It is stated that Gaara has his dark circles around his eyes because Shukaku won't let him sleep because Gaara will lose control if he does.

After the extraction of Shukaku, Gaara still has these circles around his eyes. Why? Is it only style or does he still suffer from insomnia?

  • I have very deep dark circles; developed during my early teen years. 23 now, I've slept well for years but they're still here. Depends on factors other than just sleep.
    – user2343
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 0:21

9 Answers 9


I'm more inclined to agree with SingerOfTheFall's answer.
Upon Gaara's birth (Shipuuden episode 297 and Naruto chapter 547, page 4), he already had his dark rings around the eyes.

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I know he already had the Shukaku sealed inside him, but I find it a bit odd that he was born suffering from insomnia.
Plus, the translation I read of chapter 135 does not refer to the dark rings, but rather to the 'bags under his eyes' (although this could be a problem with the translation...):

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Furthermore, as SingerOfTheFall said, there are several other Suna shinobi that have dark rings around their eyes, including Gaara's father when he uses his Gold Dust:

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On a side note, I think it can also be the influence of the tanuki (the 'inspiration' for the Shukaku) in the character conception, since the tanuki too has dark rings around his eyes.

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So this trait could be somewhat similar to the whiskers Naruto has from the Kyuubi. He had these whiskers even prior to being the Kyuubi's host:

enter image description here

This could mean that the dark circles are a character trait (conceived upon character design) that were a result of the Ichibi being sealed in Gaara even before his birth, thus being present even after the Bijuu's extraction.


That doesn't really make sense to me. As we know, one of Gaara's trademark techniques is Armor of Sand:

enter image description here

His whole body is covered by a layer of sand that protects him. That, of course, means we can't really see his skin under that sand. So I would personally think it's doubtful that those marks were because of a lack of sleep in the first place, but whatever. It's also not only Gaara who has marks around his eyes, with notable examples being Kankurō:

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and Baki:

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So my opinion would be that it's rather an element of style.

  • 3
    In the fight Naruto, Gamabunta vs. Gaara, Shukaku, Gamabunta stated that the rings are because of insomnia. Also, in the fight Gaara vs. Lee, he loses his armour (if I remember correctly), and he still has the rings ...
    – looper
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 15:26
  • @looper, no, I believe that it was stated in the anime, I'm just saying it's a little strange ;) Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 16:21
  • 1
    @SingerOfTheFall: No, he actually states it on chapter 135 on page 9. Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 17:51

It's also very possible that Gaara's circles around his eyes can be remnents of when he had Shukaku.

He's lived as an insomniac for the vast majority of his life. It's only very recent that he's been living without Shukaku. Also, Gaara still isn't the most friendly guy. He's learning how to build bonds. Just because a man is free doesn't mean he knows how to be free. It takes time to learn and for the affects to wear off.


Naruto has the whiskers because he has the nine tailed fox, Gaara has the dark circles around his eyes because he has the Shukaku which is like a raccoon, these are trademark features that a jinchuuriki possesses depending on which of the tailed beast they have, as to why they are still there is most likely because it's like a birthmark it doesn't go away.


There stated in wiki that those who having a kekkei genkai magnet release (if not mistaken ) will have dark circle. There's proof when Rasa using magnet release there appear a dark circle around his eye. And in novel, it is stated that Gaara inherited magnet release from his father which I think Gaara was born with magnet release that also leading to his dark circle when he was born and I think it was permanent due to this


While the rings were originally intended to be an indicator of insomnia, it is likely that this was retconned to be a side effect of his use of the Magnet Release Kekkei Genkai he inherited from his father.

Out-of-Universe example: Gaara is a very popular and iconic character and it would not be a good merchandising strategy to drastically alter his appearance in any fundamental ways.

P.S. Naruto's whisker-shaped birthmarks are likely a result of being the son of Kurama's Jinchuriki, since neither Mito nor Kushina possessed them. Both of Naruto's children have similar birthmarks and neither of them are Jinchuriki.


Those dark circle around Gaara's eyes are not from sleep deprivation. I was constantly looking at his face to learn about this, but in the translated anime, he had lines under the dark circle just a little poke of a line beside his nose where bags pop out the most.

Also, in the anime, Naruto said what's up with him wearing eyeliner. Since he always had it, it's probably a part of his being, like a trait that was passed down or it could be like a birthmark or scar-like Naruto's whiskers. It's something like a scar of being exposed and I can't help but note Naruto has whiskers close resemblance to the fox.

By the way, fox and dogs do have whiskers as being the shape of an animal, but Gaara has trouble with sleep. His demon could take over in his sleep. I just looked at a picture of the one tail to look at his eyes. He has like raccoon eyes, just a black patch with pupils, so these marks have a close resemblance to the tail beasts they have.

For the guy that said the black is just the eye shape, eyes aren't shaped like that. It is way too thick unless you're telling me the edge of his eyeballs is just that big. I don't think it is shoot. I just noticed he doesn't have any eyebrows. Someone also said it stayed on his sand armor. Great job on noticing that. This just might help with the answer that it's a scar-mark of some sort because if you look at Naruto, his whiskers grow when he starts to form. I'm positive his eyeliner is a resemblance to the one-tailed eyes.


The dark circles around gaara eyes are probably because of kohl.

Kohl is basically just eyeliner. The peoples from sunny/desert regions - hence "sandy" - from around the world used to use this for eye protection.

A quik wikipedia search gave me following info:

Kohl (Arabic: كُحْل‎‎) is an ancient eye cosmetic, traditionally made by grinding stibnite (Sb2S3) for similar purposes to charcoal used in mascara. It is widely used in the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, South Asia, the Horn of Africa, and parts of West Africa as eyeliner[1] to contour and/or darken the eyelids and as mascara for the eyelashes. It is worn mostly by women, but also by some men and children.

Also interesting is this:

In addition, mothers would apply kohl to their infants' eyes soon after birth. Some did this to "strengthen the child's eyes", and others believed it could prevent the child from being cursed by the evil eye.

I hope this answers your question. I think its just a cosmetic/cultural thing they gave to gaara. To make him look like the desert tribe peoples.

  • Then can you explain why he had this since birth when if they're just eyeliner/makeup, they shouldn't be inherited? Commented May 13, 2021 at 23:13

He has those dark lines around his eyes, not because Shukaku won't let him sleep, but because Shukaku is like a racoon -- racoons have dark lines around their eyes, like how Naruto has whiskers.

  • 2
    Although your answer is interesting, the question is "why does Gaara still have dark lines..". The question is referring to the timeline after Shukaku was removed. Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 3:47

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