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Kanji Information Sheet for 初  ( PDF version of this Kanji PDF version )

stroke order illustration  
first time

Bushu (Radical) Info:
刀 (かたな) – sword
刈 (ガイ, カイ, か.る, かっ かり) – reap; cut; clip; trim; prune
衣 (ころも) – clothing
Henshall Mnemonic: clothes must first be cut
Levels: JLPT N3 | JLPT 2 (old) | Grade 4
Frequency: #152 of the 2500 most used kanji in newspapers

Common Words and/or Phrases Using this Kanji:

Click any individual kanji to view a similar information sheet for it.
Click [K] to look up the word's individual character(s) at WWWJDIC.
Click [D] to look up the word at WWWJDIC (definition is the same but other useful features exist).

Click [Jisho] to look up the word at

JLPT N5 Words

  • め   [はじめ]
    (n-adv,n-t) beginning; start; origin   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • めて   [はじめて]
    (adv,n) for the first time   [K] [D] [Jisho]

JLPT N4 Words

  •   [さいしょ]
    (adj-no,n-adv,n-t) beginning; outset; first; onset   [K] [D] [Jisho]

JLPT N2 Words

  •   [しょきゅう]
    (n) elementary level   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょじゅん]
    (n-adv,n) first 10 days of the month   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょほ]
    (adj-no,n) elements; rudiments; ABCs of ..   [K] [D] [Jisho]

JLPT N1 Words

  •   [はつ]
    (adj-no,n,n-suf) first; new   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょはん]
    (n) first edition   [K] [D] [Jisho]

Other Popular Words Not Classified by JLPT

  • める   [そめる]
    (aux-v,v1) to begin to   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょえん]
    (n) first performance   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょか]
    (n) early summer   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょかい]
    (n) first time   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょき]
    (adj-no,n) (1) early (days); initial stage; (2) (computer) initial   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • め   [つきはじめ]
    (adv,n) beginning of month   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょきゅう]
    (n) pitcher's first pitch (to batter)   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • で   [はつもうで]
    (n) first temple visit of New Year   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • め   [かきぞめ]
    (n) New Year's writing (resolution)   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [ねんしょ]
    (n-adv,n) beginning of the year; New Year's greetings   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [とうしょ]
    (n-adv,n-t) at first   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょしゅつ]
    (n) first appearance   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [はつばしょ]
    (n) first day of a sumo tournament; New Year's sumo tournament   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょしん]
    (adj-na,n) original intention; initial resolution   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょしんしゃ]
    (n) beginner   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [ういじん]
    (n) first campaign; one's first battle   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [はつゆき]
    (n) first snow (of season)   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょせん]
    (n) first match (in a series)   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょたいめん]
    (n) first meeting; first interview with   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょだい]
    (n) first generation; founder   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょとう]
    (n-adv,n-t) beginning   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょにち]
    (n-adv,n-t) first or opening day   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょにんきゅう]
    (n) initial salary   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [しょねん]
    (n-adv,n-t) first year; early years (of a reign or era)   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [はつぶたい]
    (n) debut; initial stage appearance   [K] [D] [Jisho]
Find more details for at, Yookoso! or WWWJDIC


The sofware used to generate this kanji information uses the EDICT and KANJIDIC files. These files are the property of the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group at Monash University and are used in conformance with the Group's license.

NOTE: I converted the sources just mentioned years ago and have never really updated so there may be some missing or incorrect information that has been addressed in the original sources but not here.

The first Stroke Order image used on this page is courtesy of Ulrich Apel's excellent open source KanjiVG project. The second image is from the folks at the excellent Jisho Japanese-English dictionary site and it too is based on KanjiVG.

Classifying the kanji and popular vocabulary by the new JLPT levels was done by consulting Jonathan Waller‘s JLPT Resources page, renshuu, Wictionary, and Nihongo Ichiban.

The Henshall Mnemonics are the copyright of Tuttle Publishing and are the result of the hard work by Professor Henshall. See the list I used here.

If you are curious about the lexicography shown in the word definitions, visit the WWWJDIC abbreviations and codes guide and the JMdict/Edict Lexicographical details page.