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

stroke order illustration  
Bushu (Radical) Info: 儿 (にんにょう) – human legs
Henshall Mnemonic: those dead people preceded us in life
Levels: JLPT N5 | JLPT 4 (old) | Grade 1
Frequency: #173 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

  •   [せんしゅう]
    (n-adv,n-t) last week; the week before   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんせい]
    (n) teacher; master; doctor   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [さき]
    (adj-no,n,n-suf,pref) (1) previous; prior; former; (2) point (e.g. pencil); tip; end; nozzle; head (of a line); (3) destination; (4) the first priority; the future; objective; sequel; remainder; the other party   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんげつ]
    (n-adv,n-t) last month   [K] [D] [Jisho]

JLPT N4 Words

  •   [せんぱい]
    (n) senior (at work or school); superior; elder; older graduate; progenitor; old-timer   [K] [D] [Jisho]

JLPT N3 Words

  •   [せんじつ]
    (n-adv,n-t) the other day; a few days ago   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • ず   [まず]
    (adv) (1) first (of all); to start with; about; almost; anyway; well; now; (2) hardly (with neg. verb)   [K] [D] [Jisho]

JLPT N2 Words

  •   [せんぞ]
    (n) ancestor   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんたん]
    (n) pointed end; tip; fine point; spearhead; cusp; vanguard; advanced; leading edge   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [さきほど]
    (n-adv,n-t) some time ago   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんとう]
    (n) head; lead; vanguard; first   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [まっさき]
    (n) the head; the foremost; beginning   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [そせん]
    (n) ancestor   [K] [D] [Jisho]

JLPT N1 Words

  •   [せんだい]
    (n) family predecessor; previous age; previous generation   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんちゃく]
    (n) first arrival   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんてんてき]
    (adj-na,n) a priori; inborn; innate; inherent; congenital; hereditary   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [ゆうせん]
    (n,vs) preference; priority   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [つとめさき]
    (n) place of work   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • だって   [せんだって]
    (n-adv,n-t) recently; the other day   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • に   [さきに]
    (adv,n) before; earlier than; ahead; beyond; away; previously; recently   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんこう]
    (n,vs) preceding; going first   [K] [D] [Jisho]

Other Popular Words Not Classified by JLPT

  •   [こてさき]
    (n) (superficial) cleverness   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんしゅ]
    (n,vs) earning the first (runs); preoccupation   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • り   [さきどり]
    (n,vs) receiving in advance; taking before others   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんて]
    (n) (1) the first move; forestalling; initiative; (2) black player (shogi)   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [はるさき]
    (n-adv,n-t) beginning of spring   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんじゅう]
    (n) previous priest or resident   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんしん]
    (n) seniority; advance; leadership   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんしんこく]
    (n) advanced (developed) country; advanced nations   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [さいせんたん]
    (adj-no,n) ultra-fine   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんじん]
    (n) predecessor; pioneer; ancestor   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんじん]
    (n) vanguard; advance guard   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [ゆびさき]
    (n) fingertip   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [ほこさき]
    (n) point of spear; aim of attack; force of argument   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんせい]
    (n,vs) preempt; head-start (of several runs) (baseball)   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [おくりさき]
    (n) forwarding address   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • ペン   [ペンさき]
    (n) pen nibs   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [つまさき]
    (n) tiptoe   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  • り   [さきおくり]
    (n) postpone   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [そっせん]
    (n) taking the initiative   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [のきさき]
    (n) edge of the eaves; house frontage   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんどう]
    (n) guidance; leadership   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんにゅうかん]
    (n) preconception; prejudice; preoccupation   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんぱつ]
    (n,vs) forerunner; advance party; going on ahead   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [せんぱん]
    (n-adv,n-t) some time ago; the other day   [K] [D] [Jisho]
  •   [ゆうせんてき]
    (adj-na) preferential   [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.