Naruto has been a part of anime culture since the show's original release in 2002. It had a run of over 15 years and gained a large fan base along the way. People express their fandom in different ways, from purchasing merchandise to cosplay, from wearing graphic t-shirts to getting tattoos.
When looking at tattoos in particular, what a fan may want varies widely. The tattoo can contain recognizable references, even to those not very familiar with the show, such as if a person got a tattoo of the titular character himself, with his spiky blond hair, whiskers, and orange jumpsuit. Other times, tattoos referencing Naruto may only be recognizable to hardcore fans. Here are ten that only these true fans would be able to understand.
10 The Cursed Seal of Heaven
Partway through the first season, during the Chunin exams, Orochimaru, disguised as a Genin named Shiore of the Grass Village, bites Sasuke in the neck, inflicting him with this cursed seal in order to convince him to join Orochimaru. This seal influenced Sasuke's character arc for much of the show.
The tattoo above resembles the seal at an earlier level when it makes Sasuke strong, but the strongest. Also, the seal is often hidden away by the large collars of Sasuke's shirts and therefore is not a recognizable symbol unless someone is familiar with the show.
The Inuzuka clan of the Leaf Village is known to have dog companions throughout their lives. Kiba Inuzuka, a former classmate of Naruto's, has a companion by the name of Akamaru, depicted in the tattoo above. Kiba and Akamaru are inseparable, and Kiba is able to use Jutsu with Akamaru acting as an extension of Kiba in battle. Because of how close Akamaru and Kiba are, Akamaru is likely less recognizable without Kiba at his side, if a person is able to recognize him at all.
8 Rock Lee's Drunken Fist Technique
View this post on Instagram
Long weekend... Lots of good people. Lots of wild times. ~ Thank everyone who comes and walks in to @kyklopstattoo . We appreciate you so much. You are the lifeblood of tattooing. ~ If you haven’t yet, please write a review about us on Google or Facebook or even Yelp. We’d appreciate it. ~ Thank you for today. ~ WWW.STRANGEOPERATORS.COM 412-488-8200 @kyklopstattoo WED-SAT ~ 12 - 8pm
Rock Lee is a recurring character in the show who specializes in a form of Jutsu, or technique, called taijutsu, which is based heavily on martial arts and hand-to-hand combat. In order to use the drunken fist technique, Lee has to, well... get drunk. The technique can be used to act as a distraction to the opponent, leaving them confused and open to others to attack.
Only fans really know the different styles of fighting and Jutsu used in Naruto. The tattoo above, likely taken directly from the manga, outright mentions the drunken fist style. Even though Lee is obviously drunk in the tattoo, a random person off the street may not know what Lee is talking about when he says drunken fist, and may not even recognize Lee himself.
7 Itachi Uchiha
The most recognizable character in the show is Naruto himself, probably followed by his former teammate Sasuke Uchiha. Sasuke's brother, Itachi, is a lesser-known character but is heavily influential in Sasuke's character arc. Itachi and Sasuke look incredibly similar and could be easily mistaken for each other by people less familiar with the show but there are key differences that distinguish Itachi's appearance that distinguish him from his brother.
First, Itachi has bags on his eyes, indicating his older age. Second, Itachi is a member of the Akatsuki, which is a group of rogue ninja who deserted their home villages. Akatsuki members don black robes patterned with red clouds, which is only partially shown in this person's tattoo. The Akatsuki also use a kunai knife to strike out their home village's symbol on their headbands to show that they no longer associate themselves with that village. Finally, Itachi always has his Sharingan eyes activated.
6 Shikamaru Nara
Shikamaru is a recurring character throughout the series. He is first introduced as a classmate of Naruto before they graduated the Ninja Academy and were assigned into groups with other classmates led by different sensei. Shikamaru has an incredibly high IQ and therefore is often very bored with most everyday experiences. He thrives when intellectually stimulated, like when he would play shogi with his sensei, Asuma Sarutobi.
The tattoo above features Shikamaru smoking, which was a habit he picked up as a way to honor his sensei after Asuma, who also smoked, was killed in battle. The smoke in the tattoo rises and takes form at the top as Shikamaru's catchphrase: "what a drag," which he says when he is bored. The smoking habit, the catchphrases, and the reasons behind both of these things would only be recognizable if a person watched the show.
Gaara is a character who resides in the sand village. Like Naruto, he has a tailed beast sealed inside him. In his case, the one-tailed tanuki, or a Japanese Raccoon dog, called Shukaku, sealed inside him. This tattoo depicts one of Gaara's eyes, along with a scar he gave himself as a child. Because he had Shukaku sealed inside of him, his family and village neglected him, causing him to etch the kanji for love onto his forehead by controlling the sand, an ability he gained from Shukaku. The cracks also depicted in the tattoo reference when Gaara uses the Jutsu sand armor, which sometimes can be penetrated, and therefore, cracked.
4 ANBU Black Ops Tattoo
The ANBU Black Ops is an elite organization of Jonin ninja, the members of which essentially act as mercenaries for their village. They sometimes act as reinforcements for law enforcement or during combat, such as when Orochimaru and the Sound Village attacked the Leaf Village in the middle of the Chunin exams. Notable ANBU members include Kakashi Hatake, Naruto's sensei, Yugao Uzuki, and, later, Sai.
The tattoo above is an actual tattoo borne by members of the Leaf Village's ANBU forces. While this person has the tattoo on their inner wrist, ANBU members typically have the tattoo on their upper arm.
3 Kakashi's Sharingan
View this post on Instagram
"A próxima geração vai sempre superar a anterior. É um dos ciclos intermináveis na vida."(kakashi hatake) #kakashi #tattoo #tattoodo #tattoo2me #animemasterink #gamer #cosplay #anime #mangá #naruto #narutotattoo #narutoshippuden #kakashihatake #blackworktattoo #blackwork #scketchbook #otakutattoo #otaku #inspirationtattoo #trendstattoo #videogametatts #flashtattoo
The Sharingan is a Dojutsu exclusive to the Uchiha clan, with the exception of Kakashi. Kakashi is not a member of the Uchiha clan but was teammates with Obito Uchiha when he was a younger ninja. During a mission, Obito activated his Sharingan eyes soon after Kakashi injured his eye in an altercation with an enemy ninja.
Later during the same battle, Obito sacrificed himself and saved Kakashi from a falling boulder, getting half of his body crushed in the process. The team determined that the boulder could not be moved, causing Obito to decide to give Kakashi his working Sharingan eye to act as a replacement the eye Kakashi had lost before he died, hence Kakashi's scar.
Kakashi covers his Sharingan eye with his headband, which causes enemy ninja such as Zabuza Momochi to believe the Sharingan eye to be a legend until he saw it himself. But, since Kakashi's eye is hidden, even if non-fans knew who Kakashi was, they may not know what lies underneath his headband.
2 Mangekyou Sharingan
The Sharingan eye may only be recognizable if a person has seen some of the show, but the Mangekyou Sharingan is even less recognizable. This is in part because the design of the pupil of the Mangekyou Sharingan varies slightly for each Sharingan user.
This Sharingan is even more powerful than the original Sharingan eye and is only activated after a powerful Sharingan user witnesses the death of a loved one. Only fans who have watched much of the show and have a deep knowledge of the lore would be able to recognize that this tattoo specifically depicts Itachi's Mangekyou Sharingan.
View this post on Instagram
Hoy el emo vengador llegó con todo, Sasuke!!! . . . . . . . . . . . . . #chiletatuaje #tatuadoreschilenos #portalchiletattoo #dontcrybaby #dontcryproducts #antofagasta #tattoo #colortattoo #anime #animetattoo #animeink #manga #mangatattoo #comic #comictattoo #comicink #naruto #narutotattoo #sasuke #sasuketattoo #sellomaldito #orochimaru
The Rinnegan is another form of Dojutsu. The Rinnegan is not featured until much later in the show and is used by characters such as Pain and Madara Uchiha. It is an incredibly powerful Dojutsu and grants the user a vast range of abilities. Not much else seems to be known about the Dojutsu, even by the characters in the show.