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During the Land of Waves arc, Kekkei Genkai is defined as techniques which are unique to a clan and passed down through the bloodline. After timeskip, it is touched upon again, and is now defined as a technique which combines two elements. Looking back at the Land of Waves arc, Haku's Ice Release satisfies this definition as well.

However, Sharingan and Byakugan are also called Kekkei Genkai, although they do not combine any elements. Later, Terumi Mei is showed to use Lava release and Boil release, and they are both considered Kekkei genkai, although it appears that this is something unique she achieved, not passed down through bloodline.

Thus, the term kekkei genkai seems to be used in various contexts to mean either:

  1. Bloodline techniques passed down through generations, but not involving combining basic elements (Sharingan, Byakugan users)
  2. Techniques combining basic elements, but not passed down through bloodline. (Terumi Mei, and a few others)
  3. Combining basic elements and passed down through bloodline (Haku)

What exactly does it mean?


Edit It looks like people have not understood the question. Let me try again.

Does kekkei genkai mean:
A. techniques passed down through blood.
B. techniques which combine basic elements.
C. Both A and B.

The answers as well the commenter below seem to have assumed "A". To make it even easier, here's a related follow-up question: "If Naruto learns Lightning Release, and then combines with his Wind Release, would that be kekkei genkai or not?"

  • It is not a duplicate. That question asks for the origin. This question asks for the definition. They are not the same. The other question assumes that Kekkei Genkai means genetic abilities, while this question asks if that assumption is right. – Masked Man Jan 26 '13 at 13:00
  • @Deidara-senpai: Although the question is not a duplicate, the answers provided in the other one answer this one. At least to my understanding. :) – JNat Jan 26 '13 at 13:10
  • @JNat I have gone through all the answers there before I asked this question. Anyway, I updated the question to make the difference clear. Well, I tried. :) – Masked Man Jan 26 '13 at 13:15
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    I think this question is fine. It's asking what are the criteria for classifying a technique as a kekkei genkai/Bloodline Limit. The referenced possible duplicate question is asking for the origins of such techniques. Since no official source we can draw from, we can look at what we know about the currently existing Bloodline Limits and compare commonalities, I'm sure we can answer this question properly this way. – кяαzєя Jan 27 '13 at 15:14
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Quoting from the Natuto Wiki

  1. Kekkei genkai (血継限界; Literally meaning "a technique limited to inheritance by blood" or "Bloodline Limit") are abilities passed down genetically within specific clans.

    • Kekkei genkai abilities that work via the user's eye are called dōjutsu.
    • Other kekkei genkai include mixing one type of elemental chakra with another, creating a new one unique to the users, which is usually impossible for normal ninja, or other bodily manipulations that are usually unachievable by normal standards.
  2. Kekkei genkai and their related techniques cannot be taught to or copied by others. However, kekkei genkai can be given to others

    • Dōjutsu, or other kekkei genkai isolated to a single organ, can be transplanted into the body of another, as was done with transferring Obito's Sharingan to Kakashi.

    • Chakra elements can also be passed down to people outside of the clan, such as Yamato being subjected to DNA re-modification by Orochimaru who wanted to acquire the Wood Release kekkei genkai.

  3. Some anomalies in the transfer of kekkei genkai.

    • Although kekkei genkai are usually genetically shared within a specific clan, sometimes it is unique to one person alone, and that even family relatives do not share it, such as the Wood Release.
    • Yet other kekkei genkai seem to appear in individuals with no known relation, such as the Lava Release, which has appeared in ninja from Kirigakure, Iwagakure, and Kumogakure, while Magnet Release, which has appeared in ninja from both Kumogakure and Sunagakure.
    • There is an advanced variant of kekkei genkai known as kekkei tōta, which is a combination of three different nature transformations. (This technique is used by only two shinobis, namely - Ōnoki and Mū and they too do not share any blood relations.)

Using the above quotes as a base for my explainations:

The general meaning of kekkei genaki is an ability that is unique to a clan.

Kekkei genkai can be classified into two broad categories-

  1. Abilities that originates from some body organ, eg sharingan, byakugan (only eye abilities have been shown so far) are called dōjutsu. As the wiki rightly mentions these abilities can be transferred by transplanting the organ from the original bearer to a host, eg Kakashi's sharingan from Obito and Ao who uses the byakugan.

  2. Abilities that uses originates from chakra manipulation. Eg, Haku's Ice release, Kimimaro's Shikotsumyaku. The Nara, Yamanaka and Akimichi clan's (to name a few) kekkei gengai uses a yin-yan chakra manipulation for their techniqies.

The above two categories are seen to be transferred within the clan.

However, there are a few exceptions to the general thumb rule.

  1. Some kekkei genkai like the first hokage's wood release is unique to a singular person.

  2. Some kekkei genkai like Mu's dust release (technically called as kekkei tōta, as it is an advanced form of kekkei genkai) can be taught as in it was taught to Ōnoki. But these are the only two shinobi's known to be able to use the dust release technique.

  3. Certain kekkei genkai seems to appear within individuals that have no relation to each other or without teaching. Examples are:

    Lava Release, which has appeared in ninjas from Kirigakure, Iwagakure, and Kumogakure, while Magnet Release, which has appeared in ninja from both Kumogakure and Sunagakure.

  4. There may also be shinobi's that have more than one kekkei genkai, eg Mei Terumī who can use three elements, namely earth, fire and water. However, unlike Mu and Onoki she can not combine the three at once. She can combine two of them at a time and create two different kekkei genkai, namely Boil Release (water + fire) and Lava Release (Earth + fire).


Based on the above categorization we can safely deduce, kekkei genkai means techniques passed down through blood, techniques which combine basic elements. But as discussed above there are a few exceptions.

Now to answer your second question, "If Naruto learns Lightning Release, and then combines with his Wind Release, would that be kekkei genkai or not?" - I'd say yes, as combining lightning release and wind release would put naruto in the exception category where he doesn't gain the ability from his clan, but is unique to him. (However its most unlikely that lightning and wind would make a stable combination.. :P )

  • the Nara, Yamanaka and akamichi clans do not have Kekke genkai, they have Hidden techniques. These can be learned by anyone, but are kept secret so no one else knows how to do so. See naruto.wikia.com/wiki/Hiden where it points this out and even uses the Nara clans Shadow Jutsu as the example. – Ryan Mar 11 '16 at 16:05
  • then can Kakashi combine earth style and water style(as he has mastered all the chakra natures) and create wood style? – MartianCactus Mar 23 '17 at 13:38
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Kekkei Genkai is an ability that is passed down genetically, usually amongst the members of a specific clan.

However, there are several possibilities to acquire it. The first one would be transplantation. If Kekkei Genkai is isolated in a specific organ (e.g. in an eye), that organ can be transplanted to another individual, which will then be able to use the Kekkei Genkai.

Another possible variant is genetic modifications. This is what Orochimaru has done with Yamato. Obviously, if Kekkei Genkai is passed down genetically, genetic engineering can be used to "produce" it.

There are indeed some Kekkei Genkai abilities that are used by people with no apparent relations. It's not yet known how is this possible, but I can speculate a little:

  • Maybe it developed individually in different unrelated people. While statistically unlikely, it is still possible.
  • Maybe the users have some kind of blood relation to each other, perhaps they share ancestors, or something like that.
  • Maybe there are other reasons that will be later explained in the manga.
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From what I know, it would be translated as

a technique limited to inheritance by blood

However, the Dust Release, the Lava Release and the Magnet Release have users without relation to each other. I think they are transferred via transplantation, like Kakashi gained the Sharingan or Yamato the Wood-Release.

  • I can see how you'd transplant an eye (such as Kakashi's), but how do you transplant an ability? – JNat Jan 26 '13 at 1:24
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    @JNat: The same way Yamato gained the Wood-Release, I think^^. Just implant some cells. – looper Jan 26 '13 at 16:10
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Naruto cannot combine two different release, eg wind and lightning, to create a kei kei genkai. He has to be born with it in his blood, like the sharingan, byakugan, which is in the clan blood. Hence the name bloodline limit. The 1st homage wa born with water and earth realease and the combination of the two which is wood release. All kei kei genkai and touta users are special because of that. In was in their blood to produce those releases. Now tsunade is the 1st granddaughter but she can't use the wood style and he is the only person in naruto history to gain it naturally. Yamato was experimented on. And not all uchiha had the sharingan. Ninjas like Jiraiya and the Third could use all basic styles but couldn't mix them to create kei kei genkai. That's because it want in their blood or born being able to mix them

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