Akatsuki (暁, Literally meaning: “Dawn” or “Daybreak”) was a group of shinobi that existed outside the usual system of hidden villages. Over the course of several decades, Akatsuki took different forms and was led by different individuals. Though each iteration is viewed as either subversives or criminals, all seek to make the world a better place through their own means. Each Akatsuki tends to have multiple lairs across the world, inaccessible either due to their remoteness or the various security measures that protect them.
Members of Nagato’s Akatsuki wear long, black cloaks with red clouds, a red interior, and a chin-high collar; Tobi and the members of Taka wear a similarly-marked hooded mantle. The red clouds represent the rain of blood that fell in Amegakure during its wars, and were viewed as a symbol of justice by its original members. The robes are very distinctive, allowing members of Akatsuki to be identified even from a distance. Though the robes are a standard feature throughout Nagato’s tenure (with Konan even continuing to wear it after leaving Akatsuki), the robe falls out of use under Obito’s leadership: Kisame stops wearing it owing to circumstances of faking his death, Obito does not replace his when it is destroyed by Konan, and Zetsu ceases using a robe once its two halves begin operating separately. During Shin’s attempt to revive the organisation, he is the only individual to wear the robe, as none of his clones wear it.
Another trend started with Nagato is for members to cross out the symbol on their forehead protectors to symbolise the severed ties with their former villages, though some opt not to wear a forehead protector at all. All members also wear black nail polish on their fingers and toenails (colours vary in the anime). When travelling, members sometimes wear conical straw hats with small ornamental torques and tassels hanging down over their faces, possibly to go unnoticed by the general population as most are S-class criminals.[