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This article is about the Naruto character. For the Wandaba Style character, see Sakura Haruno (Wandaba Style).

Sakura Haruno (春野 サクラ Haruno Sakura?) is a fictional character in the Naruto manga and anime series created by Masashi Kishimoto. Sakura has become the series' female lead, although she was not immediately intended for the role. Kishimoto has had difficulty in drawing her, resulting in Kishimoto inadvertently emphasizing certain parts of her appearance, including her large forehead.[3][4]

In the anime and manga, Sakura is a kunoichi affiliated with the village of Konohagakure, and part of Team 7, which consists of herself, Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and their sensei, Kakashi Hatake. Sakura initially has an infatuation for Sasuke, praising him at every juncture, and heaping scorn upon the less skilled Naruto. Over the course of the series, she begins to shed this singularly driven persona, and grows more appreciative and accepting of Naruto; in Part II, she begins to develop a closer bond with him as they both share in their goal to bring their departed teammate Sasuke back. Sakura has appeared in several pieces of Naruto media, including the four featured films in the series, all of the original video animations, and several video games.

Numerous anime and manga publications have praised and criticized Sakura's character. She was initially noted to be a stereotypical shōnen character, serving as a love interest for the protagonist, and served little purpose in the series initially beyond being comic relief.[5][6] Her emergence from this stereotype as the series progressed, however, has been celebrated by reviewers.[7] Amongst the Naruto reader base, Sakura has been popular, placing high in some polls. Several pieces of merchandise have been released in Sakura's likeness, including a plush doll and key chains.[8][9][10]

Creation and conception

Although Sakura is the most recurring female character in Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto did not originally intend for Sakura to be the heroine of the series. Kishimoto attributes this to his being unable to draw good heroine characters, and fashioned Sakura as a girl who cannot understand men, the best example of a heroine he could come up with. Sakura's creation is a result of Kishimoto's desire to make a somewhat irritating character who was well-intentioned.[3] Despite these elements, Kishimoto is fond of Sakura, as he feels that many of her personality traits are common among all people, thus giving her a sense of real humanity.[11] When asked in an interview if there is something about Sakura's background that was never revealed, Kishimoto explains that he has never thought of Sakura as she is a "normal girl."[12]

When designing Sakura, Kishimoto focused on her silhouette and created a costume as simple as possible. This is a divergence from the other main characters of the series, whose costumes are very detailed. The leggings are the most notable aspect of her design, as they are meant to show that she is very active.[3] At the start of the series her leggings extended below her knees and closely resembled trousers. As Part I progressed, the leggings became increasingly shorter and tighter.[13] Similar to his inexperience with drawing heroines, Kishimoto lacked the experience needed to make Sakura "cute" when he first began drawing her. Although he implies that her appearance has become cuter since then, Kishimoto and much of the Naruto manga staff agree that Sakura was "far from cute" at the start of the series.[11]

Sakura's most well-known physical characteristic is her broad forehead. Because of this, Kishimoto at times focuses too much effort on drawing it in scenes or promotional artwork where Sakura is featured prominently. This results in her forehead appearing too large.[4] When designing Sakura in her Part II appearance, Kishimoto decided to change her clothes to a more lively karate suit style. The upper part, though, still has a Chinaesque feeling to it, so as to make her more feminine.[14]

Character outline



Sakura as she appears in Part II.

At the start of the series, Sakura has a deep infatuation for Sasuke Uchiha. Because of this, many of Sakura's early appearances are dedicated to her continuing effort to win his affection.[15] As the story progresses and she begins to spend more time with Sasuke as a teammate, Sakura develops a concern that Sasuke will someday abandon her and the rest of Konohagakure in his quest for power.[16] When her fears come true at the end of Part I, Sakura does all that she can to stop Sasuke from leaving, such as professing her love for him and offering to join him. Though touched by her words, they do not stop Sasuke from defecting from Konoha.[17] Since then, Sakura has made it her personal goal to bring Sasuke home, which becomes a recurring component of her role in Part II.[18] Although she still worries about his well-being[19] and doesn't allow others to insult Sasuke,[20] Sakura is willing to attack him if it means returning him to Konoha.[21]

Sakura's relationship with Naruto Uzumaki, like with Sasuke, also changes throughout the series. When first teamed up together, Sakura views Naruto as a talentless idiot who deliberately tries to ruin her life.[15] As the story progresses and Naruto continually shows his worth as a ninja as well as his dedication to his teammates, Sakura realizes that her initial perceptions of him were wrong.[22] After Sasuke defects from Konoha at the end of Part I, Sakura pleads for Naruto to bring him back. Having a crush on Sakura, Naruto does all in his power to return Sasuke to her.[23] Although he fails and is left in the hospital afterwards, he vows to someday complete the task she has given him. Realizing the lengths Naruto will go to for her, Sakura spends the two-and-a-half years dividing Part I and II to training so that she can help Naruto during his next attempt.[18] As they search for Sasuke during Part II, Sakura learns of the various hardships Naruto faces: the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox and Akatsuki.[24] Saddened by the impact both forces have had on his life, Sakura becomes protective of Naruto and tries to do whatever she can to help him overcome these obstacles.[25]

Within Sakura resides "Inner Sakura," a manifestation of her inner emotions. In addition to comic relief, Inner Sakura represents Sakura's actual opinion on things when she outwardly displays something opposite.[15] Inner Sakura's appearances are typically marked by an exclamation of "Shānnarō" (しゃーんなろー?). The phrase has no literal meaning, but is usually translated as "hell yeah," "hell no," or "damn it" depending on the situation. Viz media replaces it with the word "Cha!" in the English versions of Naruto. Although she appears quite frequently at the start of the series, Inner Sakura all but disappears midway through Part I, her only other appearance being at the start of Part II.[26] Sakura, likewise, now performs the emotional outbursts she once relied on Inner Sakura for, much to the dismay of those who are around her at the time.[27]



Sakura extracting poison from Kankuro's body.

For the duration of Part I, Sakura's abilities go largely unseen and undeveloped. While she is shown to be very proficient with basic ninja abilities during the few battles she participates in,[28] Sakura lacks any unique traits that set her apart from the rest of Team 7. Her teacher, Kakashi Hatake, notes that Sakura has an excellent control over her chakra early in Part I,[29] but it is not until Part II that she is taught to use this ability to her advantage.

After training under Tsunade for two-and-a-half years, Sakura acquires two abilities that rely directly on her precise chakra control. The first and most common of these two is her ability to heal wounds, giving her the position as her team's medical ninja. Due to the speed and proficiency with which she can heal others, many characters have noted Sakura to be more talented than most medical ninja with far more experience.[30] Because a ninja team relies on its medical ninja to survive, Sakura must both avoid opponents and keep them at bay during battle.[31] This is accomplished through Sakura's second ability: her superhuman strength.[32] By building up chakra in her fists and releasing it on contact with a target, Sakura can reduce most obstacles to rubble with great ease.[33]

Plot overview

Sakura accompanies the rest of Team 7 during all of its early missions, though she does little to contribute to the battles that take place. Instead, Sakura sits on the sidelines, content in allowing her teammates to protect her and defeat their opponents. During the Chunin Exams, when the rest of Team 7 is left in need of her protection, Sakura realizes that relying on others to fight her battles has been unwise. She resolves to better her ninja abilities from that point further,[34] and throughout the rest of the series takes a more active role in Team 7's battles. After Sasuke's defection from Konoha at the end of Part I, Naruto's failure to bring him back, and Sakura's inability to help either of them, she becomes Tsunade's apprentice so that she can do more for her teammates in the future.[18]

Sakura takes a more active role in Part II, as is first seen in her defeat of Akatsuki member Sasori. As a result of her victory, Sakura is given the chance to learn of Sasuke's whereabouts.[35] Naruto, Sakura, and the new members of Team 7 use this intelligence to track Sasuke down, but they are once again unable to prevent him from escaping.[36] While disappointed in their failure, Team 7 tries once again to find Sasuke, though after almost apprehending him they lose his trail and are forced to return home.[37] Sakura later resolves to kill Sasuke after understanding he is becoming a menace and tries to kill him by herself once she finds him. However, Kakashi replaces her when she fails to do it.

Appearances in other media


Sakura (right) in Naruto: Clash of Ninja.

Sakura has made several appearances outside of the Naruto anime and manga. She is in all four of the featured films in the series: in the first movie, she battles Mizore Fuyukuma, and later defeats him;[38] in the second she helps Naruto and Shikamaru Nara in their battle against Haido and his subordinates;[39] the third has Sakura battling the hired ninja Karenbana, whom she defeats using her enhanced strength;[40] and finally in the fourth movie, which is set in Part II, Sakura, Naruto, Rock Lee, and Neji Hyuga are assigned to escort the maiden Shion.[41] She is also present in all three of the original video animations produced for the series, helping Naruto and Konohamaru to find a four leaf clover in the first original video animation,[42] joining his team in escorting a ninja named Shibuki to his village and helping him fight the missing-nin that stole the village's "Hero's Water" in the second,[43] and participating in a tournament in the third.[44]

Sakura is a playable character in nearly all Naruto video games, including the Clash of Ninja series and the Ultimate Ninja series.[45][46][47] In some games, she uses "Inner Sakura" in combat, as well as numerous different genjutsu. Naruto Shippūden: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! EX marks the first appearance of Sakura in her Part II appearance in a video game, with the second one being Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja 4.[48]


In the Shōnen Jump character popularity polls, Sakura has many times been placed in the top ten and reached the top five once; however, she was ranked twelfth in the most recent poll.[49] There has not been another poll as of 2006. In an interview, Kate Higgins, who does the voice acting for Sakura in the English dub, notes the development of Sakura in the series, remarking that she becomes a more complex character as she becomes more sensitive and caring.[50] Numerous pieces of merchandise based on Sakura have been released, including a plush doll,[8] key chains of her Part I and Part II appearances,[9][10][51] and various character patches.[52][53]

Several publications for manga, anime, video games, and other related media have provided praise and criticism on Sakura's character. IGN commented that every anime and manga benefited from a strong female presence that Sakura provided for the Naruto series, although characterizing her as "stereotypically girly."[54][55] In a review of episode 110 of the anime, IGN celebrated the culmination of the development of Sakura's character throughout the series, and the growing out of the "girly" personality.[7] GameSpot noted that Sakura's character has largely been used in the series as a form of comic relief, as well as often stating the obvious.[6] T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews considered Sakura to be a stereotypical echo of similar love interests of protagonists in other shōnen manga, and that she was not likable.[5] On the other hand, she was also regarded as an "an interesting character to throw into the mix [of Naruto]" by Mania Entertainment's Dani Moure due to her differences with Sasuke and Naruto which helps to balance Team 7.[56]


  1. "宿敵!?サスケとサクラ". Studio Pierrot. Naruto. TV Tokyo. October 17, 2002. No. 3.
  2. "Sasuke and Sakura: Friends or Foes?". Studio Pierrot. Naruto. Cartoon Network'. September 17, 2005. No. 3.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. p. 140. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. p. 122. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ross, Christina. "THEM Anime Reviews 4.0 - Naruto". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Dodson, Joe (2007-10-13). "Franchise Player: Naruto". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 White, Charles (2007-10-27). "IGN: Formation! The Sasuke Retrieval Squad! Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 " Naruto 8-inch UFO Sakura Plush Figure + Pin: Toys & Games". Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 " Naruto Sakura Sitting Pose PVC Keychain GE-3571: Apparel". Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 " Naruto: Sakura Figure Hurricane Chronicles (Naruto Shippuden) Key Chain: Apparel". Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Kishimoto, Masashi (2004). Naruto, Volume 3. Viz Media. p. 146. ISBN 1-59116-187-8. 
  12. Shonen Jump Volume 7, Issue 11 #83 (Viz Media): 11. 2009. ISSN 1545-7818.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). Uzumaki: the Art of Naruto. Viz Media. p. 121. ISBN 1-4215-1407-9. 
  14. Kishimoto, Masashi (2008). Naruto Character Official Data Book Hiden Sha no Sho. Shueisha. p. 343. ISBN 978-4-08-874247-2. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Kishimoto, Masashi (2006). "Chapter 3". Naruto, Volume 1. Viz Media. ISBN 1-56931-900-6. OCLC 137303849. 
  16. Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). "Chapter 178". Naruto, Volume 20. Viz Media. pp. 142–143. ISBN 1-4215-1655-1. 
  17. Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). "Chapter 181". Naruto Volume 21. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1855-4. OCLC 154689000. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). "Chapter 236". Naruto, Volume 17. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1863-5. OCLC 173499449. 
  19. Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). "Chapter 311". Naruto, Volume 35. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-874138-3 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 
  20. Kishimoto, Masashi (2006). "Chapter 286". Naruto, Volume 32. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-874039-3 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 
  21. Kishimoto, Masashi (2006). "Chapter 308". Naruto, Volume 34. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-874138-3 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 
  22. Kishimoto, Masashi (2006). "Chapter 105". Naruto, Volume 12. Viz Media. pp. 109–110. ISBN 1-4215-0242-9. 
  23. Kishimoto, Masashi (2007). "Chapter 183". Naruto, Volume 21. Viz Media. pp. 58–62. ISBN 1-4215-1855-4. 
  24. Kishimoto, Masashi (2008). "Chapter 252". Naruto, Volume 28. Viz Media. p. 166. ISBN 1-4215-1864-3. 
  25. Kishimoto, Masashi (2006). "Chapter 297". Naruto, Volume 33. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-874108-6 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 
  26. Kishimoto, Masashi (2008). "Chapter 250". Naruto, Volume 28. Viz Media. p. 125. ISBN 1-4215-1864-3. 
  27. Kishimoto, Masashi (2006). "Chapter 312". Naruto, Volume 35. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-874273-1 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 
  28. Kishimoto, Masashi (2006). "Chapter 90". Naruto, Volume 10. Viz Media. p. 162. ISBN 1-4215-0240-2. 
  29. Kishimoto, Masashi (2006). "Chapter 18". Naruto, Volume 3. Viz Media. pp. 16–17. ISBN 1-59116-187-8. 
  30. Kishimoto, Masashi (2008). "Chapter 271". Naruto, Volume 30. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1942-9. OCLC 232546735. 
  31. Kishimoto, Masashi (2008). "Chapter 270". Naruto, Volume 30. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1942-9. OCLC 232546735. 
  32. Kishimoto, Masashi (2008). "Chapter 265". Naruto, Volume 30. Viz Media. ISBN 4-08-873881-9 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 
  33. Kishimoto, Masashi (2008). "Chapter 246". Naruto, Volume 28. Viz Media. p. 40. ISBN 1-4215-1864-3. 
  34. Kishimoto, Masashi (2005). "Chapter 54". Naruto, Volume 6. Viz Media. pp. 168–170. ISBN 1-59116-739-6. 
  35. Kishimoto, Masashi (2005). "Chapter 275". Naruto, Volume 31. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-874002-7 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 
  36. Kishimoto, Masashi (2006). "Chapter 309". Naruto, Volume 34. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-874138-3 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 
  37. Kishimoto, Masashi (2008). "Chapter 396". Naruto, Volume 43. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-874552-7 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 
  38. (DVD) Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow. Viz Video. 2007.
  39. (DVD) Naruto The Movie 2: Legend of the Stone of Gelel. Viz Video. 2008.
  40. (DVD) Naruto the Movie 3: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom. Viz Video. 2008.
  41. (DVD) 場版NARUTO−ナルト− 疾風伝. TV Tokyo. 2008.
  42. (DVD) 紅き四つ葉のクローバーを探せ. TV Tokyo. 2003.
  43. (DVD) Naruto OVA - The Lost Story. Viz Video. 2007.
  44. (DVD) ついに激突!上忍VS下忍!!無差別大乱戦大会開催!!. TV Tokyo. 2005.
  45. Bozon, Mark (2006-09-29). "Naruto: The Complete Fighter Profile". IGN. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  46. Alfonso, Andrew (2004-09-26). "TGS 2004: Naruto Gekitou Ninja Taisen! 3 Hands-on". IGN. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  47. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja English instruction manual. Namco Bandai. 2006. p. 26. 
  48. "NARUTO-ナルト- 疾風伝:TV東京 - Goods". TV Tokyo. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  49. Kishimoto, Masashi (2006). "Chapter 293". Naruto, Volume 33. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-874108-6 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 
  50. Naruto Collector (June, 2006). Viz Media. 2006. 
  51. "Naruto - Novelty - Sakura 3D Keychain". Viz Media. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  52. "Naruto - Apparel - Sakura Character Patch". Viz Media. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  53. "Naruto - Novelty - Sakura Leaf Village Patch - GE7257 -". Viz Media. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  54. Sparrow, A.E. (2007-11-09). "Naruto Reader's Guide". IGN. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  55. "IGN: Sakura Haruno Biography". IGN. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  56. Moure, Dani (September 1, 2006). "Naruto Unleashed Set 1.1". Mania Entertainment. Retrieved September 4, 2009. 

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