Throughout the series, Kakashi Hatake wears a mask no matter what the situation is. Even in the flashback of his childhood, he is seen wearing them, to the point everyone is curious about what he is hiding beneath them. There even has been a filler episode where team 7 goes about uncovering their sensei’s mask only to be fooled by him in the end. As for the official face reveal, it comes shortly after Naruto’s manga came to an end. And the face was nothing short of dashing.
One thing that made Naruto’s character stand out over all others is the character design. Kakashi’s mask look is so iconic it is impossible to imagine what his popularity would have been being it was not for the mask. This, however, only adds to the mystery as to why he is fixated on keeping his mask.
Even his original team members, Minato, Rin, and Obito, might not have seen him without the mask. But the time Kakashi was born was not an easy one, he was born around the time when the second shinobi war was still under wraps. And by inspecting that period and other things, we will discover the mystery behind his mask.
The Real Reason Kakashi Hatake wears A mask
Before we get into the theories, we need to preface thousand Jutsu Ninja’s background. Say what you will of Kakashi, he is a good parent figure who has helped many students reach their potential. He is someone whom anyone can rely on no matter what the situation on. His wisdom and achievements are so many he became the Hokage of Konoha. But the child Kakashi was vastly different than his older counterpart. One of the first lessons Kakashi taught Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura was teamwork. However, this is the thing he believed the least when he was their age.
Kakashi’s father, Sakumo Hatake, was one of the finest ninjas of his time that Konoha has ever produced. As such, Sakumo was engaged in Second Shinobi heavily and made a name for himself as “White Fang of the Leaf”. But due to his name and distinct hair color, he made Kakashi Hatake wear a mask so that his enemies don’t come looking for him. At one point, he may have wanted to have it removed but couldn’t as he committed suicide after failing a mission.
This had a deep impact on Kakashi. For one, he decided never to fail a mission, or it would lead to death, even if it meant abandoning his teammates. But what does that has to do with him keeping the mask? For one, Kakashi is an introvert, and he lost his father at an age when he was still a child. This led to him subconsciously keeping on his mask to hide his feelings from everyone else. But Kakashi, we see for the first time is anyone near the gloomy kid who is hinted at by his father’s death and hung up on his decisions, so what changed?
When it was a crucial time to test his new philosophy, the results were devastating. It was also the moment that set Naruto’s universe on a darker path. It was the time of the third shinobi war, Rin got kidnapped by the enemy during a mission, and Kakashi decided to abandon her.
But Obito was of another mind and followed after the kidnappers. Kakashi was the team leader while Minato was busy somewhere else during that mission. So Kakashi followed after Obito despite his better judgment. The two were able to save Rin, but at a crucial moment, Obito sacrificed himself for others. Traumatizing Kakashi yet again but Kakashi decided to break his oath after his father’s death and made a promise to Obito. Which he failed to keep.
A memento of Past
His mask has become his identity and a reminder of all he has been through. He has suffered silently in it, all the while hiding his emotions from the world. At one point, it might have become a coping mechanism to keep his emotions in check. Because no matter what, Kakashi has never run from a fight and always stands his ground. The mask may have been part of him as a design, but it makes sense emotionally for him to keep wearing it.