Dōjutsu Part 1

Dōjutsu Part 1


Dōjutsu, or visual jutsu, are one of the key features of the Naruto universe despite being considered rare. Each type of dōjutsu is distinguished by both a signature eye design as well as specific passive and active abilities which are unique to the type, user, or eye itself.

Everyone who has any familiarity with Naruto is probably aware of at least some of these dōjutsu, and there are plenty of other places to find in-depth information regarding each one. So, for this post I’ll only be briefly describing the general effects of each dōjutsu.

Instead, the main topic here is the importance of dōjutsu in the world of Naruto and how the whole narrative is really about eyes, not Naruto, not the tailed beasts, and not becoming Hokage. In my review of Naruto: Shippuden, I’ve already touched on this topic in the section titled, “Eyes, Eyes, Eyes.”

Three Great Dōjutsu

Everyone who has watched any of the original Naruto series should be familiar with the first two of the three great dōjutsu, the Sharingan and Byakugan. The Sharingan is the dōjutsu passed down by the Uchiha clan, and the Byakugan is passed down by the Hyūga clan.

**Disclaimer: Technically the Sharingan is passed down by the descendants of Indra Ōtsutsuki, but the only known surviving descendants of his happen to be the Uchiha clan. Also, the members of the Ōtsutsuki clan all have the Byakugan (except Hagoromo and his descendants) just like the Hyūga clan.

You may notice from the disclaimer that how the three great dōjutsu are all related (and related to other dōjutsu) can get a bit confusing. Well, it’s going to keep getting more confusing from here on out, and some of this stuff is self-contradicting.

The third and final of the three great dōjutsu is the Rinnegan which is a bit weird considering it’s both separate from the Sharingan, and yet an upgrade to the Sharingan at the same time, but we’ll get into that shortly. The Byakugan is completely separate from these other two.

In case you don’t know anything about these dōjutsu, the very basic level explanation of them goes like this:

The Byakugan allows the user to see the chakra network of their opponent and gives the user an almost 360 degree view when active. The Sharingan allows the user to predict the movements of their opponent and therefore counter or copy them when active; it’s also used for powerful genjutsu.

Of these two at their base level, the Byakugan is considered to be more powerful than the Sharingan, but it doesn’t really seem that way. The Rinnegan, however, is more powerful than each of these and grants the user mastery of every type of jutsu, as well as the ability to resurrect the dead.

Kaguya Ōtsutsuki's Byakugan from the anime Naruto: Shippuden
Kaguya Ōtsutsuki’s Byakugan

The Dōjutsu Family Tree

Now that we know what the three great dōjutsu are, we can take a look at how they’re related to similar dōjutsu. This might not all make sense at first, but please refer to the dōjutsu family tree pictured below for help visualizing all I’m about to explain.

First we’ll take a look at the Byakugan. The Byakugan has two different branches off of it, one being the Tenseigan and the other being the Jōgan (although the relationship between the Byakugan and Jōgan isn’t yet confirmed).

The Tenseigan was first obtained by Hamura Ōtsutsuki and then later by Toneri Ōtsutsuki. Tenseigan users are granted a wide variety of abilities which are very similar to those granted to Rinnegan users. One notable difference is they can control golems, but not resurrect the dead.

While the Byakugan is the signature dōjutsu of both the Hyūga and Ōtsutsuki clans, the Tenseigan is created when the chakra of these two clans is combined. We only know of members of the Ōtsutsuki clan having obtained the Tenseigan, but in theory a Hyūga clan member could as well.

However, the Tenseigan is one of the dōjutsu which contradicts itself. If it’s created through the combination of Ōtsutsuki and Hyūga chakra, why didn’t all of the Ōtsutsuki have Tenseigan before the Hyūga clan branched off? Theoretically, the Tenseigan should be the progenitor of the Byakugan.

The only currently known wielder of the Jōgan is Boruto Uzumaki, and it’s only manifested in one eye. While the Tenseigan is quite different from its Byakugan predecessor, the Jōgan is quite similar. It has the ability to see chakra networks, but is also able to see malice in the form of dark chakra.

If the Jōgan is in fact related to the Byakugan, it seems likely that its manifestation is the result of a combination of Hyūga and Uzumaki chakra. Uzumaki’s are apparently good with understanding the emotions of others, so this may be what causes the Byakugan to transform.

However, if this is the sole cause, why does Himawari have two Byakugan and no Jōgan? Also, why does Boruto only have one Jōgan and nothing in his other eye?

The Sharingan and Rinnegan have a relational chart that’s a bit more complex. While the Byakugan was initially the signature dōjutsu of the Ōtsutsuki clan (and we don’t know where they originally obtained it) that isn’t the case for the Sharingan and Rinnegan.

We know that both the Sharingan and Rinnegan came from something called the Rinne Sharingan (the third eye on Kaguya Ōtsutsuki’s forehead) which is obtained by eating the fruit of the chakra tree (or obtaining the chakra of all the tailed beasts which is the same thing).

Kaguya’s son Hamura was born with the Byakugan and eventually passed it down to the Hyūga clan, but her other son, Hagoromo, eventually awoke the Sharingan instead. He later awakened both the Mangekyō Sharingan, and the Rinnegan.

The base form of the Sharingan has between one and three tomoe, symbolizing how complete it is. The Sharingan is originally awakened due to extreme emotions, usually in the form of anger or sadness. Once it’s complete, it can be upgraded to the Mangekyō Sharingan in a similar fashion.

The Mangekyō Sharingan increases the base abilities of the Sharingan, but also gives each wielder one or more specific jutsu.

For example, Itachi is able to use the black flames of Amaterasu, Shisui is able to use mind control, Sasuke is able to use Amaterasu and another jutsu to control the flames, and Obito and Kakashi are able to use different versions of the Kamui jutsu.

Further, those with the Mangekyō Sharingan are able to use the Susanoo, but only if they have a pair. Obito and Kakashi cannot use Susanoo because they have one Mangekyō Sharingan each. Similarly, the Rinnegan has some abilities that require a pair rather than a single Rinnegan.

There’s one downfall of the Mangekyō Sharingan, however, and that’s the eventual blindness of the user. Fortunately there’s a way to remedy this. All you have to do is replace your old, worn out Mangekyō Sharingan with a fresh pair from someone else in the clan.

This is known as the Eternal Mangekyō Sharingan, presumably because you will “eternally” have your eyesight.

One thing I never understood about this is why the Uchiha clan never used this upgrade to their advantage. It seems that they always either killed each other for their eyes, or took the eyes of their dead comrades. Why didn’t they just trade amongst each other so everyone could have this power?

I guess hindsight is 20/20 unless you’ve already gone blind from using your Mangekyō Sharingan too much.

Now onto the Rinnegan. This can be obtained after already being in possession of either the Mangekyō or Eternal Mangekyō Sharingan. All you have to do is combine chakra in such a way that you remake the chakra of Hagoromo Ōtsutsuki.

This means you first need the chakra from the descendants of Indra Ōtsutsuki, Hagoromo’s son whose descendants are the Uchiha clan. Once you have that, you then need chakra from the descendants of Asura Ōtsutsuki, Hagoromo’s other son whose descendants are the Senju and Uzumaki clans.

Like the Mangekyō Sharingan, the Rinnegan also has special abilities particular to each user. Madara was able to create “shadows” of himself in an unseen dimension known as Limbo (but they could still interact with the regular dimension). Sasuke, on the other hand, can swap places with other people or objects using teleportation.

Finally, Momoshiki can absorb ninjutsu into one Rinnegan and shoot it out again from another, but his Rinnegan may be another special type which we don’t have a name for yet. The key difference for his Rinnegan is that they’re in his palms and are red (later yellow) instead of lilac in color.

But wait, there’s more! You can also upgrade the Rinnegan in a not-exactly-understood way to create the Sharinnegan. As far as I can tell, the Sharinnegan is the closest one can get to the Rinne Sharingan without eating a fruit from the chakra tree.

Since the Sharinnegan seems to be a lesser version of the Rinne Sharingan, it makes sense that the only power we really see associated with it is the ability to warp to multiple other dimensions. Kaguya was able to do this as much as she wants, but Sasuke can only do it a few times before his eye needs to recharge.

Once the power of his Sharinnegan is used up, it loses the tomoe and becomes a regular Rinnegan. This is when Sasuke needs to have it recharge and is unable to jump between dimensions.

Dōjutsu (visual jutsu) relational chart (family tree) from the Naruto anime franchise
Dōjutsu Relational Chart

Three or Two Great Dōjutsu?

The three great dōjutsu are the Byakugan, Sharingan, and Rinnegan, but if the Rinnegan is an upgrade of the Sharingan, why is it considered separate? There are two contrasting reasons for this which is why the chart doesn’t really make sense.

The first explanation is that the link between the Sharingan and the Rinnegan was lost to the world after Black Zetsu altered Hagoromo’s tablet which explained the secret of the Sharingan (since he was the first to awaken it).

The second explanation is that since the Sharingan and Rinnegan are also considered to be separate, but related dōjutsu, there is the possibility of obtaining the Rinnegan without the Sharingan. A potential example of this is Momoshiki Ōtsutsuki.

Momoshiki Ōtsutsuki is a pure-blood member of his clan, just like Kaguya Ōtsutsuki. When Kaguya ate the chakra fruit, she didn’t obtain Rinnegan, but instead awakened the Rinne Sharingan, which then passed the Sharingan (and eventually Rinnegan) to her son Hagoromo.

However, Momoshiki has a Rinnegan in each of his palms, and no sign of a Rinne Sharingan, meaning he never ate a chakra fruit himself. This is important because we know the Rinnegan is something that can only be obtained by the descendants of someone who ate a chakra fruit.

Hagoromo Ōtsutsuki was only half Ōtsutsuki since his father was a human (AKA, not a member of the clan). This half-blood relationship to the Ōtsutsuki clan is likely the reason for his developing of the Sharingan instead of the Rinnegan.

What I’m getting at here is that Momoshiki is likely a descendant of another clan member who ate the chakra fruit and awakened the Rinne Sharingan, but his pure-blood relation to the Ōtsutsuki clan is the reason he developed Rinnegan instead of the lesser Sharingan.

This explains how the Rinnegan is considered a direct “downgrade” from the Rinne Sharingan just like the Sharingan is. Both can be obtained by the next generation of someone who had the Rinne Sharingan, but the Rinnegan only manifests directly if they’re of pure Ōtsutsuki blood.


I have a lot more to say about dōjutsu in the world of Naruto, but this post has already grown pretty long. So, expect part two to be uploaded within the next few days.

In the next part we’ll be taking a look at the other dōjutsu seen throughout the series which aren’t related to the three great dōjutsu, the concept behind stealing and sealing dōjutsu, and the current and future potential for multiple dōjutsu.

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Dōjutsu Part 2 is now available here.

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