Akatsuki (lit. "Dawn" or "Daybreak") is criminal organization consisting of ten exceptionally powerful rogue ninja. Each bears a unique ring of membership and wear a black, high-collared cloak with red clouds. Akatsuki makes only a brief appearance in Part I with only two of its members Itachi Uchiha and Kisame Hoshigaki. Nevertheless, they become the primary antagonists in Part II. Though there are truly ten Akatsuki members, only a maximum of nine exist during the current storyline. This is because Orochimaru, a former member, left the organization, taking his ring with him.
Founded by Madara Uchiha after his defection from Konoha, Akatsuki originally existed to mask his movements. However, as the group grew stronger, they moved on to espionage and assasination, and have currently set their sights on acquiring the nine tailed beasts, such as the fox imprisoned within Naruto Uzumaki. Once they have obtained all of them, they claim that they will be able to harnass their massive strength, and achieve world domination. Akatsuki's members are divided into pairs when assigned a mission. Most members, though, care little for their partners, and only cooperate each other as much as they have to to complete their assignments. Each duo is assigned to capture one of the tailed beasts or its host. In the event that a host is captured, all members of Akatsuki are required to assist in the extraction of the tailed beast from the host, a process which typically lasts three days.
 Akatsuki Members
The members of the Akatsuki, past and present, are as follows:
- Itachi Uchiha
- Nagato Uzumaki
- Sasori Akasun
- Suigetsu Hozuki
- Kisame Hoshigaki
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