In the battle between Sarutobi Hiruzen and Orochimaru during the Chunin Exams, (on the rooftop where the Sound Four sealed them in a barrier) Orochimaru summoned the two previous Kages. He also tried summoning another coffin but Hiruzen successfully stopped it.

Who was inside that third coffin? It can't be the Fourth Hokage right? Because that time, he was still under the Shiki Fuujin Seal.

7 Answers 7


As can be seen on this image, it was indeed the 4th Hokage that Orochimaru tried to summon.

The kanji that appears in that coffin is , which is the kanji for 4.

However, unlike you said in your question, Hiruzen did not stop this coffin. It was the fact that the 4th Hokage was sealed with the Shiki Fuujin that prevented that summoning.

  • So it really is the Fourth! But I'm sure the Third formed a handseal to prevent that summon. (A serpent handseal if I remember correctly). I'll check that out later. But I'm now convinced it's the Fourth.[+1] Must be a plot hole if my recollection is correct..XD Do you know what manga chapter where Orochimaru tried to summon Yondaime is in?
    – Pocoyo
    Commented Apr 10, 2013 at 0:50
  • I think it was chapter 117.
    – JNat
    Commented Apr 10, 2013 at 8:58
  • 2
    Yeah that was it. On chapter 117, Hiruzen tried to stop the third coffin, and FAILED. But he said "the third one didn't work, it seems..". So you're right! It was the Fourth and the Shiki Fujin Seal prevented that summon.Thanks!
    – Pocoyo
    Commented Apr 10, 2013 at 15:26
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    @Pocoyo I don't think reanimation works like this way. To perform reanimation, he needs a host first. If he can't reanimate him, what was the point of coffin? He must have reanimated him earlier on a host if it was possible.
    – berserk
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 6:35
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    According to the notes here, @Namaskaram, the third coffin is never even seen in the manga. In chapter 520, Kabuto also appears to corroborate the notion that the summoning failed due to Minato being sealed, which would mean Hiruzen's efforts were of no consequence, just a coincidence.
    – JNat
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 10:06

Orochimaru tried to summon the Fourth Hokage. The coffin did not open, because (as you already said) the Fourth Hokage was already sealed. Orochimaru tried to summon him anyway, and failed.


The coffin said 4 but it never specified it was a hokage. It could have been the kazekage that Orochimaru killed and impersonated during the exams. We were all under the assumption that it was a hokage because of the first and second, but it could have easily have been the kazekage.


Orochimaru, one of the legendary sanin might knew that the souls trapped by reaper death seal cannot be summoned. So, there was no 4th hokage. However, the kanji on the coffin reads 4. It might be possible that there was 4th kazekage who was killed by orochimaru before the invasion on konoha. Fortunately, hiruzen able to stop it by performing some hand seals.


There is a way to be the Fourth, but very unlikely. In the anime, probably in the manga as well, Kabuto taught Obito Edo Tensei. He got Danzou's bodyguards to show an example. He kills one of them, take his DNA and start the ritual. After it's complete, the dead guy is standing there, but he's not moving. That makes me think that only the body was there, and not the shinobi's soul or mind. As we saw in the Chikara filler arc, Kabuto tried to use some of the Akatsuki members but failed, saying that it was not enough time to use it yet. That could mean that between successive the ritual, there is a cooldown time, maybe the time for his mind or soul take control of the host. Considering this, the most probable thing is that it was the Fourth, but the ritual was made not so far in the past. Orochimaru did complete the ritual, and had Minato, but he couldn't use him right away. He tried to summon him on the fight, but because of the Shiki Fuujin, the host was not taken over by Minato's soul or mind. Either Orochimaru didn't know about the sealing or didn't know about the cooldown time. Minato died protecting the village, but many didn't know how. Orochimaru maybe didn't know he was sealed, and that made the coffin to failed and he being surprised in the fight.


I see a lot of pro Fourth Hokage for who's in the coffin throughout all the Naruto posts. Personally, I believe this could have been Madara. Maybe originally in the series, it was meant to be the Fourth by how the first two were former Hokage, but as for current timeline, it was established the Fourth was trapped by the Death Seal so he could not be revived without the ritual Orochimaru had to perform much later in the series. However, Kabuto did have Madara's coffin in the war which is probably a good indicator that it was probably the 3rd coffin Orochimaru was going to use and why the 3rd was afraid of it.

  • If you read my answer above, you'll see that I explain that the kanji on the coffin reads 4. That would indicate that the Fourth was the one inside that coffin. However, as you said, the Fourth was sealed, and that's why he could not be summoned.
    – JNat
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 12:00
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    I agree it probably is what the author had in mind at the time, but canon wise it just doesn't add up anymore. Orochimaru knew what he had to do to re-summon all the sealed hokages second time. He is a genius level ninja, seems very unlikely he wouldn't have tried the summon before a major invasion to see if it works. Kabuto shows the process for the edo, the way coffins were summoned means it wasnt the first time. It was also explained by kabuto that in order to control the hokages, orochimaru placed command seals inside the edos. Very unlikely he neglected to do this on the last coffin.
    – Quikstryke
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 15:06
  • Canon wise it does not add up, indeed. Most likely Kishimoto had not thought who exactly should be in that third coffin. In the manga, no third coffin is seen, though it is mentioned and stopped. However, when they adapted it into the anime, they must've thought it was ok to write 4 on the coffin. On the long term, it was a bad idea. But it seems to be the real answer.
    – JNat
    Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 16:06

Yes, it was the Fourth and it didn't fail because he was already sealed, as later on (much later) Orochimaru summons the Fourth and the Third to fight in Chapter 329, I believe (not certain which episode).

  • 1
    That was only after he undid the seal that was preventing them from being summoned along with the 1st and 2nd.
    – Joe W
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 13:37

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