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Posted 8/6/09
The Sannin (伝説の三忍, Densetsu no Sannin; Literally meaning "Legendary Three Ninja") were the students of Hiruzen Sarutobi, members of his Team Sarutobi. Jiraiya, Orochimaru, and Tsunade, possesses exemplary ninja abilities. During the Second Great Shinobi World War they fought against Hanzo, and for being able to survive his attacks he gave them the title of Konoha's Sannin in return for letting them live. Their names are known in countries all across the world.
The Sannin are widely regarded for their great skill and power, each one has the level of being a Kage in their own right; each has been considered for the position of Hokage at different points in time. When Orochimaru defected from Konoha after being denied the position, the Sannin were disbanded, though they continued to be known by the title. Tsunade is currently the only surviving Sannin.

Jiraiya, the "Toad Hermit", wandered the world, discovered and trained under the toads and wrote the Icha Icha series of novels. Later he became the teacher of Nagato, Minato Namikaze, and Naruto Uzumaki. Died while investigating Pain however killed his Animal Path in the process.
Orochimaru, the "White Snake", defected from Konoha to join Akatsuki and founded Otogakure. Seeks to gain immortality via means of kinjutsu in order to learn every jutsu in existence. Absorbed by his disciple, Sasuke Uchiha, and later sealed away by Itachi Uchiha.
Tsunade, the "Legendary Sucker", is the granddaughter of the First Hokage and the grandniece of the Second Hokage. possesses terribly unlucky addiction to gambling. Became famous during the ninja wars as great medical-nin . Trained Sakura Haruno in becoming a medical-nin, and taken the position of being the Fifth Hokage. Currently in a comatose state after running extremely low of chakra.

Despite being three of the most powerful fighters Konoha has ever produced, each of them departed from Konoha for different reasons. Orochimaru left to join Akatsuki and further develop his forbidden techniques, Jiraiya went to gather information on Orochimaru and Akatsuki's movements, and Tsunade lost all confidence in her healing ability and went into self-imposed exile.
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