Shikamaru Nara in Naruto

Here are all the Naruto hand signs and what they actually do

By Steven Rondina


Aug 21, 2022

Reading time: 2 min

Hand signs are a big deal in Naruto, though they don’t always end up being important to the story.

Jutsus are the defining feature of Naruto’s fight scenes, with fireballs, shadow clones, and many other techniques popping up along the way. In order to utilize most of these skills, characters need to use a series of hand signs to focus and unleash their chakra. Though they’re not as iconic as the headbands ninjas wear in the Naruto series, a flash of hand signs is often seen as synonymous with the series.

But what are the hand symbols in the Naruto series? What do they mean, how many are there, and what do they look like? Here’s a complete guide.

Naruto hand signs guide

There are 12 primary hand signs in Naruto, with many other variations used for specific jutsu. Here is what each one looks like:

Blog post image

The 12 primary signs are each named for a different animal from the lunar calendar. For most jutsus in Naruto, a character uses anywhere from three to more than 10 signs in order to activate the ability. From there, the ability can be used and they can manifest in a number of different ways including being shot out of the mouth, flowing through hands, or just materializing out of thin air. Many have tried to make this look good in real life, but only a rare few have been able to succeed.

Generally speaking, different signs are associated with specific elements or styles of jutsu. For example, it’s shown that multiple fire techniques end with a tiger hand seal. Between the manga, anime, and movies, there have been hundreds of different jutsus shown at this point and not all of them have a definitive combination of hand signs associated with them. Still, there are enough common signs between similar jutsus to suggest there is a method to this madness.

Alongside the 12 primary hand signs, certain Naruto characters have hand signs associated with unique spells. Different characters have been shown to have unique hand signs or variations on the primary signs that are used with familial or forbidden techniques.


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