In the Naruto animanga world, a genjutsu is essentially an illusionary technique used to make a target feel, see, or do something that isn’t based on reality.
The best example is Itachi’s use of genjutsu, he uses Tsukuyomi to make Sasuke relive the night he killed their parents but in the form of a hallucination.
Itachi is one of the most adept users of genjutsu techniques, he has a serious affinity for yin release which makes genjutsu particularly easy to cast for him. Moreover, he has access to many genjutsu techniques that are exclusive to Sharingan users, many of which make the list.
Demonic Illusion: Tree Binding Death
This is a genjutsu technique that was apparently made by Hasirama himself. The technique makes the target become sealed in a tree, they are immobilised and can stay there for as long as the caster wants.
Hashirama used the technique to catch targets who thought they were fighting his wood release.
Kurenai Yuhi is one of the Hidden Leaf Village’s most powerful genjutsu users, Itachi aside. She mastered this technique and often uses it. She most famously tries to capture Itachi within it, but Itachi being such a powerful genjutsu user himself sees right through her illusion.
Bringer of Darkness
This is a genjutsu technique used by the Senju brothers. In the anime, it is cast by Tobirama Senju but in the manga, it is a Hashirama technique.
The technique places the target under a hullicantory darkness. While everyone else can see but the target, the target cannot see anything until the genjutsu is turned off, usually by capture.
This was famously used in the fight between the Third Hokage and Hashirama. The Third could beat the attack because he could sense the Senju’s chakra even in darkness. In theory, although never tested, a Sharingan could also neutralise this technique.
Temple of Nirvana
Kabuto Yakushi is the only one to actually use this technique, he used it in the Chunin exams so Orochimaru could bypass security. The technique makes feathers fall from the sky, when the targets see the feathers they fall into a deep sleep, hence ‘Nirvana’.
This is basically a microcosmic version of Infinite Tsukuyomi that uses dreams and sleep to neutralise a target.
This genjutsu cannot be broken by conventional means, it requires other jutsu to break it such as Genjutsu Release. This jutsu, while only immobilising targets, can work on hundreds of shinobi at one time.
Demonic Illusion: Steaming Multistoried Building
Beyond its strange English translation, this genjutsu is relatively unique as it is paired with a summon to make it wide-ranging and super effective. The technique, due to its uniqueness, is only cast by Gengetsu Hozuki in conjunction with his summon, a clam.
The technique works by using steam created by the clam to create multiple clones or mirages of the Mizukage himself. It’s almost impossible to tell between the mirages and the real Gengetsu so it can be incredibly hard to stop.
Moreover, the genjutsu can only be broken by killing the real clam summon, but locating the real clam is not necessarily straightforward.
Demonic Illusion: Toad Confrontation Chant
This genjutsu is particularly unique and is considered the most powerful genjutsu that can be cast by the toad sages. As the genjutsu is an auditory hallucination, it relies on a song that only the toads have the capacity to sing.
The Two Great Sage Toads, Fukasaku and Shima, commonly referred to as Ma and Pa by Naruto and Jiraiya, are the only two who can actually cast the spell as they know the lyrics.
As demonstrated in Jiraiya’s battle with Pain, the Toads must prepare somewhat by reaching a correct harmony that requires another team member to protect them while this occurs, as it often does with senjutsu.
No matter who hears the song, they will remain entrapped in a prison of water held together by four toad samurai. We only ever see this jutsu used against Pain, to controversial success, but it has the potential to be a devastating genjutsu.
Tsukuyomi is a seriously powerful genjutsu that is reserved for those shinobi endowed with the kekkei genkai of the Sharingan. Even so, Tsukuyomi is reserved specifically for Mankeyou Sharingan users. With both Mangekyou Sharingan eyes, Itachi can cast Tsukuyomi.
While it’s technically possible that other Uchiha could potentially use Tsukuyomi, only Itachi is ever seen using it. Once Itachi uses Tsukuyomi he usually stops fighting as it requires a serious amount of chakra.
When Itachi makes eye contact with a target, they are immediately placed under Tsukuyomi. Tsukuyomi immediately immobilises the target and sends them into a coma. The target is essentially stuck in a hallucinatory world of Itachi’s choosing.
Itachi is often seen using this to make Sasuke relive their parents’ death. When he used it on Sasuke the first time he sent him into a coma of which only Tsunade, the world’s most proficient medical-nin, could save Sasuke from the hallucination, and the damage remained psychologically.
Kotomatsukami is a pretty unique genjutsu that is exclusive to the Sharingan users of the Uchiha clan. While the effects of the genjutsu can be extremely subtle, the consequences this genjutsu can lead to are insurmountable in comparison to others.
Kotoamatsukami allows the caster to totally control its target. The illusion allows them to essentially make the target do things but seemingly through their own will.
The target thinks they are in control of their actions when in fact they are controlled by the caster. The caster doesn’t even need to directly look at the target in order to control them.
This technique is specifically championed by Shisui Uchiha, another powerful genjutsu user before his death. Shisui had Kotoamatsukami in both his eyes once he gained his Mangekyou Sharingan.
As the teacher of Shisui, Danzo became extremely jealous of this power to control others from the darkness, so much so that he made Shisui use Kotoamatsukami to completely control the decision of Fugaku Uchiha, the leader of the clan when they fell.
Danzo actually stole one of Shisui’s eyes and implanted it into his own eye socket. This allowed Danzo to control certain Konoha elders in politics.
Moreover, Shisui gave his remaining eye to Itachi who sealed it in a crow, this crow allows Itachi to eventually escape the Reanimation Jutsu while reanimating himself, more on that later.
Izanagi is another Sharingan based genjutsu. Izanagi has some serious repercussions that come with the great power it endows its user. Izanagi is a forbidden jutsu even among the Uchiha, due to how powerful it can make a person.
Izanagi is surprisingly a genjutsu that is cast on the caster themselves, it essentially allows its user to defy death. When a fatal blow is delivered to the caster, they can use Izanagi which basically lets the caster time travel to the moment before they receive the fatal blow, allowing them to
cheat death. Once Izanagi is cast, the Sharingan becomes completely null and closes forever. Yet, even with one use a shinobi could become immortal at that moment. Itachi tells Sasuke of how the power became a serious problem in the clan due to the arrogance it endowed in its user/
We first see Izanagi being used by Danzo Shimura in his battle against Sasuke. Having implanted multiple Sharingan into his right arm Danzo can use Izanagi multiple times, essentially rendering him immortal for a period of time.
Although his arrogance gets the better of him and Sasuke uses his own genjutsu to make Danzo think he has one more use of Izanagi when he doesn’t.
Izanami is another forbidden jutsu of the Uchiha clan and their Sharingan. Itachi is the only one ever seen using Izanami, not in a flashback. He explains to Sasuke that Izanami was created directly to counter the arrogant users of Izanagi.
If Izanagi is cast on oneself, the Izanami is cast on the target. Izanami is similar to Tsukuyomi but more nuanced in its operation. When cast, Izanami places the target under an illusion whereby they are stuck in a constant loop. This loop is often of something that has just happened and is chosen by the caster.
In the loop, the target is usually faced with a dreamlike problem of never being able to hit their target. The target is, at least at the start, completely unaware they are under a genjutsu. The loop is only ever broken when the target admits their arrogance and repents.
Itachi uses Izanami to place Kabuto Yakushi into a paralysed start whereby Itachi can extract the hand signs needed to stop the Reanimation Jutsu.
This isn’t too hard to explain and is quite obviously the most genjutsu in the whole Naruto universe. Infinite Tsukuyomi was basically the original state of all shinobi.
Kaguya Otsutsuki was the first person to ever obtain chakra, being sent to earth to do so alongside her brother Isshiki. Once Kaguya gained chakra she eventually gained what is known as the Rine Sharingan
The Rinne Sharingan is a complex dojutsu but is essentially the original dojutsu of which the Sharingan and the Rinnegan are derivatives. Once she had this eye, Kaguya cast Infinite Tsukuyomi onto all humans.
The Rinne Sharingan allows the caster to cast genjutsu off the moon and place the whole world under tsukuyomi. Although this is different to normal Tsukuyomi, under Infinite Tsukuyomi the victims remain in a beautiful dream where they achieve all their fantasies.
Madara’s plan is to place the world under the Infinite Tsukuyomi so that there will finally be peace. When Madara successfully casts the spell, he is basically Kaguya. This is hard to explain but he is essentially fused with the God Tree and the Ten Tails, both of which are technically Kaguya.
What’s pertinent, is that basically, only Kaguya Otsutsuki can actually cast Tsukuyomi. In any case, it is so powerful it can essentially enslave the whole planet. So yeah, this one is definitely the most powerful genjutsu in the Naruto universe.
There you have it, the Top 10 most powerful genjutsu in the Naruto universe.
Near the end of the list, most remain specific to Mangekyou Sharingan users, showing the versatility and power of the Sharingan. Itachi is definitely one of the best shinobi of his time to use henjutsu so it’s no doubt he appears so much on this list.
It’s clear Infinite Tsukuyomi, and most of the Sharingan genjutsu, are the most powerful but beyond these, you could argue all day about the operation of each individual genjutsu of the Naruto universe.