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Why Naruto Was Never Promoted Beyond The Rank Of Genin

One of the first things readers and viewers learn about ninja society in "Naruto" are the basic military ranks that a shinobi can occupy. In short, a shinobi is typically one of three ranks. There are Genin, the lowest-ranked ninjas on the totem pole. Oftentimes, these ninja are still kids or teens and they generally stick to less dangerous missions. Then, there are Chunin, which may be considered the most common rank among adult ninja in any country. Finally, there are the advanced ninja, the Jonin, the ones who take on only the most dangerous missions available. These are also the ninja in charge of leading teams of Genin once they graduate from the Academy.

Of course, there are other ranks such as the Hokage. However, these are extremely specialized and are generally viewed as additional titles to a ninja's existing rank. Hokages, for instance, are normally Jonin due to their advanced skills. That being said, a ninja's rank does not necessarily coincide with their age or abilities, but rather whether or not they have passed the appropriate exams in their village. Case in point, Naruto himself is never promoted beyond the rank of Genin, despite becoming Hokage as an adult. He says so himself in Episode 48 of "Boruto." But why would the leader of a country not be promoted before taking office?

Naruto never ranks up because he never has the time

As most fans know, Naruto almost becomes Chunin during the first Chunin Exams arc after defeating Neji Hyuga in the final round. However, the interference of Orochimaru's attack on the village interrupts the exams before he can officially be made a Chunin. After that, the constant conflicts that Naruto resolves over the rest of the series prevent him from ever having the time to retake the test. By the time he has the freedom to do so, Naruto is already in line to become Hokage and rank no longer matters.

Oddly, this doesn't bother fans, who one might expect to be upset at learning that Naruto never rises above his initial rank even as the Village's most powerful ninja. "By the time he learns the Rasenshuriken it really didn't matter," wrote u/Turboace7 in a Reddit thread discussing the topic. "He was so strong that going through tests like the chunin exams would be either strange or forced."

Other fans even think Naruto wouldn't make the cut to be a Jonin. "I don't think Naruto has the capabilities to be a Jonin as raw power is not its main requirement as team tactics and knowledge are," wrote u/MagastemBR. This is a fair point, as Naruto relies on his friends to help make political and tactical decisions even as Hokage. Nevertheless, as Hokage, they still answer to him at the end of the day.