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In Naruto, the four contemporary squads are composed of two boys and one girl. Same for the lone Sand Village squad. Even the known squads in the past (Orochimaru's squad, Kakkashi's squad) have the same gender ratio. I can't recall a squad that doesn't have this ratio of 2:1.

Any explanation about this (in-universe or otherwise)?

  • 2
    Didn't notice that before :) the senior Ino Shika Cho team is all guys. – Sufendy Nov 3 '11 at 4:51
  • @Phelios:Good observation. – apoorv020 Nov 3 '11 at 5:37
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    Obviously it's to feed Rule 34. – Jeff Nov 3 '11 at 21:23
  • Out of universe, it's more that it's just common everywhere: tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PowerTrio – Izkata Nov 5 '11 at 4:07
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Gender was not taken into account when creating a squad, except in as much as was needed to prevent intra-squad rivalries.

Squads were formed on the basis of complementary fighting styles or skill sets.

naruto's squad was formed by adding in Saske (to balance the immensely powerful but relatively unskilled Naruto) and Sakura was brought in because she was highly intelligent and there was a romantic triangle angle in the trio that would encourage all of them to excel (in an attempt to gain the attention of the object of their affection).

The 2:1 ratio was not uncommon, but was not universal, either. It's likely that the ratio of Ninja in leaf village (and possibly others) was close to 2:1, as well - if this is the case, it would nicely account for the large number of teams which respected the ratio.

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    Gender might not be taken into account when "creating a squad" in the story, but it's nuts to say it had no effect on the people actually creating the squad, i.e. the writers and producers. – user1030 Nov 5 '11 at 23:42
  • Jeff, care to offer citations? A good answer is not simply opinion. I have read the whole series, and don't think that your interpretation is canonical. – Lexible Jul 29 '15 at 5:46
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While its never mentioned in the show itself, it can be inferred that the reason for the ratio is simply because there are that many more men than women serving in the armed forces of the Naruto universe.

This makes more sense than it seems at first glance. Using the Israeli defense force (one of the few nations that allows women and combat roles, and the only one that actively conscripts them) as a real-world analog we find that the numbers are quite in line with the Naruto universe.

Women are allowed to avoid serving for two reasons. The first is religious reasons, although that doesn't make much of a difference since while women are more likely to have their applications approved, men can still apply for the same privilege. The second reason is if she is married, pregnant, a mother, or practicing Kashrut (basically meaning she plans to become a married mother, among other things). This means that around 30% of conscripted soldiers are women, and about 20% of the military as a whole are women.

Since even ninja villages need children, it would stand to reason that they also have a similar policy when it comes to service. Therefore, only about one third of the child/teenage ninjas are women, justifying the 2 to 1 ratio.

http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/israel-defense-forces https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_Israel_Defense_Forces#Service

  • Despite using out of universe reasoning, I think this answer is absolutely spot on and justified. +1 – Alfredo Hernández Jul 29 '15 at 2:33
  • While this is some good reasoning, I’m not sure it would necessarily apply. Even if the ninja squads in Naruto allow exemptions for pregnancy (plausible), would they necessarily provide an exemption for marriage? Depending on the degree of gender equality in child care on the show, being a mother might also not make sense as an exemption. Also, Kashrut is very relevant in Israel (with 20% of the Jewish population describing themselves as at least Orthodox), but likely not relevant to Naruto. I’m not sure we can conclude much from similar proportions. – Adamant Jan 3 '17 at 5:33
  • Perhaps most important, is it the case that many teams are made up of children or teenagers? Marriage and motherhood might not be so relevant there.... – Adamant Jan 3 '17 at 5:34
  • @Adamant Yeah, the teams are only required for the lowest post-schooling rank. Based on the advancement of the main and secondary characters, they're probably expected to be past that around the mid-teens. That said, they do typically continue to work as a team past that as long as they are working. – Izkata Mar 21 '17 at 12:57
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Out of universe, it's a combination of narrative necessity and sexism.

Three is an extremely common number for a story to focus on because it's the minimum number of people you need to create most flavors of dramatic conflicts - two people can shun one, one person can show they're stronger by defeating two, one person can be captured and two work to save them without forcing the show to resort to monologue, etc. You can do more than three of course, but for a children's show with 20-30 minute episodes and low animation budgets, you don't want to. So there's the narrative necessity.

One you've decided you're having three people, you don't dare not put a girl in it - that would be sexist! but you wouldn't dare make an action show starring two girls and a boy either- only girls and gay kids would watch that! So there's the sexism.

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While the 2:1 ratio of squads may not have been universal in the other shinobi villages, I think it's pretty safe to assume it was in the Hidden Leaf, as every single 3-man team shown consisted of two males and a female. Like MatThePhat said, the Naruto universe's male to female shinobi ratio, much like our world's male to female military members, is unbalanced. Women simply are not found serving as many combative purposes as men are. Likewise, in the Naruto world, you see far more shinobis than kunoichis on the battlefield. Also like MatThePhat said, a very logical reason for this could be because of the different roles men and women played. A man could be a father and still continue his duties as a shinobi, but the mother, at least during pregnancy and for some time after birth, would not be serving.

However, while plenty of reasons can be inferred, I believe the most driving factor of the 2:1 ratio is the target audience of Naruto. As a shounen manga, Naruto is aimed at capturing the interests of young boys, and having too many women simply doesn't keep that sort of audience captivated. And frankly, it wouldn't keep me interested either (let it be known that I'm female). Let's say the 2:1 ratio was reversed, and let's also say that Ino, Sakura, and Sasuke were all put on a squad. If I wouldn't be able to tolerate all the bickering that would ensue over Sasuke's attention, I certainly don't think any 12 year old boy would, either. Now I realize that saying that every young squad with two girls and one boy would be an endless love-triangle-rivalry-thing is a ridiculous generalization, but knowing most of the females in Naruto, it wouldn't surprise me if a good number of the squads turned out that way. It's just how Kishimoto made his female characters—centered around men.

With that being said, my final conclusion is that the 2:1 ratio rule in the Hidden Leaf is a combination of traditional gender roles and duties, a reflection of the real world's military, target audience standards, and a little bit of (unintentional) sexism.

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Shinobi (Ninja) Squads

The shinobi squad ratios in the television version of Naruto only appeared to have a ratio of 2:1 because the show focused on the adventures of the warriors of the Leaf Village. The ratio of different groups would also end up being very different depending on the village, clan or social group a ninja belonged to. This does not mean other villages did not operate the same way but their rationale might be complete different depending on the number of ninja at their command.

For example:

In the Leaf Village, once a ninja initiate became able to take on missions, usually at the rank of Genin, they were assigned to a squad of three with a Jounin-level leader to provide guidance, coordination and experience to the other members of the team. Personalities would occasionally be considered for mission compatibility depending on the nature of the mission or the shinobi. In the event of a team needing backup, a second group of three Genin plus one Jounin would be assigned to support.

ANBU Black Ops traveled in groups of 4 to 8 members depending on their mission. This allowed for strength, reconnaissance and redundancy always ensuring a member of the team could return home with information gathered from their stealth operations.

In such teams, the members were chosen, not for their sexual orientation but for the compatibility of their styles of fighting OR the compatibility of their techniques. This compatibility was looked at while they were still members of the Academy and promoted to ensure teamwork and coordination as they grew in power and skill.

If you were a member of the Akatsuki, one of the show's major villain groups, you would be traveling in teams of two, chosen for jutsu compatibility. Personality was far less likely to be a factor in your relationship with your partner. Your partner would likely have shinobi jutsu techniques that were able to be utilized in a fashion that the two of you were a force to be reckoned with even against other elite shinobi.


Each of the trios we see from the Leaf Village tried to mix, reconnaissance, stealth, fighting prowess and healing ability in all of their groups. The Leaf village was also fortunate in having a relatively high number of elite and specialist ninja they could call upon.

Other villages were not as fortunate, as many of their members where killed when the Great Beasts (Jinchuuriki) roamed the land before they were sealed away or destroyed. Later warfare would take a toll on many village shinobi reducing their numbers further.


The definitive reference for this show and manga is: Leaf Ninja.com

  • nice background on the universe, but doesn't answer the question (in fact doesn't mention anything relating to it at all) – jwenting Nov 3 '11 at 8:16
  • "In such teams, the members were chosen, not for their sexual orientation but for the compatibility of their styles of fighting OR the compatibility of their techniques. This compatibility was looked at while they were still members of the Academy and promoted to ensure teamwork and coordination as they grew in power and skill." – Thaddeus Howze Nov 3 '11 at 8:24
  • "The shinobi squad ratios in the television version of Naruto only appeared to have a ratio of 2:1 because the show focused on the adventures of the warriors of the Leaf Village. The ratio of different groups would also end up being very different depending on the village, clan or social group a ninja belonged to. This does not mean other villages did not operate the same way but their rationale might be complete different depending on the number of ninja at their command." – Thaddeus Howze Nov 3 '11 at 8:24
  • "Each of the trios we see from the Leaf Village tried to mix, reconnaissance, stealth, fighting prowess and healing ability in all of their groups. The Leaf village was also fortunate in having a relatively high number of elite and specialist ninja they could call upon." – Thaddeus Howze Nov 3 '11 at 8:25
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    @ThaddeusHowze yes, but that doesn't explain why the specific mix of sexes is so prevalent, in fact it suggests it isn't... – jwenting Nov 4 '11 at 7:00
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The squad consists of 3 persons irrespective of gender. There was one cloud ninja squad (Omoi) where 2 females and 1 male makes the squad. The team needs proper balance where all three should acknowledge each others powers and believe in them. The main reason for the squad gender is because of less females taking Ninja training in Naruto Series. There are females but less as compare to male.

  • 1
    Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! Are there any sources you can find for your answer to provide evidence for you thoughts to strengthen your answer? – Edlothiad Mar 21 '17 at 10:12

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