In a resurfaced interview of Naruto‘s creator Masashi Kishimoto with Kobayashi, it was revealed that the mangaka had to change the original plans he had for the manga at the behest of his editor Kosuke Yahagi.
Turns out Kishimoto didn’t intend to create a setting which majorly revolved around Naruto’s classmates, instead he wanted to focus more on the missions Naruto took on, including meeting 4 member teams from other villages, with the teachers of the teams being the rivals of Kakashi.
However, his editor had other ideas in store for the manga and didn’t approve of Kishimoto’s initial plan, since he felt that it was too slow-paced. He wanted to bring out all the characters and villages at once, hence coming-up with the tournament idea.
Kishimoto, on the other hand, felt that doing a tournament arc would be too hectic and would end up killing him. But the editor insisted on proceeding with the plan even if it killed Kishimoto, and this was how Chunin exam came to being.
According to the mangaka, coming up with all the characters at once was too much for him to handle and asked his editor for help with some designs, who in turn came up with characters, Guy and Lee, based on a really weird looking key chain.
Things eventually took a turn for the better as Kishimoto started enjoying drawing the arc, and the manga picked up popularity. As the arc was coming to an end, the editorial team asked him to introduce Orochimaru to extend the tournament.
This disappointed the mangaka greatly as he was already planning to make Shikamaru the winner, since Shikamaru has an IQ of 200.
To this day, Kishimoto still wished he could go with his original idea for Naruto manga.
In fact this was not the first time Kishimoto talked about the changes he was forced to make by his editors. This included coining the names for Gaara and Zabuza, who were initially named Jotaro and Momotaro by the mangaka. Yahagi was also the one who suggested that Kishimoto create a rival character for the protagonist, which then resulted in him making Sasuke Uchiha.
Masashi Kishimoto is a Japanese manga artist. His manga series, Naruto, which was in serialization from 1999 to 2014, has sold over 250 million copies worldwide in 46 countries as of May 2019.
The series has been adapted into two anime and multiple films, video games, and related media. Besides the Naruto manga, Kishimoto also personally supervised the two canonical anime films, The Last: Naruto the Movie and Boruto: Naruto the Movie, and has written several one-shot stories.
In 2019, Kishimoto wrote Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru which ended in March 2020.
From May 2016 through October 2020 he supervised the Boruto: Naruto Next Generations manga written by Ukyo Kodachi and illustrated by Mikio Ikemoto. In November 2020 it was announced that he had taken over as writer on the series, replacing Kodachi.