As the most infamous and powerful criminal organization in Naruto, the Akatsuki often struggles in keeping the peace among its members. Whether they share the group's vision or simply enjoy chaos, each member of the Akatsuki has their own reasons for joining this elite group of mercenaries.
This means that their individual interests often conflict, leading to disputes or even full-scale battles between fellow Akatsuki. Here are five Akatsuki members who acted against their own organization in Naruto, and why.
Soon after Orochimaru leaves the Hidden Leaf, he joins the Akatsuki to start his new criminal life. He is originally paired with Sasori and his talents were well-suited for the organization. When Itachi Uchiha joins the Akatsuki not long after, Orochimaru becomes impressed by his unrivaled abilities at such a young age. Wanting to acquire Itachi's Sharingan, Orochimaru plots to steal Itachi's eyes and take his body for his own.
Despite Orochimaru's strong and diverse Jutsu, Itachi uses his Sharingan to stop his attack. Itachi puts Orochimaru under a genjutsu and cuts off his left hand, putting an end to his original plan. Orochimaru chooses to leave the Akatsuki afterward, no longer wanting to listen and play well with others in the group. This action begins a persistent rivalry between Orochimaru and the Akatsuki, with Kabuto being caught between the two parties as a spy later in Naruto.
Sasori of the Red Sand is recruited into the Akatsuki by Konan after she defeats him in battle. As Orochimaru's former partner, Sasori develops a grudge against him after his departure. He even employs Kabuto to spy on him, not realizing Kabuto was already working for Orochimaru, whom he was truly loyal to.
After tracking his whereabouts, Sasori and Orochimaru run into each other in the Land of Wind and begin their long-awaited battle. Sasori uses his puppet of the Third Kazekage while Orochimaru responds with the reincarnation of the actual Third Kazekage. Despite Orochimaru's successful "Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation" Jutsu, Sasori forces him to retreat while Deidra bombs his hideout. Not only did Sasori oppose his former Akatsuki partner, but he also offers up the organization's confidential intel to Sakura after she and Chiyo defeat him in battle, telling her the time and place of a secret meeting as a reward for besting him.
Nagato originally formed the Akatsuki alongside Konan and Yahiko, creating the organization as naïve but well-intended war orphans who simply wanted to bring about peace in their lands. However, Nagato's sense of peace and justice becomes warped after Obito indirectly causes Yahiko's death and later manipulates Nagato's personal tragedy. Obito convinces him that the world can never truly know peace unless it knows the pain that war brings upon its victims and their loved ones. Nagato adopts his Pain persona in hopes to show the world true pain as the Akatsuki's reputation as a dark criminal enterprise increases throughout Naruto.
Using Yahiko's deceased body as part of his Sixth Paths of Pain through his Rinnegan, Nagato uses his god-like power gifted to him by Madara to further the Akatsuki's agenda. Despite being an original founder, Nagato is too blinded by his own convictions to realize Obito was using him and the Akatsuki all along. After committing unfathomable acts in the name of the Akatsuki, like killing Jiraiya and destroying the entire Hidden Leaf, Nagato's eyes don't begin to open until he meets Naruto.
As fellow students of Master Jiraiya, Naruto convinces Nagato to believe in his idea of a better world. Deciding to put his full faith in Naruto to bring about peace in his own way, Nagato sacrifices his life to perform the "Samsara of Heavenly Life Technique" to revive the entire village -- abandoning the Akatsuki and their original plans.
As one of the Akatsuki's original founders, Konan was deeply loyal to the organization and its mission to achieve peace. After Yahiko's death, she becomes further disillusioned by the cruel and miserable world around her. She focuses on recruiting highly skilled S-rank missing-nin, like Sasori and Hidan, to strengthen the Akatsuki's influence. Konan and Nagato continue to work closely together as the organization evolves into a mercenary group while sharing the same vision and method of bringing about peace. However, when Nagato sacrifices his life to aid Naruto and revive the Hidden Leaf, her conviction begins to waiver as well.
After Nagato's death, she entrusts world peace to Naruto and offers him a flower bouquet made of her paper before taking Nagato and Pain's dead bodies with her. After promising Naruto she is done with the Akatsuki, she leaves the organization and becomes the head of the Village Hidden in the Rain. Soon after, Tobi arrives there in search of Nagato's body -- to steal his Rinnegan. Prepared for his arrival, Konan does everything in her power to stop him while Tobi accuses her and Nagato of betraying the Akatsuki. As her final act, Konan opposes the Akatsuki and sacrifices her life for the peace Naruto envisions, achieving redemption by death.
After Itachi destroys his own clan to protect the overall Hidden Leaf, he's branded a traitor and leaves the village so the secret behind the Uchiha's downfall would be kept hidden from the general public. Now labeled a criminal and missing-nin, Itachi infiltrates the Akatsuki to keep tabs on them and ensure they don't attack the Hidden Leaf. He was originally partnered with Jūzō until his death, and later partners with Kisame. After Orochimaru fails to steal his body and leaves the organization, Itachi helps recruit Deidara by beating him with his unrivaled genjutsu.
Despite being a valuable member of the Akatsuki who helps them win several battles, Itachi was never genuinely on their side in Naruto. He cleverly works against his organization whenever the opportunity presents itself, with the sole purpose of protecting Sasuke and the Hidden Leaf from the shadows.