Why Did Itachi Say He Killed Shisui?

by Hazel

In the intricate and emotionally charged world of Naruto, few characters are as enigmatic and deeply layered as Itachi Uchiha. One of the most pivotal and controversial moments in Itachi’s story is his claim that he killed Shisui Uchiha, his best friend and a fellow member of the Uchiha clan. This declaration is a significant event that influences the narrative and character arcs within the series. This article explores the reasons behind Itachi’s statement, delving into the broader context, motivations, and consequences of his actions.

The Relationship Between Itachi and Shisui

To understand the gravity of Itachi’s claim, it’s essential to examine the relationship between Itachi Uchiha and Shisui Uchiha.


Shisui Uchiha: Known as Shisui of the Body Flicker, he was one of the most talented and respected members of the Uchiha clan. His abilities were highly regarded, and he was known for his mastery of the Mangekyō Sharingan, particularly the Kotoamatsukami, a powerful genjutsu capable of manipulating others without their knowledge.


Itachi Uchiha: A prodigy of the Uchiha clan, Itachi was highly intelligent and skilled from a young age. He shared a close bond with Shisui, seeing him as a mentor and an older brother figure. Their relationship was built on mutual respect and shared values, particularly their commitment to peace and the well-being of Konoha.


The Political Context

The period leading up to Shisui’s death was marked by intense political turmoil within Konoha and the Uchiha clan. Understanding this context is crucial to grasping Itachi’s motivations.


The Uchiha Clan’s Discontent: The Uchiha clan, feeling marginalized and distrusted by the village leadership, particularly the Third Hokage and the Konoha Council, began plotting a coup d’état to seize control of the village.

The Threat to Konoha: A successful coup by the Uchiha clan could have led to a full-scale civil war within Konoha, weakening the village and making it vulnerable to external threats.

The Role of Itachi: As a member of the ANBU and a double agent for Konoha’s leadership, Itachi was caught between his loyalty to his clan and his duty to protect the village. This position placed immense pressure on him to find a solution that could prevent the impending conflict.

Shisui’s Plan and Its Failure

Shisui, sharing Itachi’s desire to prevent conflict and preserve peace, devised a plan to use his Mangekyō Sharingan to stop the Uchiha coup.

Kotoamatsukami’s Potential: Shisui intended to use Kotoamatsukami to manipulate the Uchiha clan’s leadership and dissuade them from pursuing the coup. This plan, if successful, could have averted the bloodshed without anyone knowing they had been manipulated.

Interference from Danzo: Danzo Shimura, a high-ranking Konoha official and leader of the Root division of the ANBU, perceived Shisui’s plan as a threat to his own vision for the village’s future. Believing that the Uchiha still posed a significant risk, Danzo attacked Shisui and stole one of his Mangekyō Sharingan eyes to prevent him from using Kotoamatsukami.

Shisui’s Final Act: Severely weakened and knowing his plan had failed, Shisui entrusted his remaining eye to Itachi, asking him to protect the village and the Uchiha’s honor. Shisui then committed suicide to prevent his other eye from falling into the wrong hands and to push Itachi further toward his mission.

Itachi’s Statement and Its Implications

After Shisui’s death, Itachi claimed responsibility for his demise. This statement served multiple strategic and emotional purposes.

Deterrence and Misdirection: By claiming he killed Shisui, Itachi aimed to instill fear within the Uchiha clan and dissuade them from proceeding with their coup. This act of apparent betrayal and brutality was meant to position him as a loyal agent of the village, distancing himself from the clan and discouraging further rebellion.

Emotional Burden: Accepting responsibility for Shisui’s death added to Itachi’s emotional burden, reinforcing his resolve to prevent the coup at any cost. This personal sacrifice underscored his commitment to his mission and the lengths he was willing to go to protect the village.

Protecting Shisui’s Legacy: By taking the blame, Itachi also aimed to protect Shisui’s reputation. If it were known that Shisui had been overpowered and robbed of his eye, it could have demoralized the Uchiha clan further and tarnished Shisui’s memory.

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The Ultimate Sacrifice

Itachi’s actions, including his claim of killing Shisui, culminated in the ultimate sacrifice: the massacre of the Uchiha clan.

Mission from Konoha’s Leadership: Faced with the inevitability of the Uchiha coup, Konoha’s leadership, including the Third Hokage and Danzo, tasked Itachi with eliminating the clan to prevent civil war and protect the village’s stability.

Personal Sacrifice: Carrying out this mission meant Itachi had to kill his family and loved ones, an act that inflicted immense emotional and psychological pain. This decision was driven by his belief that sacrificing his own happiness and clan was necessary to ensure the greater good.

Protecting Sasuke: Throughout these events, Itachi’s love for his younger brother Sasuke remained a central motivation. By taking the blame for Shisui’s death and later the massacre, Itachi aimed to shield Sasuke from the truth, hoping that Sasuke would seek to avenge the clan and grow stronger in the process.

Revelations and Retrospective Understanding

The truth about Itachi’s actions and motivations is revealed much later in the series, dramatically altering the audience’s perception of his character.

Sasuke’s Discovery: Sasuke eventually learns the truth about Itachi’s sacrifices from Tobi (Madara Uchiha) and later from Itachi himself, after Itachi is reanimated during the Fourth Great Ninja War. These revelations transform Sasuke’s understanding of his brother from a villain to a tragic hero.

Legacy of Sacrifice: Itachi’s willingness to bear the burden of his actions, including the claim of killing Shisui, highlights the theme of sacrifice and the complexities of loyalty and love. His story becomes a poignant example of the moral ambiguities faced by those who strive to protect the greater good.


Itachi Uchiha’s claim that he killed Shisui Uchiha is a multifaceted statement rooted in strategy, emotional sacrifice, and the complex dynamics of loyalty and duty. By taking responsibility for Shisui’s death, Itachi sought to protect Konoha, deter the Uchiha clan’s rebellion, and preserve his mentor’s legacy. This action, coupled with the subsequent massacre of his clan, underscores the depth of Itachi’s commitment to his mission and the immense personal cost he bore to achieve it.


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