Welcome Naruto fans! Today, we’re going to talk about one of the three types of Jutsu used by most of Shinobis ninjas in the manga and anime Naruto, the Genjutsu. So let’s go, it sure will be very informative! ????
WHAT IS GENJUTSU?
Genjutsu (幻術 lit. Illusion Techniques) is one of the main categories of Jutsu, the others being Ninjutsu, Taijutsu and Senjutsu.
Genjutsu can be divided into two main categories:
But what is it clearly?
While we can identify Genjutsu techniques from our general knowledge of illusions, this is not always the case. In Naruto, some techniques that involve manipulation of reality are also Genjutsu.
The formal classification is “a jutsu which consumes only spiritual energy, one of the two components that make up the Chakra”. It is repeatedly said that physical endurance is associated with Yang liberation and vitality, and spiritual energy is associated with Yin liberation and imagination. While Taijutsu is the classification that only consumes Physical Endurance, Genjutsu is its Yin equivalent.
THE OCULAR EYE GENJUTSU AND THE SHARINGAN
Ocular eye Genjutsu is any Genjutsu that involves the eyes of either the user or the victim. Temporary Genjutsu is any ocular Genjutsu that involves eye contact from the victim but is not thrown from the eye of the user (from Itachi’s finger for example). For example Izanagi and Izanami are both ocular eye Genjutsus created from the user’s eye but do not require eye contact by the victim.
We’ve made an entire article about the Sharingan eyes of the Uchiha clan, so don’t forget to check it out if you want to know more about the Sharingan abilities and all its secrets!
Ocular Genjutsu is exclusive to the Sharingan (写輪眼 lit. Copy Wheel Eye) of the Uchiha clan, which has two powers, both of which are strongly related to Genjutsu:
- Eye of Hypnotism (催眠眼, Saimingan) which allows the ninja to use Genjutsu techniques by eye contact (but not only for hypnotism).
- Eye of Insight (洞察眼, Dōsatsugan) allows you to predict or even copy the movement of others or the use of a technique. With sufficient mastery, one can even see through the flaws of a Genjutsu and break it.
This is why among the three great Dojutsu, the Sharingan is considered to be the eye of Genjutsu, the others being the Byakugan (Taijutsu) and the Rinnegan (Ninjutsu). There is another eye which is Tenseigan (Senjutsu) but which is unknown to the Shinobi on Earth until the attack of Toneri in the movie “Naruto The Last”.
Sharingan is a powerful tool for practicing Genjutsu, and its effectiveness in attack and defense depends on the mastery of the user. While one can train to increase one’s mastery, the one who has implanted the Sharingan from a third party is not as genetically adapted as the one descendent from Uchiha clan lineage and not possessing Uchiha blood. This was seen when Sasuke escaped easily from Itachi’s Tsukuyomi while Kakashi was powerless, even with Obito’s Sharingan.
The solution to not being of the Uchiha lineage is to increase your physical energy to balance your chakra. For example, Danzo had Hashirama cells implanted on his body to allow him to implant a dozen Sharingan, as well as to use Izanagi, thanks to Orochimaru’s secret experiments. ????
Sound-based Genjutsu are produced either from singing, e.g. Gama Rinsho (Toad Confrontation Chant), or using certain musical instruments, e.g. the Demonic Flute (Tayuya Genjutsu).
The auditory Genjutsu has the advantage of having a larger area of effect than ocular Genjutsu, and can, therefore, affect several people at once. But from what we’ve seen so far, its functionality is limited. It has only allowed basic immobilization, whereas the Sharingan has been able to do much more.
Tayuya using auditory genjutsu during is fight against Temari and Shikamaru
DIFFERENT PURPOSES FOR USING GENJUTSU IN BATTLE
Genjutsu can be further classified according to its use. In order of difficulty:
- Mobility restriction
- Opponent’s Control
- Manipulation of the reality
The original Sharingan was capable of all four uses listed above. However, they are all at the basic level, and only the Mangekyô Sharingan (Kaleidoscope Copy Wheel Eye) or the Rinnegan of Sasuke Uchiha can achieve them to a greater extent in terms of adult education, duration or applicability.
The most basic use of Genjutsu is to reduce the adversary capacities of movement, where the victim is temporarily paralyzed or even unconscious. This method has proven to be simple and can be used even with the basic Sharingan, especially on the low-level Shinobis. Sasuke was able to use it to stun Sakura with a single glance, even with the Tail beast still imprisoned in his Genjutsu.
Besides Sharingan, it was also used by Jiraiya’s sound Genjutsu, Gama Rinsho, on the Six Pains of the Akatsuki clan. Unlike Sharingan Genjutsu, it is used only for paralysis without mental projection. It is the same for Tayuya’s Hallucinatory Dissonance.
The most powerful application is Sasuke Genjutsu that he used to stop all nine tails at the same time, with a glance. While a basic Sharingan was only able to control only Nine Tails, the immobilization of nine targets at the same time can apparently only be done by people using the advanced version of this pupil like Sasuke’s Rinnegan. Perhaps also with the help of the Six Paths Chakra, because even Hagoromo himself was slightly surprised by this.
Genjutsu is most often used for control, especially for medium-capacity Ninjas. The lowest level of application would be considered hypnotic Genjutsu, which suggests the opponent’s next move.
The highest levels of application would concern interrogations, such as when Itachi managed to extract information from his victims. Such Jutsu requires greater chakra control. Both Sasuke and Obito were able to use basic Sharingan to achieve this. Unlike hypnotic Genjutsu, the victims have no memory of the process.
This can be done even when the victim is already unconscious. For example, when Kabuto’s mind was stuck in Izanami’s loop, Itachi could still use the genjutsu of his Mangekyô Sharingan to control his body in order to cancel the Edo Tensei (Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation) technique.
Itachi also used his Sharingan to control his raven to fly into Naruto and even managed to throw Koto Amatsukami (Distinguished Heavenly Gods) on himself. This means that one can potentially have several different techniques from one Sharingan user to another.
The strongest Genjutsu is without a doubt the Koto Amatsukami of Shisui Uchiha who possessed the most powerful Mangekyô Sharingan. Many people don’t know it, but like any other Mangekyo Sharingan, Shisui has two different versions of Koto Amatsukami in each eye:
His left eye for example gives direct instructions to the target, thus becoming its “ideal” to be achieved. When Itachi used it on himself, he doesn’t seem to have manipulated any memory. Moreover, Edo Tensei can control Itachi independently from the memory that defines him, so such an action couldn’t have helped him to defeat Edo Tensei.
Once Jutsu is launched, its effect on the target is permanent, regardless of what happens to the launcher. After the Mangekyo Sharingan becomes a regular Sharingan again, and even after the Mangekyo Sharingan is destroyed by Amaterasu, Itachi remains free from Kabuto’s control.
There are two types of Genjutsu for projection: subtle and obvious.
The good Koto Amatsukami, the one stolen by Danzo, is an example of subtle projection. What he projected was perceived by the victim as past experiences, acting at the whim of the thrower, completely of his own free will. (which is not classified as “control”)
Contrary to popular belief, the Koto Amatsukami does not work directly on the brain and, like most other Genjutsu, it works on controlling the victim’s chakra. However, Koto Amatsukami does not seem to require eye contact, as Danzo was able to throw him on the fourth Mizukage without removing the bandages covering his right eye.
Obvious projection is much easier to achieve, although it is still more difficult than simple immobilization. Madara was able to project it on Obito with the basic Sharingan, but it was only with the Gedo Mazo (Demonic Statue of the Outer Path) that he was able to control the dream in every detail. Itachi was able to transmit memories to Sasuke, but without the Gedo Mazo, he doesn’t have the same control as Madara. Unlike subtle projection, the victims know they’re in a Genjutsu.
Tsukuyomi (Moon Reader) uses the ability of Mangekyou Sharingan of Itachi to subject his victims to days of torture in a matter of seconds. According to Kakashi, it doesn’t matter if we have a way to escape from this Genjutsu. Once caught in this Genjutsu, Itachi is able to freely manipulate even the passage of time, so that a few seconds can feel like days.
The greatest form of this application is the Infinite Tsukuyomi (Infinite Moon Reader), where the Jutsu is reflected on the Moon instead of being projected by the eye. This is not just a Genjutsu to temporarily immobilize them, but to put the victims in dreams and force them to accept their reality, even if they know they are in a Genjutsu.
However, this Jutsu consumes a massive amount of chakras. After Madara called upon Tsukuyomi Infinite, his Rinnegan of 9 Tomoe was reduced to 6 Tomoe.
In Naruto’s 6th movie (Road to Ninja), there is also a watered-down version called Limited Tsukuyomi,(Limited Moon Reader) performed by a Rinne Sharingan with only 7 Tomoe.
Madara Uchiha using the Infinite Tsukuyomi on the moon
MANIPULATION OF THE REALITY
While the manipulation of reality seems totally out of this world, Izanagi is in fact the opposite of a typical Genjutsu. While other Genjutsu turn dreams into reality, Izanagi turns reality into dreams. Thus, the Jutsu was able to change the destiny.
However, we couldn’t ignore certain events, which users usually use to deceive their own death. While it was originally said that it could only be used by those who had both Sharingan and Hashirama cells (Danzo and Obito), it was later revealed that those who had the Mangekyô Sharingan could also use it (Madara and Itachi).
Unlike Izanagi, which is pure manipulation of reality, Izanami also consists of immobilizing the victims while the events unfold in their minds. According to Itachi, Izanami works on the senses of the thrower and the opponent to recreate the same sensation, in order to loop the events in between.
Although they are classified as Genjutsu, Izanagi and Izanami are very special cases, in which it is not necessary to make eye contact or manipulate the flow of the chakras.
And the most powerful of this application is none other than the Creation of All Things technique used by Hagoromo himself to create the Nine Tailed beasts souls from his own imagination and assign them to the nine parts of the Ten Tails chakra. The part where he gave them physical form, however, is not part of Izanagi’s power, but on his Yang side.
It is also strongly implied that this is an ocular Genjutsu, as a Rinne Sharingan was seen in Hagoromo’s back during the performance of this Jutsu.
HOW GENJUTSU WORKS?
According to Jiraiya, Genjutsu acts on the five senses of the opponent by controlling the chakra that crosses the cranial nerves. This applies to most Genjutsu, such as generic Sharingan Genjutsu and Tsukuyomi, but not to Izanagi.
It works not only on usable chakras, but on life energy in the broadest sense, as we have seen with the animals trapped in the Infinite Tsukuyomi, or the Nine Tails submitted by the Genjutsu of the Sharingan of Madara (although the Nine Tails do not have a chakra system).
Thus, all sentient beings with appropriate perceptive abilities can be subjected to Genjutsu. However, blind people will be immune to ocular Genjutsu because the user does not have the means to administer it. Izanagi and Izanami are special cases where they do not manipulate the opponent’s chakra.
Most ocular Genjutsu are delivered by eye contact. However, Izanagi and Izanami do not require eye contact. Izanagi works on turning reality into a dream, and Izanami works on the opponent’s physical senses, whatever they may be. Thus, any living being who has some kind of consciousness or perception can be affected by Izanami.
HOW TO COUNTER GENJUTSU?
Some are naturally immune to Genjutsu. Specifically, those who have no chakra, and therefore no memory, are immune to all Genjutsu that deal with the mind. The Izanagi is only an exception because it acts on the user himself, not because it bypasses the chakra rule.
The Infinite Tsukuyomi in particular does not affect the undead, like the reanimations of Edo Tensei and the Obito possessed by the Zetsu, even though the Genjutsu of the Sharingan and the Koto Amatsukami worked on the reincarnation of Itachi.
Since most Genjutsu work by manipulating the chakra that passes through the cranial nerves, the easiest way to counteract Genjutsu is to disrupt the flow of your own chakra, also called Genjutsu Kai (幻術解 lit. Illusion Technique Dissipation).
Although it is easy for a third party to do this, freeing yourself from a Genjutsu may require a great deal of mental strength to create a chakra disruption large enough to compensate for the original. It turns out that great mental strength is an attribute of Indra rather than Asura. This is why Naruto often relies on others to free himself from Genjutsu. Having better control of one’s chakra is the key to the Illusion Technique Dissipation
If the tails are sensitive to Genjutsu themselves, they can easily free their Jinchuriki from Genjutsu, as long as the two are on good terms. Otherwise, not only can the Sharingan user control the Jinchuriki (Yugara), but he can also control the beast itself (Kushina).
One can also break a Genjutsu by being subjected to a more powerful Genjutsu. Thanks to their Mangekyo Sharingan, Sasuke and Itachi used Sharingan Genjutsu and Tsukuyomi respectively to free each other from the Hallucinatory Dissonance of Kabuto.
However, this method does not work on some Genjutsu:
- Does not work on chakra manipulation, for example, Izanagi
- Can manipulate the time experienced in such a way that his mental health is sufficiently damaged before his release, e.g. Tsukuyomi
Itachi and Sasuke freeing each other from Kabuto Genjutsu
Most ocular Genjutsu work by eye contact, so the blind or those with poor vision will be immune to these Genjutsu. Kabuto deliberately cut off his vision in order to counter Itachi’s Tsukuyomi.
Being much more powerful than ordinary Tsukuyomi, the Infinite Tsukuyomi was able to penetrate and see even through shadows, making it impossible to avoid even when the victim was sleeping.
However, Sasuke’s Susano was able to block the light with his Rinne Sharingan, which later led him to assume that “Rinnegan Genjutsu can probably be treated with Rinnegan“.
Madara himself was not affected by his own Moon-reflected Genjutsu, as both of his eyes were already Rinnegan.
Genjutsu that does not require eye contact cannot be blocked. Izanagi works on the user himself, so it does not require a subject. Izanami works on the subject’s physical senses, whatever they may be.
Triggering pain by the sense of touch also works. Kurenai dissipated Itachi’s Genjutsu by biting his lip and Shikamaru freed himself from Tayuya’s illusions by breaking his finger.
One can even use one’s own vision against an ocular Genjutsu. For example, Sasuke mastered his Sharingan well enough to see through the defects of Itachi’s Tsukuyomi.
The last one predicates the launch of Genjutsu. Using premonition in Sharingan or Sage mode, one can predict the ocular Genjutsu by noticing the Chakra gathering in the eyes.
Using a Sharingan, Obito can see Rin’s Chakra being disturbed, and infer that it is under a Genjutsu. The Byakugan is even better at this, as he can not only see that the chakra is disturbed, but also how it was disturbed specifically.
1. Kasumi jusha no jutsu (Mist servant technique)
Name: Kasumi Jusha no Jutsu, literally “Mist Servant Technique”
Type: D-rank, supplementary
The user creates a large variety of clones that phase in and out of the ground as if they were made of blackish liquid (oil?). The user can then hide the projectiles they throw within the illusory ones that clones throw.
2. Kokuangyo no jutsu (Bringer-of-darkness technique)
Name: Kokuangyo no Jutsu, literally “Bringer of Darkness Technique”
Type: A-rank, Supplementary, Short to mid-range (0-10m)
Users: Shodai Hokage
This jutsu creates an area of complete darkness around the victim, enabling the user to attack without being seen.
3. Kori shinchu no jutsu (Sly mind affect technique)
Name: Kori Shinchu no Jutsu, literally “Sly Mind Affect Technique”
Type: C-rank, supplementary, mid- to long-range (5+m)
Users: Oboro, Kagari, Mubi
Kori Shinchu no Jutsu is a Genjutsu which causes the target to travel around in circles. If the ninja is unable to detect the illusion very quickly, they can become exhausted mentally and physically because they are unable to reach their desired target by traveling along the same path over and over.
4. Magen: Jubaku satsu (Demonic illusion: Tree bind death)
Name: Magen: Jubaku Satsu, literally “Demonic Illusion: Tree Bind Death”
Type: B-rank, Supplementary, Short range (0-5m)
Users: Yuhi Kurenai
With this jutsu Kurenai can make herself disappear so she can approach her target unnoticed. Once near her target, a tree will grow at their feet and its branches will bind him so they are unable to move. Once the target believes they are captured, Kurenai will appear from the tree and stab the target with a kunai.
5. Magen: Kokoni Arazu no Jutsu (Demonic illusion: False surroundings technique)
Name: Magen: Kokoni Arazu no Jutsu, literally “Demonic Illusion: False Surroundings Technique”
Type: C-rank, Supplementary, All ranges
Users: Hagane Kotetsu
Kokoni Arazu no Jutsu is a simple Genjutsu which changes the appearance of a nearby object.
6. Magen: Kyoten chiten (Demonic illusion: Mirror Heaven and Earth change)
Name: Magen: Kyoten Chiten, literally “Demonic Illusion: Mirror Heaven and Earth Change”
Type: Kekkei Genkai, No rank, Supplementary, Short range (0-5m)
Users: Uchiha Itachi
Utilising the copy and counter abilities of the Sharingan, the Uchiha clan member can reverse the Genjutsu cast on them and use it against the original user.
7. Magen: Narakumi no Jutsu (Demonic Illusion: Hell Viewing Technique)
Name: Magen: Narakumi no Jutsu, literally “Demonic Illusion: Hell Viewing Technique”
Type: D-rank, Supplementary, Short range (0-5m)
Users: Hatake Kakashi
Narakumi no Jutsu is a Genjutsu technique that causes its target to see a horrifying vision. The ninja will use the rat hand seal to cause a circle of leaves to spin and envelop the target and then fall away. Once cast the world will appear normal to the target until they see the illusion.
8. Mateki: Mugenonsa (Demonic Flute: Dream Sound Chain)
Name: Mateki: Mugen’onsa, literally “Demonic Flute: Dream Sound Chain”
Type: B-rank, Supplementary, All ranges
9. Nehan Shoja no Jutsu (Temple of Nirvana Technique)
Name: Nehan Shōja no Jutsu, literally “Temple of Nirvana Technique”
Type: A-rank, Supplementary, All ranges
Users: Yakushi Kabuto
Nehan Shōja no Jutsu is a Genjutsu that allows the caster to place a large body of people into a unconscious state. The target can avoid the spell by forming and using the dispel skill.
10 Tsukuyomi (Moon Reader)
Name: Tsukuyomi, literally “Moon Reader”
Type: Kekkei Genkai, No rank, Supplementary, Short range (0-5m)
Users: Uchiha Itachi
Named after the Shinto god of the moon, this Genjutsu is one of the most powerful Uchiha jutsu enabled by the Mangekyō Sharingan. The Mangekyō user places the victim in an illusory world where all aspects, including the perception of time, are controlled by the user.
Uchiha Itachi uses this ability to inflict several days’ worth of torment on his victims in an instant, which tends to leave the victim bedridden. However, Tsukuyomi is an enormous drain on the user, which discourages its frequent use. Itachi is seemingly only able to use it for the equivalent of three days maximum