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The Untold Truth Of Kushina Uzumaki

One of the biggest mysteries of "Naruto" has to do with the titular character's origins — specifically, his parentage. Naruto Uzumaki is introduced as an orphan who has the misfortune of having the Nine-Tailed Fox sealed inside of him. But it's not initially clear why or how this happened to him. Eventually, fans learn that Naruto is the son of Minato Namikaze, the Fourth Hokage, and Kushina Uzumaki, the previous host (known as a jinchuriki) of the Nine-Tailed Fox. It isn't until Naruto encounters Kushina's spirit that he fully realizes the major role she played in him being born as the Nine-Tailed Fox's next jinchuriki.

Unfortunately, Kushina's screen time is limited to that brief chat with Naruto and the flashbacks that lead up to her death and her son's birth. This doesn't seem to give fans much time to get to know her, aside from the bare facts of her status as Naruto's mother, Minato's wife, and the Nine-Tailed Fox's jinchuriki. But delving a little deeper into her story reveals a fascinating wealth of detail — and we're here to lay it out for you. This is the untold truth of Kushina Uzumaki.

Viewers meet Kushina before Naruto does

Due to the many secrets surrounding Naruto's birth, even he is unaware of who his own parents are until late in the series. Jiraiya, in contrast, is one of the few characters who knows all the details regarding Naruto's origins right from the start. Kushina makes her very first appearance in one of his flashbacks. In Episode 128 of "Naruto Shippuden," Jiraiya recalls the day Minato and a pregnant Kushina asked for his permission to name their child after the main character of his novel. In naming their son Naruto, Kushina and Minato cemented their hope that he would grow up to be a splendid ninja, just like Jiraiya's hero. It's a short scene, but through it, we finally get a name and face to put to Naruto's mother.

On the flip side, Naruto still has no idea who Kushina is until Episode 246, when her spirit shows up as he tries to gain control over the Nine-Tailed Fox. At first, he accuses her of being the Nine-Tailed Fox's true form, but the encounter turns emotional as soon as he realizes that she's actually his mother. After embracing, they realize they have a lot of catching up to do. Kushina shares stories of her childhood and life as a jinchuriki, but Naruto is most interested in hearing about how she met his father.

Kushina isn't originally from Konoha

Kushina attended the ninja academy in Konoha and later married the Fourth Hokage, the leader of the village. It's easy to assume, then, that Konoha had always been her home. But in reality, Kushina moved there from the lesser-known Uzushiogakure, which was the home of many members of the Uzumaki clan before its destruction.

In Episode 247, Kushina reveals to Naruto that she was unknowingly brought over to Konoha to be the village's next jinchuriki. As proved to be the case with Naruto's birth, this was a secret kept between the Hokage and a small handful of others. Kushina herself had no say in whether or not the beast would be sealed inside of her. Since Uzushiogakure and Konoha had strong ties and the previous Nine-Tails jinchuriki was also from the Uzumaki clan, it just made the most sense for Kushina to inherit the role. When Naruto asks why it specifically had to be her over another clan member, his mother explains that she had exceptionally strong chakra, which could keep the Nine-Tails under control. Even knowing this, it's hard not to feel sympathy for the scared little girl forced to leave home.

Kushina hated her distinctive red hair

As is made obvious by Kushina's story, the Uzumaki clan is known for being exceptionally powerful when it comes to chakra and sealing techniques. These traits have historically made the clan a huge target for those who fear their power, to the point that their entire village was destroyed. However, Kushina held a grudge against a completely different Uzumaki trait: her bright red hair.

When she first transferred to Konoha's ninja academy, Kushina was immediately bullied by the kids in her class for having vivid red hair, unlike any of her peers. Episode 246 reveals that multiple kids tugged on her hair and called her "Tomato." This only added to her frustration, since she hated tomatoes. Right from the get-go, Kushina was forced to stand up for herself and fight back against bullies over something as trivial as the color of her hair. It even got to the point where one of her bullies got his older brother involved. But, thanks to Kushina's determination and natural skills as a ninja, she was able to defeat this bully and his brother.

Being a redhead had its perks

Even though Kushina despised her distinctive hair, it helped her out in more than one way. In fact, her red mane played a crucial role in saving her life, while also capturing the attention of the love of her life, Minato.

At some point after graduating from the academy, Kushina was kidnapped by several ninja from Kumogakure. As they walked off with her from the village, she intentionally yanked out her hair and created a trail with the long red strands. Kushina's classmate, Minato, noticed this trail of bright hair and easily took out her kidnappers. This was surprising to Kushina, since no one had ever come to her defense since she'd moved to Konoha. Minato explained to her that he'd always thought her red hair was beautiful, but had never stepped in when she was being bullied because he believed she was strong enough to handle herself. From that point on, Kushina found a new appreciation for her hair — and fell in love with Minato.

Kushina wanted to be the first female Hokage

As she introduced herself to her class at the ninja academy in Episode 246, Kushina mentioned that her dream was to become the first female Hokage. At this point in time, there had been three male Hokages: Hashirama Senju, Tobirama Senju, and Hiruzen Sarutobi. There wouldn't be a female Hokage until Tsunade Senju took on the role, years after Kushina's death. Still, Kushina's dream of becoming Hokage was dear to her — and not just because it could have seen her make history in a position of power.

As someone who came from another village and was treated like an outsider for it, Kushina hoped she would gain acceptance and respect by becoming Hokage. This is very similar to the reasoning behind her son's dream of becoming Hokage. Kushina and Naruto both experienced loneliness and alienation in their childhoods for things that were utterly out of their control. As a result, what they want most is to simply be accepted by their peers and the village as a whole. For them, that means becoming the leader and most respected ninja around. Even though she never became Hokage herself, Kushina would definitely be proud of her son for achieving their shared dream.

Stronger than she looks

At first glance, Kushina looks like a loving young mother who probably doesn't get herself into many fist fights. However, she has the power of the Nine-Tailed Fox and Uzumaki blood dwelling within her, making her a true powerhouse — just like her son. As seen in Episode 246's flashbacks, young Kushina was able to take down all of her childhood bullies on her own, earning her the respect of Minato, widely considered to be a ninja prodigy. With her reputation as a fierce fighter established, she went from being known as "Tomato," whom everyone teased, to "Red-Hot Habanero," whom everyone feared. Even Naruto is terrified of his mother as she recalls those fights from her youth.

The full extent of Kushina's strength was made clear on the night of Naruto's birth. She survived having the Nine-Tailed Fox extracted from her body, a process that usually results in the jinchuriki's demise. Despite her near-death state, she was able to use her chakra to chain up the Nine-Tailed Fox long enough for Minato to seal it away within himself and Naruto. As if that wasn't already enough, the Nine-Tailed Fox's giant claw stabbed right through her stomach — and she still had time to say her farewells to her son and husband before finally dying.

Tsunade and Kushina

Kushina is far from the only impressive female ninja in Konoha. In addition to the up-and-coming kunoichi of Naruto's generation, there is another powerful woman who happens to share many similarities with Kushina: Tsunade Senju. Although it isn't mentioned much, Tsunade is the granddaughter of Mito Uzumaki, which means both she and Kushina share the same rare blood of the Uzumaki clan. Their shared heritage has to be at least partially responsible for making them two of the strongest female characters in the series.

In terms of personality, both Kushina and Tsunade can be hot-headed at times, and they won't hesitate to fight children despite being adults themselves. Kushina can be seen slamming her fist down into the head of Minato's student, Obito Uchiha, in a video game-exclusive scene from "Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution," while Tsunade agrees to fight Naruto with just one of her fingers during their first meeting. Aside from their aggressive behavior, it's also interesting to note that they share the same taste in men. Their respective significant others, Minato and Dan, distinctly resemble each other, what with their gentle smiles and dreams of becoming Hokage.

A mother to Minato's students

Before Kushina became a mother to Naruto, she already had a group of young ninjas to look after. In "Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution," she makes homemade lunches for Minato's team (consisting of Kakashi, Obito, and Rin) during their training. She starts by giving Rin a big, affectionate hug after the young girl compliments her cooking. Then Obito acts stubborn and ungrateful for the food, which prompts Kushina to give him a smack on the head along with a good scolding. But as much as they love to argue, Kushina adores Obito, and even hopes her son will turn out just like him.

Her relationship with Kakashi was less affectionate, but still very important to her. When Kushina became pregnant, Minato entrusted Kakashi with the task of protecting her until the baby was born. As revealed by Episode 350, Kakashi devoted all his time to protecting the mother-to-be, to ensure that nothing bad would happen to her during her pregnancy. Sure, this was partially out of his obligation to follow through with the mission. But Minato wouldn't have put the lives of his wife and baby in Kakashi's hands unless he trusted the bond Kushina had built with his students.

A friend to Sasuke's mom

It's no secret that Naruto and Sasuke have a one-of-a-kind relationship: They've been rivals, teammates, enemies, and friends. While the Uzumaki and Uchiha clans don't necessarily have a long history together, the boys' mothers, Kushina and Mikoto, were actually close friends.

Episode 247 reveals that as Kushina was being escorted to the secret location where she would give birth, she passed by Mikoto, and stopped to greet her and baby Sasuke. Kushina casually revealed to her friend that her baby would be named Naruto, and that he'd be Sasuke's classmate in the future. This was a huge slip-up on Kushina's end, since all the details surrounding Naruto's birth were supposed to be kept secret. Through simply being Kushina's friend, Mikoto gained access to the village's biggest secret. Following the Nine-Tailed Fox's attack on the village and Kushina's death, Mikoto took her two sons to the hospital to visit baby Naruto while mourning the loss of her dear friend.

Fears of childbirth

Despite living through a time of war and turmoil, Kushina was not the type of person who easily showed fear. She was such a tough cookie, she bounced right back after being kidnapped. But everyone has at least one thing they're truly and deeply afraid of, and Kushina was no exception.

During her brief encounter with Mikoto, Kushina asked if giving birth was painful with a seriously horrified look on her face. She never got an answer from Mikoto, but she learned that night that her fears were on point. As Kushina experienced labor, Minato grew extremely concerned: He had never seen her in that much pain before. Though Naruto's birth was far from a normal one, Minato and Kushina's concerns were the ones all first-time parents who don't know what to expect when it comes to birthing a baby have. Unfortunately, with the Masked Man and the Nine-Tailed Fox on the loose, labor pains would end up being the least of Kushina's worries on that fateful night. But at least she got an answer to the question she asked Mikoto — and learned she was strong enough to deal with her worst fear.

Kushina didn't want Naruto to be a jinchuriki

The life of a jinchuriki is never easy, as is evidenced by Gaara and Naruto's experiences. They typically suffer isolation, stigma, and a general lack of love. For example, Naruto spends his childhood being hated by everyone around him because the Nine-Tailed Fox that once attacked the village is now sealed inside of him. This is a brutal burden to place on anyone, let alone a child, but Minato convinced Kushina that sealing the beast inside of Naruto was the right thing to do to protect the village.

Kushina was initially against the idea of making their child the next jinchuriki, however, because she knew firsthand how awful it is to carry such a burden. She didn't want her son to have to suffer a fate he had no control over. However, being a jinchuriki also has a perk: The role comes with incredible power. Minato believed Naruto would use this power to become a hero, which Kushina simply couldn't argue with. Their decision proves to be the right one when Naruto brings the shinobi world together to take down the Akatsuki, Madara, and Kaguya, many years later.

Naruto has her last name

In the "Naruto" universe, it appears to be customary for children to take the last name of their father. This was obviously not the case for Naruto, though, who got his last name from his mother. The intention behind this decision was most likely to hide the fact that Naruto is the son of the Fourth Hokage, a political figure with a huge target on his back. But regardless of these efforts to protect Naruto from anyone with a grudge against his dad, the young boy was still an easy target for bullies — and, worse, the infamous Akatsuki, who almost kill him multiple times.

If people had known Naruto was the son of Minato, he might have been in greater danger — but his peers would also have known he's close to one of the most respected ninja in the world. It's likely they would have treated him with a little more respect right from the start. Instead, he was treated like an outsider, just like his mother was when she first moved to Konoha. But despite it all, Naruto proudly bears the Uzumaki name, and earns his clan a lot of respect. It's a very potent way of doing Kushina proud.

Kushina passed on an iconic trait to Naruto

In addition to her last name, Kushina also passed a certain speaking habit to her son. Naruto is known for saying "dattebayo" in Japanese, which is translated as "believe it" in the English dub. Kushina's own "dattebane" comes out as soon as they meet in Episode 246. When Naruto hears the phrase, he starts to put it all together: She's his mother.

After Kushina confirms that they're mother and son, she mentions how she had hoped Naruto wouldn't inherit that habit (or her red hair). But it's obvious that Naruto has never thought of their tendency to use catchphrases as a bad thing. In fact, he embraces everything his mother has given him, and even passes the habit down to his son Boruto, who says "dattebasa." Although the phrases are slightly different, they all hold the same sentiment, and show the influence Kushina had on her son and grandson. Her experience of motherhood was short, but the legacy she left behind turns out to be incredibly far-reaching.