Really struggling with 初!

I am really struggling with 初 in compounds.

The kanji is listed with しょ for on’yomi, but appears to randomly gets a spare う. I haven’t figured out how to predict this, and it’s causing serious leeching.

Is there something I am missing about how to know this? Or is it truly random and I just have to memorize all of it?

Thank you.

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You might be getting confused, 初 is always* read as しょ, at least all the words in WK that have it use that reading. Please give an example where it appears as しょう, so we can understand better what you’re talking about.

*I’m talking on’yomi


Where do you see that? :thinking:

All the vocab with 初 on WK using the on’yomi:

最初 (さいしょ)
初級 (しょきゅう)
初歩 (しょほ)
初回 (しょかい)
初版 (しょはん)

Only other remaining vocab use the kun’yomi:

初めに (はじめに)
初めて (はじめて)


Yep checking Jisho I don’t see a single reading of ショウ/しょう:

On reading compounds

  • 初夏 【ショカ】 early summer, fourth month of the lunar calendar
  • 初演 【ショエン】 first performance
  • 年初 【ネンショ】 beginning of the year, New Year’s greetings
  • 原初 【ゲンショ】 origin, source, beginning, starting point

Kun reading compounds

  • 初め 【はじめ】 beginning, start, outset, opening, first (in line, etc.), origin, such as …, not to mention …
  • 初めて 【はじめて】 for the first time, only after … is it …, only when … do you …
  • 初めて 【はじめて】 for the first time, only after … is it …, only when … do you …
  • 初 【はつ】 first, new
  • 初夏 【しょか】 early summer, fourth month of the lunar calendar
  • 業界初 【ぎょうかいはつ】 the industry’s first …
  • 人生初 【じんせいはつ】 (for the) first time in one’s life
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Is there a chance you’re mixing 初 with 所? And then 所 (しょ)with 場 (じょう)
From 場所 (ばしょ)?


I will grab them on my reviews. That keep popping up. I could totally be mistaking, will double check.

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You must be confusing it with something else. None of the words using that kanji on WK use anything but しょ or ばじ as the reading.

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Ok, this is interesting!

I think I am confusing it with win 勝. My brain is not separating first place from win.

Thank you all!


初 is just first though. As in “happens earliest”. Not “first place”. Just to be clear.


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