Akatsuki (暁; Literally meaning "Dawn" or "Daybreak") was initially an organisation created by Yahiko and his two comrades Konan and Nagato in an effort to fight against the tyranny and oppression that their home village Amegakure was facing during the Third Great War, and the long-term goal of world peace.
After Yahiko's death, Nagato took Yahiko's place as the leader but kept the same objective and goal. Akatsuki then became a criminal organisation comprising S-rank missing-nin and quickly became the most wanted group in all of the shinobi world.
Akatsuki at any given time is composed of no more than ten primary members, all of whom are S-rank criminals of their own respective villages — with the exception of Nagato and Konan. Members always work in teams of two and make use of their unique skills to the team's advantage. Team members must function very well, or at least well enough to accomplish their tasks, even though some may have mutual problems with each other.
The organisation is widespread, spanning several countries with agents in various places, making a huge spy network that helps the members finishing their missions.
Akatsuki was originally founded by Yahiko during the Third World War and consisted of Amegakure ninja that wished to create peace for their home country, which acted as a battleground for three of the Five Great Nations. Yahiko insisted that his and the rest of Akatsuki's actions were meant only to aid Nagato in bringing world peace, though Konan claimed that it was Yahiko's charisma that held the group together and spurred them on.
In its early days, Akatsuki gained fame and recognition in Amegakure, drawing the attention of Hanzō of the Salamander — a world-renowned ninja and then leader of the country. Believing that the group was becoming a threat to his rule, a notion Danzō Shimura encouraged by making Hanzō believe Akatsuki was plotting to overthrow him, Hanzō approached the organisation and falsely claimed that he wanted to use them as the axis to negotiate peace between Konohagakure, Iwagakure, and Sunagakure. However, Hanzō betrayed Akatsuki and, working together with Danzō Shimura of Konohagakure's ANBU, kidnapped Konan and orchestrated Yahiko's death. After synchronising with the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path and attempting to exact revenge on Yahiko's killers, using his friend's corpse as a vessel and going by the name Pain, Nagato became the new leader of the Akatsuki and took control of Amegakure after the resulting civil war.
Following the Third World War, Akatsuki became a mercenary group for hire and Nagato took the mantle as the First Amekage, although he still maintained is post as the leader of the organization and most used it to help he's village. In times of peace most of the hidden villages, rather than increasing their own armaments, employed Akatsuki to fight in wars, spy on enemies, or carry out assassinations.
Events relating to Akatsuki before the start of series have only been given in fragments. Sasori and Orochimaru were partners for a time and were apparently very effective. Kakuzu had a number of partners that he killed in fits of rage. For this reason he was partnered with Hidan, who was immortal. Itachi Uchiha and Obito Uchiha apparently joined after carrying out the Uchiha clan massacre for which they defected from Konohagakure, though their membership seems to have come with the stipulation that Akatsuki could make no direct movements against Konoha. When Itachi joined, Orochimaru attempted to steal his body in order to gain the Sharingan. This failed and he was forced to defect. Deidara was recruited to replace Orochimaru as Sasori's partner, but because Orochimaru took his Akatsuki ring with him he could not also replace Orochimaru's position, not until much later after Deidara and Sasori managed to find of Orochimaru's bases and take it back. Some time after his banishment, Naruto entered and became Obito's partner. Akatsuki were also hired to captured two tailed beasts, before the start of the series, which were indicated to have been the Two-Tails, given to Kurai Hikari and the Seven-Tails, given to Takigakure.
Original Purpose Edit
Under Yahiko's leadership, the group was meant to put an end to the wars that would take place in Amegakure and bring about peace. When he was younger, Yahiko also noted that he disliked the fact that it always rained in his country, as if all the country did was weep and he wanted to change that. This may be where the name of the organisation literally meaning "daybreak" comes from. He also noted that the organisation was meant to act as a support unit for Nagato, whom he believed would bring peace to the world.
Under Pain Edit
After Yahiko's death and Nagato's transition to Pain, Akatsuki's goals shifted to that of world unfication. Nagato has mentioned a three-step process to work their way towards this goal. First, they plan to obtain a large amount of money to support their organisation. Second, they plan to set up a mercenary group loyal only to Akatsuki. To build their reputation, they plan to accept any mission below the usual cost and operate off of the excess funds earned in the first part of their plan. Because there haven't been any wars in some time, many of the more powerful and well known hidden villages couldn't afford to accomplish such missions as such low prices, leading the smaller countries to hire Akatsuki over the more expensive hidden villages. By using the money earned by those missions, Amegakure would build their army and rise in power, while Akatsuki would, apart from the jobs required from them, hunt demons and monsters solidifying their reputation and convincing every country to depend on them, thus cornering the market in warrior labour. Without any business, the other hidden villages would collapse due to the lack of funds. Finally, after Akatsuki is the only major force of warrios in existence, they can easily conquer the other countries and built an empire that would be governed by the people and for the people, where a council chosen by the people would run things. Members do not automatically learn of the plan upon joining; Hidan didn't find out about it until he had been a member for quite some time.
Akatsuki members have a very distinctive wardrobe, which could give them away if a village is alerted of their presence. Members wear long, dark cloaks with red clouds, a red interior, and a chin-high collar. The red clouds represent the rain of blood that fell in Amegakure during its wars, and were seen as a symbol of justice by its original members. All members wear black nail polish on their fingers and toenails, although the colours vary, and may wear a conical straw hat with small ornamental torques and tassels hanging down over their faces. The hats may be used to move around in the general population unnoticed, or for when the weather requires one. Some members cross out the symbol on their forehead protectors to symbolise the broken ties with their former villages, a practice originating with Nagato and his rival faction in Amegakure's civil war. Others members simply cease wearing them altogether, for several reasons. Everyone also wears a ring with a kanji on different fingers depending on who the member is.
Akatsuki Rings and Ring Positions Edit
What seems to be most important, however, are their rings. In total, there are ten rings given to each of the ten main members of Akatsuki. The rings apparently signify one's membership and ring position, since when Orochimaru defected, he took his ring with him and as such wasn't replaced. The rings help communication between the members and the leader, apart from that, their exact purpose has not been revealed.
The various rings are:
- Right thumb: "zero" (零, rei); worn by Pain. Its colour is purplish-grey.
- Right index finger: "blue", "green" (青, ao, shō); worn by Naruto Uzumaki. Its colour is teal.
- Right middle finger: "white" (白, bya); worn by Konan. Its colour is white.
- Right ring finger: "vermilion", "scarlet" (朱, shu); worn by Itachi Uchiha. Its colour is red.
- Right little finger: "sign of the boar" (亥, gai); worn by Obito Uchiha. Its colour is green.
- Left little finger: "sky", "void" (空, kū); worn by Orochimaru and later by Deidara. Its colour is slate blue.
- Left ring finger: "south" (南, nan); worn by Kisame Hoshigaki. Its colour is yellow.
- Left middle finger: "north" (北, hoku); worn by Kakuzu. Its colour is dark green.
- Left index finger: "three" (三, san); worn by Hidan. Its colour is orange.
- Left thumb: "jewel", "ball", also the black king in shogi (玉, gyoku); worn by Sasori. Its colour is purple.
Eight of the ten kanji of the rings are taken from a kuji-in (Nine Syllable Seals): a collection of nine hand postures used in meditation. These kuji-in have found their way into ninja folklore as a kind of magic spells. Pain's "rei" and Naruto's "gai" are not from this kuji-in. However, the only unused kuji-in kanji, 玄 (gen, "mysterious") bears a strong resemblance to Naruto's "gai", suggesting an error.
Nagato's Group Edit
|Member||Status||Village of origin|
- Amegakure (Village run by Pain)
- Kuraihikarigakure (Naruto's employer village)
- Yūra (Sasori's underling, deceased)
- Mukade (Sasori's underling, deceased)
- Funari (Kakuzu's subordinate, presumed deceased)
- Ginji (Kakuzu's banker, status unknown)
- Kyōya (Kakuzu's accountant, status unknown)
- Zangei (Bounty collector, captured)
Akatsuki teams are put together in teams of two to exploit combined strengths for the organisation's goals to be met. The duos assembled usually share a distinct commonality, like Hidan's and Kakuzu's immortality, Deidara's and Sasori's artistic approach to ninjutsu, as well as Itachi's and Kisame’s killing of their comrades under orders.
An unruly, yet arguably the most effective team in the organisation, they seem unstoppable when together. Pain decided to put these two together because of their unique abilities. Hidan can not be killed as a result of becoming the successful "Jashin experiment", even by decapitation, and Kakuzu can easily go into a rage and kill anyone around him, including his partner. Therefore, Kakuzu could go berserk and not worry about Hidan's well-being. They refer to themselves as the "Immortal Combo" (不死コンビ, Fushi Konbi), because of their own methods of avoiding death. Kisame Hoshigaki jokingly referred to them as the "Zombie Combo" (ゾンビコンビ, Zonbi Konbi).
They have shown the most hostility towards each other due to a conflict of interest; Kakuzu sees the rituals and beliefs of Hidan's religion to be a waste of time, while Hidan sees Kakuzu's willingness to do blasphaemous things and his greediness to be unbearable, not to mention that Kakuzu's job as a bounty hunter usually gets on Hidan's nerves. As a result of their sideline in collecting bounties and conducting rituals, this team is usually late in the line of work. Despite this, they work flawlessly in battle by using Kakuzu's reckless attack style in conjuncture with Hidan's immortality.
A team that functions very well with each other as Nagato and Konan had been close friends for most of their lives, working as a team and supporting Yahiko during the first generation of Akatsuki. As leader of Akatsuki, Pain directs the rest of the organisation to their respective goals; his most direct interaction with the other members is using the Sealing Technique: Phantom Dragons Nine Consuming Seals. In addition, Pain is the Kage of Amegakure, and uses the village as a base for Akatsuki matters, while Konan serves as the village's second-in-command.
Sasori claimed that he and Orochimaru worked well together during their partnership. However, when Orochimaru defected from Akatsuki after his failed attempt to steal Itachi's body, Sasori developed a grudge against his former partner.
Formed by the two artists of Akatsuki, Sasori and Deidara work well for the most part but have conflicting ideas on art: Sasori believes in art forever preserved like his puppet while Deidara sees it to be instantaneous and gone in a flash like Explosive Clay. Ironically though, Sasori is impatient and likes to finish things quickly while Deidara likes to take his time. Sasori also has a network of spies that he manipulates (in the form of mind control) to aid Akatsuki in their affairs. Deidara was formerly a terrorist bomber for hire who was later recruited by Itachi.
A team that, despite their first meeting, functions very well together and is highly effective. The pair completed almost every assignment Pain gave them, until now, with little trouble. Unlike most Akatsuki teams, Itachi and Kisame get along pretty well; Kisame does as Itachi had asks him unquestioningly and they often converse casually when not in combat.
Akatsuki's most effective team, thanks to Obito intangibility powers and Naruto's vast arsenal of Ninjutsu. Their teamwork is unquestionable, for they trust each other very much. For Obito, Naruto is the little brother that he never had, while for Naruto, Obito is not just a sensei, but a older brother. It was once said by Itachi Uchiha that Naruto and Obito are lot like twins, for they have the same ideals, the same taste for food and they're both pranksters in heart. Proof of their effectiveness as a team is their successful capture of the Two-Tails.