“It became a lot easier”: Masashi Kishimoto’s Editor’s Advice Changed the Entire Course of Naruto While Also Creating One of Its Biggest Problems

Masashi Kishimoto could never do justice to Sakura's character because of a flaw he couldn't overcome.

"It became a lot easier": Masashi Kishimoto's Editor's Advice Changed the Entire Course of Naruto While Also Creating One of Its Biggest Problems


  • Masashi Kishimoto has always devised his characters with care, however, the story needed to find its footing.
  • With the help of his first editor, Kishimoto chose to introduce Sakura and Sasuke in later chapters.
  • Kishimoto admitted that creating female characters aren't his strongest suit.
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Masashi Kishimoto took it upon himself to create one of the big three shonen works. Naruto stands out in many ways and not just one. Each and every step he took with the series provided an extra set of fans to join in. No story starts off with a bang and maintains that pace without effort. It takes dedication, understanding, and flexibility to make something stand out in the way Naruto does.

Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura
Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura | Credit: Studio Pierrot

Kishimoto, ever since the first chapter, has been nothing but expressing his heart out. The love that is required to make such a work also coincides with the planning and flow. There can also be certain directions that one may not initially be aware of, only to take the road not taken. However, one such advice not only became a boon, but also a bane.

Masashi Kishimoto Got Guidance from His Editor

Masashi Kishimoto, while speaking with Weekly Shonen Jump, once spoke up about how the direction in which Naruto was going had not been determined as concretely until he got some advice from his editor. He admitted that coming up with female characters was not his forte.

Sakura Haruno In Naruto: Shippuden
Sakura Haruno In Naruto: Shippuden | Credit: Studio Pierrot

“Yahagi-san told me to focus on the main character in the first two chapters. And then to use chapter 3 onward to establish the rival and heroine and create a love-triangle relationship between the characters.”

It was per his then-editor, Yahagi Kosuke, that he chose to focus only on Naruto for the first two chapters instead of bringing them all in one go. It was important to establish the protagonist’s base first and only then continue on, otherwise there would be a jump of characters that would become a hassle to balance.

Following that, he introduced Sasuke and Sakura in the third chapter. Posing them as the rival and the heroine. This base brought about the direction in which Naruto finally found its pacing and a constant flow of ideas.

Naruto’s Direction Led to Sakura’s Downfall

During the interview, Masashi Kishimoto admitted that there wasn’t much he could do about the female characters since that is one department he lacks much understanding in. This led to a confused streak of going nowhere. However, the idea to focus instead on Naruto alone gave the mangaka a path with the light on the other end.

Sakura Haruno - Masashi Kishimoto
Sakura Haruno | Credit: Studio Pierrot

“I’m no good with female characters, so I wasn’t planning on this initially. But once I established the triangle, it became a lot easier to create the chapters after that. I was surprised by how good that advice was. And that’s why I tend to listen to what he tells me. Then again, one time he argued with me for six hours to convince me to take his advice. He’s very persuasive, so sometimes I have no choice.”

The mangaka later introduced various female characters. From Sakura and Hinata to Tsunade; there was a scarcity of female characters but they were a part of the series nonetheless. Despite the inclusion, many fans complained about how Sakura was an underused character with trapped potential.

Her lack of expansion and being seen more as a plot device than a character was frowned upon. Therefore, it became a question of whether or not Sakura was a character put to use or one kept on the bleachers.

Naruto is available to watch on Crunchyroll.

Adya Godboley

Written by Adya Godboley

Articles Published: 1602

An avid writer fluent in everything Marvel, Adya Godboley is an Assistant Anime Content Lead for FandomWire. She has rich experience in critically analyzing all that is said in between the lines. Hopelessly obsessed with Greek Mythology, she is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English. Adya has written over 1400 articles on various topics expressing her passion and love for all things entertainment, from superheroes to anime and the occasional gacha games.