For many Naruto fans, the tragedy of Itachi Uchiha is one of the most poignant and ruminating stories in the Naruto animanga world.
He became a cult figure for many fans, as while his actions seemed cruel we could tell there was a complex and traumatic past that was waiting to unravel. Once fans learned the true intentions behind Itachi’s actions he moved from anti-hero to tragic hero.
One of the things that many fans loved about Itachi were his nuanced reflections on life and a complex philosophy, clearly influenced by the experience he had of the world as a child and as a result of his choices.
While eloquent, many of these reflections were layered and multi-faceted and once discerned could reveal things about Itachi’s personality and outlook that could be interesting for fans who want to deep dive into his dark but noble ideologies.
We have compiled some of our favorite Itachi Uchiha quotes from the manga and anime and given our thoughts and understanding of them in the hope that we can explore his philosophy and personality together. Read on to learn more about what Itachi stood for.
Top 10 Itachi Uchiha Quotes
Let’s recognise that all of Itachi’s quotes, like every Naruto character, are originally in Japanese. Often the English translation either comes from the subtitles of the Japanese sub, or the re-worded dub which is also its own translation of the original Japanese.
The translated subtitles, dub script, and direct translation of the Japanese can all differ, so it’s important to recognise the ‘original’ wording is the Japanese form.
“People live their lives dependent on, and bound by, individual knowledge and awareness. This is what we call ‘reality’. However, both knowledge and awareness are arbitrary concepts. One’s reality might be another’s illusion. We all live inside our own fantasies.”
This is a quote that discloses the relationship between Sasuke and Itachi well. This is one of Itachi’s more complex and philosophical quotes but raises some interesting points about what we perceive to be ‘true’ or ‘correct’ can in fact be very subjective.
Itachi essentially molds Sasuke’s reality until this point. Itachi had created a reality for Sasuke where his brother had massacred his own clan and left Sasuke to grow into a shinobi to be one last test of his strength.
While Sasuke doesn’t know the truth about Itachi just yet, this foreshadows the truth being revealed to Sasuke, essentially revealing to Sasuke that his whole concept of right and wrong, his whole impetus to become the strong ninja he is, was molded by the knowledge and awareness Sasuke had at the time. The reality that Sasuke was living was actually a fantasy and illusion fabricated by his brother.
While the quote can make Itachi seem like he is playing God and is playing with someone’s life, his intentions are deeper than this. Itachi essentially wiped the Uchiha slate clean so that Sasuke could avenge them by killing Itachi and rebuild the clan with the knowledge he has learned.
“Teachings that do not speak of pain have no meaning, for humankind cannot gain anything in return.”
This leads on nicely from the previous quote. This idea is what forms many of Itachi’s actions it seems.
It’s important to recognise that Itachi grew up during the Third Shinobi World War, while he didn’t partake in combat, as he was a child, he certainly saw many people die during this period of conflict.
There is even a point in the anime where Itachi’s father takes him to the battleground to show him the bodies. So, seeing such pain around him, he became the powerful ninja he was, and this informed his own teachings.
This quote illustrates a lot of Itachi’s thinking behind the Uchiha Massacre, he understands the pain he has caused, specifically in Sasuke, can teach a lot about humankind – that pain is perhaps the best teacher.
This is similar to the philosophy which leads Madara, and even Tobi, to conjure Infinite Tsukuyomi. Except, while Madara and Tobi think that pain cannot be stopped, Itachi seems to think we can learn from pain enough to overcome it.
“People’s lives don’t end when they die, it ends when they lose faith.”
This is another great quote which shows the complexity and depth of Itachi’s character and how he differs from other villains in the anime. This quote demonstrates why Itachi can’t be grouped with Madara and Obito.
The quote shows us that Itachi’s faith is what leads his actions. Itachi wiping out his clan can be done with the faith that the clan can emerge again. Itachi always had faith that Sasuke would come through his traumatic past to become a powerful shinobi that, eventually, sees the light.
We can compare Itachi to Naruto in this way, they both have faith that things will end well, Naruto has faith that Sasuke will turn his life around too.
In essence, what Itachi is pointing out is that faith is what separates us from the ‘villains’. Obito and Madara had completely lost faith that pain could be overcome, but it is the faith that Naruto and Itachi both share that makes them heroes in their own right.
Perhaps Itachi is pointing out that if you have faith then your actions, however drastic, can be understood as good choices.
“You and I are flesh and blood. I’m always going to be there for you, even if it’s an obstacle for you to overcome. Even if you do hate me. That’s what big brothers are for.”
This is a quote from Itachi spoken to Sasuke, this actually is spoken before Itachi kills the whole Uchiha clan. It seems that, even before massacring his clan, Itachi sees that pain can often be a greater force than love.
While it’s clear Itachi does love Sasuke, and vice versa, Itatchi seems to view love as a given due to their blood, but teaching Sasuke a lesson through pain can help him become the shinobi he needs to be. If anything, this quote quite simply sums up their relationship in the series.
“He who forgives and acknowledges himself, that is what it truly means to be strong.”
This is another quote which helps us understand Itachi’s actions throughout the series. What Itachi is alluding to, is the ability to act no matter what the external perception of that action may be, that a shinobi must adhere to what must be done, not necessarily what is wrong or right.
Itachi’s ability to forgive his actions, as well as acknowledging them as potentially bad, is what makes him such an influential shinobi. Itachi doesn’t need Sasuke’s forgiveness, nor is he seeking it, he understands his actions were bad, but also acknowledges they had to happen in order to reach the point they did.
“It is not wise to judge others based on your own preconceptions and by their appearances.”
This was originally spoken to Kisame, when he and Itachi first met. This shows us a lot about why they are close friends, they actually have a lot in common. Both Kisame and Itachi are akin through their exile from their villages. They both feel that their intentions are misunderstood by the people who exile them.
This shows that Itachi isn’t a judgemental person, even if Kisame’s intentions are more maliscous than Itachi’s. As demonstrated through the teachings of Itachi in the previous quotes, Itachi understands that good and bad are relative concepts and Kisame acknowledges his own malice but could still mean well.
“Even the strongest opponents always have a weakness”
What Itachi is expressing here, indirectly, is what he means by ‘acknowledging yourself’. To truly be an honorable shinobi, one must acknowledge their own weaknesses. He who is aware of their own weakness is truly strong.
This also expands on Itachi’s concept of reality being fluid, while some jutsus such as the Edo Tensei (Reanimation Jutsu) are considered unbeatable, it is exactly this egotistical infatuation that creates weakness. As Itachi himself points out ‘We all live inside our own fantasies.’
This also speaks to the Sharingan’s powers to some extent. The power of the Sharingan is that they can mimic another’s attack, but because Itachi isn’t under an illusion of ego he can see the weaknesses where his opponent cannot.
Moreover, this is why the Izanami was created, as Itachi recounts Uchiha history, to stop even the most immortalising jutsus such as the Izanagi.
“You focus on the trivial, and lose sight of what’s most important. Change is impossible, in this fog of ignorance. How can we evolve when regulation is all we know?”
This is in reference to the Uchiha clan, Itachi is pointing out that the rules and regulations that hold the clan to the village are restrictive. Itachi is also pointing out that even if rules are imposed upon us we should not resist them, we should simply live in the knowledge that they are trivial without letting them affect our lives.
Again, this helps expand on the idea of self acknowledgement that Itachi champions. In order to evolve we have to explore all options presented to a person, both right and wrong, which Itachi has pointed out as relative.
This goes back to the idea of pain as a teacher, sometimes it is the dark that illuminates the light; without the dark we cannot see the light.
“Self-sacrifice… A nameless shinobi who protects peace within its shadow. That is a true shinobi.”
This quote really summarises Itachi’s intentions and his ‘shinobi way’. When speaking this quote, Itachi is trying to illustrate that some loss of ego is required to truly acknowledge oneself and become great.
Understanding that you have to be able to forgive yourself, to be able to do ‘wrong’ for the sake of ‘good’. Sometimes you have to act with the best interest of others in mind, while still understanding that you may not receive acclaim for your actions.
This is true self-sacrifice, tarnishing your own reputation with the knowledge that you acted in the best interest of others.
“No matter how powerful you may become, do not try to shoulder everything alone.”
While Itachi is talking to Naruto with this quote, he is also reflecting on his own journey of self-sacrifice and is direct conversation with the previous quote.
While Itachi recognises that self-sacrifice involves some loss of ego, accepting that others may not understand your intentions. He later reflects that shouldering all of this on your own can be a particular burden.
Itachi had to run away and make himself an international criminal in order to maintain his bad reputation in order to protect Sasuke.
The fact that only Itachi is aware of his own struggles and intentions also leads him to perhaps hurt Sasuke more than he should, such as when he has to return to the Leaf Village to remind Danzo of their promise, but ends up traumatising Sasuke even more in the long run.
He understands that shouldering the whole responsibility of this self-sacrifice himself led to some bad situations. For instance, when he dies after being reanimated Itachi tells Sasuke that he perhaps could have changed their parents and even the clans minds, had Itachi considered help.
“I’m sorry, Sasuke … There won’t be a next time”
Even though we are at the end of the list, we had to include this gut-wrencher from Itachi that still makes us choke up. These were the last words Itachi said to Sasuke while still actually alive.
When Sasuke and Itachi were kids, Itachi was often away doing missions while his younger brother wanted to train with Itachi and shadow him. We often see scenes where Itachi presses his two fingers on Sasuke’s head and says ‘Next time’, meaning they will train another time as Itachi is busy.
After their truly epic battle, when Itachi is on his last legs, and realising his exertion has worsened his illness greatly, he approaches a downed Sasuke, who thinks Itachi is going to steal his Sharingan.
To Sasuke’s surprise, Itachi actually touches his forehead once more but this time tells him there won’t be a next time as he falls to his knees and dies. Truly a heartbreaking moment.
The Final Word
We hope you have enjoyed these quotes and they have taught you a little something about Itachi Uchiha. It’s clear that Itachi’s philosophies and principles are very complex, but in order to understand his character and behaviour it is his words we need to study.