With normal genjutsu, the user applies an illusion to the target’s senses, making them experience things that are not real. With Izanagi, the user applies an illusion to reality itself, giving them control over what is and is not real while Izanagi is active. Users usually do this to protect themselves, negating injuries they receive or even their death. In the anime, we see users extend Izanagi’s influence beyond their personal reality, affecting their surroundings and those in them.
Izanagi is based on the technique of creating all things, used by the Hermit Rikudo to turn imagination into reality. The process explained is to use spiritual energy – which is the basis of Yin – to create a form out of nothing. Then, through the application of physical energy – which is the basis of Yang release – the form is breathed into life. The members of the Uchiha clan, as descendants of the Sage of the Six Paths, perform Izanagi with their Sharingan. In exchange for the brief control of reality that Izanagi gives them, the Sharingan with which they perform it becomes blind; only the awakening of the Rinnegan restores the vision of the eye. Because the Uchiha value their Sharingan so highly, losing it in this way prompted them to call it a kinjutsu.
Since the Uchiha only possess half of Hagoromo’s chakra, they can only keep Izanagi active for a few seconds. To maximize the duration of Izanagi, it is necessary to recreate the Sage’s chakra by also having genetic material from the Sage’s other descendants, the Senju. Danzō Shimura receives both Uchiha and Senju implants, which allows him to use Izanagi for one minute. Since this is still not very long, he is implanted with ten Sharingan in his right arm, allowing him to use Izanagi for up to ten minutes, with breaks in between. Since he is not an Uchiha, each use of Izanagi causes Danzō’s chakra to drop significantly. Obito Uchiha, because he has control over the Senju cells he uses, is able to keep a single Izanagi active for much longer than Danzō.
As with other Sharingan-based techniques, Izanagi can be programmed to activate under certain conditions. Madara Uchiha did this to undo his death after being buried, bringing him back to life without anyone knowing.
Like the various techniques used with the Sharingan, this technique is named after a Shintō god. In this case, it is Izanagi, who, along with his sister and wife Izanami, created the islands and other deities of Japan.
- As members of the Uchiha clan abused the use of Izanagi, Izanami was created to punish those who would misuse it. Like Izanagi, Izanami also blinds the Sharingan with which it is executed.
- In initial depictions of Izanagi, the blindness he causes is represented by the eyelids of the eye closing. After the blindness caused by Izanami was depicted as making the eye of a white man blind, Izanagi begins to be depicted in the same way.
- In the anime, Danzō uses this as part of his ultimate technique, letting his Mokuton go out of control, creating a tree that crushes both himself and the opponent, and activating Izanagi at the last moment to escape unscathed.
- Although Madara uses a time-activated Izanagi in the manga, he is not listed as an Izanagi user in Jin no Sho.