he once was.
If his power level were enough, there’s also his temperament. Guy is excitable, always ready to turn things into a game. That makes him a great teacher, but not a great political leader.
25 Hokage Material: Sasuke
If there’s anyone who is a Konohagakure citizen and has a similar level of power to Naruto, it’s got to be Sasuke. He’s spent most of his adult years trying to atone for the pain he put the village through, so he’d certainly be committed to helping his people at any cost. Sasuke doesn’t quite have Naruto’s charm, though, and he even comes across as cold sometimes. He might not have the friendliest relationship with other village leaders.
There’s also the issue of whether Sasuke would want the job, as hee seems content to help from the shadows. If his best friend was somehow out of commission, though, Sasuke would do whatever it took to help.
24 Not Powerful Enough: Shino
Shino has a very specific skill set. Out of all of the characters in the franchise, he’s probably the one we see perform the least actions outside of it. The Aburame Clan specializes in insects. Able to communicate with insects, Shino can get them to help him with offensive measures, but also with reconnaissance. Those both make him a valuable asset, but not necessarily the best for Hokage.
Instead, he seems to fit best where the Boruto series has him now, as a teacher for the younger generation. It was a position he wasn’t comfortable with initially, but one he’s definitely grown into.
23 Hokage Material: Konohamaru
Way back when Naruto was still a teenager having trouble mastering his skills, Konohamaru was still attending the Ninja Academy. Both young men declared their intentions to be Hokage before either of them really understood what the job meant.
As an adult, Konohamaru leads Boruto, Sarada, and Mitsuki’s team on regular missions. We know he mastered a lot of the same skills Naruto is known for, and he takes his responsibility in leading the younger generation very seriously. He might not have quite as much firepower as Naruto (yet), but he learned from some of the best shinobi in the franchise, including Naruto himself. Besides, he’s even named for the village. It’s a great fit.
22 Not Powerful Enough: Anko
When fans first met Anko, she was a Chunin Exam proctor in Naruto. By the time Boruto enrolled at the Ninja Academy, we saw Anko working as a teacher, now around full time instead of just for exams. Trained by Orochimaru as a child, who even taught her some of his signature moves, fans would expect Anko to be a particularly strong shinobi. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen a lot of evidence of that.
Instead, Anko took a backseat in the franchise. The younger generation has outpaced her. She hasn’t shown Hokage level strength, and it would be a shock if she became the village leader.
21 Hokage Material: Moegi
One of Konohamaru’s best friends growing up, Moegi, was a member of his shinobi team when they graduated the Academy. Despite her fear of dangerous situations as a kid, she showed herself as quick on her feet and a fast learner. In Boruto, she leads the new generation of Ino-Shika-Cho, and she’s the first sensei who hasn’t been a Sarutobi Clan member, so we know she’s got to have some serious skills.
Interestingly, her data sheets in the manga also reveal that she’s a master of Wood Release, a chakra type only the First Hokage came by naturally, leading fans to believe there’s more to her than meets the eye.
20 Not Powerful Enough: Kiba
As a teenager, Kiba expressed interest in becoming Hokage one day. As an adult, however, we haven’t seen much of him. Kiba’s power lies largely in his bond with his ninja dog Akamaru. Most of his best attacks are a result of combining his abilities with Akamaru’s, like Fang Over Fang. He’s very observant, has a great sense of smell, and can track with the best of them.
Being great with dogs and capable of tracking down an enemy doesn’t make for a great village leader, though. He’s better suited for selective missions instead.
19 Hokage Material: Boruto
Boruto made it clear that he never wants to be Hokage. In fact, he resents that for so much of his childhood, his father focused on the village instead of him. Just because he doesn’t want the job now doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be great at it, however.
Boruto already mastered abilities Naruto gained in his late teen years at a younger age. From a power standpoint, he’s well on his way to surpassing his father’s skills. He also has a great skill that his father has. Dubbed by fans as Talk No Jutsu, it’s the ability to not only empathize with the bad guy, but also to talk them out of a bad decision. That’s a must.
18 Not Powerful Enough: Sai
A new character introduced following Naruto’s time jump, Sai replaced Sasuke on Team 7. He held a lot of promise. With an interesting power set that involved bringing drawings to life, he even found Naruto “weak” when they first interacted. Sai quickly learned not to underestimate Naruto, though, deferring to his new teammate in a lot of confrontations. The two, once over their initial animosity, worked well together.
Despite having such an interesting power to use in battle, Sai is pretty terrible at reading people. His time in Root meant that he had to relearn everything about human emotion. He’s got years of practice now, but it would make him a difficult Hokage to work with.
17 Hokage Material: Shikamaru
As the village’s resident genius, and Naruto’s most trusted advisor, Shikamaru already knows the ins and outs of the job. Even as a recently promoted teenager, Lady Tsunade trusted him to put together teams and make defensive strategy for the village. With over a decade of experience under his belt now, Shikamaru is a perfect fit for the job of Hokage.
He’s powerful enough to hold his own against village enemies, and smart enough to come up with a plan if he couldn’t do it alone. The only trouble is that Shikamaru likely wouldn’t want the job. He’d rather help someone else lead the way.
16 Not Powerful Enough: Iwabe
One of Boruto’s Ninja Academy classmates, Iwabe, is one of the older students of his generation. He failed his Academy exams multiple times simply because he didn’t apply himself in non-shinobi subjects.
Iwabe has come a long way in the short time we’ve seen him. He’s less confrontational and more appreciative of his teammates. He is, however, someone who prizes the shinobi way of life above all others. Not all of the villagers in Konohagakure are shinobi, and he’d have to understand the civilians as well as the ninja to lead them.
15 Hokage Material: Hinata
She might be a housewife in the Boruto series, but Hinata spent her teen years becoming one of the most formidable shinobi in the village. She overcame her shyness and confidence issues to take on a leadership role for her shinobi team during the Fourth World War.
Hinata even stood on the frontlines of the battlefield with Naruto, inspiring the entire village. She’s proven herself more than capable of leading a group of shinobi. With her Byakugan and honed hand-to-hand skills, she’s a match for just about any opponent. Her pragmatic approach to discussions would also make her a great negotiator.
14 Not Powerful Enough: Kurenai
Fans of the original Naruto series will remember Kurenai as the sensei who took Hinata Hyuga under her wing when her father thought she was too weak. Fans of Naruto Shippuūden will remember her taking a backseat in the storyline after she became pregnant.
Throughout her time in the show and manga, Kurenai proved herself as a capable team leader. She was also one of the few of her generation fans saw who was an expert in genjutsu. Unfortunately, Kurenai was also the type of person who was quick to decide to quit her job as a mentor when she made a mistake, which isn't as easily done in the Hokage position.
13 Hokage Material: Choji
Choji might seem like an unconventional choice for Hokage, but he’s come a long way since fans first met him. As a member of Team 10 during his childhood, Choji learned the value of teamwork, as well as how to follow orders. He was never the best strategist, but he was always willing to defer to someone like Shikamaru for the best plan.
As a result of his size-change jutsu and the Akimichi Clan’s food pills, Choji also knows his own limits and became a great judge of how much he can handle. Choji, next in line to be leader of his own clan, would be the kind of Hokage who actually took the advice of those around him.
12 Not Powerful Enough: Chouchou
In the new generation, the members of the Ino-Shika-Cho trio are nearly as powerful as their parents. In theory, Chouchou would be almost as powerful as her father Choji. The problem with Chouchou is that she isn’t yet smart about how she uses her abilities.
The Akimichi clan relies on calories from food to convert into chakra to fuel their family jutsu. Chouchou uses her abilities whenever she wants to instead of conserving her power for times of need. To be fair, she’s young and inexperienced. With age might come a maturity that allows her to better control her power. Right now, though, she doesn’t seem like a good fit for Hokage.
11 Hokage Material: Shikadai
If Naruto remains Hokage for a nice, long time, the next person to lead the Hidden Leaf Village will be a member of the next generation. Shikadai makes for a good candidate. Like his father Shikamaru, Shikadai has a head for strategy. He’s able to see enemy movement the same way he would see pieces on a gameboard. That recognition allows him to predict behavior and attack patterns.
He also already mastered many of the inherited jutsu known to the Nara Clan. In a few years, he could easily be advising the Hokage, just like his father, and making himself ready for the leadership position.
10 Not Powerful Enough: Hiashi Hyuga
There are many fan theories about just how much the Hyuga clan protected the Hidden Leaf Village over the years. With their Byakugan, the family can certainly offer the Leaf a keen warning system. Hiashi Hyuga, as clan leader, could have been a grant candidate for Hokage.
The trouble is that despite Hiashi having the Byakugan, and the respect of much of the village, Hiashi is also much older. Becoming Hokage for the first time would be a huge undertaking for someone who has mostly stayed out of the political landscape of the series. It’s unlikely that he would be the first, or even 15th, choice to replace Naruto.
9 Hokage Material: Sakura
Fans familiar with the early days of Naruto would never have pegged Sakura as a candidate for Hokage in the future. Frequently needing her teammates to protect her, it took a time skip and medical ninjutsu training before Sakura could stand on her own. While it’s unlikely she’d make a great long term Hokage, Sakura would be effective and efficient as an interim Hokage if anything happened to Naruto.
As a shinobi in training, she worked closely with the last three Hokages - Tsunade, Kakashi, and Naruto. She knows the ins and outs of the job. With precise chakra control and medical training, she’s as effective in battle as she would be in the office.
8 Not Powerful Enough: Shizune
Like Sakura, Shizune trained under Lady Tsunade. She also happened to be Tsunade’s right hand while the latter was Hokage, so she would have a firm grasp on just what the job entails. Shizune, however, doesn’t get a lot of chances to show us what she can do in the franchise. The few missions we see her on fail, as she and her team are outmatched.
She also spent a lot of time during Naruto Shippuden attempting to convince Tsunade not to do things. Many of those same things, like sending Naruto on specific missions, turned out as the best call. She might not be the best judge of what’s right for the village.
7 Hokage Material: Mitsuki
One of the newest additions to the franchise, Mitsuki is the product of Orochimaru’s scientific experimentation. He’s learned much in his time working with Boruto and Sarada, but he still has a long way to go. Mitsuki already rivals many of the adult characters in the franchise when it comes to raw power. He has a lot of the abilities his parent is known for, and he’ll only get stronger.
Mitsuki becoming Hokage would also serve as a literal marrying of science and shinobi lifestyle that Boruto has sent so much time focusing on, providing a new direction for the village.
6 Not Powerful Enough: Mirai
The daughter of Kurenai and the late Asuma, Mirai has become a formidable shinobi. We haven’t had the chance to see much of her in action yet, but we know she often reports directly to the Hokage.
Mirai isn’t much older than the new generation of Boruto, and because of that, the franchise hasn’t placed a focus on her. She’s in that in-between group of characters that we don’t get to know very well. As a result, the writers haven’t shown us any huge power or important story arcs, leaving most fans to believe that she isn’t in a position to become the Hokage any time in the near future.
5 Hokage Material: Sarada
As the daughter of Naruto’s former teammates, Sarada has a lot of inherited skills that would serve her well in a position of power. She’s got the Uchiha family Sharingan, and she’s learned chakra control from Sakura. Like Naruto and Konohamaru before her, she also expressed her intent to become the next Hokage at a young age.
Sarada is the type of student who absorbs everything she can. She was ranked high academically at the Ninja Academy, but she also picks up practical skills very quickly. Even in the midst of a fight, she’s able to adapt quickly to her environment, showing that she’d serve as a quick thinking Hokage.
4 Not Powerful Enough: Iruka
Long before Naruto became Hokage, he was simply a student. His Ninja Academy sensei, and the one who looked out for him the most as a child, was Iruka. As a teacher at the Academy, Iruka was responsible for providing shinobi with a foundation to build their jutsu on. He did just that with Naruto, even when it seemed like Naruto couldn’t understand anything. Someone who was able to help mold a future Hokage has to have some fire power, right?
The truth is that we don’t really know. We haven’t seen Iruka in action much. That’s why, despite being a mentor for the current Hokage, we can’t see him as being powerful enough to do the job.
3 Hokage Material: Temari
Quite possibly the only member of the Hidden Leaf Village whose ability to compose strategy rivals Shikamaru’s, Temari would be an excellent candidate for a leadership position. She proved herself capable when fans first saw her come close to defeating Shikamaru in the Chunin Exams. Years later, she spent time proctoring the exams herself and traveling the Land of Fire on diplomatic missions. She’s more knowledgeable about the customs of other villages than most.
The only things that would count against Temari are her quick temper and her connection to her childhood home. Her brother is the Kage of the Hidden Sand Village, making it unlikely that the Hidden Leaf Village would place her in charge.
2 Not Powerful Enough: Tenten
Like her former teammate Rock Lee, Tenten is a fan-favorite. She holds a decent skill set in the average jutsu used by shinobi, but she demonstrates one great trick. Tenten is a master of virtually every weapon in the shinobi world. As a teen, Tenten used scrolls to summon the weapons she needed into a fight, giving her an unlimited supply. She’s also smart, able to logically suss out her options.
As an adult, though, we haven’t seen much of her beyond her involvement in helping test Academy students in their exams. Without an idea of her power as an adult, or her involvement in the shinobi world, we can’t really see her as Hokage.
1 Hokage Material: Orochimaru
Orochimaru is the only member of the Legendary Sannin who was never offered the position of Hokage. Jiraiya turned it down and Tsunade became Hokage while the Hidden Leaf Village saw Orochimaru as an enemy. He’s supposedly turned a new leaf these days, but he’s always coveted the position of power.
If there’s any shinobi in the franchise who belongs among the most powerful, it’s Orochimaru. He’s been able to sway shinobi to become his devoted followers and he found ways to combine scientific experiment with shinobi “magic.” It would certainly be a twist if the former villain managed to snake his way into the office of Hokage.
Who do you think would be a great Eighth Hokage once Naruto leaves the post? Did we make good selections, or were we way off the mark? Let us know in the comments!