17 strokes
man, human 人 (亻)
tenderness, excel, surpass, actor, superiority, gentleness
Jōyō kanji, taught in grade 6
JLPT level N3
334 of 2500 most used kanji in newspapers


Stroke order

On reading compounds

  • 優 【ユウ】 Excellent (grade), A, superiority, excellence, gentle, graceful, elegant, skillful
  • 優位 【ユウイ】 predominance, superiority, ascendancy, advantage, supremacy
  • 声優 【セイユウ】 voice actor or actress (radio, animation, etc.)
  • 怪優 【カイユウ】 actor or performer with fascinating acting and appearance
  • 優曇華 【ウドンゲ】 udumbara (mythical Indian plant often identified with the cluster fig, Ficus glomerata), something very rare (from the legend that the udumbara flowers once in 3000 years), Japanese fiber banana flower, green lacewing eggs
  • 優婆夷 【ウバイ】 upasika (devout female lay follower of Buddhism)
  • 声優 【セイユウ】 voice actor or actress (radio, animation, etc.)
  • 怪優 【カイユウ】 actor or performer with fascinating acting and appearance

Kun reading compounds

  • 優しい 【やさしい】 tender, kind, gentle, graceful, affectionate, amiable
  • 優しい声 【やさしいこえ】 soft voice
  • 優れる 【すぐれる】 to surpass, to outstrip, to excel
  • 勝る 【まさる】 to excel, to surpass, to exceed, to have an edge, to be superior, to outrival, to outweigh, to preponderate
  • 優るとも劣らない 【まさるともおとらない】 not at all inferior to, rival or surpass, compare favorably (with)


Japanese names:
ゆ、 よし
Mandarin Chinese (pinyin):


  • excelente
  • sobresaliente
  • especial
  • papel
  • función
  • elegante
  • tierno
  • amable
  • cariñoso
  • sobrepasar
  • dejar atrás
  • sobresalir


  • ternura
  • superar
  • superação
  • ator
  • superioridade
  • gentileza


  • tendresse
  • gentillesse
  • exceller
  • surpasser
  • supériorité
  • acteur
995 A Guide To Reading and Writing Japanese 3rd edition (Henshall, Seeley and De Groot)
984 A Guide To Remembering Japanese Characters (Kenneth G. Henshall)
453 A New Dictionary of Kanji Usage
564 Classic Nelson (Andrew Nelson)
1148 Essential Kanji (P.G. O’Neill)
336 Japanese Kanji Flashcards (Max Hodges and Tomoko Okazaki)
2599 Japanese Names (P.G. O’Neill)
1033 Kanji and Kana (Spahn and Hadamitzky)
1074 Kanji and Kana, 2nd Edition (Spahn and Hadamitzky)
1168 Kanji in Context (Nishiguchi and Kono)
140 Kodansha Compact Kanji Guide
200 Kodansha Kanji Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
130 Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
156 Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary, 2nd Edition (Jack Halpern)
1002 Les Kanjis dans la tete (Yves Maniette)
1261 Morohashi
177 New Japanese English Character Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
334 New Nelson (John Haig)
993 Remembering The Kanji (James Heisig)
1068 Remembering The Kanji, 6th edition (James Heisig)
1000 Tuttle Kanji Cards (Alexander Kask)
2167 2001 Kanji
2a15.1 The Kanji Dictionary
1-2-15 SKIP code
2124.7 Four corner code
1-45-05 JIS X 0208-1997 kuten code
512a Unicode hex code