Ever since its release in October of 2002, the Naruto anime has been taking the world by storm. It’s gone through its classic iteration, then Shippuden, and now with Boruto going in full swing, the Naruto franchise will no doubt continue to remain one of the biggest juggernauts in the anime industry for a long time to come.

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One of the main reasons for this is how well-written and beloved many of the series’ characters are. Their personalities, fighting styles, and appearances all tie heavily into the kind of character they are. Fans may not realize that each character’s name ties into the type of person they are. Character names in Naruto typically contain hidden meanings that relate to or give more insight into the character.

10 Naruto’s Name Is Short For A Spiral Ramen Topping & Also References His Mother

The titular protagonist, Naruto, has a name with several different meanings. The one that’s most commonly known is that his name is actually short for “narutomaki,” which is a spiral fish cake topping commonly used in ramen, which fans are well-aware is Naruto’s favorite food.

What’s lesser-known is that his family name, Uzumaki, means “whirlpool.” This can be a reference to both the Naruto whirlpools in Japan and his mother Kushina, who’s a relative of the Uzumaki clan in the Land of Whirlpools.

9 Surprisingly, Sasuke’s Name Means “Help” Or “Assistance”

Sasuke’s name means “help” or “assistance,” which is surprising since it doesn’t seem to fit his character at first. However, one when thinks of his name in relation to the relationship he has with Naruto, it starts to make more sense.

It could be referring to how he indirectly helped Naruto push himself to greater heights because of their rivalry. It can also be referring to the way Sasuke acts as a sort of “Shadow Kage,” helping the actual Hokage Naruto out by protecting the village from the outside.

8 Hinata’s Name Means “Place In The Sun”

Hinata’s name means “place in the sun,” and she’s another character whose name doesn’t initially appear to fit her all too well. After all, from birth, Hinata is ostracized by her father for being too weak to take on the role of being the Hyuga heir. Eventually, she’s passed over for her younger sister after losing to her in combat.

However, it makes a lot of sense when one considers the growth Hinata goes through during the series’. Hinata works her way up to become an incredibly strong and capable kunoichi who earns her “place in the sun” — being by Naruto’s side.

7 Kiba’s Name Means “Fang” & His Family Name References A Popular Set Of Japanese Novels

Kiba’s first name means fang, which is on-the-nose for him due to his character’s wolf motifs and his attacks being named things like “Fang Over Fang.” His family name, Inuzuka, means “dog hill,” but it actually has another surprising meaning.

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His family name is also a reference to the dog samurai named Inuzuka from Kyokutei Bakin’s Nanso Satomi Hakkenden novels. It’s a tale about eight young characters known as the Eight Dog Warriors, making it fitting for the Inuzuka clan.

6 Shino’s Name References The Same Novel As Kiba’s As Well As His Use Of Insects

Shino’s first name means “of faith,” and it surprisingly also references the same novel that his teammate Kiba’s surname does. It’s also the given name of the samurai Inuzuka in the Nanso Satomi Hakkenden novels, meaning they reference the same character, not just the same novel.

His last name Aburame literally translates to “oil woman,” but this isn’t really fitting. It could also be a shortened version of Aburamushi, which means cockroach, and would fit into his insect-based powers.

5 Kurenai’s Name Actually References Her Trademark Red Lipstick

When looking at the actual meaning of Kurenai’s name, it means “crimson,” which can be a reference to both her eye color and attire. Her family name, Yuhi, means “evening sun.”

However, if one takes a look at the kanji for the name Kurenai, it can also be read as “beni.” This is a word for red make-up that’s traditionally used to color the lips red in Japan.

4 Choji’s Name Is A Reference To His Clan’s Butterfly-Inspired Powers

Choji’s first name is made up of the kanji for “butterfly” and “second,” with the former half clearly being a reference to his family’s powers. After all, he manifests butterfly wings made out of chakra after taking the third red pill during his fight with Jirobo.

His family name, Akimichi, means “autumn road.” This is in reference to both the typical time of harvest as well as streets in Japan where vendors sell food, both tying into his voracious appetite.

3 Ino’s Name References Several Things, From “Great Field” To The Insult Sakura Calls Her

Ino’s name has a lot of different potential references. For one, it can be short for inoshishi, which means “boar.” This references the insult that Sakura often hurls at her, being Ino-pig. Ino is also sometimes used as a given name meaning “great field,” and it’s also a town in the Agawa District of Japan.

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Her family name, Yamanaka, means “among the mountains,” and this ties back into her first name’s meaning as well. In Japan, wild boars are commonly associated with mountains, linking the meanings between her first and last names.

2 Tenten’s Name Has Several Possible Meanings & Can Reference Her Marksmanship Abilities

Tenten’s name has a surprising amount of meanings. These include “heaven, heaven,” “little by little,” “this and that,” “here and there,” and “dot.” None of these seem to fit her too well, but it could also be a pun referencing her marksmanship abilities.

Instead of being a name where the reference comes from one of the ways you can read her kanji, it’s likely that Tenten’s name means “ten out of ten.” This references her abilities when it comes to hitting her targets, where she’s noted to have one-hundred percent accuracy.

1 Kabuto’s Name Is A Reference To Both His Healing & Destructive Powers

Kabuto’s name is another with several potential meanings, and most of them fit his character quite well. For one, “Kabuto” is the last part of the Japanese name for Aconitum, which is a plant that can either heal or kill. This is fitting considering he’s been seen using his medical ninjutsu to both heal others and offensively in combat.

Kabuto is also the name of a samurai’s helmet, while his old comrades’ names — Yoroi and Tsurugi — mean armor and sword, respectively. Finally, Yakushi is the shortened form of the name of a healer buddha and means “medicine user,” which fits him quite literally.

NEXT: Naruto: 10 Things The Anime Does Better Than The Manga

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