What Is Chakra? (in Naruto)

What Is Chakra? (in Naruto)

By: Ahmed Hersi, Journalist

Naruto is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. It tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja who seeks recognition from his peers and dreams of becoming the Hokage, the leader of his village.–Wikipedia.org

Chakra (チャクラchakura) is a substance native to lifeforms on some planets. Due to it being the component to create Chakra Fruit, the Osutsuki clan travel from planet to planet to absorb all the chakra on them in order to create the fruit to consume. On Earth, humans didn’t have chakra until Hamura and Hagoromo were born with it, which was a result of their mother Kaguya eating their planet’s chakra fruit from the God tree. Hagoromo spread chakra to others through a practice called ninshu, intending to create peace by using the chakra to connect people’s spiritual energy so that they would understand one another without even talking. However, the people did not use chakra in the way Hagoromo hoped, instead using it to connect their inner spiritual and physical energies. They kneaded their inner chakra to amplify and weaponise it, creating what is now known as ninjutsu.

Because chakra takes time and a great deal of training to gradually build up, the key to its use is not actually having large amounts of chakra but instead being able to sufficiently control and conserve it. This is called chakra control (チャクラコントロール chakura kontorōru). In order to have good chakra control, a ninja should only mould as much chakra as they need to perform a given ability. If they mould more chakra than is needed, the excess chakra is wasted and they will tire out faster from its loss. If they don’t mould enough chakra, a technique will not be performed effectively, if at all, likely creating problems in a combat situation. Because chakra consists in part of spiritual energy, the user is more easily able to mould the correct amount of chakra by remaining calm and focused.

General training methods for improving one’s moulding and manipulation of chakra are the Leaf Concentration, tree climbing, and water surface walking exercises. A good way to build up chakra in the body is to spin it into a tight spiral; Whether to spin the chakra left or right is dependent on the way the user’s hair grows. Hand seals are often used to manipulate chakra more easily, allowing shinobi to execute their techniques faster and more effectively. Shinobi who are extremely skilled at chakra control often specialise in genjutsu or become medical nin.

A more casual use is using chakra control to sober one’s self after consuming alcohol. Mei Terumi displays this ability when Shino advises her not to get too drunk during their meeting.

Chakra can also be used for general performance enhancement. By moulding the chakra into key points of the body, usually the hands or feet, it will greatly augment their physical prowess. Certain shinobi are able rely on this skill to gain a speed boost, acquire a sixth sense, and even perform super human strikes As shown in the anime, it is shown that moulding one’s chakra can also improve mental prowess, able to process information more efficiently.[13]

When creating a ninjutsu, the two methods of manipulating chakra are referred to as shape transformation and nature transformation:

  • Shape transformation deals with controlling the form, movement, and potency of one’s chakra, determining the size, range, and purpose of a technique.
  • Nature transformation deals with the moulding and defining of the nature of one’s chakra, altering its properties and characteristics for use in techniques. There is also the nature transformations of yin and yang, which deals with changing the ratio of spiritual and physical energies within chakra.

These two methods can be implemented separately or together in order to create a technique, though ninja who can use both simultaneously are said to be rare.