Ino is the only child of Inoichi Yamanaka and was a popular student during her time in the Academy. There, she met Sakura Haruno, who was teased by other kids for her large forehead. Ino defended Sakura from the bullies and encouraged her to embrace her forehead rather than hide it, becoming good friends with her. Over the following years, Ino's guidance and friendship helped Sakura become more confident and develop into her own person. However, when Sakura found out that they had a crush on the same boy, Sasuke Uchiha, Sakura approached Ino, telling her of her liking towards Sasuke. Ino took it to end their friendship, starting their dislike towards each other in the beginning of the series.