Tsunade is one of the more interesting characters from the Naruto franchise by Masashi Kishimoto. Although a secondary character by all means, Tsunade actually became one of the more intriguing characters to appear in the whole franchise, being interesting both in and out-of-universe. She is one of the most powerful shinobi in the whole series and a character that had a large impact on the plot, especially during her brief term as the Fifth Hokage, which lasted only four years. In this article, we are going to reveal to you why Tsunade’s term as Hokage was so short.
It was never revealed why Tsunade actually stopped being Hokage, but it probably has to do with why she became Hokage in the first place. Namely, Tsunade did not want to become Hokage, but she reluctantly accepted the position in the wake of a new threat. Once the threat had passed, Tsunade had no reason to remain Hokage, so she gave up her position and was succeeded by Kakashi.
The rest of this article will focus on the story of Tsunade becoming and ceasing to be Hokage. You’ll find out the circumstances that led to her becoming the Fifth Hokage, as well as everything we know (and we don’t know much) surrounding the circumstances of her giving up the title after the Fourth Shinobi World War.
Tsunade did not want to become Hokage, which is why she held the position only briefly
In order to explain the circumstances that led to Tsunade giving up the title of the Fifth Hokage, we first have to explain how she even became Hokage. Namely, this wouldn’t ordinarily be of much importance, but since the reasons for Tsunade’s term being so short can be found in her backstory, i.e., her relationship to the position of Hokage, it is important to clarify how she perceived the position and how she became Hokage in the first place.
Namely, although Tsunade was reluctant to take up the position, she was an exceptionally devoted Hokage who cared for Konoha’s inhabitants. Despite all her barriers, she was worthy of the position in every way. This was evident, particularly during Pain’s assault on the village, where she gave all her chakra to heal and protect each ninja and villager. But let us get to her story.
Tsunade initially declined Jiraiya’s invitation to take up the role of Hokage, claiming her disdain for the position’s futility and declaring with cynicism and resentment that only fools desired to hold the position. Indeed, her younger brother and her boyfriend, who both aspired to this position, passed away before achieving their goal. In addition, Tsunade had the opportunity to meet every prior Hokage, even the Fourth Hokage, who was still a very young man.
However, she later promised that Naruto wouldn’t pass away before becoming Hokage, and after overcoming her fear of blood and driving Orochimaru away, she consented to become the Fifth Hokage. She then joined forces with Jiraiya, who was still under drugs, to launch a conflict involving the three Legendary Ninjas and their summons.
Orochimaru fled after Tsunade delivered the decisive blow to him, despite him having already declared his desire to eliminate Konoha once he was healed. The gang went back to Konoha after Naruto was cured. Tsunade secretly wished that Naruto would one day become Hokage as she prepared to assume the position Dan and Nawaki had long desired.
As you can see, there was a lot of reluctance on Tsunade’s side when the position of Hokage was concerned. She held the position in high contempt because both her late brother and her late boyfriend wanted to become Hokage but died before doing so; this is why she observes any aspirations towards the position with deep cynicism and why it was quite ironic that it was her that Jiraiya decided to ask to succeed Naruto’s father, Minato Namikaze as the Fifth Hokage. And it is understandable why she initially rejected the offer, but seeing how her help was needed in the face of a new threat, Tsunade finally accepted.
Although quite brief, Tsunade’s tenure as the Fifth Hokage showed that she was not only capable but also a very worthy Hokage. She genuinely cared about her villagers and was willing to risk her life to save them. She had some incredibly tough competition, but this is what ultimately distinguished her as one of the greatest Hokage in history. Despite taking the job, Tsunade never really wanted it; she only did so out of necessity because her town was in jeopardy and there was no other qualified applicant.
Tsunade, however, had a capable successor in Kakashi Hatake, as evidenced by the Fourth Shinobi World War. After the Fourth Shinobi World War, she encouraged Kakashi to take the job despite the fact he was more reluctant to take up the position than she was (though for different reasons, as Kakashi was simply not up for the administrative duties of a Hokahe). When the threat had passed and a suitable replacement had been identified, she sought a way out and was prepared to resign, which is what she ultimately did.
Masashi Kishimoto never explicitly specified why Tsunade stopped being Hokage. Still, it was evident from everything we have written here that she never really wanted to be Hokage for a long time. She accepted the position out of pure responsibility and was aware, from the beginning, that she would step down as soon as a suitable replacement was found and as soon as the threat she was supposed to protect Konoha from disappeared.
After the war, all these conditions were met, and Tsunade, who desired no position of power for herself, simply stepped down from the position, despite her successor being even less enthusiastic about the position than she was.
What happened later? Well, after the Fourth Great Shinobi War, Kakashi was named Sixth Hokage. However, he did not formally take on his office’s responsibilities until a year after the war’s end. Tsunade pressed his successor to choose while carrying out all the duties until he was ready. Kakashi told her to hold off until he finished his task of protecting the Tobishachimaru on his top-secret inaugural voyage.
The Ryuha Arming Alliance ultimately managed to commandeer the Tobishachimaru during its voyage. The pirates demanded that Konoha release their leader, Garyo, from the Hozukijo in Kusa, or they would kill the passengers. They also insisted that Naruto not be involved. Tsunade convened all of Konoha’s available personnel—aside from Naruto—after learning that Kakashi was on the Tobishachimaru.
Tsunade researched the White Zetsu’s manufacturing process after the battle and used what he learned to make prosthetic arms for Naruto and Sasuke, albeit Sasuke turned down his own. However, she spent most of her leisure time drinking and gambling, as is customary for Tsunade. And that is the whole story of Tsunade’s brief, four-year term as the Fifth Hokage; we have explained the whole story and all the reasons why she accepted and later left the position of Hokage.