6 strokes
before, ahead, previous, future, precedence
Jōyō kanji, taught in grade 1
JLPT level N5
173 of 2500 most used kanji in newspapers


Stroke order

On reading compounds

  • 先 【セン】 former, previous, old, first move (in go, shogi, etc.), opening move
  • 先駆 【センク】 forerunner, precursor, pioneer, leader, outrider, outriding
  • 機先 【キセン】 forestall
  • 互先 【タガイセン】 even game (esp. in go)

Kun reading compounds

  • 先 【さき】 point, tip, end, nozzle, head (of a line), front, first, before, ahead (of), (the way) ahead, beyond, future, previous, prior, former, recent, last, destination, address, place where you do something, rest (e.g. of a story), continuation, remaining part, the other party
  • 先行き 【さきゆき】 the future, future prospects
  • 小手先 【こてさき】 tip of the hand, (use of) one's hands, cheap trick, superficial wit, superficial cleverness, cheap, makeshift (e.g. measures), shortsighted, perfunctory, halfhearted
  • 矛先 【ほこさき】 point of a spear, spearhead, focus (of one's attack, criticism, etc.), aim, target, brunt, force (of an argument), edge
  • 先ず 【まず】 first (of all), firstly, to begin with, before anything else, probably, most likely, almost certainly, virtually, more or less (satisfactory), on the whole, reasonably, anyway, at any rate, for now (at least), for the time being
  • まず第一に 【まずだいいちに】 first of all, in the first place, to begin with, for starters


Japanese names:
Mandarin Chinese (pinyin):


  • antes
  • adelante
  • previo
  • precedencia
  • extremo
  • punta
  • final
  • anterior


  • antes
  • prévio
  • na frente
  • futuro
  • precedência


  • avant
  • devant
  • précédent
  • futur
  • antériorité
33 A Guide To Reading and Writing Japanese (Florence Sakade)
43 A Guide To Reading and Writing Japanese 3rd edition (Henshall, Seeley and De Groot)
49 A Guide To Remembering Japanese Characters (Kenneth G. Henshall)
201 A New Dictionary of Kanji Usage
571 Classic Nelson (Andrew Nelson)
65 Essential Kanji (P.G. O’Neill)
16 Japanese Kanji Flashcards (Max Hodges and Tomoko Okazaki)
280 Japanese Names (P.G. O’Neill)
2.18 Japanese for Busy People
50 Kanji and Kana (Spahn and Hadamitzky)
50 Kanji and Kana, 2nd Edition (Spahn and Hadamitzky)
48 Kanji in Context (Nishiguchi and Kono)
145 Kodansha Compact Kanji Guide
3046 Kodansha Kanji Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
1552 Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
2123 Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary, 2nd Edition (Jack Halpern)
254 Les Kanjis dans la tete (Yves Maniette)
1349 Morohashi
2394 New Japanese English Character Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
350 New Nelson (John Haig)
248 Remembering The Kanji (James Heisig)
263 Remembering The Kanji, 6th edition (James Heisig)
115 The Kanji Way to Japanese Language Power (Dale Crowley)
54 Tuttle Kanji Cards (Alexander Kask)
2457 2001 Kanji
3b3.7 The Kanji Dictionary
2-4-2 SKIP code
2421.1 Four corner code
1-32-72 JIS X 0208-1997 kuten code
5148 Unicode hex code