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During the chūnin exams in the Demon Desert, Hōichi notices Team Matsuri as they head towards the central tower. He later becomes caught in the sandstorm that Fugi caused, and hides underneath the sand. After Gaara arrives to assist Team Matsuri, Hōichi emerges from the sand and prepares to attack the Kazekage.[2] After Gaara's departure, Hōichi targets Team Matsuri by using their own shadows against them, in order to lure out Gaara, knowing that he will come to rescue the genin. As the Kazekage approaches, the priest uses his seal, which creates chains and pierces Gaara, and begins to extract Shukaku's chakra. As the two shinobi stand against each other, Fū arrives and attempts to save Gaara, which she was unsuccessful. Noticing that the kunoichi was also a jinchūriki, Hōichi decides to test the power of his seal and begins to extract her tailed beast at the same time as Gaara's.[1]

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As the extraction continued, Fū used her Cocoon to slow down the extraction process. While Hōichi continued his efforts, Team Guy along with Fū's team-mates arrived to save the jinchūriki. As Neji Hyūga got close enough, he blocked the chakra points in Gaara and Fū from which the extraction was taking place, ultimately cancelling it and rejecting the chakra chains. This came at Hōichi's expense as because the process was interrupted, the chains went wild in pursuit. As the chains quickly bound Hōichi, Gaara took pity on the man and asked for Neji to save him. To which, Neji blocked Hōichi's chakra points and cancelled the technique. Hōichi was then taken away for treatment.[3]