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Naruto Shippuden is a popular anime series that continues the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja who wants to become the Hokage, the leader of his village. The anime is based on the manga of the same name by Masashi Kishimoto, and it features many characters, each with their own background, personality, and skills.

One of these characters is Asuma Sarutobi, a jonin (a high-level ninja) who belongs to the Sarutobi clan, a famous and respected family of shinobi (ninja) that have produced several Hokage. He is also the leader of Team 10, a squad of young ninja that consists of Shikamaru Nara, Ino Yamanaka, and Choji Akimichi.

In this article, we will explore the character of Asuma Sarutobi, his role in the anime, his relationship with Kurenai Yuhi, his death, and his legacy. We will also compare his anime portrayal with his original appearance in the novel Itachi Shinden: Book of Bright Light, which is a spin-off of the main Naruto series that focuses on the life of Itachi Uchiha, a rogue ninja and a former friend of Asuma.

All about Asuma Sarutobi

  • Birthdate: October 18
  • Sex: Male
  • Age: Part I: 27–28 – Part II: 31
  • Status: Deceased
  • Height: Part I: 190.8 cm
  • Weight: Part I: 81.6 kg
  • Blood type: O
  • Affiliation: Konohagakure
  • Team: Twelve Guardian Ninja Team 10 – Twenty Platoons

Asuma Sarutobi’s Background

Asuma Sarutobi is a jonin of Konohagakure (the Hidden Leaf Village) and a member of the Sarutobi clan. He is the son of Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Third Hokage, and Biwako Sarutobi, and the uncle of Konohamaru Sarutobi, a young ninja who idolizes Naruto.

He is also the lover of Kurenai Yuhi, a fellow jonin and the leader of Team 8, and the father of Mirai Sarutobi, a kunoichi (a female ninja) who is born after his death.

Asuma is a tall and muscular man, with brown eyes, olive skin, short spiky black hair, and a black spiky beard. He usually wears the standard jonin uniform, which consists of a green flak jacket, a blue shirt, black pants, and sandals.

He also wears a pair of silver earrings, a forehead protector with the symbol of his village, and a sash around his waist. He is often seen smoking a cigarette, but he quits the habit when he learns that Kurenai is pregnant with his child.

Asuma is a laid-back and friendly person, who cares deeply for his friends, his students, and his village. He has a close bond with Shikamaru Nara, the smartest and laziest member of his team, who he often plays shogi (a Japanese board game) with.

He also respects and admires his father, who he had a disagreement with in the past, and who he tries to live up to. He is loyal to the Will of Fire, the philosophy of his clan and his village, which values peace, cooperation, and sacrifice.

What is his role in the anime?

Asuma Sarutobi’s role in the anime is mainly to be a mentor and a father figure to his students, especially Shikamaru, who he helps to grow and mature as a ninja and a person. He is also a skilled and experienced fighter, who participates in several battles and missions, both in the past and in the present.

He is also a key character in the arc of the Akatsuki, a criminal organization that seeks to capture the tailed beasts, powerful creatures that are sealed within certain ninja, such as Naruto.

He is one of the few people who knows the true identity and the motives of Itachi Uchiha, a former member of the Akatsuki and a former friend of Asuma, who he met when he was part of the Twelve Guardian Ninja, a group of elite shinobi who protected the Land of Fire’s daimyo (lord).

Asuma Sarutobi’s Personality

Asuma was typically a laid-back individual, and did not get himself involved in things unless absolutely necessary, as seen when he decided not to help save Hinata Hyūga during her fight in the Chūnin Exams.

He was a heavy smoker, but, despite this, he would abruptly break the habit under certain circumstances, such as when his father died or learned that Kurenai was pregnant.

Not always seeing eye to eye with his father, Asuma later came to respect his father’s role as Hokage: referring to him as a great father, and was proud to have been born into the Sarutobi clan.

Despite Asuma’s very blunt personality, often calling his students what they were unreservedly, a “glutton” (Chōji), a “loud mouth” (Ino), and a “slacker” (Shikamaru), he had a very good relationship with all three.

He often took them to Yakiniku Q for lunch and dinner where more often than not Chōji would eat too much and Asuma had to pay more and apologise emphatically to the owner.

To help them overcome their underachieving natures, he attempted to use bribery and outright trickery to manipulate them into doing what he wanted.

This was seen most with Chōji, who Asuma was frequently able to entice into action with the promise of food and even Shikamaru whom he had to use games like shōgi on to assess his skill level. Out of his students, Asuma spent the most time with and was closest to Shikamaru.

Asuma and Shikamaru often played shōgi or Go in their free time, though Asuma was never able to beat Shikamaru. It was Asuma who first discovered that the lazy Shikamaru was actually a genius, with an I.Q. over 200.

Throughout the series it had been heavily hinted that Asuma was romantically involved with fellow jōnin Kurenai Yūhi, having been close to her since childhood. The two appeared together in most of their scenes, and the other characters made it a point to note this fact on several occasions.

When Kakashi Hatake found the two together at a dumpling shop, Kakashi asked if they were on a date, to which Asuma responded by quickly changing the subject.

In a flashback, Asuma was shown buying flowers for a person he refused to name, though Ino asked that he say hello to Kurenai for her anyway, to which Asuma nervously asked how she knew about it.

During Asuma’s battle with Hidan and Kakuzu, Kurenai was often shown wondering about his progress, appearing anxious. When she heard of his death, she fell to her knees grief stricken.

She later laid flowers on his grave during his funeral. The truth of their relationship was then made clear when Kurenai revealed that she was pregnant with Asuma’s child.

Asuma Sarutobi’s Appearance

Asuma was a tall man, with brown eyes, olive skin, short black spiky hair, and a beard. His clothing consisted of the standard Konoha ninja uniform with the sleeves rolled up half way, flak jacket, regular shinobi sandals and forehead protector.

He also wore a sash that had the kanji for “Fire” (火) marked on it around his waist, a pair of black bangles, and bandages wrapped around the arms of his sleeves.

As a genin, he wore a white short sleeved shirt with a blue and black collar over chain-mail armour, along with a simple white vest, a pair of black pants, and a white belt.

In the anime, it was shown that while he was a member of the Twelve Guardian Ninja, he wore a simple long sleeved shirt with bandages on the arms, pants, that sash denoting he was a guardian and a jacket with a fur collar. He also had his trench knives with him at that point.

What is his relationship with Kurenai Yuhi?

Kurenai Yuhi is a jonin of Konohagakure and the leader of Team 8, which consists of Kiba Inuzuka, Shino Aburame, and Hinata Hyuga. She is also the lover of Asuma Sarutobi, and the mother of his daughter, Mirai Sarutobi.

Asuma and Kurenai met when they were both students at the Konoha Academy, a school that trains young ninja. They became friends, and later, classmates, when they graduated and became genin (low-level ninja).

They also became teammates, along with Raido Namiashi, when they became chunin (mid-level ninja). They developed feelings for each other, but they kept their relationship a secret from most people, except for their close friends and their students. They also supported each other in their roles as teachers and leaders, and they often went on missions together.

Asuma and Kurenai’s relationship was tested when Asuma was killed by Hidan, a member of the Akatsuki, who used a curse technique to stab himself and inflict the same wound on Asuma.

Asuma died in Kurenai’s arms, after telling her that he loved her and their unborn child. Kurenai was devastated by his death, but she was comforted by her friends and her students, who vowed to avenge him.

She later gave birth to their daughter, Mirai, who inherited Asuma’s eyes and Kurenai’s hair. She raised her as a single mother, and taught her about her father and his legacy.

How did he die?

As mentioned above, Asuma Sarutobi died at the hands of Hidan, a member of the Akatsuki, who killed him with a curse technique. He was one of the first victims of the Akatsuki’s hunt for the tailed beasts, and his death marked a turning point in the story.

Asuma, along with Shikamaru, Kotetsu Hagane, and Izumo Kamizuki, was sent on a mission to track down and capture two Akatsuki members, Hidan and Kakuzu, who were targeting the Two-Tails, a tailed beast that was sealed within Yugito Nii, a ninja from Kumogakure (the Hidden Cloud Village).

They managed to find them, and engaged them in a fierce battle. Asuma fought against Hidan, who revealed his ability to link his body with his opponent’s, by drawing their blood and performing a ritual with a three-bladed scythe and a Jashin symbol.

He then stabbed himself in the chest, causing Asuma to suffer the same injury. Asuma collapsed, bleeding profusely, while Hidan mocked him and his beliefs.

Shikamaru, who had analyzed Hidan’s technique, managed to save Asuma by using his shadow technique to force Hidan out of the symbol, breaking the link.

He then used his strategy and his intelligence to trap Hidan with his shadow, and to sever his head with a wire. He then tried to help Asuma, who was still alive, but barely. Asuma gave his last words to his students, telling them to take care of themselves, their team, and their village.

He also told Shikamaru to be a good leader, and to protect Kurenai and their child. He then asked for a cigarette, and died with a smile on his face.

Asuma Sarutobi’s Abilities

Asuma was a highly talented, well respected jōnin of village, gaining praise from Shikaku Nara of being a great shinobi who is not easy to take down. He established a great record in military prowess something many upcoming shinobi greatly admired.

His abilities earned him a position into the Twelve Guardian Ninja an elite hand-picked team which served to protect the Land of Fire’s daimyō a role which later earned him a bounty of 35,000,000 ryō.

He could effortlessly take down nine Oto-nin during the Konoha Crush, noted to have been chūnin-level or above, and was able to compete against Hidan, a powerful member of the Akatsuki, while also protecting his team.


Asuma was hailed as Konoha’s foremost skilled ninja in close ranged melee combat. His battle style revolved mainly around taijutsu, combined with his special trench knives to create a melee type fighting style. These knives are made of a special metal that is capable of easily being infused with chakra.

With his Flying Swallow, he could extend the blades with his chakra to injure an enemy several feet out of the blade’s physical range, as well as increase the cutting power of the blades to the point of easily slicing through trees, rocks, and even metal. He was also physically strong enough to block Kisame Hoshigaki’s Samehada using his trench knives.


In the anime, Asuma was taught how to use the ultimate technique of the Fire Temple, the Welcoming Approach: Thousand Armed Murder. While admitting to not be as skilled with it as Chiriku, he was able to effectively manifest the spirit to attack and defend to a certain extent.

Nature Transformation

Asuma possessed an affinity to Wind Release. He would mainly combine it with his trench knives to increase their lethality. As explained by Asuma to Naruto, due to having an affinity for the nature, the trench knives will gain enough striking power to pierce through rock.

He could also release a powerful stream of wind, and in the anime, use his wind-based chakra to levitate his trench knives and control them remotely.

Asuma was also able to use Fire Release. With it, he can use the Fire Release: Ash Pile Burning technique to breathe out a thick cloud of gunpowder infused ash that causes a devastating explosion when ignited, leaving the target with third degree burns.

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