Known in the world of Naruto as the strongest kunoichi and its greatest medical-nin, Tsunade is one of the greatest female characters created by Masashi Kishimoto. She’s got more than a few personality flaws, along with a handful of accolades and titles. Tsunade is the granddaughter of the powerful Hashirama Senju and Mito Uzumaki. She inherited her grandfathers Will of Fire, along with his strategic and intellectual smarts. As much as her chest is made a focus in Naruto, it’s just to distract you from how powerful she really is.
After some traumatic events in her life, Tsunade became afraid of blood. Upon fighting side-by-side with Naruto and Jiraiya against Orochimaru, she overcomes her fears and her story takes off. Sadly, Kishimoto created her character arc like he wasn’t sure how much of how much influence he wanted her to have in the story. She pops in and out of timelines, and as Hokage, she never even fully shows off her true potential as a fighter. While this hampered her popularity initially from Naruto fans, many today recognize her influence and uniqueness.
The best way to sum up who Tsunade is, would be through her own words while speaking to Madara. “It's true that I'm a woman… but I'm definitely not a weak woman… What I inherited from my grandfather isn't just simple 'power'. My true strength comes from that which was passed down from the First to each generation afterwards… Don't underestimate the Will of Fire!”
From nights of hard drinking and late-night gambling to leading the village as a Kage, here are 20 crazy things you didn’t know about Tsunade in Naruto.
20 She Had Secret Feelings For A Deviant Team Member
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JiraTsuna wasn’t just a fandom shipping couple, secretly they were the real deal. Jiraiya and Tsunade were on Team Hiruzen when they were younger, later becoming the Legendary Sannin with Orochimaru as a third wheel. Jiraiya’s feelings for Tsunade began back then, but Tsuande would fall in love with Dan Katō.
As life went on, the two would share drinks together and Tsunade’s feelings for Jiraiya would grow stronger. But she never expressed them to him, keeping them hidden. When Jiraiya announced to her he was going to fight Pain, she begged him not to. Jiraiya joked that she was showing her feelings for him, and she commented that when he came back, she would give him a chance. As he left, Tsunade cried, remembering their good times together.
19 She’s The Kitty LeRoy Wannabe Of Naruto
Tsuande had more than a few personality flaws of her own, one of which was her addiction towards gambling. She might have dreamed of being the Kitty LeRoy of Naruto, but her track record as a gambler earned her the title of Legendary Sucker instead. She earned this name by being suckered into placing large amounts of money on bad bets.
On the offshoot that luck was her lady and she would go on a winning streak, Tsuande would get out of town quickly, knowing she was about to experience bad luck in real life. When Jiraiya left to fight Pain, she said she was betting against him, figuring she always lost when she bet and he’d come back victorious. In New Generations, Tsuande is wandering around somewhere kicking drinks back and still racking up huge losses.
18 Tsunade Revolutionized The Medical Ninja System
Known as the greatest medical-nin in the world, Tsunade revolutionized the Medical Ninja System in Naruto. Despite receiving accolades from her peers, Tsuande would often admit that her grandfather Hashirama Senju (First Hokage) was a greater medical-nin than her. Madara, who knew Hashirama all too well, commented after seeing her Ninja Art Creation Rebirth — Strength of a Hundred Technique that her abilities were equivalent to her grandfather's.
Tsunade is credited in Naruto with creating the Medical Ninja System. She did this by instituting laws her students and other medical-nin should abide by. These four rules changed the landscape for medical-nin and how teams with a medical-nin should operate while in battle.
The laws include never ceasing medical treatment until death, no medic ninja shall ever stand on the front lines, and no medic ninja shall ever die until they are the last of their platoon.
17 She’ll Never Look Her Actual Age
Tsunade has massive amounts of chakra which she learned to control and store in the Strength of a Hundred Seal (diamond on her forehead). By combining her stored up reserves of chakra with Transformation Technique, Tsunade can alter her appearance. Hence, she can remain looking stunning all her life.
Normally the Transformation Technique is used to alter a person’s appearance like when Naruto uses it for his deviant jutsu. Tsunade, however, has such amazing control of her chakra that she uses it to remain looking young, without even exerting any effort on her part. It’s thought this technique could shorten a person’s lifespan, but it’s actually the use of her Creation Rebirth that can shorten her life. The only time you’ll see her true appearance, is if her chakra is completely drained.
16 She Sees Sakura How Jiraiya Saw Naruto
Tsunade took Sakura under her wing much like Jiraiya did for Naruto. Sakura lacked any specific combat skills, but her dedication to her studies were off-the-hook. Because of this, and her dedication to become valuable, Tsunade trained Sakura for two-and-a-half years.
Like Naruto, Sakura showed the potential for becoming greater than her teacher in the Fourth Shinobi World War when she formed the Strength of a Hundred Seal. Sakura can also summon Katsuyu, just like Tsunade can. Tsunade essentially handed Sakura the reins concerning medical jutsu, much like Jiraiya passed along all his skills to Naruto.
Sakura was the first female student Tsunade took under her wings and taught everything she knows. Considering how Tsunade liked to keep to herself, this was a huge step for her. Nonetheless, the bond between both women was strong and still is to this day.
15 Tsunade’s Listed As The Most Powerful Woman In Naruto
Tsunade’s power isn’t necessarily shown in Naruto as much as fans would’ve wanted, but there’s no denying how powerful she is. According to the databook stats Tsunade scores a total of 35 out of 40, with a five in ninjutsu, taijutsu, intelligence, and strength. She’s only a half point behind Jiraiya and Itachi, who are tied for having the highest databook scores.
According to the databook stats, Tsunade is the most powerful female character in the Naruto series. Her list of accolades also includes being known as the world’s strongest kunoichi and greatest medical-nin.
Jiraiya learned the hard way regarding getting Tsunade mad when she busted six ribs and broke his arms for being deviant around her. She also split the ground with just one finger in front of Naruto.
14 She Lost Every Man She Has Ever Loved
Tsunade has experienced nothing but tragedy with those she has loved the most. She lost her brother Nawaki when he was only 12-years-old. Nawaki wanted to become Hokage like their grandfather, and Tsunade supported him by giving Nawaki the necklace Hashirama gave to her.
Sometime after Nawaki’s death, Tsunade fell in love with Dan Katō. Both were advocates for having a medical ninja assigned to every squad. Dan especially felt this way after his younger sister died. Katō would fight in the Second Shinobi World War and die due to injuries, despite Tsunade desperately trying to save him.
After Dan’s passing, Tsunade kept to herself. Secretly she loved Jiraiya, maybe like a brother or possibly more. Jiraiya wouldn’t return from his fight with pain and Tsunade never loved another man again.
13 She Hated Being Picked On As A Kid
There’s a great scene in Naruto when Sakura and Ino question Tsunade about what she looked like when she was their age. Tsunade transforms herself and both girls are astonished she was flat chested like them. Blown away by this discovery the girls start asking Tsunade a barrage of questions about how her anatomy developed like it did.
Being a girl on a team with two guys and having a flat chest led to Tsunade being picked on in her younger days. She took these jokes in stride, unless Jiraiya pushed too far, and used being picked on as leverage to increase her strength. You could almost say that being picked on gave Tsunade the focus and determination to become the strongest woman possible.
12 Her Name Is Often Translated Incorrectly
Translating a language can be complicated, especially when characters can have multiple meanings. The name Tsunade (綱手) is usually translated to mean “mooring rope.” But the character (綱) translated through simplified Chinese creates a whole new meaning for her name. Instead of mooring rope, Tsunade’s name means “steel hand.”
Personally, we think Kishimoto had this translation in mind when giving Tsunade her name. Within the Japanese culture names are still important, whereas in the western part of the world, the meaning of a name has gone by the wayside. Steel Hand fits Tsunade, especially if you’ve witnessed what that hand can do to a Naruto character on the receiving end of her punch. Jiraiya might have a few things to say about it.
11 She’s Completed Over A 1000 Missions
Tsunade has multiple titles that have been given to her. She’s a Kage, Legendary Sannin, and greatest medical-nin. Missions help rank ninjas by classification while also being a source of income too. Tsunade completed 1,256 official missions in Naruto, which is a really high number compared to the other characters.
According to the rank classifications, she has completed 40 D-rank, 236 C-rank, 467 B-rank, 418 A-rank, and 95 S-rank. D-rank missions are for genin fresh out of the Academy. C-rank and B-rank are for experienced genin or chūnin, and A-rank is for jonin.
The reward money for an A-rank mission is between one hundred fifty thousand and a million ryō. An S-rank mission is for an experienced jōnin concerning state-level confidential matters and pays a minimum of one million ryō and up. Guess we know where Tsunade gets her gambling money from now.
10 Tsunade’s A Loner Who Plays Well With Others
Despite how powerful the Legendary Sannin were together, they had trouble getting along and often butted heads over matters of strategy and use of power. Tsunade is an outlier amongst other ninjas and doesn’t fit in within a specific group. But because of her time spent as a Legendary Sannin, she knows how to play well with others when she needs too.
Shizune is the only person who Tsunade let get close to her after Dan Katō’s death. Ironically, Shizune is Dan’s niece. She views her purpose in life as one who needs to take care of Tsunade, being a good friend and a sound voice of reason. Even after being Hokage, Tsunade still lived a quiet life and when she wasn’t needed anymore, she melded back into the shadows to do her own thing.
9 She’s Helped Two Generations Become Hokage After Her
Upon Tsunade’s departure from the Hokage position, Danzō Shimura was elected to take office next. However, Shimura would die in battle at the Samurai Bridge before being officially appointed the position. Retirement went out the window for Tsunade as Kakashi Hatake was appointed as the official sixth Hokage. She would stick around for his first year, helping with administrative duties and various other tasks. Without her help he might not have remained Hokage long.
Tsunade also helped Naruto become Hokage by setting the stage for him during Kakashi’s stint. Eager to be out of the public spotlight, she doesn’t aid Naruto with administrative work like she did for Kakashi, which is evident when you watch Boruto. During her own stint as Hokage, Tsunade was grooming Naruto, knowing he would be Hokage one day.
8 She Might Be Related To Naruto?!?
While it might be more theory and fan fiction than fact, Tsunade and Naruto being related is too good to pass up on. The theory begins with Tsunade’s grandparents, Hashirama Senju (the first Hokage) and Mito Uzumaki. Then it ties in Naruto’s mom, Minato, as her mom is an unnamed character in the Naruto series. The theory is that this unnamed character is a daughter of Hashirama who is also unnamed in the story.
The complexity of it all is probably why Kishimoto avoided using it, but the evidence is strong that Tsunade could be related to Naruto as his great aunt. Since it was already established that Naruto’s bloodline could be traced back to the Senju Clan, Kishimoto probably left this complicated family tree alone to avoid blurring the line.
7 Her Character Was Influenced By A Japanese Folktale
Japanese literature influenced Kishimoto and Naruto in a variety of ways. Most notably with the Legendary Sannin. In the same way that Jiraiya’s character came from a Japanese Folktale, so did some of Tsunade’s character.
Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari, or The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya, was first published in 1839 as 43 illustrated novels completed by four different authors. In this Japanese folktale, Tsunade and Jiraiya are thrown down a cliff and left to die. But a hermit named Senso Dojin finds them and cares for them. Training them to take revenge Tsunade is trained in slug magic (sound familiar?) and their first battle was against the evil Orochimaru.
While you might think Kishimoto stole the ideas from this crazy story, the folktale itself has been adapted dozens of times over since its creation in a variety of different forms from manga to video games.
6 Of The Senju Clan, Tsunade Is The Last
While other characters such as Naruto might be able to trace their lineage back to the Senju Clan, Tsunade is the last direct descendent. For the Naruto story as a whole, this is actually a good thing. The Senju and Uchiha Clans were enemies for generations, with many forgetting why they even hated each other. With Madara finally resting somewhere in the afterlife and Sasuke working with Naruto, the rivalry between the two clans seems to be at an end.
Senju means “a thousand skills” which lines up nicely with the characters in Naruto who can identify as being part of the Senju Clan. Those who were born or married into the clan are known for being powerful individuals who excel in leadership and technical skills.
5 Tsunade Is Shorter Than You Think She Is
In Japan, there is a cultural phenomenon going on where classes are being offered to empower woman by teaching them how to walk in heels. While this may seem a bit odd, consider that Tsunade’s sandals had a two-inch heel on them. Yeah, she fought battles essentially in sandal heels.
Tsunade wasn’t the only Legendary Sannin wearing raised sandals as Jiraiya did too. Japanese Geta wooden sandals have a 1-2 inch raised height on them and are typically worn with traditional clothing. It’s interesting that both Tsunade and Jiraiya wore these types of sandals all the time, especially during battles. The ones Jiraiya wore added almost 3 inches to his height.
In Japan Geta wooden sandals are also typically worn during the rain and snow seasons, keeping an individual’s feet somewhat dry from the elements. Sandals are the preferred foot wear due to the cultural custom of having to remove shoes when entering homes and even businesses.
4 She’s Alive And Well In New Generations
Ever wonder what happened to Tsunade after the wedding of Naruto and Hinata? The last time she is recorded in Naruto, Tsunade is hanging out with other retired Kage’s 12 years after the wedding during a Five Kage Summit. As she puts it, she’s having a drink with the other Kage’s and listening to them complain.
In the solo Sakura manga titled Sakura Hiden: Thoughts of Love, Riding Upon a Spring Breeze, Sakura asks for help from Tsunade, but is turned down because she wants Sakura to figure things out for herself. Plus, she claims she’s retired and doesn’t have to work anymore. While it seems like Tsunade won’t appear in Boruto because of this, a major disaster threatening the village or a plea from Naruto himself might be enough to pull her out of retirement.
3 Tsunade Had No Intentions Of Becoming Hokage
Being a loner and an outlier, Tsunade never had any intentions of becoming Hokage. Despite her powers, exceptional leadership skills, and her Senju blood, she was content doing her own thing. It wasn’t until Jiraiya urged her to take the gig that the thought of becoming a Hokage was a reality for her.
Perhaps she ended up doing it to honor Dan and her brother as both had dreamed of becoming the Hokage one day. She also might have done it because of Jiraiya’s encouragement, knowing he would never in a 1000 lifetime’s take on the role himself. Although, her first response to Jiraiya regarding becoming Hokage had her stating: “Only a fool would ever want the title.” From legendary sucker to fool, Tsunade sure knows how to roll.
2 Each Legendary Sannin Has Trained Someone From Team 7
Each member of Team 7 in Naruto was trained by a one of the Legendary Sannin. Jiraiya trained Naruto, Tsunade trained Sakura, and Orochimaru taught Sasuke. Team 7 has basically become the new generation Sannin. All three members of Team 7 are alive and well in Boruto, helping shape the lives of their kids while maintaining the peace they fought so hard to get.
Tsunade played her part in this by training and teaching Sakura. She’s also played a large part in setting Naruto up to become the Seventh Hokage, which is a position he still holds in Boruto.
Tsunade had major and minor roles throughout the Naruto series. Her influence on the story arc and other characters is undeniably strong, having her live up to her title as a Legendary Sannin.
1 Tsunade’s Favorite Food Involves Getting Drinks
Most Naruto characters have a favorite food item, like ramen is for Naruto. According to the databooks, Tsunade’s favorite foods are chicken breast and sake. Now this can be taken one of two ways. Either she considers sake a food item, or Tsunade enjoys her chicken breast marinated in sake. Either way, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Tsunade enjoys herself.
Tsunade’s least favorite food is listed as liver sashimi. I think we can all agree that whatever liver sashimi is, it’s not tasty. What this says about Tsunade is she enjoys a good drink and munchies to go along with it, especially if it’s a thick chicken breast.