Why is Naruto’s last name Uzumaki and not Namikaze?

Later in the series, it was revealed that Naruto is the son of Minato Namikaze (the Forth Hokage) and Kushina Uzumaki. While most of the characters in the series have their father’s surname (Sasuke Uchiha, Sakura Haruno, Hinata Hyūga, etc.), Naruto takes the family name of his mother, Kushina Uzumaki. So, a question arises here that why is naruto’s last name Uzumaki?

Baby Naruto Uzumaki with his Parents

After the Nine-Tails beast attacked the Hidden Leaf Village, Minato and Kushina sacrificed themselves to save the village by sealing the Nine-Tails within Naruto. This left Naruto an orphan with his parents gone. Hiruzen Sarutobi (the Third Hokage) along with other village leaders decided to keep Naruto’s parentage a secret to ensure his security.

The most possible reason to use Naruto’s mother’s last name is to protect him from potential harm due to his status as the son of the Fourth Hokage. Minato Namikaze was a highly skilled and strategic ninja. During the Third Shinobi War, he killed many Shinobis by himself. He gained recognition for his exceptional speed and became known as the Yellow Flash of the Leaf. Due to this reason, he made many enemies who wanted to kill him and his family. That’s why, Naruto’s relation with Minato was hidden.

In the episode 168 of Naruto Shippuden, the psyche of Minato implanted into the seal of the Nine-Tails spoke with Naruto. During the conversation, Minato told him that the Third Hokage did not tell him much maybe because he wanted to suppress the information about the Nine-Tails as much as possible. He further said that if people had found out that Naruto is his son, he would have been in danger. Minato also told Naruto that he sealed half of the Nine-Tailed Fox inside him because he is his son and he believed that he would be able to control the power of the beast.

Minato Namikaze speaking with Naruto Uzumaki, from Naruto Shippuden Episode 168

It was also dangerous to take Kushina’s family name. After the Uzumaki clan massacre, many were hunting down the remaining Uzumakis because of their healing nature. But the hunting became lesser and lesser over time and the Uzumakis almost become extinct. So, it was safer to use his mother’s family name rather than his father’s.

The decision to use Kushina’s last name also had strategic implications. The Uzumakis were known as the Jinchūrikis (tailed beasts were sealed within them). They possessed strong vitality and unique sealing techniques. By associating Naruto with the Uzumaki clan, it allowed him to inherit the powerful traits associated with the Uzumaki bloodline.

Baby Naruto with Minato and Kushina

As the story progresses, Naruto’s background becomes more complex along with his quest for acknowledgement, shaping not only his character but also influencing the broader dynamics of Konoha. Naruto grew up without knowing the legacy of his famous father. This gave him the opportunity to carve his own path and prove himself independently. Later on, he told people about his mother and father as he was strong enough to protect himself.