Why is Kakashi always wearing a mask in Naruto? Explained

Possible explanations for why Kakashi wears a mask (image via Masashi Kishimoto/Shueisha, Naruto)
Possible explanations for why Kakashi wears a mask (image via Masashi Kishimoto/Shueisha, Naruto)

Kakashi Hatake, also known as the Copy Ninja, is one of the most well-known characters in Naruto. He was the protagonist’s mentor and the team leader of Team 7. He was a part of the ANBU in the earlier days, after which he became a regular shinobi that was assigned missions from time to time.

One of the most prevalent topics among fans is hypothesising the reasons why Kakashi wears a mask in the series. Given that the anime is about ninjas, it might seem absurd to speculate, but other characters do not wear masks, giving fans more grounds to speculate. Let’s take a look at the reasons why Kakashi wears a mask in the Naruto series.

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Naruto: Possible reason why Kakashi wears a mask in the series

The show is such that the world is filled with shinobis and there are academies set up in order to train them to become strong. These shinobis are tasked with saving the village from threats and take part in missions that give them information in order to gain an advantage over the neighbouring villages. Historically speaking, ninjas always wore masks in order to conceal their identity and to blend in with their surroundings at night.

According to fan suggestions, author Masashi Kishimoto decided to give Kakashi a mask because, in essence, ninjas are secretive. However, he also mentioned that he wished he didn’t give him a mask because it was difficult to depict the character’s emotions. Other than this there isn’t really much of an explanation as to why Kakashi was given a mask. When he was first introduced in the Naruto series, he seemed very laid back and didn’t take things seriously. However, this isn’t the case and he is someone who is quite dependable in tough situations.

He constantly read a particular book in the Naruto series which the fans noticed during the Bell Test. The entire team tried their best to take the bell from him, but they failed. At the time, Kakashi was seen reading a book called Makeout Tactics. Later, fans were introduced to another character in the series called Jiraiya. He played a huge role in the protagonist’s development and was a father figure as well. The aforementioned book was authored by none other than Jiraiya. This suggested that Kakashi was someone who had inappropriate thoughts every now and then.

Kakashi took this book everywhere he went and read it constantly. In the anime, when a character is having inappropriate thoughts, they are shown falling victim to the red drip (nosebleed) which suggests arousal. While anatomically this is inaccurate, anime uses nose bleeds to characterize certain thoughts that a character has at that moment. Rock Lee’s Springtime of Youth is a Naruto spinoff and this series mentioned a possible reason why Kakashi wears a mask. According to one of the episodes of the series, Kakashi wears a mask in order to hide the nose bleeds whenever he is reading Jiraiya’s books.

That series isn’t canon and therefore that explanation is something that was offered by the characters within the series. Other than these explanations, the series doesn’t really delve into why Kakashi wears a mask.