Naruto: The Second Great Ninja War, Explained

The Second Great Ninja War indirectly shaped much of present day Naruto, making this one of the most significant events in the entire series.


  • The Second Great Ninja War had a significant impact on the Naruto series, shaping the geopolitical state of the shinobi world and leading to the formation of the Akatsuki.
  • The war involved three of the Five Great Nations, with the Hidden Leaf being the primary instigator, and the Hidden Rain becoming the predominant war ground.
  • The war introduced key characters and had long-lasting effects on their lives, such as Tsunade’s revolutionary ideas for medical ninjutsu, the rise of war heroes like Sakumo Hatake, and the formation of the Akatsuki due to the suffering experienced during the war.



Despite being primarily set in the Hidden Leaf Village, the Naruto series explores the entirety of the shinobi world, with a focus on the geopolitical state of the Five Great Nations. The mention of other nations is usually accompanied by the Great Ninja Wars fought by these nations over the past decades, shaping much of the present shinobi world that fans witness in the series. While the Great Nations have fought three wars in total, the Second Great Ninja War is arguably the most significant one given the overarching nature of its aftermath.

The Second Great Ninja War took place more than two decades before the current set time of the series, yet the war’s impact could be felt throughout Naruto’s run. Since much of the fighting took place over the Hidden Rain’s territory, the war also had a direct role in the Akatsuki’s eventual inception.

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What Instigated the Second Great Ninja War?

Naruto World Map

It’s no secret that the shinobi world has always been plagued by conflict, with nations constantly locked in an arms race against each other. Just a decade after the First Great Ninja War ended, the Great Nations found themselves in another era of political tension. With nations picking sides and creating factions in a bid to accumulate resources and powers, a new conflict erupted that gripped the entire shinobi world once more.

The war was later named the Second Great Ninja War, with three of the Five Great Nations actively participating in the conflict. The Hidden Leaf was the primary instigator of the war, with the Hidden Sand and the Hidden Stone joining in for their own national interests. The Hidden Rain Village became forcefully embroiled in the war due to its strategic location at the center of these warring nations. The Hidden Rain became the predominant war ground for these nations, though its role in the war itself was rather negligent.

Major Events in the Second Great Ninja War

Sakumo Hatake and Hanzo of the Salamander

The series never divulged into the details of the Second Great Ninja War, though a few significant events of the war have been highlighted time and again. The Legendary Sannin and their battle against Hanzo took place during this very conflict, earning them the revered moniker of “Sannin” that remained associated with their names till the very end.

Since much of Tsunade’s history is tied with the Second Great Ninja War, fans have been acquainted with several of her feats during the war. Tsunade’s revolutionary ideas for medical ninjutsu earned her fame and repute during the war, as she introduced new concepts for structuring ninja squads that would improve survivability. The Hidden Leaf’s victory in the war is also largely credited to her proactive strategies and innovative approach to medical ninjutsu.

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Several of the Leaf’s war heroes also originated from this war. Sakumo Hatake, the White Fang of the Hidden Leaf, was one of the heroes who rose to fame for his feats on the battlefield. However, these war heroes and legends were accompanied by several losses and needless casualties on all sides. Tsunade lost her lover Dan Kato during the war, and the trauma caused her to develop an extreme case of Hemophobia.

Impact of the Second Great Ninja War

The Sannin Meet War orphans

The Second Great Ninja War directly shaped the future of the shinobi world as this war is the very same conflict where Nagato, Yahiko, and Konan lost their families and became war orphans. During the same time period, Jiraiya stayed within the Hidden Rain and trained the three war orphans to fend for themselves. These string of events eventually led to the three forming the Akatsuki, which later on became corrupted and ensued chaos throughout the shinobi world. The suffering they witnessed during the war and its effects on the Hidden Rain’s people directly motivated their actions within the Akatsuki.

The war also strained the Leaf and Sand’s relations for decades to come as the two sides held sentiments of hostility over this war. Sakumo Hatake claimed many lives on the battlefield, most of which belonged to the Hidden Sand. Sasori’s parents were also killed by the White Fang of the Hidden Leaf, leading to Granny Chiyo becoming a cynical character. She swore vengeance against Sakumo for taking away Sasori’s parents, while the orphaned boy lost the warmth of his parents and eventually joined the Akatsuki over the neglect he felt.

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Despite his prolific achievements on the battlefield, Sakumo Hatake was ostracized by the Hidden Leaf over failing a mission during the latter parts of the war. The disdain of his own people led to Sakumo taking his own life, an event that shaped much of Kakashi’s character. Overall, the Second Great Ninja War comprised several major events that had overarching effects for several main characters in the series.

Naruto is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

Categorías: Anime

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