|“||When one person dies… he disappears… Along with his past, current lifestyle, and his future. Many people die in missions and wars. They die easily and in surprisingly simple ways. Hayate was one of them. Those who die have goals and dreams. But everyone has something as important as those. Parents, siblings, friends, lovers… People who are important to you. They trust and help each other. The bond between the people important to you ever since birth… And the string that binds them becomes thicker and stronger as time goes by. It's beyond reason. Those bound to you by that string will do that. Because it's important…||„|
|~ Iruka to Naruto.|
Iruka Umino is one of the main supporting characters in the Naruto series. He is a chūnin-level shinobi of Konohagakure who serves primarily as an instructor at the Academy. Later, he was promoted principal of the Academy.
During his childhood, Iruka's parents were killed by the Nine Tails. After his parents died, Iruka has similarity as Naruto Uzumaki does. He became an orphan and had no one to acknowledge him. He became a prankster who pulled pranks and being an idiot. When Naruto attend to the Academy, the Third Hokage assigned him to become Naruto's homeroom teacher. When Naruto failed to graduate, His childhood "friend" Mizuki tricked him and Naruto as well revealed the secret to never tell Naruto as the Nine Tails' Jinchuuriki until he beaten up Mizuki with his mastered Shadow Clone Jutsu causing Iruka to allow him to graduate and return the Konoha as well arrest Mizuki when he went rogue. He later became the homeroom teacher for Konohamaru Sarutobi, Moegi Kazamatsuri and Udon Ise. After the Third Hokage died, he attend his funeral and explained Naruto why people risk their lives to protect the other people. After three years, Iruka continue become the homeroom teacher for new student after Konohamaru and his classmate graduated. After the Fourth Great Shinobi War, Iruka was assigned by Kakashi as Naruto's Jonin teacher for 2 years since he didn't took the Chuunin Exams. Years later, Iruka was given the advanced exam for his promotion as the vice-principal of the Academy and assigned Shino Aburame to become the next instructor after him. After 12 years, Iruka became the principal of the Academy.
He is voiced by Taisuke Yamamoto and Toshihiko Seki in the Japanese version of the anime, and by Quinton Flynn and Kyle McCarley in the English version of the anime.
Iruka is a man of average height and build. He has black hair (brown in the anime) that he keeps in a ponytail, dark eyes and a scar that runs across the bridge of his nose — which he has had since his youth. He wears the standard Konoha shinobi outfit complete with forehead protector, sandals, and flak jacket. His sleeves are also rolled up about ¼ way. As a child he wore a simple outfit along with mesh-armour underneath it.
In The Last: Naruto the Movie, two years after the Fourth Shinobi World War, Iruka's overall appearance stayed the same. The only noticeable difference is he wears a an Uzumaki clan logo armband on his left arm with the new standard flak jacket and high-top sandals. Several years afterwards, Iruka has aged further, with slight creases around his mouth. He also abandons his forehead protector and shinobi attire, and instead dons a grey zipped shirt.
Iruka is described as a big-hearted and soft-hearted man. This is most often seen through his teaching methods, often giving a watchful eye over his students as they progress. This however, does not mean that he is a pushover, as he can be stern when the situation calls for it most often seen when he shouts at his students in order to get them to obey him. Despite the tragedy of losing his parents at a young age, Iruka remained a determined and strong-willed individual with a kind disposition. This is seen from his lack of hostility towards Naruto Uzumaki who was often the victim of misplaced anger at the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox who was sealed within Naruto. Because of this, Iruka came to be the only person Naruto respected in his youth as well as the only person who could control Naruto's behaviour to some degree. Naruto ignored all chūnin and jōnin who reprimanded him for painting all over the Hokage's faces and only showed fear when Iruka showed up.
As a child who growing up without his parents, Iruka turned to performing antics in the Academy in order to gain recognition from others who would otherwise pass him over or look at him with pity for being an orphan. This allowed him to also see some of these signs and understand what they meant when displayed by Naruto. Due to Iruka's more nurturing, protective and compassionate nature, Naruto views him as a mentor and Iruka in turn, views Naruto as a younger brother. The two enjoy their favourite ramen dish at Ramen Ichiraku whenever Naruto returns from a mission, where Iruka gets an opportunity to see how Naruto is developing as a ninja. Iruka's refusal to allow Naruto to graduate at first was not out of spite, but merely out of caring strictness and a desire for Naruto to work harder and reach his own potential.
He also has a great sense of duty, honour and selflessness as seen when he protected Naruto from Mizuki's attack, suffering a shuriken wound in his back in order to protect him. He greatly admires both the Third Hokage who was there to help him during his troubled period as a child and believes strongly in the Will of Fire of the village. As a result, he regards the children of the village as the backbone of Konoha — even being willing to sacrifice his own life to ensure their safety.
Iruka's parents were killed in the Nine-Tails' Attack on Konoha twelve years before the beginning of the series, initially, a young Iruka was present on the battlefield, and wanted to stay in order to protect his mother, his father declared that it was their duty to keep their son safe from harm, he was forcibly removed from the battlefield by an unknown shinobi while he called out for his parents without receiving any response.
With his parents' death, Iruka had no one to give him attention. Iruka thereafter became a prankster, trying to gain attention to stave off his loneliness. He would spend his time at the monument where his parents' names were engraved, and, in his darkest moments would be cheered up by the Third Hokage. Mizuki was a childhood friend of Iruka's after the Nine-Tails Attack, and usually made him feel better. In the anime, it was noted that due to other people giving Iruka more attention than they do to Mizuki, Mizuki's kindness to Iruka revealed to be an act just to gain the Hokage's approval, all the while making Iruka miserable discreetly.
In the anime, it was revealed that Iruka became a teacher because he wanted to pass on the Will of Fire to the next generation in this manner, inspired by the Third Hokage's wisdom. When Naruto became his student, he found it awkward to deal with the person containing the very monster responsible for his parents' death. He tried to ask the Third Hokage if he could not teach Naruto, though he was eventually disabused by the notion by Kakashi Hatake. Later, Naruto went into the woods to steal items from corpses. Iruka chased him down and protected him from Takigakure spies who were attacking Naruto, eventually backed up by Kakashi. After saving Naruto and bringing back the document attached to the artefact the latter retrieved, he thanked the Third for assigning Naruto to him. He thus resolved to be straight forward and deal with Naruto strictly in class from then on, in order to train him to become a fine shinobi.
|“||Because you're the same as me. After my parents died, no one ever complimented me or recognized me. Being the bad student I was, I screwed up a lot during class. Because I wanted to get everyone's attention. I couldn't get anyone's attention when I was a good student. So I acted like an idiot. It was tough... Right, Naruto? You were lonely, right? It was tough, right? I'm sorry, Naruto. You didn't have to feel that way if I was more aware.||„|
|~ Iruka revealed to Naruto that he was just like him|
- His first English voice actor, Quinton Flynn, also voiced Marcus Damon in Digimon Data Squad, Axel in Kingdom Hearts and Kon in Bleach.
- His name "Iruka" means "Dolphin" in Japanese.