Kakashi Hatake (はたけカカシ, Hatake Kakashi) is a jōnin-level shinobi from Konohagakure and the leader of Team 7. He is one of the main characters of the series. He is known worldwide for his use of the Sharingan, earning him the moniker Copy Ninja Kakashi (コピー忍者のカカシ, Kopī Ninja no Kakashi) and Kakashi of the Sharingan (写輪眼のカカシ, Sharingan no Kakashi; Literally meaning "Kakashi of the Copy Wheel Eye").
Kakashi is the son of Sakumo Hatake, also known as the "Konoha's White Fang." Not much is known of his mother other than that she died when he was young. Kakashi has been known since a young age as an extremely gifted prodigy, regarded by many as the best of his generation. He had received top marks and had shown an innate aptitude for the ninja arts while in the Academy. This permitted him to graduate from it in a single year at the top of his class at the age of five, and then becoming a chūnin a year later, facing and defeating Might Guy during the third stage of the Chūnin Exams
Despite his own success, his father fell into disgrace after choosing to save his comrades rather than complete an important mission, causing Konoha to suffer in the war effort. Dishonoured, Sakumo took his own life after a deep depression and a drop in his skills, which caused Kakashi to lead his life strictly by the ninja code.
Kakashi was teamed with Obito Uchiha and Rin under the leadership of Minato Namikaze. At the age of 13, soon after becoming a jōnin, Kakashi was assigned to lead Obito and Rin on a mission that would benefit Konoha in the ongoing Third Shinobi World War. They were to destroy Kannabi Bridge, which was being used by Iwagakure forces to move into Kusagakure. This would also be Konoha's first huge offensive move in the war. On their way to the bridge, Rin was kidnapped by two Iwagakure ninja named Kakkō and Taiseki. Obito immediately suggested that they rescue her, but Kakashi disagreed on the basis that they needed to complete their mission, opting not to make the same mistake his father did.
Obito would not hear of it and stubbornly left to save Rin, but not before mentioning that he believed Kakashi's father, the White Fang, was a true hero. Shortly after parting ways, Kakashi reflected on Obito's words and Rin's prior kindness. He realised that his father was not wrong after all, which prompted him to join Obito in the rescue effort. Kakashi arrived in time to save Obito from Taiseki, using his father's blade to combat him. Despite the two-to-one disadvantage, the more experienced Taiseki was able to attack and damage Kakashi's left eye, who took the blow that was intended for Obito, giving him a permanent scar and blinding the eye.
This event causes Obito's Sharingan to awaken as he uses it to kill Taiseki. Finding Rin and defeating Kakkō with Obito's help, Kakashi freed Rin before their opponent uses a crushing earth technique to trap them in a cave-in. While trying to escape, Kakashi was hit by a rock which he didn't notice because of his bandaged eye causing him to fall. Obito pushed Kakashi out of the path of a falling boulder, causing himself to be crushed beneath it instead. Knowing he would die, Obito instructed Rin to implant his left Sharingan into Kakashi's damaged eye. Rin complied, and as soon as the surgery was completed Kakashi used the Sharingan and his Chidori to kill Kakkō. He then returned to Obito to see if there was anything he could do for him, but was forced alongside Rin to leave him. With the help of Minato, they ultimately completed their mission, allowing them to mourn Obito's supposed death.
Some time after the events at Kannabi Bridge, the pair were apparently sent out on a mission where they were ambushed by jōnin and ANBU-level Kirigakure shinobi. The events of this encounter culminated in Kakashi running Rin through her chest with his Chidori as tears ran from his left eye
Soon after the end of the war, when the Nine-Tails attacked Konohagakure, Kakashi and the rest of his peers were barred from participating in the defence of the village by Kurenai Yūhi's father and other older shinobi
Over the years, Kakashi became well-known among all the Five Great Shinobi Countries for the extensive use of his Sharingan, gaining him a reputation as "the man who has copied over a thousand techniques", hence his nickname. Kakashi eventually joined the Konoha ANBU, and also served as a mentor to Tenzō.
He later left for unknown reasons, but maintained strong connections with the ANBU. Kakashi eventually became a team leader, and tested many genin. As the Third Hokage told Iruka, Kakashi had never passed any of them due to their inability to live up to his expectations of working as a team.
In the anime, he once had a mission where one of his team-mates, Iruka Umino, was injured, paving the way for the latter to become an instructor at the Academy. When Iruka was having doubts at being assigned to be the home room teacher of Naruto Uzumaki, Kakashi served to remind him of his real reasons for wanting the post in the first place.
Kakashi became more stern and serious after his father's death, following all the rules to the letter and chastising any who disobeyed them, like his team-mate Obito Uchiha. He was also very aloof and apathetic to others especially his team-mate Obito who was always late for their missions and would come in tow with a grand excuse. This caused Obito to resent Kakashi; the dynamics between the two would soon change after Obito was mortally wounded during the Third Shinobi World War, with Kakashi and Obito becoming closer friends after Rin was abducted.
Obito's supposed death had a huge impact on Kakashi's personality, becoming cheerful with greater concern for his team-mates and students over the successful completion of a mission, as well as believing that teamwork is essential to overall success as a team. He has also developed a somewhat carefree personality and is regularly late for appointments, making obvious excuses just like Obito before him. This is often because he loses track of time during his frequent visits to the memorial stone where Obito's name is engraved. However, Kakashi is still just as apathetic as he was during his youth, often speaking bluntly about sensitive topics.
Though his childhood was riddled with numerous despairs that took those dear away from him, Kakashi is on the best terms with his childhood friends: Guy, Asuma, and Kurenai, his students and generally with everyone in Konoha to a lesser extent. His devotion to his friends and the rest of Konoha were the motivation to perfect both the Chidori, and its enhanced version Lightning Cutter (although ironically, he used the Chidori to kill his comrade Rin). After the formation of Team 7, Kakashi begins taking a special interest in his students' development, especially in the case of Naruto and Sasuke whose rivalry reminded him of his relation to Obito. Like Hiruzen, Kakashi loved all of his students deeply, turning down a mission to stop Naruto and Sasuke from killing each other. Despite Sasuke allying with Orochimaru, Kakashi shared Naruto's hope that they could save him. However, Kakashi became originally distraught about having to kill Sasuke after he became an enemy of Konoha, furiously discarding his hesitation only after Sasuke attempted to kill Sakura without a second thought.
Kakashi has a rather solitary and matter-of-fact attitude. His calm and detached demeanour has been called "cool, hip, and trendy" many times by Might Guy. Despite his increasingly growing reputation and prowess as a ninja, Kakashi has shown no signs of arrogance, and is rather modest about his abilities, as shown when he readily praises others for leaps in their combat abilities and stating on more than one occasion that Naruto has surpassed him in power. When suggested by many for him to become Hokage, Kakashi admitted that such a position was unfit for him but was ready to accept the post for the sake of the village's well being. His naturally calm attitude is used to his advantage in battle, as it becomes easier for him to maintain his composure and stay focused on the situation at hand, and notice everything around him. As a result, he can quickly adjust to any situation to make keen and thought-out decisions, allowing him to stay steps ahead of his opponents. But he also has an emotional side, shown when he stated his anger against the Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation, his shock when Tobi reveals having Obito's other Sharingan, and being paralysed in devastation when Tobi is revealed to be none other than Obito; when Obito revealed his reason for his plans, Kakashi only sunk further into depression, to the point of being unable to avoid Obito's incoming attack.
Kakashi has an ongoing, albeit one-sided, somewhat childish rivalry with Guy. In trying to prove himself superior to Kakashi, Guy challenges him to competitions of questionable value ranging from Rock, Paper, Scissors to running races. Guy has a record of 50 wins to 49 losses, which he is particularly proud of, despite these competitions having little accuracy due to their large variations. In the anime, Kakashi has a 51:50 win-lose record. Kakashi, on the other hand, shows very little interest in their competitions, which only further inspires Guy to defeat Kakashi and his "coolness". However, Kakashi did show disappointment when he learned that Guy taught Lee how to open the dangerous Eight Gates, which turned to sympathy when Guy shows how much his student meant to him. Nevertheless, both men are great friends and also have the utmost faith in each other seen during the Fourth Shinobi World War when they entrusted the protection of their blind spots to each other. This was also expanded on in the anime, where Kakashi told Tsunade that he would need a second-in-command during the war and wanted Guy to serve that purpose.
Kakashi is an avid fan of the Icha Icha series of novels by Jiraiya, revealing a slightly perverted side. He is typically seen reading one of the books in his spare time, making it the only one of his reportedly several hobbies that is ever seen in the series. He even went and read it during his first fight against Team Kakashi, as Naruto was, at that time, too weak to pose much of a threat. Despite his fondness for the books, he grows uncomfortable when reading passages to others (even around his ninken), presumably embarrassed by the adult content (as noted when they were decoding Jiraiya's last message). Naruto, on one occasion, has used these books against Kakashi during their second bell test, threatening to spoil the ending of the latest instalment to force Kakashi to leave himself vulnerable (by blocking his ears and closing his eyes, as he could read Naruto's lips with his Sharingan) to prevent learning the ending of the story.
Kakashi is a natural genius, evidenced by the speed he rose through the ninja ranks; he graduated from the Academy at age 5, becoming a chūnin at age 6, a jōnin at age 13, and had a long tenure as an ANBU. Naruto notes that much of Kakashi's battle prowess and skills is greater than his friends who showed exceptional might in their own specific skills. A match for seemingly any opponent, it was also noted by Tsunade that Kakashi is easily one of Konoha's strongest ninja. During his career he has amassed a technique arsenal of over a thousand different techniques, making him Konoha's expert in the field. His various accomplishments have earned him much praise by his fellow Konoha ninja and he holds a position of great influence. He is frequently given responsibility for important tasks, such as watching Naruto in case the seal of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox begins to fail and being considered for Hokage.
Other ninja villages are very aware of Kakashi's abilities and, upon meeting him in battle, either fear for their safety or grow excited by the challenge Kakashi is sure to pose. Pain was so concerned by Kakashi's abilities that he tried to kill him for fear that he would someday interfere with Akatsuki's plans. This concern was later validated in the Fourth Shinobi World War when Kakashi defeated most of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist and later managed to hold off several "Version 2" state jinchūriki together with Might Guy.
Kakashi has proven to be very adept in taijutsu, and was even noted by Naruto to be greater than Rock Lee in Part I, a master taijutsu-specialist-in-training. He is also noted to have impressive speed; being able to intercept an opponent even from a distance as seen during the very start of the bell test. His battle prowess and speed allow him to effectively catch his opponents off-guard to quickly strike them down and easily evade attacks. With his skill, even when greatly outnumbered by hundreds of shadow clones, he is easily able to defeat them. He is also able to open at least one of the Eight Gates and (in the anime) utilise advance techniques derived from it. His speed increased considerably in Part II as in Part I, he had difficulty keeping up with Itachi Uchiha but matched the Akatsuki member after the time skip. His hand seal prowess has also been noted as being very great, as he is able to perform them at highly difficult speeds to follow.
Kakashi primarily relies on his mastery of ninjutsu, of which he has a vast arsenal due to his Sharingan; being noted to have copied over a thousand techniques, the number has continuously been growing through his many battles. With this arsenal, he can attack or defend against his opponents in numerous manners. His prowess also allows him to enhance his physical tools, channelling lightning-natured chakra through them. Kakashi is also able to summon a pack of ninja hounds to aid him in battle or for other supplementary purposes.
In addition to the sheer number of techniques he is purported to know, he also has high prowess in multiple elements. He has a natural affinity for Lightning Release, which he has mastered and which has, in turn, become an attribute that enemy ninja identify him by. His prowess with Water Release techniques is such that he is able to perform them even without a nearby water source. He has used Earth Release techniques to produce intricate earthen walls rather quickly. He has also been shown using Fire Release techniques in the anime, and he is otherwise at least knowledgeable enough with Wind Release to help train Naruto in its use.
Kakashi was taught how to use the Rasengan by its inventor, Minato Namikaze. As the Rasengan was created with the intention of mixing it with one's elemental chakra, Kakashi attempted to infuse the Rasengan with lightning. He failed, so produced the next closest thing: Chidori. While powerful, the Chidori has two drawbacks: the amount of chakra it requires and the speed at which the user must move. These flaws prompted Minato Namikaze to ban his student from using the technique after seeing it in action. After gaining the Sharingan, the tunnel effect can now be worked around, as he can now see his opponents clearly. He later refines the Chidori into the far stronger Lightning Cutter, his supposedly only original technique. Refining Lightning Cutter even further as well as using the Shadow Clone Technique, he can create a chain which can cut through even a jinchūriki's chakra arms in a Version 2 state. He was also able to create a Lightning Release Shadow Clone and hound via his manipulation of lightning.
Kakashi's most distinguishing ability is his Sharingan, a gift from his friend Obito Uchiha, as its ability to have him to copy nearly any technique used against him gave him the moniker "Copy Ninja" while seeing through any deception, give hypnotic suggestions, perform genjutsu, and predict his opponent's movements. This was seen in action twice, once against Zabuza Momochi and then against on Root members sent to watch Naruto.
However, because Kakashi is not of Uchiha blood and cannot deactivate it, he uses a massive amount of chakra to utilise his Sharingan, keeping it covered when not in battle and taking extended bed rest from using it extensively. Because of this, Kakashi only relies on it when he feels it is an absolute necessity. Despite his handicap with the Sharingan, he is very skilled in using it; Itachi Uchiha, a true heir and master of the Sharingan, acknowledged Kakashi's superior proficiency with the Sharingan compared to most true Sharingan wielders.
At some point during the time skip Kakashi further improved his Sharingan by awakening his own Mangekyō Sharingan through undisclosed means. With it he can perform Kamui, a technique that sucks anything within a small area to another dimension. Originally, he lacked the proper control to hit his target properly, if at all. His skill with Kamui later improved, able to successfully warp away small, fast-moving, or multiple targets in rapid succession as seen against Pain and Sasuke Uchiha respectively. During the battle against Tobi, he was confident enough to attempt this technique to behead the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path, an object of significant size and mass, failing only because of Tobi's intervention. His finesse with the technique allows him to warp chakra-based techniques like Naruto's Rasengan without disrupting it, and even able to safely teleport an entire shadow clone at such a speed that Tobi himself was fooled into believing the teleportation failed and the latter dispelled the clone instead with one of his stakes.
Kamui's chakra requirements are even greater than those of the standard Sharingan, such that initially he had to be hospitalised for a week after using it three times in one day. By his battle against Tobi however, his mastery of this this technique improved further, able to use it at least four times, three of which in quick succession (along with other chakra-taxing techniques like the Lightning Cutter) and still had enough strength left to act. Afterwards, though tired, he remarked that he retained enough chakra to use the technique a few more times, and only after the fourth use did he start experiencing the immediate side effects. He is also aware of other Magekyō Sharingan techniques as well as the risks the dōjutsu poses to the user's eyesight, though he has not yet shown any signs of deteriorating vision
Kakashi has somehow been able to improve his Sharingan with time. When he first received the Sharingan it had only two tomoe, but by the start of the series it has progressed to three. In addition, Kakashi has extended the amount of time he can sustain using the Sharingan. In Part I, he could only handle using it for a short battle. In Part II, he is seen using it for seemingly a day while testing Naruto and Sakura.
While used less often, he has also shown skill in genjutsu, which he can use as a set-up for stronger attacks. His skill in its usage is able to easily deceive most opponents with well-time diversions, giving his opponents little chance to counter. During the bell test for Team 7, Kakashi was able to use low-level techniques to easily subdue a keen-minded individual like Sakura. Against high-level genjutsu, has advanced knowledge of their working and is able to dispel genjutsu as well.
Repeatedly, Kakashi has shown himself to be a very shrewd and resourceful man. By the age of 13, Kakashi had enough experience on the battlefield to detect a hiding enemy's presence, impressing his sensei, Minato. Kakashi has even been noted to be smarter than Shikamaru Nara in Part I, a ninja well-known for his insightful, and calculating nature. His instincts also allow him to calmly effectively perceive and react to any incoming danger. Kakashi's intellect has proven itself against various S-rank ninja, including members of Akatsuki, showing unsurpassed perceptive and analytical skills, able to quickly and single-handedly deduced the workings of the most mysterious enemy techniques and plotted a successful diversion in order to verify his theory, ultimately proving it correct. He is aided in this regard by his calm personality, which allows him to handle a given situation with some detachment.
His long career as a jōnin, and formerly as an ANBU, have only expanded his knowledge, allowing him to handle virtually any situation. For these reasons Kakashi has been assigned to a variety of teams — always as the leader — and he is always able to work well with his team-mates. Chōza Akimichi attributes Kakashi's success to his approach to battles: he avoids direct combat by using misdirection and clones until he can determine the opponent's skills, at which point he modifies his tactics to fit the situation. Kakashi has also shown repeatedly to be a highly capable teacher. He has come up with various unorthodox methods to help his students produce impressive leaps in their abilities in weeks what would normally take months if not years of intense training.
Originally, Kakashi's primary weakness was his barely average reserves of chakra and stamina. He could only maintain his Sharingan for a short time, quickly tiring out from overusing it and ultimately collapsing, followed by great difficulty to even stand for days. He also claimed he could only use his signature technique, Lightning Cutter, four times in a single day before it wouldn't work. To compensate for this, Kakashi possesses very refined chakra control, allowing him to use multiple techniques quickly with the minimum necessary chakra and to their highest level. Kakashi’s control also allows him to perform various techniques, usually lightning-based, with few to no hand seals.
Over the course of the series, his reserves improved considerably to extend his timespan and versatility to fight multiple high-level opponents. By Part II, he can maintain his Sharingan for an entire day and utilise several chakra-taxing techniques in quick succession unfazed, including his Lightning Cutter at least six times. His chakra reserves development is best seen with his Mangekyō Sharingan technique, Kamui. Originally, a single use tired him greatly. Using it more than twice in a single day would leave him crippled for over a week. By the time of the Fourth Shinobi World War, he was able to fight throughout an entire day right before going to fight against Tobi and his Six Paths of Pain which comprised of reincarnated jinchūriki. Once arriving, he was able to use Kamui several times in quick succession before finally collapsing as his eye started bleeding. Shortly afterwards, he recovered enough to stand up on his own.
Kakashi's expertise is not limited to the three major ninja skill sets, as he is renowned for his tracking abilities and has otherwise displayed proficiency with trap-making, survival, stealth, and assassination. Orochimaru also noted that Kakashi had started practising the use of fūinjutsu around the time of the Chūnin Exam Arc, which he found impressive given Kakashi's age. He is also a highly-skilled user in a large variety of weapons, especially in kenjutsu due to his ANBU background. One example is his use of Zabuza's Kubikiribōchō, a feat made more impressive by his ability to lift the giant blade with one hand. Kakashi is also noted to have a better sense of smell than Kiba Inuzuka did in Part I, a noteworthy member of a clan with canine-like senses