Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Symbolism of Naruto

This is a synchromystic write-up of the Symbolism of Naruto. There is a lot of truth hidden in fiction and Naruto is certainly one of these series. Synchromysticism is analyzing the esoteric (hidden knowledge) through the exoteric (mundane, popular media). I have put in "bold" and added links to what I think is important from what we can learn from this excellent anime.

Naruto: Opening theme nr 7 (Snorkel: Nami Kaze Satellite)

Nani wo mitsumeteiru darou? (What are you gazing at? :p)

Naruto the anime (cartoon - click here for my favorite animes) is based off the manga (comic) and was very popular in the beginning because of the fast paced character building action ninja extravaganza.

Naruto is fan-subbed by Dattebayo, a great link to consciousness reflecting itself, Dattebayo's slogan is "believe it", which is the basic translation of the suffix statement dattebayo that the bold Naruto commonly uses, another one: "we take internet seriously." The hilarious thing is they frequently pull pranks declaring Naruto is dropped, etc, this is an overview of their hilarious four year history. So they in their own way, promote "believing nothing" like this blog (believing involves little conscious thought!) and not taking our versions of reality too seriously ;).

In the world of Naruto, villages and countries have martial arts schools where they train from a very early age. Japanese mythology and other sources are used to influence a great list of characters. There are 3 main classifications of combat: Taijutsu, Ninjutsu and Genjutsu. Close-combat, Chakra (Chi) techniques and Illusionary techniques (a metaphor for controlling and dividing through belief systems and other illusion). There are five elemental powers in Naruto being Water, Fire, Earth, Wind and Lightning. These different kind of 'Chakra powers' (we have actual spiritual chakra centers) can be manipulated and combined as well into new elements. Interestingly there are also 'bloodline limit' techniques, that only certain bloodline families can do. (Like say, shapeshifting ;p). I wonder sometimes what could be possible if we trained from childhood in awareness and chi energy for generations. In Naruto, it means among many other things, that from a certain age most young teen ninjas can walk up trees and on water.

Naruto: Opening theme nr 7 Haruka Kanata

Uzumaki Naruto is the main protagonist in the anime and manga series. Naruto can mean "maelstrom,". The surname "Uzumaki" is a pun on "spiral", while "Uzumaki" refers to a three-dimensional spiral, like a whirlpool or vortex. A more accurate translation for spiral would be "Rasen." (His trademark move is the Rasengan). The Konoha leaf symbol is drawn with an arrow attached to a spiral, part of the seal on his abdomen is a spiral, the symbol on the back of his jacket and shoulders is a spiral, and one of his attacks is Rasengan, which means "Spiraling Sphere." "Uzumaki" can also mean "whirlpool," in reference to the Naruto whirlpool), named after the city of Naruto. Enough Stargate symbolism (symbolizes altered states of consciousness, 2012, etc) for you in a name? ;)

In the series Naruto is a boy who grows up in Konoha: which means 'Village Hidden among Tree Leaves'. Naruto is left out and shunned by the community as his body was used by the fourth Hokage (master ninja and leader of the village, the five faces of the Hokage are carved into the mountain rock like Mount Rushmore) to seal the Nine Tailed Fox Demon (The chakras are our own "seals" to unleash spiritual empowerment, and when the kundalini gets raised too fast it could indeed seem to resemble a demon ;p). A huge astral demon who nearly wiped out the village. Naruto has to work to temper this demon, just like we need to temper our ego and raise our consciousness (mentally and awareness wise), if we wish to overcome our own 'demons'.

Naruto earns the village's trust by his persistence, he even made it his dream to become Hokage one day. His strengths are his stamina and loyalty. His weaknesses are... temperance and intelligence lol. Great idea to use the main character as the main comic relief. Naruto's main technique is cloning, he can make up to a thousand or clones or something reminiscent of Agent Smith in the Matrix. (see first pic in post, a symbol that we all are the one, Neo, Naruto ;p) The one who is many once he realises his true power. He also uses a Chakra rotating technique to make a powerful energy ball called 'rasengan', a metaphor for being able to control your energy (and emotions), instead of it controlling you. In the heat of battle, Naruto develops a complicated relationship with the Astral Demon inside of him, he can tap some of its power, but the more he uses the more he loses himself and becomes the demon. When he's having this inner struggle we see him in a flooded mindspace with the Nine Tailed Fox behind a huge (star)gate.

Naruto's team mate and initial rival Sasuke has a similar technique to rasengan, but instead it's a manipulation of the Lightning element, called Chidori. Kundalini (chakra) energy is sometimes compared to a kind of electricity and lightning that runs up the spine to our different chakra centers. Kakashi, which means Scarecrow, their Sensei uses the chidori too.

Sasuke is from the Uchiha clan, who are able to use the bloodline Sharingan technique, which descended from the Byakugan (see later). The Sharingan does not automatically appear from birth in a user; instead, it will usually appear when the user is in a life-threatening situation, where the power of the Sharingan could save them. After this first appearance, the user can then call up the Sharingan any time they wish. The power of the Sharingan is judged through the number of tomoe in the eye, with a maximum of three in each. Symbolizing the Third Eye.

The Sharingan's first and most well-known ability is to memorize any technique that it witnesses. (in other words, it means a much more aware consciousness). The Sharingan's second ability is granting the user incredible clarity of perception, allowing them to track fast-moving objects with ease and even predict the subsequent movements of those objects. The Sharingan's third capability is a unique brand of hypnosis, that involves suggesting actions and thoughts to the opponent. It also allows for other forms of hypnotism, such as putting an opponent to sleep, replaying memories to someone else, creating various illusions to fool an opponent, or even controlling them.

Besides those, there's the heightened Mangekyo Sharingan technique, for which the eyes change shape to a 3 pointed Spiral. More stargate symbolism, which transport the victim into an altered state of whatever horrible dimensional prison the Sharingan user desires. Time and space are transcended so the victim can experience years of torture in a few minutes.

The biggest baddies in Naruto are the A-SS (;p A-SecretSociety, see link for real name which is taken from a special WW2 Battleship Destroyer class - spelling was changed here to reduce google image search results on my counter), a secret society (Obviously! As in real life we are also manipulated through secret societies operating through a pyramid structure where only the top knows what is really going on. There is even an A-member with a One Eyed face, the all-seeing-eye symbol of the "Illuminati" for example) of ninjas striving for ultimate power and rulership. Though not a single Ninja seems to be just 'evil', they all have their reasons, their imprints, their past, their belief system and their agendas (and thus their own form of "ignorance" which can be said to be the cause of much evil). Though the A-SecretSociety seem to be very much a powerhungry and greedy association, again as in real life. They are trying to collect the tailed demons inside bodies of kids like Naruto who houses the Nine Tailed Fox. The extraction is through an extensive ritual in which all members of A-SS join in, if necessary, they can astrally project if they are not able to be there physically. An interesting metaphor for secret societies trying to take our energy away from us, in all facets of the 'war on you'.

Orochimaru is the main villain, he tried to harvest the body of Itachi Uchiha of the A-SS, Naruto's former team mate Sasuke his brother. When the plan failed he was forced to flee the A-SS. Itachi murdered his entire own clan and family except for Sasuke, who left Konoha village to join Orochimaru to grow more powerful so he could take out his revenge on his brother. Naruto never gives up looking for Sasuke as he was once nearly himself lost in negativity until he learned how to adjust his reality tunnel.

Orochimaru summons snakes as his power. He can also shed his body and grow a new one in a sort of cloning technique. Until the body is used up and he has to find a new one, literally, to take over. So Orochimaru could symbolize the battle against the Ego, the Serpent one faces when trying to raise the dormant Kundalini. The eternal ouroboros power struggle.

He is based on Orochimaru, featured in the Japanese folktale Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari, the arch-enemy of the ninja Jiraiya. He was once named Yashagorō and was one of Jiraiya's followers, but he was overtaken by serpent magic. (symbolizing being overtaken by the Serpent cult secret society - in real life usually through being family, trauma based mind control, or playing to people's greed, etc) Having changed his name to "Orochimaru", he gained the ability to turn himself into a giant serpent. He attacked Jiraiya and his wife Tsunade and defeated them with his venom (only for another follower to save the couple's lives afterwards). "Orochi" is the name of a giant eight-headed snake in Japanese mythology. The kanji (大蛇, usually pronounced daija) literally mean "giant snake" or "serpent".

Shikamaru is a Konoha ninja, his specialty is his shadow projection technique, with which he overtakes his enemies. The character is a natural leader as he never asked for it, he finds everything troublesome, interesting as psychologist Carl Jung's theory of the shadow says that we project our own negative aspects on other people and if we are aware of this we can learn much from what annoys us about others. Check out this webpage to see an introduction to the shadow.

"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." Carl Gustav Jung

Rock Lee is the only ninja in Konoha to know only one type of combat and that's Taijutsu, close combat. He does it well. He also knows the Drunken Fist technique. When the going gets rough, he drops insane weights from his ankles and wrists and his speed increases dramatically.
Lee has also learned how to open the first five of the eight chakra gates (as we can too open our chakras, although they are not used for fighting, but for self-mastery), a feat that is difficult for even the most talented ninja. Lee has also learned or developed a number of taijutsu techniques that take advantage of the extreme power and speed he gains from opening chakra gates. He's also hilarious, as he imitates his silly Sensei Gai in everything.

Neji and Hinata Hyuga are from a bloodline lineage, the Hyuga clan, that enables them to use the Byakugan eye technique. Neji also had contempt for Hinata initially as she is the first family heir before him. He believed in destiny and that the weak remain weak.
A person with the Byakugan has a much improved vision and is thus again another symbol for the opened Third Eye, the chakra of intuition, and clairvoyance.
Protection of the Byakugan ability is very important to the Hyuga clan, and has led to the development of an elaborate family hierarchy. Members of the lesser branch house are branded with a cursed seal on their forehead at a young age. Whenever a branch house member dies, the cursed seal will seal the Byakugan ability so that enemies will not be able to discover its secrets.

This foxy lady named Ino goes a step further than Orochimaru's shadow technique and just tranfers her own mind into an enemy's body (a strong metaphor for mind control), while her own goes unconscious, and can this way attack other enemies through this body. She is like Sakura, the third part of Naruto's team along with Sasuke, a healer. Sakura, which means blossom in Japanese and along with her red and pink colors remind of the rose, is a badass girl that has the strongest punch of Konoha along with Tsunade, the town's current Hokage (head ninja).

They perform a healing chakra technique in battle that resembles very much. Reiki is the channeling of universal chi/chakra energy to yourself or somebody else to slowly accelerate the healing process. I once performed reiki on a Naruto fan, she had trouble with migraines and very low self esteem. When I applied reiki to her Solar Plexus, she felt a cube-like's edges flow away as a blockage and later felt a spinning motion along with a sense of release and freedom. She reported no more migraines for two weeks after that experience, so imagine what regular reiki can do. Funny that my most interesting experience with reiki involves me applying it to someone else. My current catma is it's an easy and low-power healing technique that does have its uses and worth.

Time is also kinda cyclical in Naruto (See the theory of the Yugas, the Ages, and also see Terence McKenna's TimeWave Zero from his Novelty Theory) as different generations resonate the same events as the lessons have not been learned, or the shadow projection has not been made conscious, so it remains 'fate'.

Naruto teams are trinities with a sensei. This obviously resonates the religious trinity. Obito Uchiha, the dark haired kid with the red glasses offers his bloodline limit Sharingan eye to Kakashi, who has a permanent scar because of it, just like in Egyptian mythology Horus his eye got injured after Osiris was murdered by Set.

Notice the punk-haired kids: white haired Jiraiya and Kakashi, who is also the sensei of the blonde Naruto in the picture next to it on the right, they're are all a little wacky but also the most powerful, like Horus, a symbol of power. The dark haired kids, whose storylines are all a little dark resonating Osiris, the god of life & death and the judge & redeemer of the dead in the afterlife. And the healer girls who resonate Isis.

Gaara is a fascinating character from the initially rival Village Hidden in the Sand with a similar background to Naruto himself. When Gaara was born, his father intended to make him a military weapon for his village by sealing the One-Tailed Shukaku, a powerful and dangerous beast, inside him. Similar to Naruto, Gaara was tormented by his fellow villagers for being the host of a tailed beast. After one of his few remaining relatives tried to kill him, Gaara developed a sadistic and withdrawn personality, killing others to affirm the value of his existence. His battle with Naruto during the invasion of Konoha changes this mentality as he learns the meaning of compassion and friendship in action; as a result, he becomes more willing to help others as the purpose for his existence, and he assumes his deceased father's position as Sunagakure's Kazekage during the second more mature follow-up series to Naruto, Naruto Shippuden.

Gaara can control sand, carrying a bag of it on his back at all times, and has techniques with clear names such as desert coffin and desert funeral. He is one of the strongest characters in the series as his skin is also constantly defended by a layer of sand, and the sand surrounding is automatically protective of his body, along with his possible manipulation of the Sand this makes him a fearsome enemy, even as a little boy.

I learned some basic Japanese thanks to being inspired by this series, I know one Japanese characters series or syllable called Hiragana (which is one of three, the other two are called 'katakana' and the immense 50.000+ 'kanji', ouch, I've gotten turned off by all the english-like words too: Fork: Foku, Spoon: Spun, Knife: Naifu - lol that isn't serious anymore :p). I freaked out some Japanese girls while on a trip to Thailand with my japanese which was fun, the word I said the most though was "wakimarisen" - "I don't understand" :p. I also got to know some good songs from the often hilarious J-pop, hehe. This is another fun song which a corny reality tunnel of mine can't resist sharing, the 12th ending, Chaba: Parade. And this following quote is from the first ending song (the theme songs get changed a lot, the first ones were awesome, lol :p.) in 'English' (;p) Akeboshi - Wind:

"Cultivate your hunger before you idealize!
Motivate your anger to make them all realize!"

There you have it, a little analysis, I'm sure lots more can be said. I find it a great series, it's very inspirational as the story involves a lot about conscious evolution, be that physical, mental or psychological; the nuances of vengeance and forgiveness; and the 'service to self' as opposed to the 'service to all' (which I find a way better term than 'service to other'). And the series served as a great synchromystic link as I was learning at that time about psychological reprogramming (like NLP, hypnosis, etc), spirituality and the chakras, and Carl Jung's theories including the Shadow. I have playing with the Konoha techniques planned for my next lucid dream. If you found this interesting please leave a comment.


lindsay said...


Christopher Rolke said...

I share your love of this show. this article helped me clarify a lot of the things I was picking up on sub consciously