Nasu, Southern in China

Joshua Project has identified the Nasu, Southern only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language


Beautiful Feet - Yi People


Although this people group calls itself merely Nasu, an added description is needed in order to separate them from other groups who refer to themselves as Nasu but who speak different languages and dialects. The Southern Nasu are also different from the Nisu in Xinping and Yuanyang counties who have been profiled separately.


The Southern Nasu probably originated in southern Sichuan and northern Yunnan many centuries ago. The name Nasu means "black people." The color black is revered by the Nasu.


The Southern Nasu retain many aspects of their traditional culture, including the four-stringed guitar and a host of folk dances and songs. They also participate in the annual Torch Festival which takes place on the 24th day of the sixth lunar month.


The Southern Nasu are polytheists who attempt to placate a wide array of spirits and deities. Some spirits are considered helpful while others are evil and cause death, sickness, and destruction. One source says, "Animistic spirituality and ancestor worship is alive and well among this people. The Southern Nasu of Eshan County still have living bimos or sorcerers who perform rites and incantations from the ancient script to appease demons and ward off evil from sick persons, households, and at funerals. Besides the bimo there is a significant number of ordinary people who have linked themselves with the spirit world, and are able, through such channels, to heal sicknesses."


There are presently only about 100 known Christians among the Southern Nasu. These believers meet in Han Chinese churches in the townships of Yuxi Prefecture. There is no Nasu-language congregation in existence. Today most Southern Nasu have no knowledge of Christianity. Mission work among them prior to 1949 was nonexistent. In 1998 the Christian ministry Gospel Recordings produced audio tapes of the gospel message in Southern Nasu, resulting in a few people making decisions to follow Christ.

Profile Source:   Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Nasu, Southern (Nah-soo)
People Name in Country Nasu, Southern
Population in China 134,000
World Population 134,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Southern Yi, Yi, Southern
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Nasu, Southern (Nah-soo)
Ethnic Code MSY50i
People ID 18628
Country China
Region Northeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 29  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country More than 100,000 Southern Nasu live in five counties of central and southern Yunnan Province. The majority (42,900) live in Eshan County, followed by Xinping County (33,300), while Yimen County contains 17,000 Southern Nasu. In addition, about 9,000 Southern Nasu live in the southern part of Anning County and the southwestern part of Jinning County in the Kunming Municipality..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Nisu, Eastern (134,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Nisu, Eastern 134,000
For Primary Language: Nisu, Eastern

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.10 %)
0.12 %
Ethnic Religions
92.88 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
7.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
100.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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