|Used For:||Representing their Village|
|Used In Which World(s):||Ninja World|
The Headband that is worn by almost every ninja, composed of a metal plate engraved with the symbol of the ninja's Hidden Village, and normally a band of blue cloth (although other colours have been seen). The forehead protector is received once a ninja graduates from the Ninja Academy, so only genin-level or higher ranked ninja possess them.
Despite the name "headband", it can be worn in many different styles. For example, while the majority do wear theirs in the traditional manner, Sakura uses hers as a hair-band, Shikamaru has his on his upper arm, whereas Rock Lee and Might Guy wear theirs as a belt when they wear their green jumpsuits, while Temari and Hinata wears theirs as chokers. Genma Shiranui wears his forehead protector on the back of his head. Tobirama Senju, Kisame Hoshigaki, Zaku Abumi and Yamato also wear a mask-style forehead protector that frames their faces, rather than a cloth wrapping around their heads. Kankurō wears his on his hood. Gaara wraps his on his sand gourd. Yagura uses a under-shirt in which is the protector of Kirigakure in the middle and Chōjūrō uses it like a badge on his chest. Kakashi Hatake and Tonbo Tobitake wore theirs as makeshift eye-patches.
The forehead protector is meant to symbolize pride in one's village, as well as a symbol of fealty. Ninja consider it an honorable, important part of their tradition, and make a point of wearing it at all times, especially when sparring with a comrade from the same village. For example, after the search for Tsunade, Naruto was angered by Sasuke's refusal to wear his headband during their fight. There are also some ninjas who do not wear their headbands, despite still being loyal to the village (such as the Sannin, Shizune, Nagato, Ino (in Part II), and Konan).
Several rogue ninja (such as Zabuza Momochi) do not stop wearing their headband, while others (such as Orochimaru) may discard them. Akatsuki members who do retain their headbands carve long, horizontal scratches across the symbol, to show they have rescinded their allegiances and rejected their villages. Also, while the citizens of Amegakure currently bear the same scratches across their headbands, it does not mean they are missing-nin. Rather, it symbolizes their victory over the civil war between Hanzō the recognized leader of Ame and Pain, the leader of Akatsuki rebel faction.
Jiraiya also wears a special headband, which, instead of a piece of metal with the village's symbol attached to a cloth, it is a thick metal band, shaped like a frog's head, with the kanji "oil" (also known as "Abura") on the centre. Headbands date to the time of the Sage of the Six Paths and his children, the earliest one seen being worn was on the Senju clan ancestor. It was a regular headband with no symbol.
Since the formation of the Allied Shinobi Forces a new headband has been crafted by Mifune, one with the kanji for shinobi (忍) on it. This symbolizes that whereas once each ninja fought for their villages separately, they would now stand united under one banner for the same cause. All members of the Alliance wear this in place of their original headbands.
Colors and Styles
Throughout the course of the series the cloth of the ninja headbands have been seen in many different colors and worn in many different styles.
- Navy Blue & Blue: This is the most common colour of headband. Many ninja keep their headband this color for the entirety of their ninja career.
- Crimson & Red: Some ninja have a crimson-colored headband such as Rock Lee and Might Guy. Other ninja changed their headband from blue to crimson over the time-skip including Sakura Haruno and Chōji Akimichi. Iwagakure ninja also tend to use crimson colored headbands.
- Black: Many ninja also wear black headbands such as Kakashi Hatake, Neji Hyūga, Gaara, Sai and Temari. Many ninja changed from blue to black over the time skip, including Naruto Uzumaki, Tenten, Iruka Umino, and all of Team Kurenai.
- White: While hardly ever seen, headbands can be pure white in color. Known shinobi with such headbands are Killer Bee, and several other ninja from Kumogakure and the Takumi Village ninja.