Disclaimer: This article will contain detailed information about Neji Hyuga and his role in the series. Readers are advised to read at their own discretion as this article will contain spoilers.
Neji was always inspired to be a strong shinobi as he believed it was his destiny to do so. He was a member of the renowned Hyuga clan and a jonin-level shinobi of Konohagakure, popularly known as the Village Hidden in the Leaves. Although he was a member of the branch family of the Hyuga clan, he had inherited powerful Byakugan, the Kekkei Genkai of the Hyuga clan. Apart from this, he was extraordinary and possessed exceptional intellect prowess which gained him the title, The Greatest Genius in the history of the Hyuga.
|Alias||Genius of the Hyuga Clan|
|First Appearance in Anime||Naruto Episode 21: Identify Yourself: Powerful New Rivals|
|Japanese Voice Actor||Koichi Tochika |
Keiko Nemoto (Child)
|English Voice Actor||Steve Staley |
Wendee Lee (Child)
|Affiliation||Konohagakure (Village Hidden in the Leaves)|
Allied Shinobi Forces
Star Guard Team
Sasuke Recovery Team
Neji was born on July 3 in the Hyuga clan and he was the son of Hizashi Hyuga, a member of the Branch Family. Neji's forehead was imprinted with the traditional cursed seal by his uncle, Hiashi Hyuga, who also serves as the clan leader, when Hinata Hyuga, the heiress of the main house and his cousin, turned three.
Neji's father could see that he had a natural ability with the Hyuga's signature moves despite how young he was at the time. Hizashi was displeased that Neji had a cursed seal placed on him because he believed that it would bind him to a life of servitude to the main house when, in reality, he should have been destined for more. Instinctively angry, he would frequently act on it, causing Hiashi to release the cursed seal of Hizashi, punishing him with anguish, which would traumatize Neji.
A Kumogakure Head Ninja who was in Konoha at the time attempted to kidnap Hinata in order to learn the Byakugan's secrets not long after Neji obtained his cursed seal by taking advantage of a peace treaty. The Head Ninja was stopped and slain by Hiashi as he rescued his daughter. Kumogakure refuted the accusations made against its Head Ninja and maintained that Hiashi's acts were a declaration of war by Konoha.
The only option to prevent war between the two villages would be if Hiashi's body were given to Kumogakure as compensation. Hiashi was prepared to do so in order to keep Konoha safe, but doing so would hand the Byakugan over to Kumogakure. Hizashi, Hiashi's twin brother, agreed to serve as his body double because Hizashi's Byakugan would be destroyed by his cursed seal when he passed away, despite Hiashi's objections. Neji, who wasn't old enough to comprehend what was happening at the time, eventually came to believe that his father had been made to die in order to save the main house. This later became known as the Hyuga Affair.
Neji developed resentment for the people in the main house because of what he thought they had done to his father, and he took every chance to try to hurt Hinata. He also began to believe that a person's destiny was predetermined at birth and couldn't be changed under any circumstances. He graduated from the Academy at the top of his class and was assigned to Team Guy.
They worked as a genie squad of Konoha consisting of Neji, Rock Lee and Tenten, captained by Might Guy, a renowned jonin and Taijutsu expert of Konoha. Nej i's ideology put him in Rock Lee: Lee wanted to become a great ninja despite his inability to use ninjutsu or genjutsu, something Neji claimed was impossible. Neji had little trouble impressing Tenten, but Lee was determined to prove him wrong by taking down Neji in a duel.
Neji made his first appearance in the series during the Chunin Exams Arc in Naruto episode 21. Neji and his team decided to wait out a year and gain experience before entering the Chunin exams based on Guy’s orders. This year, they participate along with other members of Konoha 11. Neji copies from the exams of other examinees during the first written exam using his Byakugan.
Team Guy divides up to look for vulnerable, competitor teams from which they can steal one of the scrolls they require after moving on to the second stage, which is set in the Forest of Death. During his hunt, Neji comes upon Team 10, but he determines they are too weak to bother with. He and Tenten discover Lee is unusually late as they arrive back at Team Guy's meeting place. When they search for him, they discover that Team Dosu has defeated him. Neji gets ready to battle them and believes he can defeat them, but after detecting Sasuke Uchiha's chakra, he decides to let Sasuke take the fight.
In the preliminary match, Neji gets paired up against Hinata Hyuga. Neji urges Hinata to give up the match and the life of a ninja, noting her timid nature and her lack of talent are not suitable for the brutal life of a shinobi. Hinata is moved to tears by his sharp critique of her, but Naruto Uzumaki's support inspires her to press on. Neji seals her chakra points during their initial round of gentle fist-blows, rendering her assaults ineffective against him. Hinata keeps fighting even though she can't harm Neji any longer. He keeps appealing to her to give up while ramping up the force of his strikes, but Hinata refused to back down.
After suffering severe internal organ damage and having trouble standing, Hinata claims that he worries so much about destiny and deserving of the Hyuga since his own fate prevents him from receiving Hyuga's acknowledgment. Neji becomes furious and makes a move to kill her, but Guy, Kurenai, Kakashi Hatake, and the proctor, Hayate Gekko, stop him. However, due to her injuries, Hinata loses consciousness and is hospitalized in critical condition.
After Hinata's tenacity and Neji's deeds infuriate Naruto, Neji is proclaimed the winner, and Naruto swears to defeat him in the finals. Following the conclusion of the preliminary rounds, Neji is paired against Naruto in the final round.
Naruto and Neji square up after a month of preparation in the final round of chunk exams. In an effort to outnumber Neji's taijutsu skills and overwhelm him with numbers, Naruto first engages him using shadow clones. The real Naruto is able to deliver several hits because Neji's Byakugan cannot distinguish between the shadow clones and him, but Neji deflects them with Revolving Heaven and eventually seals Naruto's chakra with Sixty-Four Palms.
Neji labels him a genius and calls Naruto a failure who would always lose to him. Neji explains his father's passing and the disparities between the Hyuga families when Naruto refuses to believe him. Naruto is forced to subconsciously use the Nine-Tails' chakra because his own chakra is cut off. It surprises Neji, and the ferocity of the chakra shocks him.
Naruto's strength and speed have been substantially improved, enabling him to keep up with Neji. However, Naruto seems to have lost, and Neji starts bragging since he thinks he has won. As he continues, Naruto suddenly emerges from the ground beneath him and delivers an uppercut to the chin, knocking him out. He understands that the Naruto he thought had been vanquished was actually a shadow clone hiding the gaping wound the real Naruto was creating for him.
Neji berates himself for falling victim to Naruto's signature move. Before being declared the winner, Naruto tells Neji to stop limiting himself and states that destiny is something we make ourselves and even if it is predetermined, he will work hard and change it. He also states that after he becomes Hokage, he will change the way of the Hyuga.
As Neji recovers from his battle, Hiashi visits him and tells him the truth behind his father’s demise, that he chose to sacrifice himself to protect his brother. Hiashi gives Neji a letter from his father that he wrote before his death. Neji finds it hard to believe all this. Hiashi apologizes to Neji for not telling him sooner and bows to him.
The act brings Neji to tears, and he asks Hiashi to stand up after finally believing him. Neji thinks he would like to select his fate, just like his father did, and that he wants his destiny to be to never lose again while observing the birds outside.
Tsunade Senju, the Fifth Hokage, forms a Sasuke Recovery Team when Sasuke Uchiha flees to Otogakure, also known as the Hidden Sound Village. The team is made up of Naruto, Neji, Choji Akamichi, Kiba Inuzuka, and Akamaru, and is captained by Shikamaru Nara. While they follow Sasuke's escorts, the Sound Four, Neji keeps watching behind them with his Byakugan.
The Recovery Team is trapped in Jirobo's Earth Prison Dome of Magnificent Nothingness once they catch up with the Sound Four. They manage to escape after Neji finds a flaw in the prison's defenses, but they must leave Choji behind to hold off Jirobo while they pursue the remaining Sound Four. Kidomaru ties them up with his webbing when they finally catch up with him. Kidomaru's webs can only be broken by Neji because of his refined chakra control. Before telling the others to go without him, he forewarns them that it's likely that one-on-one battles are bound to happen in this mission.
Kidomaru tries to play with Neji by restricting his motions to the point where he is unable to rip the web with his hands. Neji stunned Kidomaru by releasing chakra from every part of his body, releasing the webs and allowing him to use Sixty-Four Palms. Kidomaru retreats after using an Armour of Sticky Gold to stop the sealing of his chakra points. To test Neji's field of vision and the extent of his defenses, he begins striking him from a distance.
He begins to assume Neji's Byakugan has a blind spot based on his attacks. In his final moments, Kidomaru states that the Recovery Team won't be able to bring Sasuke to Konoha. Neji disagrees, thinking that only Naruto can convince Sasuke, just as he did with Neji during the Chunin Exams. Due to his injuries and a close call with death, Neji is now in critical condition.
Later, Konoha dispatches the Medic Corps to pursue the Recovery Team. Neji is discovered, returned to Konoha, and given the medical care he needs by a team of medics.
Tsunade dispatches Team Guy to help Team 7 rescue Gaara, the Fifth Kazekage, from Akatsuki. In the Land of Rivers, Kisame Hoshigaki, a member of the Akatsuki, attacks Team Guy as they travel to an Akatsuki lair. Kisame imprisons Neji, Tenten, and Rock Lee in water prisons because he is only concerned with fighting Might Guy. After some time, Neji is able to gather enough chakra to break free and release Lee and Tenten, but they are unable to rejoin the battle because Guy has already defeated Kisame. But when they go to examine the body later, they find it was just a fake created to delay them.
When they finally meet up with Team 7, they find a barrier blocking the way to the Akatsuki lair. The rest of Team Guy splits out to remove the seals as Neji uses his Byakugan to pinpoint their location. They are attacked by copies of themselves once the barrier has been removed.
Like the other members of Team Guy, Neji finds it difficult to overcome himself, and the only way he succeeds is by growing stronger than he was at the time the duplicate was made. After prevailing in battle, Team Guy gets back together and pursues Team 7. They arrive in time to stop Deidara's escape attempt. In order to make an opening for him to escape, Deidara uses a suicide bombing clone. After completing the mission, Team Guy along with Team 7 return to Konoha.
Neji, along with the rest of Team Guy was away from the village on a mission. As they make their way to the village after completing their mission, they come across a Gamabunta, lying on the ground defeated, who warns them about the fierce battle in Konoha. They run back to the village, where they discover Hinata seriously injured from her fight with Pain, and Neji seeks medical attention for her. Soon later, they learn that Naruto has defeated Pain, and when he returns to the village, they all join in the celebration.
The word of Sasuke Uchiha's recent criminal activities with Akatsuki reaches Konoha, specifically mentioning his attack on Kumogakure-ninja and kidnapping of Killer B, and that he has been classified as an international criminal, sought out by many. Neji, and the other Konoha 11—aside from Naruto—decide that Sasuke can no longer bind Konoha to his wrongdoings and they decide to assassinate him. After learning about this and engaging Sasuke on his own, Naruto returns to Konoha and asks that they leave it to him to handle Sasuke.
In the Fourth Great Shinobi War, Neji is assigned to the Second Division of the Allied Shinobi Forces alongside Hinata. The Second Division engages in battle with the Zetsu Army, who are disguised as shinobi of Allied Shinobi Forces, and their battle rages on until one of Naruto's shadow clones shows there to finish off the disguised White Zetsu Army.
Later, Neji and the rest of the Allied Shinobi Forces came to Naruto’s aid and join the battle as Naruto fights the Ten-Tailed Beast who is being controlled by Obito and Madara Uchiha. Obito starts firing wooden spikes at the Allied Shinobi Forces in an effort to demoralize Naruto, to show him that he cannot protect anyone. This results in numerous losses. As Naruto has run out of chakra and needed some time to recuperate, Neji, Hinata, and Hiashi begin to defend him.
To defend Naruto and Hinata against a focused attack, he acts as a human shield and gets pierced by the wooden spikes. In his final act, Neji reminds Naruto that Hinata was willing to die for him and that he holds more than one life in his hands. Naruto tries to find a medic but Neji accepts this and understands that it is his time to go.
He asks Neji why did he sacrifice his life for him, to which Neji stated that it's simply because he called him a ‘Genius’. Neji finally understands why his father chose to die in order to protect his comrades and he finally finds himself free and then succumbs to his injuries.
Even though Neji was exceptional and a genius, he was still just as much impressionable as any other kid. He was always fascinated by the concept of destiny. As a young boy, Neji was a sweet and loving kid who admired his father. Although he was born in the branch family of the Hyuga and had to face many hardships, it did not make him bitter. After his father sacrificed his life to protect the head of the Hyuga clan and his brother, Hiashi Hyuga, Neji became bitter and grew hatred toward the main family.
As he grew older, he became cold and more mature than most of his age. He started believing that there is no free will and that since their birth, everyone is confined to a path, a pre-determined destiny that they cannot escape. He believed that he is destined to be a genius, and a prodigy and became arrogant towards those he considered weaker.
Despite this, no matter how strong he is or how rare of a talent he is, he is destined to be bound to servitude to the main family of the Hyuga clan. He believed that he is bound to serve his abilities to the main family and sacrifice himself to protect them, a destiny he cannot escape and this fueled his hatred towards the main family.
Neji often thought of himself as a caged bird, trapped in his cage and wanting a way out. After he was defeated by Naruto Uzumaki in the chunin exams, his perspective changed. Naruto opened his eyes and made him realize that destiny is not a predetermined path, it is something one has to make for himself. After this incident, Neji admired Naruto and felt indebted to him for saving him from the darkness within.
At one point, Neji stated that sometimes Naruto’s eyes are even better than his as Naruto is able to see from others’ perspectives. Over time, Neji mended his relations with the main family as his resentment slowly faded away. He then dedicated himself to growing stronger, never losing and protecting his friends and family.
Even though he despised her at the beginning and his duty to her, he started embracing his duty to protect Hinata from harm's way as her big brother and a member of the branch family. In the Fourth Great Shinobi War, he sacrificed his life to save Hinata and Hyuga. In his last moment, he finally understood the freedom and happiness his father felt after protecting his loved ones.
Neji had light skin and long dark brown hair in anime. He has dull white eyes that are somewhat purple in the anime when his Byakugan is not in use. Neji was dressed in mesh armor and a beige shirt, with a dull blue shirt below. His right arm, chest, and right leg were all bandaged, and he was dressed in dark brown shorts and blue shinobi sandals.
He wrapped his long hair in a loose ponytail. In addition. he wears a Konoha headband, denoting his shinobi status paired up with classic black shinobi sandals. A smaller headband concealed the Hyuga Clan's Curse Mark with two straps that framed the sides of his face.
Neji donned a white kimono shirt with long, loose sleeves, matching slacks, a navy-gray apron tied around his waist, and black shinobi sandals in Naruto Shippuden after becoming a jonin. Instead of using the straps that had previously framed his face, he let his now-lengthier hair do so. He frequently slung a tan and black drawstring bag over his shoulder while on missions.
He replaced a large portion of his outfit with the typical Konohagakure flak jacket and other clothing during the Fourth Shinobi World War. He wore a black shirt underneath the flak jacket with matching pants with a weapon holster strapped around his right thigh with white bandages. He also had white bandages wrapped around his lower legs paired with black shinobi sandals, resembling the ones he used to have in his early years. He maintained his hair in a ponytail at the beginning of the battle, but as it went on, he let it drop loose.
Neji was exceptional and one of the strongest shinobi of his generation. He belonged to the renowned Hyuga clan and had inherited a strong Byakugan, the Kekkie Genkai of the Hyuga clan, compared to his fellow clanmates. Neji was calm and composed and possessed extraordinary mental and physical skills. With his over-the-top performance, he was soon renowned as the greatest genius in the history of the Hyuga clan.
Neji belonged to the branch family of the Hyuga clan and thus he was forbidden to learn any advanced techniques of the clan. But that alone was not able to stop Neji from progressing. He managed to master many secret Hyuga clan jutsu by observation alone and with no formal training whatsoever, thus his genius status.
Hiashi Hyuga, after witnessing Neji’s raw talent, believed that Neji should have been the successor of the Main Branch. It was believed that Neji would grow up to be a formidable shinobi and surpass all of his predecessors.
Although he didn’t get promoted to chunin in his first chunin exams, Neji was the only member of Konoha 11 that managed to become jonin in the time skip, surpassing all of his friends. Neji was able to manipulate three chakra natures, a feat achieved by only a few. He possessed the following chakra releases:
Neji wielded the Byakugan, one of the Three Great Dojutsu. He mastered the Byakugan at a very young age and had an almost 360° penetrative field of vision. He was also able to see the 361 chakra points that make up the chakra pathway systems because of his Byakugan.
Over time, he was able to extend the range of his Byakugan; whereas in Part I, he could only see things from a distance of 50 meters, in Part II (Naruto Shippuden), he could see things from a distance of at least 800 meters.
Like the majority of the Hyuga clan, Neji was a taijutsu expert. He was excellent at systematically finishing off his opponents with pinpoint blows to vital body parts. He also had incredible speed, which when combined with his exceptional reflexes, coordination, and agility allowed him to deftly avoid almost any attack while still having time to counterattack his opponent.
These characteristics made him particularly lethal at close range. Neji was a very adaptable fighter. He could restrain numerous opponents at once by attacking their chakra points with the Eight Trigrams Sixty-Four Palms, or he could block an incoming barrage of projectiles. He could employ Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven as a defensive move to expel chakra from his body and instantly repel all incoming attacks.
If restrained, he could easily liberate himself by releasing chakra from his chakra points. Neji began using the Eight Trigrams Vacuum Palm in Naruto Shippuden to strike targets outside his physical range or to repel oncoming attacks.
Neji had mastered a lot of jutsu in his journey to becoming one of the strongest shinobi. Here is a list of all the jutsu that he possessed in his arsenal.
Eight Trigrams Mountain Crusher (Anime only)
Eight Trigrams One Hundred Twenty-Eight Palms (Anime only)
Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven
Eight Trigrams Sixty-Four Palms
Eight Trigrams Vacuum Palm
Eight Trigrams Vacuum Wall Palm
Front Lotus: Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven
Gentle Fist Art One Blow Body
Gentle Fist: Tenketsu Needle (Anime only)
Other than the manga and anime adaptation of the Naruto series, Neji is also a vital part of novels, games, movies, and OVAs related to the series. Neji makes his debut in the OVA category with the release of Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival.
Neji is also a part of movies of the series, making his debut with Naruto Shippuden the Movie. With the publication of Konoha Hiden: The Perfect Day for a Wedding, Neji makes his literary debut in the novel category.
Neji made his debut in games with Naruto: Konoha Ninpocho and is also a playable character in the following games related to the series:
|Japanese release||English release|
|Jump Super Stars||8 August 2005|
|Naruto RPG 2: Chidori vs. Rasengan||14 July 2005|
|Naruto Shippūden: Clash of Ninja Revolution 3||17 November 2009|
|Naruto Shippūden: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! EX||22 February 2007|
|Naruto Shippūden: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! EX 2||29 November 2007|
|Naruto Shippūden: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! EX 3||27 November 2008|
|Naruto Shippūden: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! Special||2 December 2010|
|Naruto Shippūden: Kizuna Drive||15 July 2010||22 March 2011|
|Naruto Shippūden: Legends: Akatsuki Rising||6 October 2009|
|Naruto Shippūden: Naruto vs. Sasuke||4 July 2008||6 November 2010|
|Naruto Shippūden: Ninja Council 4||19 July 2007||2 June 2009|
|Naruto Shippūden: Ninja Destiny 2||24 April 2008||15 September 2009|
|Naruto Shippūden: Ninja Destiny 3||28 April 2009|
|Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja 4||5 April 2007||24 March 2009|
|Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja 5||20 December 2007||27 November 2009|
|Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Blazing||14 July 2016||24 August 2016|
|Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 3||10 December 2009||11 May 2010|
|Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2||21 October 2010||19 October 2010|
|Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3||18 April 2013||5 March 2013|
|Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4||4 February 2016||9 February 2016|
|Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations||23 February 2012||13 March 2012|
|Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution||11 September 2014||16 September 2014|
|Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker||30 August 2018||31 August 2018|
|Naruto x Boruto: Ninja Tribes||June 2019||June 2019|
|Naruto x Boruto: Ninja Voltage||22 November 2017||22 November 2017|
|Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2||4 December 2003||26 September 2006|
|Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution||23 October 2007|
|Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2||21 October 2008|
|Naruto: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! 3||20 November 2004|
|Naruto: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! 4||21 November 2005|
|Naruto: Konoha Senki||12 September 2003|
|Naruto: Ninja Council 2 European Version||21 April 2005||3 October 2008|
|Naruto: Ninja Council 3||27 April 2006||22 May 2007|
|Naruto: Ninja Destiny||14 December 2006||20 March 2008|
|Naruto: Path of the Ninja||22 July 2004||23 October 2007|
|Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2||13 July 2006||14 October 2008|
|Naruto: Rise of a Ninja||30 October 2007|
|Naruto: Shinobi Collection||2014|
|Naruto: Shinobi Collection Shippū Ranbu||27 July 2015|
|Naruto: The Broken Bond||18 November 2008|
|Naruto: Ultimate Ninja||23 October 2003||26 June 2006|
|Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2||30 September 2004||12 June 2007|
|Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3||22 December 2005||25 March 2008|
|Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes||28 August 2007|
|Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 2: The Phantom Fortress||30 March 2006||24 June 2008|
|Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Online||14 April 2013||20 July 2016|
|Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm||15 January 2009||4 November 2008|
|Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles||18 August 2005||16 November 2006|
|Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles 2||16 November 2006||4 September 2007|
To Hinata - "People are judged by their true nature. It is the way of the world. That is why we have an elite, and that is why we have outcasts. We can change our physical appearance and improve our skills with training and study, but ultimately, we are judged by what we cannot change. What can't be changed must be endured. We are who we are, and we must live with it."
To Naruto - "These eyes of mine show me many things. One thing they've shown me… people's limitations are set, fixed, and unchangeable. Only a fool wastes his time trying to become something he can never be! The only destiny that everyone shares… is death."
To Hizashi Hyuga - "Father, is a person's destiny a thing like a cloud flowing with an inescapable flow? Or can a person choose the flow he wishes… I still don't know the answer to this. Either way the destination may be the same in the end. However, by choosing to live like the latter, a person can live and strive towards a goal. And in this match I have finally understood those who have that are truly strong. Father, I have but one goal, I want to become stronger… Enough not to lose to anyone… That's how I feel. Father, the birds are flying freely today… They look so happy."
To Naruto - “Sometimes your eyes are even better than mine.”
To Kidomaru - "Even if my enemy is far stronger, even if my body should fail me, I cannot lose, there is a reason I cannot lose. I was always known as a genius so I cannot lose. Especially for the sake of those who believed I was a genius being my weak and powerless self."
Last words - "Father, I finally understand your feelings… The freedom you felt when you chose to die to protect your friends."
A. Neji belonged to the formidable Hyuga clan and is stated to be one of the strongest clans of Hidden Leaf Village.
A. Neji died in the Fourth Great Ninja War. He died while protecting Naruto Uzumaki and Hinata Hyuga from a fatal attack aimed at them.