9 strokes
sign 示 (礻)
ancestor, pioneer, founder
Jōyō kanji, taught in grade 5
JLPT level N3
1226 of 2500 most used kanji in newspapers


Stroke order

On reading compounds

  • 祖 【ソ】 ancestor, forefather, progenitor, originator, pioneer, inventor, founder, grandfather
  • 祖国 【ソコク】 motherland, fatherland, native country
  • 元祖 【ガンソ】 originator, pioneer, inventor, founder, progenitor, primogenitor, founder of a family line
  • 教祖 【キョウソ】 founder of a religious sect


Japanese names:
Mandarin Chinese (pinyin):


  • antepasado
  • pionero
  • fundador


  • antecessor
  • pioneiro
  • fundador


  • ancêtre
  • pionnier
  • fondateur
657 A Guide To Reading and Writing Japanese (Florence Sakade)
758 A Guide To Reading and Writing Japanese 3rd edition (Henshall, Seeley and De Groot)
736 A Guide To Remembering Japanese Characters (Kenneth G. Henshall)
1325 A New Dictionary of Kanji Usage
3243 Classic Nelson (Andrew Nelson)
540 Essential Kanji (P.G. O’Neill)
772 Japanese Kanji Flashcards (Max Hodges and Tomoko Okazaki)
850 Japanese Names (P.G. O’Neill)
622 Kanji and Kana (Spahn and Hadamitzky)
632 Kanji and Kana, 2nd Edition (Spahn and Hadamitzky)
824 Kanji in Context (Nishiguchi and Kono)
1423 Kodansha Compact Kanji Guide
1145 Kodansha Kanji Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
617 Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
823 Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary, 2nd Edition (Jack Halpern)
1795 Les Kanjis dans la tete (Yves Maniette)
24664P Morohashi
914 New Japanese English Character Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
4083 New Nelson (John Haig)
1779 Remembering The Kanji (James Heisig)
1918 Remembering The Kanji, 6th edition (James Heisig)
701 Tuttle Kanji Cards (Alexander Kask)
673 2001 Kanji
4e5.4 The Kanji Dictionary
1-4-5 SKIP code
3721.0 Four corner code
1-33-36 JIS X 0208-1997 kuten code
7956 Unicode hex code