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For e.g. take Karin and Nagato. They both are descendent/member of Uzumaki clan. So, why didn't they had their surnames 'Uzumaki'? What about other shinobis who has single names? Is it because they were shunned by their clansmen or because they abandoned their clans or because their village were attacked and burned down leaving them abandoned? Let's take one more example: Tsunade. She is also a direct descendent of Senju clan and is currently a member of the clan. So, why didn't she had the surname during the entirety of anime/manga? What about the shinobis from Kazekage Clan of Sunagakure(Gaara, Temari, Kankuro etc.)?

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Jiraiya is a notable exception because he wasn't a member of any clan. Why did the author intended to give only first names to those characters?

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  • For the Uzumaki clan members it might well have been to hide their identity considering that their clan was targeted and their village destroyed.
    – Turamarth
    Aug 29 '21 at 8:21
  • @Turamarth the same could be said of the Uchiha clan, but the survivors didn't hide their clan name Aug 30 '21 at 1:25
  • @RemyLebeau 1. Itachi knew that he left Sasuke alive and everybody else was also aware that Itachi knew it. 2. The remaining Uchiha didn't seek refugee in other villages that might be hostile towards their clan.
    – Turamarth
    Aug 30 '21 at 5:03
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Disclaimer: this is just mere speculation, but is heavily supported through cannoical references.

Aside from knowing Karin and Nagato are descendants of the Uzamaki clan, the author probably chose to leave out "Uzamaki" as a surname for them because it is not expicilty stated their surname is Uzamaki. It could have been something entirely different.

If you follow the history of the Uzamaki clan, they were scattered after the destruction of their homeland Uzushiogakure. Uzushiogakure's destruction happened roughly around the time Kushina moved to Konoha.

Karin is only ~17 years old. Kushina moved to Konoha roughly at the age of 12, and died at the age of 24. Given that Karin is roughly the same age as Naruto, this means she was not even born yet when Uzushiogakure was destroyed. We know very little of Karin's life at a young age and her parents, but it is stated Karin grew up as a member of Kusagakure (Village Hidden in the Grass). This means at least one of her parents moved to Kusagakure, and possibly married in another clan.

Nagato is stated to be 35 at the time of his death, meaning he was alive prior or during Uzushiogakure's destruction. However, he grew up in Amegakure (Village Hidden in the Rain). We are shown small glimpses of Nagato's parents in the manga and anime, however we only know at least one of his parents was an Uzamaki. Just like in Karin's case, one of his parents could have moved away from Uzushiogakure and possibly married into another clan.

The same can also be true for both Tsunade and Gaara, however we are not shown enough history for them to make an accurate assumption

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  • +1. Some clarifications: 1. So, despite being in a clan, can surnames be different (which is not mentioned or kept secret)? I believe what Turamath said is correct. After the disbandment of the Uzumaki clan, some of the survivors (e.g. Karin, Nagato) deliberately chose to keep it a secret/weren't told that they were of Uzumaki descend to protect themselves. For what I saw, Karin's and Nagato's mother is of Uzumaki clan. Aug 31 '21 at 4:51
  • 2. We didn't know who exactly is Tsunade's father but it most likely be a Senju. The thing we know that she is the granddaughter of first Hokage. She has both Senju and Uzumaki blood, so she most likely could take either of surnames but the author didn't clarify this. 3. For the sand village shinobis, they didn't have surnames in the first place. We don't know the reason. (Regarding any answer correction, you have given Karin hyperlink in place of Nagato hyperlink). Aug 31 '21 at 4:51
  • @FumikageTokoyami Thanks for those the clarifications :) (and pointing out the link, which I've updated) Sep 1 '21 at 12:32

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