Does Naruto Ever Become a Chūnin or a Jōnin?

Does Naruto Ever Become a Chunin or a Jonin 1

Uzumaki Naruto is a fascinating and loveable character. Some would say a typical shōnen character – an underdog with dreams and a bigger personality than life itself. Naruto is the ultimate hero in anime and manga, and his journey inspired many people worldwide. His love for his friends and willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good made him quite busy in a complex Ninja World. To become a proper ninja, Naruto had to “jump over” many life obstacles, but he skipped one thing on his journey to becoming a great shinobi – ninja rank. This article will discuss if Naruto ever becomes Chūnin or Jōnin in the Naruto series.

Naruto never became Chūnin or Jōnin in the Naruto series, which means Naruto is still a Genin as a Hokage in Boruto. There is a whole scene post-Fourth Shinobi World War where Kakashi, as Sixth Hokage, grants Naruto a Jōnin rank but still tells him he needs to study and actually go through exams that Iruka-sensei will prepare. Understandably, Naruto is horrified because he doesn’t like studying, but it seems that Gutsy Ninja never actually finished studying for Jōnin and just abandoned the idea altogether.

We will discuss this topic more by explaining why Naruto never became a Chūnin or Jōnin rank in Naruto and how he could become Hokage if he’s still a Genin. Moreover, we will mention both canon and non-canon instances in the series where Naruto seemingly conducted tests for better ninja rank and conclude this article. If you are interested, stay with us until the end.

Has Naruto ever become a Chūnin?

The circumstances around Chūnin Exams in the Naruto series were always, at least, bad. There were mentions of previous exams commencing in different Hidden Villages that passed without difficulties, but the one in Konohagakure was a disaster.

Before we go into the main topic of this section, we need to establish what Chūnin Exams are and how structured they are. Each Hidden Village held its own Chūnin Exams until after Third Shinobi World War ended. Shinobi Countries decided to implement Chūnin Exams to unite and improve the relations between the villages. Of course, the host village has festivities and even opens up betting places.

Chūnin Exams are an opportunity for other villages to meet future ninjas from other places and meet other cultures of each designated place. There are three stages of Chūnin Exams a Genin needs to go through to take part in the Final Stage of the Exam.

What we learn from the series Chūnin Exams’ first stage is a written exam that includes ten questions Genin need to answer. After Genin answer the hardest questions, they move to the second stage of the Exam – the Forest of Death.

The second stage of the Chūnin Exams is really hard, and three-man teams need to acquire Earth or Heaven Scroll before going into Forest. After entering the Forest, the team needs to reach the building in the middle of it with one of each scroll. How they acquire them is up to them. Forest of Death was interpreted in Naruto series as a very dangerous place for anyone, and the fact that Genin teams must survive that place, says a lot about the severity of Chūnin Exams.

In Naruto’s case, his fights during Chūnin Exams were epic because he was mostly an underdog. However, Naruto starts really well in the tournament by beating Kiba but gets his ultimate fight against Neji Hyuuga, who defeated Hinata in the previous match. Neji is arrogant and disrespectful towards Hinata, and seeing that Naruto vows to younger Hyuuga, he will win the next match for her.

In the meantime, Naruto meets Jiraiya, who teaches him the Summoning Technique and removes Orochimaru’s seal, preventing Naruto from properly controlling his chakra. The Gutsy Ninja eventually beat Hyuuga prodigy but just before the match between Sasuke and Gaara, Orochimaru and Sunagakure shinobi plotted the attack on Hidden Village in Leaves, which became known as Konoha Crush.

Since then, Naruto never attended Chūnin Exams ever again, and with that never got his Chūnin ninja rank. However, there is an OVA called Chūnin Exam on Fire! Naruto vs. Konohamaru!, which is considered non-canon by Masashi Kishimoto himself.

The creator and writer of the Naruto series himself intended for Naruto never to acquire a Chūnin ninja rank, which is confirmed in the official databook released for promoting The Last: Naruto the Movie. Despite some OVAs and anime-only scenes showing teenage Naruto participating in Chūnin Exams, they are not canon via Masashi Kishimoto himself.

Has Naruto ever become a Jōnin?

Jōnin in Naruto series are highly experienced and skilled shinobi who usually serve as military captains. Shinobi that are skillful with at least two types of elemental chakra has a great record in the field and are respected by their peers and villagers could be recommended for Jōnin rank.

When appointed as Jōnin, the village can send a shinobi on A and S-rank missions alone, which is considered very difficult. There are mentions of Jōnin Exams in the Naruto series, but they were never showcased in detail as Chūnin Exams. Anyway, in Konohagakure, Jōnin can be assigned to supervise the three-man genin team and have access to decisions on whether one candidate can become a Hokage. There are also Tokubetsu Jōnin and shinobi that have Jōnin-level skills in one area of jutsu.

In the case of Naruto, there is a whole segment in Naruto anime where Iruka-sensei and Kakashi, as Sixth Hokage, recognizes Naruto as Konoha’s hero and worthy of the Jōnin rank. However, in a funny scene, Kakashi assigns Naruto to study for the written part of the Jōnin Exams, which Iruka-sensei would prepare, and Naruto is predictably horrified.

We already mentioned the databook of Masashi Kishimoto, which was a part of The Last: Naruto the Movie release, where it states that Naruto is still a Genin rank. At the same time, his classmates like Sakura and Shikamaru were already Jōnin-level ninjas.

These notions are confirmed in the Boruto series, specifically episode 48, where Naruto confesses that he is still a genin, despite being a Hokage. By the rules of Konoha, one cannot become a Hokage if they are not Jōnin-level shinobi. Naruto skipped or didn’t have time to go through these exams and become a higher-level ninja.