Kakashi Hatake (はたけ カカシ Hatake Kakashi?, alternately spelled 畑案山子) is a fictional character in the Naruto universe created by Masashi Kishimoto and developed into a media franchise, consisting of a series of manga, anime, soundtracks, OVAs, movies, video games, and other collectibles. Kishimoto originally planned to introduce Kakashi in the manga to the series' titular character, Naruto Uzumaki, early on, but pushed back this meeting so that Naruto's teammates could be better developed.
In the story, Kakashi is the leader and teacher of Team 7, consisting of the series' primary characters, Sasuke Uchiha, Sakura Haruno, and Naruto. He is initially portrayed as a detached and apathetic figure, but as the series progresses, his loyalty to his friends and students becomes increasingly apparent. Kakashi's past has been extensively explored in the series, resulting in a gaiden being devoted to his past experiences. Kakashi has appeared in several pieces of Naruto media, including three of the four featured films in the series, all of the original video animations, and several video games.
Numerous anime and manga publications have praised and criticized Kakashi's character. Although he has been noted to be an echo of similar detached shōnen characters, the duality of Kakashi's apathetic and serious sides have been praised. Kakashi's popularity has been noted by reviewers; T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews commented that the series could simply be renamed "Kakashi." Kakashi has been highly popular with the Naruto reader base, placing high in several popularity polls. Merchandise based on Kakashi has also been released, including key chains and plush dolls.