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What are the Naruto hand signs? How real are they?

Being a ninja is everyone’s dream, and you’d be lying if you said you never ran around in Naruto style or at least tried to manifest your chakra.

After all, it’s worth a try as being bullied is a small price to give if you turn out to be a shinobi. Unfortunately, cursed with reality, none of us has achieved those powers, yet.

While being a ninja, or even Hokage, is a goal too far away, in case one day we wake up to find ourselves with powers, we will need to know how to channel it and perform techniques.

Kakashi fights Zabuza and beats him | Naruto
Kakashi copies Zabuza!

In the series, each and every technique is based on hand signs or seals. But how can one perform all of these powerful movies with just positioning your hands in a certain way?

In this article, I have explained what exactly these signs are, what they mean, and how to perform them, just in case you need them someday. So channel your inner otaku spirit, and let’s get started!

What are hand signs in Naruto?

Hand movements that help characters in the Naruto series to manipulate chakra are called hand signs. By using these signs in a particular order, they can perform various jutsus and techniques.

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Hand Signs were invented by Indra Otsutsuki to aid people in properly summoning and molding their chakra to perform a technique. There are a multitude of various signs, with different sequences of them for every technique.

How many hand signs are there?

Each and every technique requires a number of hand signs to work; however, a skilled ninja can use less or even one to perform the same technique.

what are hand signs in naruto
Basic Naruto Hand Signs

For example, Sasuke managed to master the Fire Release to the point where he could use it with only one hand seal.

There are 12 basic hand signs, each named after an animal of the Chinese zodiac. Most techniques require two or more of these signs to work.

I. Bird / Tori

The Bird hand sign is based on the Rooster of the Chinese zodiac, and as such, it represents the element of wind.

This is one of the signs we have often seen, as Naruto himself used it when performing Rasengan.

Despite being quite simple, this sign requires its user to execute fast and precise motions, with their middle finger and pinky forming a pointed arch, while their ring finger and index fingers intersect.

All this while, it is essential that their thumbs are bent and meet each other within the cocoon created by the other fingers.

Naruto Rasengan for the first time Naruto vs kabuto
Naruto performs Rasengan

II. Boar / I

The Boar sign is based on the Pig of the Chinese zodiac. It is one of the very first signs we were introduced to in Naruto, i.e., when Jiraiya summoned the toads.

It was later on used multiple times throughout the series by various other characters.

To use this hand sign, the ninjas have to have their elbows out and palms facing downward while making partial fists that are connected at the wrists.

Despite sounding quite uncomfortable, this is one of the simplest signs.

III. Dog / Inu

Based on the dog’s Chinese zodiac sign, this hand sign is commonly affiliated with the water element, especially the Water Release technique.

This sign is fairly simple when compared to the others. To perform it, the ninja has to place their left-hand flat on top of their right fist.

In the series, we have often seen Zabuza and previous members of Kirigakure use this sign.

IV. Dragon / Tatsu

The Dragon sign, based on the Chinese Zodiac of the same, produces a dragon-shaped manifestation when used in conjunction with any other sign.

For example, when used with the Fire elemental hand sign, the released fire will take the form of a dragon.

The ninja connects their pinkies and stacks each corresponding finger on top of one another, with the left one always on top to perform this.

In the end, it should form the basic shape of a diamond, with the two thumbs facing upwards, as opposed to the pinkies.

Fugaku Mengajarkan Itachi Katon Gokakyu No Jutsu | Kyuubi Menghancurkan Konoha
Itachi performs Katon Jutsu

V. Hare / Usagi

Based on the Chinese zodiac’s Hare, this sign requires its users to execute it in a fluid motion.

By forming a finger gun with the left hand and laying the right one on the top horizontally with all fingers except the pinky curled, ninjas such as Sasuke and Kakashi perform Chidori and the Lightning Release.

VI. Horse / Uma

The Horse sign, like all others, is based on the Chinese zodiac of the same animal.

The application of this was first seen in the series when Sasuke used it to perform the Fireball technique. It is also one of the few signs used to dispel Genjutsu.

To execute it, the shinobi must connect their index fingers at the tips, with their palms facing inwards.

Naruto | Sakura's Genjutsu Release Moments
How to dispel Genjutsu?

Then, they must stack the knuckles of their other fingers with the right digits on top. While it is a bit complicated, it is easy to get the hang of it once used.

VII. Monkey / Saru

Used in Sasuke’s signature move, Chidori, the Monkey hand sign, is essential in performing it.

Furthermore, it was also seen six times in a row when Zabuza performed the Long Water Dragon technique.

This hand sign is one of the simplest yet. To perform it, the ninja needs to rest their right hand on top of the left, with thumbs lying flat on the pinkies.

VIII. Ox / Ushi

Based on the Chinese zodiac’s Ox, this sign is often used in fire techniques, and almost every member of the Uchiha clan has been seen using it.

To perform this sign, the shinobi will have to spread out the fingers of both palms, and with the left hand vertical and right hand horizontal, intertwine them.

To finish, they will need to press down the middle and ring fingers of the left hand to imitate bull horns.

IX. Ram / Hitsuji

The Hitsuji or Ram is one of the most noticeable signs in the series, as being a vital part of Kage Bunshin, it is used by Naruto all the time.

Like others on this list, this sign is based on the Chinese zodiac animal i.e., Ram.

To perform the Ram, one must raise both of their hands and imitate a peace sign, with the middle and index fingers joined.

The last step is to curl the remaining fingers on their right hand and envelop them with the opposite hand’s fingers.

X. Rat / Ne

Based on the Chinese Zodiac’s Rat, this sign is prominently used by the Nara clan to perform their Shadow Imitation Techniques.

In the series, Shikamaru uses this sign as a trigger to his Shadow Possession Jutsu.

This sign is one of the easiest to perform, as all one has to do is raise their left index and middle fingers and envelop them with their right hand. Keep in mind that the left thumb must always be left outside.

XI. Snake / Mi

Based on the Chinese zodiac sign of the Snake, the Mi sign is one of the most versatile due to its association with Earth, Lightning, and Wood Releases. Therefore, it has been used by quite a few characters in the series.

Despite being one of the most useful signs, it is extremely easy to perform. All one has to do is clasp their hands together in a praying position. Like the previous sign, they must make sure that their left thumb is on the outside.

XII. Tiger / Tora

Commonly being affiliated with fire and earth releases, this sign is based on the Chinese Zodiac Tiger. It has often been used by Sasuke when performing his clan’s signature Fire Jutsu.

To make this sign, the user must connect their index finger and thumbs together and lay them flat, while all their other fingers are clasped together.

Or, they can just form the snake sign while keeping their index fingers and thumbs pointed upwards.

Hand Signs of Your Favorite Jutsus!

I. Kage Bunshin / Shadow Clone

Kage Bunshin has been Naruto’s signature Jutsu, ever since he learned it in episode 1.

While he uses only one sign to perform this technique, others need to use the Ram, Serpent, and Tiger signs in quick succession to achieve the same results.

guide to hand signs in naruto
Naruto Uzumaki | Source: Naruto Shippuden

II. Chidori

Passed down by his teacher, Kakashi, Sasuke has mastered the use of Chidori.

Also known as the weapon of tragedy, to perform this technique, one must imitate the Ox, Hare, and Monkey signs one after another. Though, for precision, a Sharingan might be necessary.

III. Great Fireball Technique

Created by the Uchiha clan, the Great Fireball technique has become one of their signature abilities. Most of the prominent members such as Itachi, Sasuke, and Obito have been seen using it.

To perform this Jutsu, one must precisely form the Snake, Ram, Monkey, Boar, Horse, and Tiger signs, in that same order.

IV. Summoning

Through this Jutsu, various creatures such as toads, snakes, and even slugs have been summoned to aid their summoner.

To perform this sign, you must imitate the hand movements of Boar, Dog, Bird, Monkey, Ram signs.

To conclude it, you have to draw blood from your thumb and slam it on the ground. There, now you have your very own unicorn.

V. Water Dragon Jutsu

This technique is imprinted in all the fans’ minds due to the mind-blowing fight between Kakashi and Zabuza, where the latter seamlessly displayed his copy abilities and did justice to his nickname as ‘Copy Ninja Kakashi.’

With a whopping number of 44 signs, this technique requires the most hand seals in the series.

Kakashi fights Zabuza and beats him | Naruto
Kakashi copies Zabuza!

To perform this technique, in quick succession, one must execute the following signs.

Ox → Monkey → Hare → Rat → Boar → Bird → Ox → Horse → Bird → Rat → Tiger → Dog → Tiger → Snake → Ox → Ram → Snake → Boar → Ram → Rat → Yang Water → Monkey → Bird → Dragon → Bird → Ox → Horse → Ram → Tiger → Snake → Rat → Monkey → Hare → Boar → Dragon → Ram → Rat → Ox → Monkey → Bird → Yang Water → Rat → Boar → Bird.

VI. Dead Demon Consuming Seal

One of the forbidden techniques, the Dead Demon Consuming Seal, can call upon the power of the Shinigami.

The Third Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, and the fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, both used it.

In order to perform this seal, one must execute the Snake, Boar, Ram, Rabbit, Dog, Rat, Bird, Horse, and Snake signs in that particular order, and conclude it by clapping their hands.

Sarutobi's Fuuinjutsu Shiki Fuujin
Sarutobi calls forth Death Reaper

VII. Edo Tensei / Impure World Reincarnation

Edo Tensei, or the Reincarnation Jutsu, places a deceased person’s soul into a living vessel, thus restoring and binding them to the summoner’s command.

This technique was developed by the second Hokage, Tobirama Senju, and was later developed by Orochimaru and Kabuto.

To use this technique, one must perform the Tiger, Snake, Dog, and Dragon signs in quick succession, and seal it by clapping their hands.

VIII. Wood Release Secret Technique: Nativity of a World of Trees

As the original wood release user, the First Hokage, Hashirama Senju, could create and control an entire forest.

After failing to use this technique, Kinoe used the Wood Release: Nativity of a Sea of Trees, a smaller-scale version.

One must perform the Tiger, Snake, Ram, and Snake sign once again to use this technique.

Hashirama Senju Sage Art Wood Style Shinsu Senju, Veritable 1000 Armed Kan'on
Hashirama performs Secret Wood Release

Disclaimer – We are not responsible if you try this technique and get your hand wrecked.

Are the Naruto hand signs real?

The hand signs in Naruto are not real. While they are inspired by the hand movements in Buddhism and Hinduism, they are ultimately fiction and, unfortunately, do not allow its user to control elements such as fire and water.

About Naruto

Naruto is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto.

Its publication began on September 21, 1999, and continued till November 10, 2014, in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump. The manga has collected 72 volumes in tankōbon format.

Naruto Shippuden is Part II of the anime series, which follows an older Naruto as he attempts to save his friend Sasuke while at the same time – addressing the looming threat of the criminal organization – Akatsuki – who are targeting him for their grander scheme.

Originally Written By Epic Dope

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Vansh Gulati

Vansh Gulati

Meet our very own Hinata Shoyo! - There is no anime or manga that he’s not aware of. Also the go-to guy for all things Epic at EML. He’s on a journey to discover life one bottle of sake at a time!
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