10 strokes
silk 糸 (糹)
elementary, principle, naked, uncovered
Jōyō kanji, taught in grade 5
JLPT level N1
660 of 2500 most used kanji in newspapers


Stroke order

On reading compounds

  • 素 【ソ】 plain, white silk, prime
  • 素質 【ソシツ】 makings (of), aptitude, talent, qualities, nature, character, temperament
  • 酵素 【コウソ】 enzyme
  • 栄養素 【エイヨウソ】 nutrient
  • 素 【ス】 one's nature, one's feelings, oneself, plain, unadorned, undecorated, unadulterated, au naturel, mere, poor, exceedingly
  • 素敵 【ステキ】 lovely, wonderful, nice, great, fantastic, superb, cool
  • 空素 【カラス】 dealt hand containing only 1-point cards (scoring combination)
  • 鉤素 【ハリス】 snell (fishing), leader, trace, cast

Kun reading compounds

  • 元 【もと】 origin, source, base, basis, foundation, root, cause, ingredient, material, base, mix, stock, (someone's) side, (someone's) location, original cost (or capital, principal, etc.), (plant) root, (tree) trunk, first section of a waka, counter for blades of grass, tree trunks, etc., and for falcons (in falconry), handle (chopsticks, brush, etc.), grip
  • 元より 【もとより】 from the beginning, from the first, all along, originally, of course, not to mention ..., not only ... but also ..., to say nothing of ...
  • 味の素 【あじのもと】 Ajinomoto, brand name of monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • 味の素 【あじのもと】 Ajinomoto Co. Inc.


Mandarin Chinese (pinyin):


  • materia prima
  • elemental
  • normal
  • usual


  • elementar
  • princípio
  • descoberto
  • nu


  • élément
  • principe
  • nu
  • découvert
658 A Guide To Reading and Writing Japanese (Florence Sakade)
759 A Guide To Reading and Writing Japanese 3rd edition (Henshall, Seeley and De Groot)
737 A Guide To Remembering Japanese Characters (Kenneth G. Henshall)
717 A New Dictionary of Kanji Usage
3511 Classic Nelson (Andrew Nelson)
797 Essential Kanji (P.G. O’Neill)
1623 Japanese Kanji Flashcards (Max Hodges and Tomoko Okazaki)
1707 Japanese Names (P.G. O’Neill)
271 Kanji and Kana (Spahn and Hadamitzky)
271 Kanji and Kana, 2nd Edition (Spahn and Hadamitzky)
636 Kanji in Context (Nishiguchi and Kono)
1506 Kodansha Compact Kanji Guide
3108 Kodansha Kanji Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
1590 Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
2171 Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary, 2nd Edition (Jack Halpern)
1546 Les Kanjis dans la tete (Yves Maniette)
27300 Morohashi
2458 New Japanese English Character Dictionary (Jack Halpern)
4456 New Nelson (John Haig)
1532 Remembering The Kanji (James Heisig)
1652 Remembering The Kanji, 6th edition (James Heisig)
500 The Kanji Way to Japanese Language Power (Dale Crowley)
716 Tuttle Kanji Cards (Alexander Kask)
1441 2001 Kanji
6a4.12 The Kanji Dictionary
2-4-6 SKIP code
5090.3 Four corner code
1-33-39 JIS X 0208-1997 kuten code
7d20 Unicode hex code