The Naruto franchise launched with its first Japanese manga adaptation in 1997, which was written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. Since then, it has become the third most popular manga series in the world.
As a young boy, Naruto had a hard life. Growing up without parents and looked down upon by the people in his village, he didn’t have a close relationship with anyone ─ until he would meet his Godfather Jiraiya. Arguably one of the closest relationships that Naruto would ever have, Jiraiya would play an instrumental role in Naruto’s development as he had done in the past with several other major characters from the series.
Jiraiya was a lighthearted guy who never missed an opportunity for a joke, even if it was at his own expense. He thrived on being over-the-top in combat, striking poses, and giving dramatic self-introductions that were commonly interrupted by the bad guys.
Jiraiya also had many personality flaws-- he even self-proclaimed himself as a “super-pervert with no equal.” His Transparent Escape Technique that he used for his so-called recreational activity (i.e., peeping) nearly got him killed by his own teammate Tsunade when she caught him using it on her.
Every great story needs a character like Jiraiya. From his humor to his vulnerable deep dark secrets, here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Naruto's Jiraiya.
15 He Felt That His Personality Kept Him From Being Hokage
Jiraiya was officially offered to be Hokage three times, but turned the position down each time. He felt that is personality quirks made him unqualified for such an honor. Jiraiya was deeply loyal to his beliefs and felt that he lacked the responsibility to handle the Hokage position effectively.
If Jiraiya had become Hokage, several major events in the Naruto storyline would have never taken place. Naruto may have never learned how to do the rasengan, and he certainly wouldn’t have trained with Jiraiya. Sakura probably wouldn’t have been an apprentice in medical ninjutsu, and the groundwork for exposing Pain would have never occurred.
Jiraiya believed his failures and infractions kept him from accepting the title of Hokage, but perhaps it was intuition of his true natural talents that kept him from serving behind a desk.
14 He Hated Going Into Sage Mode
Jiraiya was self-conscious about his image while in sage mode. He felt that it made him less attractive to the opposite sex. Sage Mode is an empowered state in Naruto that can be entered by blending natural energy with one's chakra, thus creating senjutsu chakra.
Jiraiya however, didn’t have the ability to properly balance his own chakra with natural energy. Because of this weakness, his appearance while in sage mode took on several toad-like traits. For example, his nose would grow bigger and gains warts, his teeth would become sharp, he would grow a goatee, and his eyes would become toad-like.
Not being able to fully enter sage mode had benefits, though, such as having a toad posture and webbed feet, which improved his ability to maneuver. Yet, Jiraiya still didn’t like these attributes because he felt they would “displease the ladies.”
13 He Didn't Use Jutsu To Make Him Look Younger
Of the three Sannin, Jiraiya is the only one who never uses a Jutsu technique to make himself look younger. Orochimaru created a Style Body Replacement Technique that worked like a snake shedding its old skin. He used this technique to materialize a new body ─ even after Kabuto cut his throat open and injured him from head to toe.
Tsunade had the Creation Rebirth technique, which is used for medical purposes as it speeds up the process of new cells forming. She also used it to mask her natural appearance.
Jiraiya, however, seemed content being who he was and used none of these techniques to change his appearance. Some fans speculated that he didn’t have the ability, but this wasn’t true. Jiraiya knew the amount of chakra it took to maintain these appearances and used it for fighting instead.
12 He had Regrets About His Life
Despite the amazing accomplishments in his life, Jiraiya regretted several things. He longed for a world without violence and believed it was his destiny to help bring peace. He also never got to experience being in a relationship with Tsunade and never had children of his own.
Naruto, who was his Godson, was the possibly the closest relationship he had throguhout his life.
Jiraiya often saw his life as a failure. In his own words, “to be happy was not his fate.” Many fans believe it was his regrets that ultimately led to his death. Yet, even in death, Jiraiya inspired Naruto to be better and stronger. What Jiraiya saw as failure became a success that would lead to the peace he longed to see.
11 He Graduated The Academy At Six Years Old
While a student can enter the academy at any age, most start around the age of eight and graduate four years later. The only exceptions to this general rule were Kakashi (who graduated at five years old), Orochimaru (six), Jiraiya (six), and Itachi (seven).
As the possible psychological issues of graduating at such an early age manifested in these prodigies, other talented children waited until they were eight before entering the academy. Recent geniuses and prodigies like Neji and Sasuke graduated with their peers instead, allowing themselves time to mature for psychological benefits.
Graduating early makes sense for Jiraiya, however, since his motto for life was "free and uninhibited" (自由奔放, Jiyū Honpō). Jiraiya was a wanderer, even at the age of six.
10 He Was Named After A Japanese Folklore Character
It’s not uncommon to find a character or theme sourced from other successful material. Jiraiya was inspired from a Japanese folklore character named Jiraiya Gōketsu Monogatari (児雷也豪傑物語).
The folklore story was called The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya and was about a character who rode toads and used their special magic. The tale itself has been sourced for countless works over the centuries in a variety of forms, such as video games, films, novels, and manga.
In the folklore, the literal translation of the name Jiraiya (児雷也) is “Young Thunder." Other translations of the name include “Young Lightning” and “I Came” ─ which might explain Jiraiya’s recreational hobbies.
Jiraiya wasn’t the only Naruto character who got his name from this folklore, though, as the other Sannin (Tsunade and Orochimaru) are also aptly named from it. Interestingly, The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya was published in 1839, which just happens to be the number of missions Jiraiya completed during his life.
9 His Sandals Were Made To Make Him Look Taller
Jiraiya was not a tall man. Studio Pierrot's Settei sheets of Jiraiya show that he was five feet tall during his time with Hiruzen's genin team. They also show that the sandals he wore added almost three inches to his height.
These sandals found inspiration from Japanese Geta wooden sandals that were normally worn with traditional clothing like a kimono or yukata, or with western style clothes during the summer months. Their design purpose is to keep an individual’s feet dry from snow and rain.
Due to his short statue Jiraiya adapted these sandals to give himself a more domineering presence. However, during intense battles (like the one he had with Pain) he took them off to fully utilize his sage mode.
However, cosplayers of Jiraiya should know that these sandals aren’t cheap, ranging from $60 to $100.
8 He Traveled The World To Avoid Getting Married
Naruto fans know that Jiraiya traveled around the world based on a prediction given to him by the Great Toad Sage in which he would meet the Child of the Prophecy ─ a student who would grow up to either save or destroy the world depending upon how Jiraiya taught them. However, he had another reason for never settling down.
Jiraiya had an infatuation with beautiful women, and one of those striking beauties got to his heart. Jiraiya first met Tsunade when they were on the same team and immediately had a crush on her. His advances towards her were always rejected, however, and eventually they went their separate ways following the Second Shinobi World War.
Jiraiya constantly traveled and never settle down because his heart belonged to Tsunade even though he knew they would never be together. In an ironic twist of fate, Tsunade tells Jiraiya before he goes to fight Pain that, if he returns, she would give him a chance.
7 He Was The Possible Sensei Of Ichiraku Ramen’s Owner
This fun fact has never been confirmed, but it’s a fan theory that can’t be passed up on. Ichiraku Ramen is most famously known as Naruto’s favorite ramen joint, along with several previous Hokage ─ including Minato Namikaze (Naruto’s father). Jiraiya has trained numerous main characters throughout his life, with Minato being one of them.
After he left the Ame Orphans and returned to Konohagakure, Jiraiya led a genin team whose only confirmed member was Minato Namikaze. In the anime, a flashback was done, and an image was shown of the other two mysterious members who belonged to the team. One of these young trainees just happens to have a striking resemblance to Teuchi, the founder of Ichiraku Ramen.
Perhaps one day Masashi Kishimoto will reveal that Teuchi was a member of Jiraiya’a genin team, but until then it’ll just have to remain a popular fan theory.
6 He Enjoyed Fighting With Naruto
Known for pushing his students to be their best, Jiraiya desired to fight with Naruto. He wanted to see what he could do with his powers, and he knew that Naruto sometimes needed that extra push (like the one Jiraiya gave him off a cliff).
During the three years of training leading up to Shippūden, Jiraiya might have pushed too hard when he witnessed Naurto’s transformation into a four-tailed miniature Kyubbi. During the scuffle, Jiraiya was severely injured across his chest while trying to restrain the Jinchuuriki. Before the fight got out of hand, Jiraiya made a seal patch and placed it on Naruto’s forehead, bringing him back to normal.
The incident was never shown in any of the anime and manga, and was only referred to when Jiraiya took advantage of an opportunity to remove his shirt amongst the ladies.
5 He never Had An Official Rank In The Manga
The Sannin (literally translated as "The Three Ninja") were Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Orochimaru. They began as genin under the tutelage of Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Third Hokage.
Never being able to agree with one another, the team disbanded ─ but fought and worked together during the Second Shinobi World War. It was during this war that they would receive the title of Sannin after being the only Konoha ninja to survive Hanzō's attacks.
Because Jiraiya was often wandering the world, and since he had the title of a Sannin, it’s possible that being a Sannin was his rank. Officially in the manga and databooks, Jiraiya has no rank. The Naruto anime, however, gives mention to his rank -- in Shippūden episode 235, Jiraiya is classified as a Jōnin.
4 His Training Had Mixed Results
Few Sensei can say that they trained two future Hokage and a future mega-villain, but Jiraiya is not a typical Sensei. It can be argued that Minato Namikaze was Jiraiya's most talented pupil, as he was creator of the Rasengan and had tremendous speed.
Minato would later become the fourth Hokage with his wife Kushina. Jiraiya also trained Naruto, who would also become the seventh Hokage, following in the footsteps of his father Minato.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jiraiya had taken in three orphans (Yahiko, Nagato, and Konan) following the Second Shinobi World War. He cared for them, provided them with shelter and food, and taught them so that they could defend themselves throughout life.
The next time Jiraiya would see the three, Yahiko was Pains main body, with Konan and Nagato serving as the six bodies of Pain.
3 He’s Tied With Itachi Uchiha For Highest Stat Totals
Because of the personality that Jiraiya had, Naruto fans often forget how powerful he was. Not only was he strong, though, but he was also extremely intelligent too. His knowledge and his drive to bring peace to the planet drove him to the top of the databook rankings.
Jiraiya is tied with Itachi Uchiha as having the highest stats total in the official Naruto databook. His overall total was 35.5 out of 40, having a perfect score of five in ninjutsu and stamina.
He completed 1,839 official missions in total: 58 D-rank, 345 C-rank, 684 B-rank, 614 A-rank, 138 S-rank. Jiraiya has the highest amount of completed missions out of all the characters from the Naruto series.
Jiraiya never let these victories go to his head, though ─ well, not too much, anyway. Naruto fans will just have to wonder what the series might have been like if he hadn’t died trying to defeat Pain.
2 His Last Words Were From A Japanese Proverb
As Jiraiya is dying, he reflects on his life. Before he realizes that Naruto is the future and the one who will bring peace, he mutters an old Japanese proverb. "A frog in a well does not know the great ocean" (井の中の蛙大海を知らず, I no naka no kawazu taikai o shirazu).
The origin of this proverb dates back to a story from ancient China. The story essentially talks about a frog who has been stuck in a well his whole life. He thinks that he’s the wisest and greatest at everything ─ until one day another frog falls into the well, shattering the ideology the original frog had created for himself.
Everything Jiraiya did in life was to bring peace to a violent world. The sheer idea of dying at the hands of a former student left him feeling that his thoughts and beliefs were nothing but a figment of his own perception.
1 He Was Masashi Kishimoto’s Second Favorite Male Character
His favoritism would be why Jiraiya has such an important role as Sensei to Minato Namikaze and Naruto, and would also explain Jiraiya’s stats ─ along with his overall kind hearted personality.
Kishimoto said in the same interview that Jiraiya provided the generational bridge gap between the current world of Naruto and the previous one. If ever the opportunity presented itself, Masashi felt a manga told through the eyes of Jiraiya would make for a great story.
Fans may not have shared the same love that Masashi had for Jiraiya, but they did rank him in the top 10 during the popularity polls.