The 12 Basic Hand Signs (Seals) in Naruto & Their Meanings

The 12 Basic Hand Seals in Naruto & Their Meanings

The Hand Seal, in the Naruto franchise, also called a Hand Sign, is a technical element that all ninjas know since they are necessary to perform many genjutsu, ninjutsu and other techniques that are not Taijutsu and Kenjutsu. The exact amount of chakra needed will be determined through the hand seals. Each jutsu has different sequences of different seals so it is necessary to memorize them. The Seals were invented by Indra Ōtsutsuki. Although rare, it is possible for a ninja to be able to perform hand seals with only one hand. Shinobi seen so far with this ability are Haku, Yamato, Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha and in the anime Guren.

Although there are numerous seals in the franchise, only 12 of those can be considered to be basic Hand Seals and are known by all the shinobi in the series. These 12 Basic Seals are named after the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac and we are going to explain them to you in this article.


1. Rat (子, Ne)

naruto hand seal rat

This hand seal is commonly affiliated with the special Shadow Techniques of the Nara clan. Shadow Imitation allows the user to extend their shadow over a certain area and the presence of shadow allows this area to be extended to reach distant targets, however, the shadow surface must remain regular. Once in contact with the target’s shadow, the two merge, and the victim is forced to mimic the user’s movements.

Used several times in succession, this technique quickly tires the user. In addition, it gradually loses its effectiveness after repeated use. Its effectiveness also depends on chakra reserves. This technique is a Hiden (secret) jutsu: it is transmitted from generation to generation within the Nara clan.

2. Ox (丑, Ushi)

naruto hand sign ushi

Although the Ox is not specifically associated with any Nature Release, it is commonly used by the members of the Uchiha Clan for various Fire Release techniques. There is no specific technique to analyze here, as the Ox is very versatile.

3. Tiger (寅, Tora)

naruto hand sign tora

This seal is commonly used with Fire Release and Earth Release. The Fire Release Technique is a type of Elemental Chakra. The technique is performed by forming superheated chakra in the stomach, then released into the lungs and finally expelled from the mouth. There are also variations of this technique by mixing it by some means such as gunpowder, bomb cards, and chakra flow into a weapon.

Commonly paired with the Tiger Seal, the Fire Release is a long-range offensive technique that causes burn or explosive damage. This type of chakra is common among the ninja of the Leaf Village, in the Land of Fire, in particular, the Sarutobi clan and the Uchiha clan have a particular affinity. Amaterasu is classified as the highest form of the Fire Release.

Earth Release is a type of Elemental Chakra and allows the user to manipulate the surrounding earth to attack or defend or, if you are a high-level ninja, even create it from scratch. Earth Release has the ability to change the strength and composition of the earth to make it hard like metal or soft like clay, or to change its density by making it heavier or lighter.

This guarantees the user to travel within the terrain, which is essential for transport or for preparing attacks or defense strategies. This makes the Earth Release the most versatile element. The biggest users of this element are the ninjas of the Village of the Rock. The most common seal to use in this art is the Snake (or slam the palms of the hands against the ground).

4. Hare (卯, U)

naruto hand seal hare

The Hare is also not a Seal associated with a particular Elemental Release, but it is often used by either Sasuke or Kakashi whenever they are channeling the Chidori. Chidori is a technique that uses lightning-type Release, it was created by Kakashi Hatake, who would later teach his disciple, Sasuke Uchiha, becoming his signature technique.

This technique consists of the accumulation of a large amount of Chakra in the user’s hand and then converting it into electricity, the amount of Chakra is so large that it becomes visible. The high concentration of electrical energy produces a sound reminiscent of bird songs, hence its name. Once this is done, the person goes to his target with great speed in order to attack and damage his target.

Because this technique uses the Raiton to improve attack and penetration power, it causes its simple contact to cause damage that is usually fatal, for this reason, it is classified as an immediate assassination technique. In the battle between Sasuke and Killer B, the Chidori is also used to deliver a simple electric shock to his opponent powerful enough to keep him disoriented for a few seconds.

5. Dragon (辰, Tatsu)

naruto hand seal dragon

The Dragon is a very specific seal. It is not attached to any specific elemental Release technique, but it can be combined with every Elemental Release to create a dragon-shaped manifestation of that particular element. It is actually more cool than practical since it drains a lot of energy and is rather impractical for the hands.

6. Snake (巳, Mi)

tori hand snake

This seal is often used with the Earth, Lightning, and Wood Release. Lightning Release is a type of Elemental Chakra that guarantees the user to generate electricity, increasing the vibration frequency of their chakra, so as to be able to deliver precise attacks and high-speed movements. Electricity paralyzes the target preventing them from further movement and leaving them vulnerable to generally final blows.

Although rarely, electricity can be infused into weapons, such as swords and shurikens, in a similar way to the Wind Release, giving them greater penetration and damage. When the technique is released from the user’s body, and does not require physical contact, the electricity generated does not move as fast as normal lightning.

On the contrary, depending on the degree of ability to control, it moves slowly so as to be able to give an opportunity to react to an opponent. This type of chakra is common among the ninjas of the Cloud Village.

Wood Release is an innate ability formed by the union of the element of Water and Earth that allows the user to create wood, trees, entire forests, seeds, and flowers. The techniques that derive from it can escape anywhere in the surrounding environment, even from the user’s body, as the chakra is converted into a source of life.

7. Horse (午, Uma)

naruto hand seal horse

The Horse is also not associated with any specific Elemental Release, but we could see Sasukeuse the hand sign for his Fireball technique. It’s also used in dispelling illusory genjutsu techniques. The Fire Release: Great Fireball Technique is a Fire Release Jutsu performed primarily by the Uchiha Clan. It is a powerful technique that consists of storing a large amount of Chakra inside the body, turning it into fire to proceed to expel it from the mouth in the form of a massive sphere of flames.

The range of the attack depends on the amount of Chakra that is gathered. This technique has high destructive power, as it is capable of destroying the ground in its path and causing large explosions that leave large craters on impact. The intensity of the flames is high enough to cause severe burns that would lead to death in most cases.

8. Ram (未, Hitsuji)

naruto hand seal ram

The Ram is one of the most common Hand Seals in the franchise, although it is not associated with any particular Elemental Release. What it is associated with, though, is Naruto’s Shadow Clone Jutsu, which is why it has been seen so often. The Shadow Clone Jutsu is a technique developed by the Second Hokage Tobirama Senju, which consists of creating identical duplicates in every aspect of the user to use for various purposes.

This technique is a high-grade Jōnin-level Ninjutsu that consists of creating clones identical to the user to support and perform combined attacks. The clones created through the technique are not mere illusions, they are solid clones capable of physically attacking the enemy. The user’s Chakra is evenly distributed among each clone created, giving each one a fraction of the original’s total power.

The clones are capable of performing techniques on their own, including the Shadow Clone Jutsu, they show that they can bleed, but it usually dissipates after being hit hard enough. Clones can also dispel themselves or be dispelled by the user of the technique.

9. Monkey (申, Saru)

naruto hand seal monkey

The Monkey, one of the easier seals to mimic, is not related to any specific Elemental Release. What is interesting about this Seal, though, is that it is used by Sasuke in the first phases of activating his Chidori Technique. As far as we know, it doesn’t have any other application.

10. Bird (酉, Tori)

tori hand seal

This seal is commonly used with the Wind Release Technique. Wind Release is a type of Elemental Chakra. The technique is performed by making the chakra as strong and thin as possible. Wind Release is normally a short to medium range technique, which combines brute force and precision to cut or create slash damage.

A rarity in comparison to the other primary elemental chakras, wind techniques are generally used to generate a displacement that can be empowered via this method. The Wind-type chakra can also be channeled into weapons, such as swords and kunai, to increase their cutting abilities and range. This type of chakra is common among the ninjas of the Sand Village.

11. Dog (戌, Inu)

dog hand seal naruto

This seal is commonly used with Water Release and, in the first film, Ice Release. Water Release is a derivation of the five types of Elemental Chakra that allows the user to manipulate the surrounding water or to create it by transforming it from his own Chakra. The thing that requires more skill is to create water outside of one’s body rather than using existing water or expelling it from the mouth.

One of the most versatile types of Elemental Chakra, the Water Release techniques can not only change shape but also state. The more it is transformed, the harder the water becomes. Affinity with the Water Relea is more common among the Ninja of the Mist Village. Offensive Water techniques appear to inflict damage from the sudden force they exert, which causes many internal injuries to a human.

Ice Release is an advanced form of Elemental Chakra typical of the Yuki Clan that allows you to combine the Wind chakra with that of Water to create ice. The ice that Haku creates is resistant to fire-based attacks. Using his innate Haku develops several powerful techniques, the most powerful technique being the Evil Mirrors Technique, which allows him to surround the opponent with a series of ice mirrors and attack him with incredible speed.

He himself states that having water nearby is an advantage as he can simply freeze it to make ice. In the first Naruto movie, several Snowland ninjas possess skills and techniques using Ice Release. However, these are not the product of an innate ability as Kakashi is able to copy them with the Sharingan.

12. Boar (亥, I)

boar hand sign naruto

The Boar is not crucial for any particular basic nature transformation technique we have described earlier, but it is quite essential to a successful summoning jutsu. The Summoning Jutsu is a Space-Time Ninjutsu that allows the user to summon animals or objects from long distances to generally use them in combat or ask for help to carry out a task.

People generally summon the creatures through the use of hand signs and a blood sacrifice. But in order to carry out the technique, it is necessary to have, already written, a contract with a certain species by using the person’s blood as a signature. So by having this, the user – all he does is perform the necessary hand seals and after drawing some blood and placing it on the hand with which he signed on any surface or part, it causes some signs to appear allowing the creature to appear, usually in the form of a cloud of white smoke.

The amount of Chakra molded will represent the size of the creature or being summoned. If the person tries to summon an animal without first signing a contract, the user will be transported to the place where the species that have a natural affinity with it reside.

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