Jiraiya is named after the character of the same name from Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari ("The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya"). The Jiraiya in this story excelled in summoning a giant toad (the toad itself was sometimes called "Jiraiya") and toad magic.

As a child, Jiraiya and his former teammates, Orochimaru and Tsunade, were students of the Third Hokage. After leaving the Third’s tutelage, he traveled the world and discovered the residence of the toads, who trained him to call upon them in battle. During this time a prophecy concerning Jiraiya was told, dictating that he would travel the world while writing a book and meet a child who would either revolutionize or destroy the world. During his travels, Jiraiya and his former teammates fought with Hanzo, who rewarded their ability to survive his attacks through the title of "Legendary Three Ninja". Soon after this Jiraiya met Nagato, a boy he believed to be the child from the prophecy. Jiraiya trained Nagato and his friends, hoping to steer the boy down the path of good before returning to Konoha

Jiraiya is a self-proclaimed super-pervert with no equal and a frequent voyeur, going so far as to create the Transparent Escape Technique to allow him to spy on naked women without being caught (doing "research" as he calls it). He never actually hides his perversion and even seems proud of it, as seen when he told the Third Hokage about it when he was still a child.

Jiraiya is known as the "Toad Sage" ("Toad Mountain Sage") due to his utilization of a number of toad-related jutsu. Many typically deal with summoning toads, and he has risen to a level of ability that allows him to summon Gamabunta. He can even summon the nearly indestructible esophagus of a great, fire-breathing toad with Summoning: Toad Mouth Bind.

Jiraiya has been shown to be very knowledgeable with sealing jutsu, and has used a number of them throughout the series. When first meeting Naruto, he quickly deduces that the seal on Naruto’s stomach keeps the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox sealed within him though also allows its chakra to mix with his own. read more