The Hokage (火影, Literally meaning: Fire Shadow) is the Kage of Konohagakure, a title bestowed on the village's leader. The Hokage is generally regarded as the strongest shinobi in the village. There have been seven Hokage in the village's history.
The Hokage position was created shortly after the creation of Konoha by Hashirama Senju, one of the village's founders. He intended the title to be given to his co-founder, Madara Uchiha, but the village's population instead selected Hashirama as the First Hokage. Madara feared that Hashirama's selection was the first step in making the Hokage office an extension of the Senju clan's authority, a fear Hashirama denied. Despite this, all of the village's Hokage have traced back to Hashirama in some way: the Second was his brother; the Third was his student; the Fourth was a student of one of the Third's students; the Fifth is his granddaughter and another student of the Third; the Sixth was a student of the Fourth; the Seventh is a student of the Sixth and the son of the Fourth.
The Hokage typically selects their successor. If they die or are otherwise incapacitated, the next Hokage is instead chosen by the daimyō of the Land of Fire with the advice of his committee, the Konoha Council, the Jōnin Commander and a representative of the Anbu. This choice must then be approved by Konoha's jōnin. If one of the Hokage's predecessors is still alive, they may return to office rather than select a new Hokage, as when the Third came out of retirement following the Fourth's death. The Hokage's inauguration is a major event in Konoha, with most of the village attending. The new Hokage is granted a ceremonial haori on the occasion; the same woman has embroidered the haori for all seven Hokage. Once they assume the duties of Hokage, their face is carved into the Hokage Rock and they usually move in to the Hokage Residence. The Hokage's office is located in the administrative section of the Academy.
Hokage are responsible for most of the village's day-to-day affairs, such as assigning the village's ninja to missions or securing funding for the village's projects and personnel. The Hokage spends most of their time in the village, only travelling abroad for events of vital importance to Konoha. Each Hokage typically lives according to the Will of Fire, a philosophy that holds that Konoha is a family and that the Hokage is chiefly responsible for protecting that family. The workload of Hokage can be quite formidable, and as such retired Hokage may continue to oversee certain sections of the village or, if not that, will advise the current Hokage on request.
List of Hokage
Main article: Hashirama Senju
Hashirama Senju (千手柱間, Senju Hashirama) was a member of the famed Senju clan. He himself was hailed as the "God of Shinobi" for his unmatched ninja prowess. Hashirama sought peace for the shinobi world, and to that end founded Konohagakure with his clan, his childhood friend and rival: Madara Uchiha and the Uchiha clan. He would later become the First Hokage (初代火影, Shodai Hokage, Literally meaning: First or Founding Fire Shadow) of Konohagakure. Although he was not able to achieve peace during his lifetime, his legacy and vision for the world would continue to shape the village and the entire shinobi world even after his death.
Main article: Tobirama Senju
Tobirama Senju (千手扉間, Senju Tobirama) was a member of the renowned Senju clan, who, together with his elder brother and the Uchiha clan, founded the first shinobi village: Konohagakure. Throughout his lifetime, Tobirama would work tirelessly to achieve political stability and implement the institutions that made the village system work, thus ensuring Konoha's continuity and prosperity. After his brother's death, he would succeed the title of Second Hokage (二代目火影, Nidaime Hokage, Literally meaning: Second Fire Shadow).
Main article: Hiruzen Sarutobi
Hiruzen Sarutobi (猿飛ヒルゼン, Sarutobi Hiruzen) was the Third Hokage (三代目火影, Sandaime Hokage, Literally meaning: Third Fire Shadow) of Konohagakure. A disciple of the village's previous Hokage, Hiruzen was a powerful ninja, hailed as a "God of Shinobi". Though he was only ever directly the teacher of the Sannin, generations of Konoha shinobi benefited from his wisdom during his lifetime.
Main article: Minato Namikaze
Minato Namikaze (波風ミナト, Namikaze Minato) was the Fourth Hokage (四代目火影, Yondaime Hokage, Literally meaning: Fourth Fire Shadow) of Konohagakure. He was famous in life for his speed, leading to the moniker of Konoha's Yellow Flash (木ノ葉の黄色い閃光, Konoha no Kiiroi Senkō, English TV: Yellow Flash of the Leaf). He died during the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox's Attack, sacrificing his life to seal a part of the Nine-Tails into his newborn son, Naruto Uzumaki.
Main article: Tsunade
Tsunade (綱手, Tsunade) is a descendant of the Senju clan and one of Konohagakure's Sannin; famed as the world's strongest kunoichi and its greatest medical-nin. The repeated loss of her loved ones caused Tsunade to develop a crippling fear of blood and she would later abandon the life of a shinobi for many years. She is eventually persuaded to return to Konoha and take on the mantle of Fifth Hokage (五代目火影, Godaime Hokage, Literally meaning: Fifth Fire Shadow), where her skills prove invaluable to the village.
Sixth Hokage Candidate
Main article: Danzō Shimura
Danzo Shimura (志村ダンゾウ, Shimura Danzō) was an elder of Konohagakure. As the founder and leader of Root, Danzō gained notoriety as The Darkness of the Shinobi (忍の闇, Shinobi no Yami, English TV: The Shinobi of Darkness) because of his frequent unsanctioned actions and his often-suspected (but rarely proven) undermining of specific Konoha personnel. Despite his decades of suspicious deeds, Danzō only ever acted in what he believed were the village's best interests. He was appointed the Sixth Hokage Candidate (六代目火影候補, Rokudaime Hokage Kōho, Literally meaning: Sixth Fire Shadow Candidate) after Pain's assault on the village. Prior to being inaugurated officially into this post, Danzō would flee the Five Kage Summit and died in battle at the Samurai Bridge.
Main article: Kakashi Hatake
Kakashi Hatake (はたけカカシ, Hatake Kakashi) is a shinobi of Konohagakure's Hatake clan. Famed as Kakashi of the Sharingan (写輪眼のカカシ, Sharingan no Kakashi), he is one of Konoha's most talented ninja; regularly looked to for advice and leadership despite his personal dislike of responsibility. To his students on Team 7, Kakashi teaches the importance of teamwork, a lesson he received, along with the Sharingan, from his childhood friend, Obito Uchiha. After the Fourth Shinobi World War, Kakashi becomes Konoha's Sixth Hokage (六代目火影, Rokudaime Hokage, Literally meaning: Sixth Fire Shadow).
Main article: Naruto Uzumaki
Naruto Uzumaki (うずまきナルト, Uzumaki Naruto) is a shinobi of Konohagakure. He became the jinchūriki of the Nine-Tails on the day of his birth — a fate that caused him to be shunned by most of Konoha throughout his childhood. After joining Team Kakashi, Naruto worked hard to gain the village's acknowledgement all the while chasing his dream to become Hokage. In the following years, through many hardships and ordeals, he became a capable ninja regarded as a hero both by the villagers, and soon after, the rest of the world, becoming known as the Hero of the Hidden Leaf (木ノ葉隠れの英雄, Konohagakure no Eiyū, Literally meaning: Hero of the Hidden Tree Leaves). He soon proved to be one of the main factors in winning the Fourth Shinobi World War, leading him to achieve his dream and become the village's Seventh Hokage (七代目火影, Nanadaime Hokage, Literally meaning: Seventh Fire Shadow).
- During his life, the Third Hokage was said to be the strongest Hokage in the village's history as well as strongest Kage of his time. Years later, the Seventh Hokage was also recognised in the same way.
- Orochimaru was a prime candidate to be the Fourth Hokage, but was passed over because he didn't embody the Will of Fire.
- Jiraiya was considered for the Hokage position multiple times: first prior to the Third's retirement, again after the Fourth's death, and once again after the Third's death. He refused each time because he believed he couldn't give the office the attention it deserved.
- The first six Hokage had their official photographs taken while wearing a ceremonial necklace of sorts.
- According to Asuma Sarutobi, Shikamaru Nara could someday be Hokage if he weren't so lazy.
- According to Boruto, Naruto refers to Sasuke as the "Shadow Hokage", due to Naruto protecting the village from the inside whereas Sasuke supports Naruto and protects the village from the outside. However, Sasuke never recognises himself as a Hokage due his past criminal acts and his personal life-long journey of atonement.
- In the Genjutsu World seen in Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie, Kizashi Haruno was the Fourth Hokage. Like the real Fourth Hokage, he gave his life to save the village.
- Naruto Uzumaki was made Hokage for a week in the storyline of Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3.
- Might Guy was made Hokage ("Guykage" as it was named) in the Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth Full Power Ninja Chronicles spin-off.
- In Jiraiya's novel The Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi, the village leader of Shuku is called the Kokage as an obvious homage to the Hokage position.
- Several victims of the Infinite Tsukuyomi dream of different Hokage:
- Kiba Inuzuka dreams that he is Hokage, a position he uses to declare a national holiday for dogs.
- Tsunade dreams that Dan Katō is Hokage.
- In the anime, Karin dreams that Sasuke Uchiha is the Sixth Hokage.