Even the people who dislike or don’t watch anime have come across or at least heard about Naruto. In this widely watched and appreciated anime, Hatake Kakashi, the copy ninja, is one of the main and most beloved characters. But, strangely, you never get to see his face! Let’s look into what secret he might be hiding underneath that mask.
Kakashi is always seen wearing a mask covering the lower part of his face and his left eye. There is no confirmed information even from the creator of the manga and the animated series. Kakashi has been harboring some secrets or mysteries underneath that mask. The most popular fan-based theory is that he doesn’t want anyone to see his nosebleeds.
Why is Kakashi Always Wearing the Mask?
According to many enthusiasts, Kakashi keeps the mask on because he doesn’t want anyone to see his nosebleeds. While the general idea of a nosebleed might represent sickness, injury, or weakness, anime aficionados recognize nosebleeds as a representation of the possession of mature ideas.
Throughout the manga or anime series, they never reveal the true reason for Kakashi wearing a mask, not even a hint. Kakashi and almost all other characters in the series are ninjas who are similar to apache or samurai clans in reality. Ninjas, like other clans, have many varieties of offense and defense in combat. There have been ninjas acting as VIP murderers or assassins, spies, or double agents throughout history and in the series. And in any case, ninjas are known to hide their faces and rarely expose them.
There were also ninjas acting as bounty hunters or criminals outside communal boundaries and killing for money. They also kept their identities secret for obvious reasons. However, the true nature of Kakashi is something entirely different. The ideals of Kakashi’s character are based mostly on the cold-hearted, gloomy, and apathetic ninja he was in the prime of his youth.
The creator of the series, Masahi Kishimoto, had this to say about Kakashi and the mask:
“I think ninjas were the most mysterious. That’s why I made Kakashi wear a mask. But it’s really difficult to depict their reactions without a full face. So, I didn’t put a mask on all their faces. Only some!”
It’s also a popular theory that it might be related to the fact that Kakashi was a member of the secret service, ANBU, and all members of ANBU wore masks. Other concepts suggest Kakashi wears a mask out of embarrassment. Sakumo Hatake, his father, abandoned a mission to save his colleagues and ended up damaging the village’s image as a result. This is considered treason in many cases.
However, Kakashi being embarrassed is most likely not the case since he sorts out all his priorities and makes peace with the idea of his father being a deserter whilst wearing a mask. Another popular thought is that Kakashi wears the mask to hide his face because he looks so uncannily similar to his father. This notion was discredited by the fact that Kakashi had the mask on before his father died.
Did Kakashi Wear a Mask Even as a Kid?
After his father’s death, Kakashi kept growing severe and more serious. He kept reprimanding all who disregarded the letter, including Uchiha Obito, his beloved friend and teammate. He also grew increasingly apathetic and distant, especially towards Obito.
Obito eventually started disliking Kakashi. However, they become even closer friends after their other teammate Rin was taken during the Third Great Shinobi War when Obito was fatally injured. This alleged death of his closest friend had a significant impact on his attitude.
As a kid, Kakashi was naturally talented and a quick learner considering his vast arsenal of ninjutsu and his reputation as the Copy Ninja. In fact, he was such a fast learner; he graduated from the academy when he was 5 years old when most of Naruto’s peers graduated at age 10-12. Considering all this history, Kakashi was still never seen removing his mask in a way that made his entire face visible. Even in the flashbacks of his earlier years, he was always wearing his characteristic mask.
There is also speculation that Kakashi wears the mask to conceal some disfigurement or deformity. However, on rare occasions, Kakashi is seen without the mask, and from how he is spoken about, it is evident that Kakashi is extremely handsome. Some may try to imply that wearing a mask is a tradition in the Land of Fire or his clan. However, no one else in the country is seen wearing a mask as such. It has been only Kakashi who kept the mask on, never revealing his face through everything, even in his childhood.
Does Kakashi Ever Reveal His Face?
The creator of Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto, briefly exposed Kakashi’s face in a booklet as a manga drawing at a Naruto art exhibition. Another case is episode 469 of the anime series. Naruto is always excited to see Kakashi’s face, but Sasuke and Sakura get exhausted and give up. At that point, a ninja named Sukae suggests they check the database for ninja registration for Kakashi’s full-face photo. Sukae offers to help them since he was trying to publish Kakashi’s face in the media.
When they trespass into the document storage, they are discovered by ANBU guards and defeated. Then they plan to photograph his face while eating. However, all photographs keep going wrong as birds and Kiba’s dog Shikamaru and others keep blocking his face in the photographs.
Kakashi’s students, team 7, eventually give up on the idea as a failure. However, the viewers get to witness Kakashi’s bishounen appearance as he removes his disguise later on. His scar extends all the way down the face. Upon showing his face, he has a well-constructed thin jawline and a mole at the corner of his lips.
Why is Kakashi’s Left Eye Always Covered?
The Uchiha Clan’s Kekkei Genkai is called Sharingan. According to the second Hokage, Senju Tobirama,
“The Uchiha suppress all their feelings until they can let everything out at once. At that moment, Chakra flows consistently through their optic nerves down to their eyes while feeling very strong emotions like anger, hatred, and love, changing the appearance of their eyes to form the Sharingan. They can stop the continuous flow of Chakra into their eyes using chakra control resulting in their eyes reverting to normal from the Sharingan.”
Hatake Kakashi got the Sharingan as a parting gift from his friend Obito at the moment of his alleged death and did not inherit the Kekkei Genkai. Hence, he’s unable to regulate that Chakra to turn his Sharingan on and off at will. His Sharingan is always active and works with the Chakra in his body rather than the special Chakra.
This uses up too much of his Chakra, weakening and exhausting him to the extreme whenever he uses the Sharingan excessively. He perished during the Konoha attack because of his Sharingan. Hence, he keeps the energy-draining eye switched off with the help of the specially designed extended headband.
The Sharingan uses up so much Chakra since it can obtain much more information from the surroundings than a normal eye and can even see through obstructions like mist and detect very slight or very fast motions. The only way to make it stop using up so much energy is to cover it with something it can’t see through.
However, keeping the Sharingan covered with the headband and the mask allows Kakashi to use this special eye as a regular eye, enabling him to see through the headband like a normal eye and nothing more.
Kakashi’s eye was slashed during the Third Great Shinobi War. At that time, he and Obito were trying to retrieve their comrade Rin who was captured by enemies. He became blind in the left eye as a result. However, Obito gave one of his eyes to Kakashi after being crushed by the giant boulder. Rin did a medical transplant and transferred the Sharingan to Kakashi. If it weren’t for that moment, Kakashi would continue to be blind in one eye.
Which Characters Have Seen Kakashi’s Face?
Kakashi’s team of students, team 7, consisting of Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura, has seen his face while Kakashi removed his mask to eat the ramen Sakura invited him for. Ayame and Teuchi have also seen his face while he was eating ramen.
Afterward, Kakashi’s face was shown once again in episode 469 of Naruto Shippuden (A Special Mission). Not everyone who saw the episode realized they were actually seeing Kakashi and thought it was Sukea. However, it was Kakashi in disguise posing as a photographer named Sukea.
Kakashi’s Appearance and the Mask
During the Fourth Great Ninja War, Naruto recovered Kakashi’s original eye, and he went back to wearing the headband above his brow, balanced. He kept the mask on since boyhood almost constantly. Even his Ninken saw his face so rarely that they forgot how his uncovered face looked.
For the most part, Kakashi is seen dressed in the regular infantry uniform for the Konoha Shinobi: dark blue trousers, long sleeve shirt, and a flak jacket. He also has a pair of fingerless gloves with a chain necklace below and a metal-plated backhand.
Kakashi is a considerably tall, well-built individual with spiky silver hair (white in the manga) and black eyes. The vertical scar over his left eye carries the battle mark and reminds him of his fallen comrade Obito who gave him a Sharingan eye to replace the one he lost.
The very few times Kakashi is seen without the masked, it’s made quite obvious that he is very attractive according to the anime standards. Ayame and Teuchi’s reactions after seeing his face augment that.
Kakashi’s personality can be described as a sluggish face hidden under the mask, a calm voice, a minimalist attitude, and a distant demeanor. He holds a focused and stern expression on occasions, however. He also has an ANBU tattoo on his left shoulder.
While there are multiple schools of thought on Kakashi wearing a mask, the real reason is never mentioned in the entire series. Masashi Kishimoto, the creator of Naruto, never goes on to reveal the actual reason either. One can only speculate amongst the theories and wonder in the numerous mysteries of Hatake Kakashi, the Copy Ninja. Regardless of his masked face, he is admired and loved by possibly all the readers and viewers of the Naruto franchise.