The Naruto story is the third most popular manga series in the world; having produced a combined total of 720 anime episodes (original and Shippuden), 72 manga volumes, and 11 movies from 1995 to 2017 (not including the new Boruto anime).
Originally written and created by Masashi Kishimoto, the Naruto franchise has captured the hearts of anime lovers because of its ability to show personal development among its many characters. A common theme shown throughout the series is Naruto’s ability to never give up and the Senju philosophy of “Will of Fire.”
In conjunction with these themes, Kishimoto also portrays his characters' personal flaws. This technique of writing allows the audience to establish a personal connection to the characters of the story whether, they are good or evil (like Sasuke). Tsunade is a perfect example of a character who has plenty of personal flaws and fears, but can overcome them for the greater good of the village and her overall growth into a great kunoichi.
Tsunade (綱手) is known by many names, most importantly as Fifth Hokage (五代目火影, Godaime Hokage) and Konoha's Slug Princess Tsunade (木ノ葉のナメクジ綱手姫, Konoha no Namekuji Tsunade-hime).
While considered the most beautiful kunoichi in the world and a great healer, Tsunade has plenty of secrets. From her quirky personality to her deepest and darkest fears, here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Naruto’s Tsunade.
15 She Might Be Naruto’s Great Aunt
Nothing has ever been explained in cannon as to how Tsunade and Naruto are related. Yet, even without this being explained, the evidence is overwhelming to the fact that they are indeed related.
Tsunade’s grandparents were Hashirama Senju (the first Hokage) and Mito Uzumaki. Naruto’s parents were Minato Namikaze (the fourth Hokage) and Kushina Uzumaki. Minato’s mom is an unnamed character in Naruto, but she is possibly the daughter of Hashirama Senju.
While the whole Senju and Uzumaki family tree might be confusing, it leaves open the possibility that Tsunade is related to Naruto and is actually his great aunt.
Since the relation between Naruto and Tsunade is never officially discussed or revealed, this scenario stands to be the most likely. Perhaps in Borotu the lineage will finally be revealed and fans can finally get an answer.
14 Her Strength Developed Due To Jiraiya Teasing Her
During Tsunade’s time at the academy, she was often the brunt of Jiraiya’s jokes. Her body had yet to develop, since they were only children, which led to Jiraiya constantly calling her flat chested.
This teasing would cut Tsunade deeply, leading her to advance quickly in learning how to use her strength. She used this newfound strength to punch through walls and hit Jiraiya when she caught him peeping at her while she was bathing.
Would Tsunade have developed the great strength she has today if Jiraiya hadn’t teased her when they were younger? Perhaps, but it’s also possible that his teasing strengthened her to a whole new level.
Ironically, the teasing would continue into their adult years. After the death of Orochimaru, they are seen hanging out together and reminiscing about the old days, with Jiraiya still making jokes about her physique.
13 She Initially Refused The Position Of Hokage
Prior to the showdown with Orochimaru-- when Tsunade refuses to heal his arms in exchange for the resurrection of Dan and Nawaki-- Jiraiya asks Tusande to become the fifth Hokage. Appalled at the notion, Tsunade states that the past Hokage wasted their lives for the village and goes on to say “only a fool would ever want the title.”
The battle with Orochimaru, however, would change her perspective, giving her a new purpose and outlook on life. It was during this battle that she would decide that her loved ones wouldn’t want to be resurrected in exchange for the destruction of the village that they died to protect. Tsunade would then overcome her fear of blood during the battle and finally be moved by Naruto’s “Will of Fire” to never give up.
She would leave that battlefield with a clear and determined mindset, which she most likely hadn’t felt since the death of Dan and her younger brother.
12 She Is The Last Surviving Member Of The Senju Clan
The Senju clan (千手一族, Senju Ichizoku) and the Uchiha clan (うちは一族, Uchiha Ichizoku) were the first two clans to form a shinobi village. The name Senju means “a thousand skills," and its members are known for being adapt and proficient in all the ninja arts. This balance of skill led to the Senju becoming one of the most powerful clans in the world, next to the Uchiha.
The Senju have commonly been Hokage due to their vast knowledge of the ninja arts, great leadership skills, and their main philosophy known as the “Will of Fire.” Despite Tsunade not wanting to be a Hokage at first, it’s in her blood to be a natural leader, along with protector of the village and its people.
11 She’s Witnessed Two Generations Become Hokage After Her
The transition of Tsunade leaving the Hokage position, along with who took office after her, can be confusing. During her battle with Pain, Tsunade uses up all of her chakra, leaving her in a comatose state in which she was saved by Dan Katō's Spirit Transformation Technique.
Danzō Shimura is elected as the sixth Hokage, but dies before being officially appointed the position in battle at the Samurai Bridge. Kakashi Hatake is then made the official sixth Hokage, and Tsunade helps him with the duties during his first year. Following Kakashi’s term, Naruto is elected and becomes the seventh Hokage.
To retire as a Hokage is uncommon, as most end up sacrificing their lives to save the village. Because of her healing abilities and Dan’s soul being released from the Impure World Reincarnation, Tsunade was saved from this fate and lived to witness more than her predecessors.
10 She Initially Hated Naruto Because He Wanted To Become Hokage
Tsunade runs into Jiraiya and Naruto during the early stages of Naruto’s training with Jiraiya. It’s during this meeting in which Naruto declares to her that he will become Hokage one day.
Confronted with her memories of her younger brother (Nawaki) and her lover (Dan Katō) both wanting to become Hokage, but dying before they could fulfill that dream, Tsunade dislikes Naruto immediately for believing in such fantasies.
She grows even more annoyed with Naruto as he continues to speak, eventually telling him that she could beat him with a single finger. Naruto naturally arises to the challenge and is repeatedly beat down by Tsunade.
The scuffle would end with a bet. Naruto claims he can master the Rasengan in three days. Tsunade gave him a week, thinking it to be impossible for Naruto to accomplish this.
9 Her Character Is Based Off An Old Japanese Folktale
The Japanese folktale of The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya, was a major influence for the creation of the Sannin in Naruto, similar to how Greek mythology played a huge part in the story of Wonder Woman.
Masashi Kishimoto not only borrowed the character names Tsunade, Jiraiya, and Orochimaru from the tale, but he also adapted their storylines and abilities too. Kishimoto wasn’t the only artist to adapt this popular tale, as it has been re-imagined hundreds of times over in various forms, such as video games, films, novels, and manga.
In The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya, Tsunade and Jiraiya use toad magic and healing to defeat Orochimaru who uses snake magic. Sound familiar? Ironically in the tale, Tsunade not only had healing powers, but is married to Jiraiya.
8 She’s Known As The Legendary Sucker
The success of the Naruto franchise was built on characters who were relatable, due to their flaws and fears. Tsunade became known as the Legendary Sucker (伝説のカモ, Densetsu no Kamo) because of her vice towards gambling, in which she would place poor bets, have horrible luck, and rack up huge losses.
Tsunade knows that she stinks at gambling, but continues to do it anyway. She also knows that, if she hits a winning streak, something horrible is about to occur because of her bad luck.
Other vices that make Tsunade more relatable as a character include being a heavy drinker, having a short temper, sleeping on the job, and having others do her work for her.
These flaws in her personality are what make Tsunade more than a fictional character ─ they make her identifiable. When she overcomes fears and obstacles in life, Tsunade becomes an inspiration despite her flaws and bad luck.
7 Her Data Stats Are Unusually High
Tsunade is a Sannin, making her a formidable and powerful opponent. However, her data stats have her placed at a score of 35 out of a possible 40 points, which is unusually high. To put things in perspective, Jiraiya’s score is a 35.5 (he is tied with Itachi Uchiha for having the highest stats total), while Sakura only scores a high of 26 (which causes many fans to believe that she is worthless).
Granted, her reputation as the world's strongest kunoichi and greatest medical-nin do propel her stat scores. However, for fans who watched the anime and read the manga, these ratings seem high because we often witnessed her getting beat in battle.
Fans did experience a taste of this strength, however, as she split open the ground with a single finger, broke Jiraiya’s arms and cracked six ribs, and broke through a Susanoo with only a few hits.
6 She’s Still Alive
Tsunade is alive and well, even in the current Boruto anime series. While the new series has yet to disclose her whereabouts-- or what she’s been up to-- most fans assume that she’s enjoying retirement with a drink in her hand.
We know Tsunade attended the wedding of Naruto and Hinata, mostly keeping to herself and occasionally offering advice to Yamato regarding the preparations. The next and last time she is mentioned is in the New Age of the Naruto franchise. She’s seen attending a five Kage Summit that takes place in Konoha where, according to her, the others “get drunk and complain about things.”
It can only be assumed (and hoped) that Tsunade will eventually appear in Boruto, which should turn out to be quite interesting.
5 She Secretly Had Deep Feelings For Jiraiya
Tsunade loved Dan Katō. There’s no denying this fact. When Dan was killed during the Second Shinobi War, it left a huge hole in Tsunade’s heart and she never got close to anyone like that again.
Jiraiya always wanted to be with Tsunade, but as he claims that “to be happy was not his fate.” Despite Tsunade always rejecting Jiraiya, the two became close friends and often had a drink together when their paths crossed.
Before leaving to fight Pain, Jiraiya asks Tsunade if she’ll give him a chance when he comes back. Tsunade agrees to this, but sadly Jiraiya dies on the battlefield. We can only wonder how things may have turned out if he had survived. Would Tsunade have held up her end of the agreement? Could they have fallen in love with each other? Alas we’ll never know, but we can dream.
4 She Uses A Customized Version Of The Transformation Technique To Look Younger
The Transformation Technique in its normal form is used to turn an individual into something that they are not. Usually this involves transforming into an animal-- or, in Naruto’s case, a sexy woman. This technique is often hard to maintain, as it constantly draws from an individual’s chakra while in use.
Tsunade uses a combination of the Strength of a Hundred Seal and the Transformation Technique to maintain the appearance of looking younger. This more advanced version of the technique is unique since it doesn’t require her to exert herself to maintain it.
She uses chakra stored in the Strength of a Hundred Seal, which is visible as a diamond on her forehead, providing chakra for her younger appearance. The only time Tsunade's natural appearance is shown is when she drains all the chakra from her hundred seal.
3 The Two People She Gave Her Necklace To Died
The necklace that Tsunade wore around her neck was given to her by her grandfather (the first Hokage) and was made from a special Crystal Gem (結晶石, Kesshōseki).
The purpose of the necklace was to capture and control tailed beasts. She first gives the necklace to Nawaki on his twelfth birthday because of his desire to become a Hokage. Nawaki would die the following day in battle.
The second person she gives the necklace to is Dan out of love for him and due to his desire to also be Hokage one day. Like Nawaki, Dan would also be killed in battle.
Tsunade believed the necklace to be a curse since the two people she gave it to were killed. The trend was broken when Naruto takes the necklace after winning a bet with Tsunade. However, the necklace eventually breaks when Naruto loses control advancing to his six-tailed form.
2 She Sees A lot Of Herself In Sakura
The anime never really shows the personal interaction between Sakura and Tsunade, but this was mostly because Naruto already had enough filler episodes that focused on the training and relationship between Naruto and Jiraiya. Just because it wasn’t shown, however, doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.
Sakura is similar to Tsunade in that she excels in training how to heal, being the only person able to master the 100 healings jutsu besides Tsunade. She also shows incredible strength while battling, and can summon the Katsuyu (a giant slug from the Shikkotsu Forest) like Tsunade.
The only way Tsunade could have taught Sakura all of these techniques and have her become just as skilled at it would be if Tsunade and Sakura were extremely close ─ not just in skill, but also in personality.
1 Her Name Is Often Translated Incorrectly
The name Tsunade (綱手) is often translated to mean “mooring rope." While this may be a version of her translated name, it doesn’t match her name as it is used in the Naruto story. Names are very important in storytelling, often giving purpose and meaning to the character.
The translation gets misinterpreted with one particular symbol (綱). In the Japanese to English translation this means “mooring rope,” but when translated using simplified Chinese, the name can mean “steel hand.” The latter making way more sense than the English version.
Because all languages contain idioms, the controversy of the true meaning of Tsunade’s name continues to date. However, by factoring in her personality and characteristics, it only seems natural that Tsunade’s name should mean "steel hand."
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Naruto's Tsunade? Let us know in the comment section!