Fans Agree This Was The Worst Hokage In Naruto History

One of the most important figures in the "Naruto" series is the Hokage. As the military and political leader of the Village Hidden in the Leaves, also known as the Konohagakure, the Hokage stands as one of the most powerful and influential ninjas in the "Naruto" universe. It's why many story arcs emphasize the role the current Hokage plays in the conflict at hand, and why Naruto's ultimate goal is to win the respect and adoration of his peers by becoming Hokage.

However, just because the office of Hokage is respected for its power and prestige doesn't mean that every Hokage does a good job. In fact, across the history of the "Naruto" universe, the Hokage make various political and personal missteps that end up having a lasting effect on the citizens they are sworn to protect. However, among the seven Hokage, fans tend to agree that one stands out as the worst Hokage in "Naruto" history.

Hiruzen Sarutobi could have done a much better job

As it turns out, most fans would say that "Naruto" set the bar low from the beginning by making the first Hokage it introduces, Hiruzen Sarutobi, the worst one. In a fan-made poll on Reddit discussing the worst Hokages, fans easily voted for Hiruzen the most. The next closest candidate for worst Hokage ended up being Tsunade Senju, with 57 votes. That's less than half of the 116 votes Hiruzen received. According to fans, this is well-deserved due to the numerous errors Hiruzen makes during his time as the Third Hokage, including his passive treatment of the corrupt official Danzo and his failure to stop the Uchiha massacre.

"Hiruzen abdicated the more ruthless aspect of rule," wrote u/RevivedHut425, "And that led to Danzo's downfall and lots of suffering. Not to mention eventually exacerbating the Uchiha problem and inviting a coup. He also failed to moderate Orochimaru's worst impulses or stop him when the time came. That led to his death and nearly the destruction of Konoha." Another user in a different Reddit post, u/iambriankendricks, summed up Hiruzen's failures succinctly as "Everything Hiruzen did before the start of the series." In particular, his inability to properly care for the orphaned Naruto and Sasuke, who become social outcasts as a result of their parents' deaths, eventually leads to more misfortune in Sasuke's betrayal of the village.

Why Hiruzen over other Hokage?

Those who are more well-versed in "Naruto" lore might wonder why all of this amounts to Hiruzen being the worst Hokage. Obviously, he makes mistakes that have long-term negative effects for the people of the Hidden Leaf and beyond, but he's not the only Hokage to make such serious errors. For instance, the aforementioned Uchiha massacre occurrs due to the village's long-held stigma against Uchiha for all the suffering the clan causes prior to the establishment of the village. It's imperative at the time that Hashirama and Tobirama, the First and Second Hokages, work to undo this anti-Uchiha sentiment. However, both fail to do so and even potentially worsen the situation with their policies.

Nevertheless, what makes Hiruzen worse in the eyes of many fans is the sheer number of ways he fails. He fails to improve relations with the Uchiha, resulting in their coup and eventual massacre. He fails to reign in Orochimaru when he has the chance, leading to his own death and the near-destruction of the village. He also allows Danzo to use his political power for nefarious means. All of these are issues that are either related to, or outright cause conflicts later on in the series, and it is difficult not to see just how many ways Hiruzen could have prevented the worst from happening as Hokage.