Kakashi Hatake is one of the coolest and most beloved characters within the animanga universe created by Mashashi Kishimoto, Naruto.
He is an important character through the manga, original series and its sequels. Not only is he Naruto’s sensei but eventually becomes Hokage and is arguably one of the most powerful shinobi within the village at certain times.
Kakashi’s power, while rooted in his natural ability as a shinobi, is partly due to his Sharingan eye. However, as many fans understand, and is reiterated throughout the lore of the Naruto world,
the Sharingnan is a kekkei genkai meaning that you must be born into the Uchiha clan in order to have this ability.
So why does Kakashi have a Sharingan eye even though he is clearly not an Uchiha? Keep reading for a full explanation, although beware for spoilers if you haven’t seen the whole series.
Who Is Kakashi Hatake?
Kakashi Hatake is one of the main characters within the Naruto world, he is introduced to us in the first series mainly as the sensei entrusted with the troublesome shinobi candidates of Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Sakura Haruno.
Kakashi’s parents died when he was very young, his mother died very early on although there is little information about her, while his father comitted suicide when he was a young boy due to his failure to complete a mission.
Losing both his parents at such a young age shaped Kakashi into a powerful but also mature shinobi at a young age.
The Hatake clan isn’t mentioned much within the manga or the anime, but we know they were not a particularly large or powerful clan in comparison to the Uchiha clan, for example.
This, as well as losing his parents while only a child, also made Kakashi into an outsider with a strong ninja code.
What Is A Sharingan?
The Sharingan eye is the kekkei genkai of the powerful Uchiha clan. The Uchiha clan were extremely powerful thanks to their innate ability to awaken this eye.
They were the founding clan of the Hidden Leaf Village alongside the Senju clan but were outcast due to the ambition of their clan and, namely, the history of the clan as moulded by Madara Uchiha.
The Sharingan has many abilities but most notably, it has the ability to copy another shinobis jutsu. This ability makes it very powerful in battle and is what enabled the clan to be so powerful.
There are other abilities gained from the eye such as being able to see and sense chakra, as well as other smaller abilities like specific genjutsu and other techniques
Worth noting is the multiple levels of the eye. Once awoken, its baseline level is indicated by the two tomoe visible in the eye. The second level and ‘full evolution’ of the eye is indicated by the tomoe and is called the ‘Mangekyou Sharingan’.
There is technically another level called the Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan but this is a complex topic and this level of eye was only ever achieved by Sasuke and Madara Uchiha.
While all Uchiha have the ability to awaken the Sharingan eye, not all members have it. In order to awaken the eye the Uchiha member must go through some level of intense emotion,
regardless of the emotion it must be felt extremely strongly. For instance, Sasuke awakens his eyes when the Uchiha clan is wiped out by his brother Itachi.
It should be noted that while the Sharingan eye is exclusive to the Uchiha clan, the eye can technically be transplanted into a host, although with certain complications. This is why Kakashi, and also Danzo, have the Sharingan eye.
So, Why Does Kakashi Have A Sharingan? (SPOILERS)
The story of Kakashi’s Sharingan is rooted in his traumatic past and experience of the Third Shinobi World War. When Kakashi was a genin, like Naruto, he was part of Team Minato.
Led by Naruto’s father Minato Namikaze, Kakashi, alongside teammates Obito Uchiha and Rin Nohara, had to learn on the job during the midst of the war.
Kakashi, due to his prowess, was promoted to a jonin at the young age of 13. As a result Rin gifts Kakashi a medical kit so he can patch himself up when injured, Obito, however, forgets to give Kakashi a present, much to Kakashi’s dismay.
A series of events unfold as the three, essentially children, are entrusted to infiltrate enemy lines. Obito is a particularly nervous and anxious genin and struggles to fight and often starts crying,
especially due to his eye condition that means he has to wear goggles. When attacked, Obito actually awakens his Sharingan when protecting Kakashi and this makes him stronger.
When their teammate Rin is kidnapped by the enemy, after a serious argument Obito and Kakashi agree to go find her and save her, abandoning their original mission which is particularly against Kakashi’s ninja code.
When fighting her kidnappers, a fight ensues that brings down the cave in which Rin is held. While Kakashi and Rin remain unscaved, Obito gets crushed by a rock.
Crushed and near death Obito realises he cannot survive the damage caused by the rock which has crushed the left side of his body.
Obito, realising he hadn’t given Kakashi a gift for becoming jonin, decides to give his eye to Kakashi as Kakashi’s left eye had been damaged beyond repair in battle.
Rin, being a medical-nin, accommodates the request and transplants the eye in place of Kakashi’s damaged eye. With his new Sharingan eye, Kakashi proceeds to defeat a horde of enemy shinobi and in turn protects Rin.
Later in battle Rin moves in front of Kakashi’s Chidori to kill herself as she has been placed under a genjutsu that makes her a spy against the Hidden Leaf Village.
This particular moment is separate topic, but, the trauma experienced by Kakashi from killing his own teammate awakens his Mangekyou Sharingan, and unbeknownst to Kakashi, awakens Obito’s Mangekyou Sharingan too, as he continues to fight for his life while still crushed by the rock.
This particular moment, Obito’s ‘death’, Rin’s sacrifice, and Kakashi’s choice to value his friends over the importance of a mission is one of the most important events to understand in the whole show – those who have seen the whole series or read the whole manga will confirm this.
So there you have it. These events are covered in the series eventually during the finale of Naruto Shippuden, if you haven’t got there already, and are fundamentally important not just to Kakashi’s character but also to the series at large.
In conclusion, Kakashi has a Sharingan eye because he was gifted it by Obito Uchiha, his former teammate. Kakashi had already lost his eye in battle, this is why he also has the scar over the eye with the Sharingan.
Rin transplanted this eye on the battlefield too, so not everyone knows about Kakashi’s eye unless they have seen him use it in battle, only the Elders of the village and the main characters close to Kakashi know why he has the Sharingan,
the villagers of Konohagakure certainly don’t know he has the eye in the first place. It is Kakashi’s mastering of the Sharingan eye as an adult that earns him the title of ‘Kakashi the Copy Ninja’.