Naruto As a Model for Modern Diplomacy and Dialogue

It might be irrelevant at the first instance to connect Naruto with politics or foreign policy. However, the way I see it, Naruto is the perfect allegory that one must understand in order to envision a foreign policy that is built on diplomacy and dialogue, rather than bombs and weapons. Naruto embodies the good and evil that exists in each one of us, and how one must strive to achieve the goodness in spite of having evil qualities. If only politicians and policy makers chose to follow the path of dialogue, many wars and conflicts can be avoided. It is in each one of us to choose the path of dialogue, but we refuse to do so.

Naruto, without a shadow of doubt, is the greatest Manga today. Naruto was created by Masashi Kishimoto, and is published in Shonen Jump since 1999. The protagonist, Uzumaki Naruto, is an orphaned boy who struggles to be recognized by his peers for his village (Konoha) as a ninja and wants to become the Hokage – the military leader of his country. In 2002, it received an anime adaptation.

The fact that a Kyuubi was sealed in him (a form of demon of nine tails known as Bijuu. Previously it was understood that there were nine demons which were called depending on the number of tails they possessed: the numbers go from 1 to 9), makes people fear and hate him. People who have a demon sealed in them are called Jinchuuriki. In this sense, his life is a constant battle to prove his best for himself and for everyone else.

His importance and value are gradually recognized during his battles with the members of his own village (like Neji) and external enemies such as Gaara (another Jinchuuriki from a different village). In both the cases he ends up becoming friends with the former adversaries. His biggest disappointment was losing his childhood friend Uchiha Sasuke, who sought more power with an enemy of Konoha named Orochimaru. Naruto then promises that will do anything to bring his friend back to Sakura, his partner of Team 7, which he belongs along with their sensei Kakashi.

This task proves to be more complicated than he thought as Sasuke increasingly chose an evil path to follow. Sasuke’s family was murdered by his own elder brother, Uchiha Itachi, who was the motivation for Sasuke quest for more power: he wanted to kill his brother. However, it is later revealed that Itachi was only following orders from Danzou, a kind of obscure military leader who wanted to protect Konoha from an attack of the Uchiha clan.

Over time, an organization called Akatsuki is revealed, which is formed by powerful ninjas who hunt jinchuurikis (including Naruto) around the world for no apparent reason. It is later revealed that this organization “draws” the bijuu from their hosts sealing the demons in a giant statue. The then apparent leader of this organization, Pain (Nagato is his real name), says he wants to seek world peace, using a brute force with which the world can live on without wars. In a confrontation with Naruto, Nagato is convinced that he could be a new option in obtaining world peace.

Very soon, it is revealed that the real leader of Akatsuki is a man named Tobi (pretending to be Uchiha Madara). Tobi’s goal is to unite all bijuu to form a new ten-tails bijuu called Juubi. He intends to use this power to create a creature  an infinity Tsukiyomi (a form of genjutsu – ability to control the mind of others) which will be able to influence people all over the planet, eliminating the wills and desires of humanity. According to Tobi, this is the only way to establish real peace in the world.

There is then a World War in the universe of Naruto: all countries against Akatsuki and although many questions aren’t answered, what is important is the fighting spirit of Naruto. He does not want mankind to be controlled by force the way he was largely influenced by his senseis (Kakashi and Jiraiya) and heroes (like his father, the Fourth Hokage). Naruto believes that through diplomacy and dialogue, peaceful relations can be established between countries. He wants to become a hero who is recognized as someone who brought world peace by addressing issues in a civilized manner when possible.

Not that Naruto is a pacifist born, because as has been demonstrated several times in the manga that the only option was to fight for it. However, he has an ideology that transcends the need for violence. Overcoming violence is his goal, without having to control or manipulate people so that there is freedom and peaceful coexistence. The allegory of Naruto is to strive for peaceful coexistence with others through diplomacy and dialogue and possess the willpower to achieve our goals. Being a warrior does not always mean attending meetings or wars, but the ability to make new allies on the basis of diplomacy and dialogue.

Doesn’t the world need a little bit of that?

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