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, pioneer, precursor, herald, outrider, pilot car
  • 機先 【キセン】 forestall
  • 互先 【タガイセン】 even game (esp. in go)

Kun reading compounds

  • 先 【さき】 previous, prior, former, first, earlier, some time ago, preceding, point (e.g. pencil), tip, end, nozzle, head (of a line), front, ahead, the other side, the future, hereafter, destination, the other party
  • 先行き 【さきゆき】 the future, future prospects
  • 小手先 【こてさき】 tip of one's hand, cheap trick, superficial wit, superficial cleverness, lukewarm, cheap, perfunctory, makeshift, shortsighted
  • 矛先 【ほこさき】 point of spear, spearhead, brunt, aim of attack, force of argument
  • 先ず 【まず】 first (of all), firstly, to start with, above all, probably, almost (certainly), hardly, practically, more or less, anyway, at any rate, for now (at least), for the time being
  • 先ず無い 【まずない】 seldom, rarely, scarcely


Japanese names:


  • 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
32-72 JIS X 0208-1997 kuten code
5148 Unicode hex code