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I was recently watching Sasuke's fight with Danzo. Every Sharingan we ever see except Sasuke's and Obito's are all 3 tamoe. Not quite the accomplishment that MS is but it took very strong emotions for Sasuke to get there. Does the fact that Danzo had so many as well as Obito mean that a lot of Uchiha had them? I was under the impression that it was rare to even get that far. I don't think the Sharingan is what makes the shinobi if it's that easy to get and they all died anyway. I think It would have made more sense for Kishi to draw lesser Sharingans if he was trying to make them out to be super amazing rather then show how many shinobi died with them.
Does an Uchiha have to die with the Sharingan active for the eye to be useful after extraction?
The Sharingan is rare, but that can be overcome with greater numbers. Like, if only 1 out of every 5 Uchiha gain a Sharingan, then having a platoon of 50 Uchiha grants you 10 Sharingan wielders, all of which have two eyes, meaning you get 20 Sharingan eyes right off the bat. Now consider that Danzou is an old man, meaning he's seen multiple generations of Uchiha come and go. For all we know he could've collected every single Sharingan from every single dead Uchiha since he first decided he wanted to be Hokage (after Tobirama's death).
Also, I don't think the Sharingan is rare in the sense that not many people have them. I think it's rare in the sense that there's a low chance of gaining it based on personal potential, and that's also luck oriented. I mean, look at Orochimaru's Curse Seal prisoners. It's stated only 1 in 10 people can survive gaining the Curse Seal, and yet we saw hundreds of them in just one of Orochimaru's prisons. It's not so much less of them around, so much as it's a low chance of developing them. It's possible that an entire generation of Uchiha children could gain the Sharingan just by being super lucky.
kishi's definition of rare: spam the numbers after 50 odd chapters :P
Do you think that many Uchiha lived their entire lives with 1 or 2 tamoe Sharingans or once you activate it, 3 tamoe is inevitable?
As troubled as the times were before Naruto became Genin (there were 3 Ninja World wars and Konoha was involved in all 3) I think there is a great possibility for many Uchiha with tons of emotion. So the requirement of activiting the Sharingan was omnipresent in those times!
Especially considering how "emotional" the Uchiha are to begin with :P
Personally, based on those flashback seens, and how Uchiha are as well known for their Sharingan as Hyuga's are for their Byakugan, I think its cited that the majority of Uchiha attained Sharingan. I think its safe to assume 3/5 Uchiha's had Sharingan.
As for how many Uchiha's having 3 tomoe* Sharingan's I'm not sure.
I believe that there were some who lived their lives with just 1 or 2 tomoe* in their eyes, but 3 tomoe are inevitable.
Because it all depends on the situation the clan is in.
Uchiha's during the time before Konoha was founded were on their own, and were constantly having to battle enemies, tons of children were in war so its likely that people were constantly put in situations where they had to activate 3 tomoe to survive like how Sasuke got 3 tomoe when he was being pressured by Naruto.
So it depends on how recent Konoha's last war was to be able to get a good idea of how many Uchiha's have tomoe. So it would be the last time where many Uchiha's would have been put under serious pressure.
And in regards to the Uchiha, there could have been loads of Uchiha that Itachi killed.
In fact, I think it should be assumed that there were as many Uchiha's as there Hyuga's, Nara's, Aburame's or any other prominent clan.
You must have forgotten that Tobirama Senju organized it so that the Uchiha were located further away from the village than everywhere else.
So if they lived far away, and Itachi Uchiha is a gotdamn beast, I don't see a problem.
Not to mention Tobi and Danzou were overlooking the events so that any mishaps or miscalculations were corrected.
I would say if an Uchiha lives into adulthood they're probably going to activate three tomoe, since they'd have had plenty of opportunities to experience the needed emotions. Especially when you consider that prior to the start of the series there had been three shinobi world wars and a period of even worse conflict before that.