The plethora of characters in Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto is simply amazing. We’ve seen some truly amazing protagonists and antagonists, main characters that were great, and supporting characters that were awesome. Their stories expanded the world of Naruto and form an integral part of the series, along with the questions that their stories raised. One such question will be answered in this article, as we are going to explain how Karin is related to Naruto, i.e., how she is a member of the Uzumaki clan.
Karin is not directly related to Naruto Uzumaki, as far as we know, but they are distant relatives as Karin is a member of the Uzumaki clan through her unnamed mother, who was introduced in the anime (but is not yet present in the manga). Karin’s mother was a member of the clan who lived in Kusagakure, but her relation to Naruto’s family is likewise unknown.
The rest of this article is going to explain two things. First, we are going to tell you who Karin is since she is a relatively lesser-known supporting character. Then, we are going to explain her relation to Naruto and his clan. If you’re not fully up-to-date with everything that’s going on in the series, there might be some spoilers.
Who is Karin in Naruto?
After Uzushiogakure was destroyed in the war, the many different members of the Uzumaki clan were forced to flee, with Karin and her mother then residing in Kusagakure. According to the Sha’s writings, their entire village was destroyed and Karin was the only survivor, as she could tell from her hide that attackers were coming.
Her mother lost her life tending to the wounded, which had a strong impact on Karin. As a substitute for her dead mother, Karin – then still a child – had to stand in for her, which is why she was bitten by strangers against her will every day in order to heal them. The resulting trauma developed to such an extent that in Mugen Tsukuyomi she dreamed of killing the man who brought her to the injured, although the scars that remain always remind her of her past. One day, Orochimaru saved her from being sold because of her special abilities, which is why she always remains loyal to him.
He then took her in and since then she has lived in Otogakure, where she is involved in the experiments on Juugo and Suigetsu, among other things. However, she has to serve there as a healer and let herself be bitten, which lasted for several years. It wasn’t until she was about 16 years old that she was given the job of guarding a hideout, which meant she would no longer be used as a healer. From that day on, Karin never had to be bitten against her will again and only let Sasuke bite her of her own free will. With her team, she takes part in the Chunin selection test in Konohagakure, which Team 7 also takes part in. She manages the first part of the exam with her entire team.
However, during the trial in the Forest of Death, she becomes separated from her comrades and is left to her own devices. She is attacked by a giant bear. Just as he is about to eat her, Sasuke shows up and finishes him off with a Shishi Rendan. This is the moment when Karin and Sasuke meet for the first time. Sasuke doesn’t attack her, however, since Karin has the Earth Scroll, but Sasuke needs the Sky Scroll. With the words “See you then” he leaves her in the forest.
After joining Orochimaru, who valued her for her special abilities, she at an unspecified time takes over the management of his southern lair, which is located in the sea and is a kind of prison island. She seems to need little or no guards, as she can easily track down any prisoner with her Hiden, making escape all but impossible. After learning of his death while fighting Sasuke, she initially refuses to come out of hiding and join Team Hebi as she remains committed to Orochimaru.
However, her love for Sasuke is stronger and she also joins the team. In Orochimaru’s northern lair, she helps track down Juugo, who also joins the group. The team immediately sets out to find Itachi, but is also being followed by the eight-man team from Konoha, who want to find and catch Sasuke on the one hand, but also Itachi, and are also being sought by Deidara and Tobi, both of whom are either Naruto or want to catch or kill Sasuke. Here she is very useful with her Hiden, as she can accurately predict the movements of the team and thus makes a pursuit more difficult.
However, Sasuke must first stand against Deidara, but manages to survive his suicide attack. When Itachi finally reveals himself and suggests the Uchiha clan’s old hideout as a battleground, Sasuke goes there alone and defeats his brother in battle. During the fight, she stays behind with the rest of the team as Sasuke wants to fight alone and Kisame Hoshigaki doesn’t allow any interference on her part either.
After defeating Itachi, Sasuke is immediately sought out by Tobi and escorted to safety from the approaching eight-man team. In one of his hiding places, he patches him up and tells him the true story about Itachi and the extermination of the Uchiha clan. Deeply shaken by the truth, he obtains his Mangekyou Sharingan and decides to rename his team to Taka and punish those he believes are responsible for his brother’s death and his clan’s destruction: the elders of Konoha and the village themselves.
To this end, he and his team join forces with Akatsuki and are commissioned by Tobi to obtain the Hachibi. After tracking him down, the battle against his Jinchuuriki Killer B begins, proving to be an overpowering opponent for her three teammates. Karin largely holds back and limits her participation to locating the opponent. When Sasuke is severely injured by Killer B, she heals him by letting him bite her arm, and transferring her chakra, which has great healing powers, to him. After Killer B fully transforms into the Hachibi, the team wants to retreat, but Karin is too exhausted from Sasuke’s healing and is nearly killed by Killer B.
Sasuke just manages to save her with Chidori Eisou and Amaterasu, after which they seemingly capture the defeated Killer B. They then declare their deal with Akatsuki fulfilled and now want to go to Konoha to destroy the village that Sasuke still blames for the decline of his clan. However, they are confronted again by Tobi and Zetsu, who reveals to them that Killer B tricked them and is still at liberty. But they shouldn’t pursue the Hachibi any further, but infiltrate the meeting of the Kage, since Tobi has already commissioned Kisame to procure Bees.
How is Karin related to Naruto?
The history of Karin’s family is quite mysterious and the only family member of hers that we know of is her unnamed mother, who appeared only in the anime and never in the manga; this casts some shadow over the canon status of her story, but this is really all we have so we’ll work with it as if it were part of the canon (if and until Kishimoto says otherwise). Namely, we know that Karin is a member of the Uzumaki clan through her mother, who was a member of the Uzumaki clan herself. She lived in Kusagakure, so she wasn’t really part of the main family.
Now, we know that Karin’s mother moved to Kusagakure when Karin was still young and that she is, somehow, a direct descendant of the Uzumaki clan. Sadly, we know nothing about her family history so we don’t really know how she is related to the Uzumaki family. This means that Karin and Naruto are distant relatives, but the exact nature of their relationship is not known at this moment and they are just distant cousins, at least from what we could infer from the anime and the manga.