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Japanese proficiency tests

Last updated Nov 8, 2022

The oft-mentioned JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) tests reading comprehension, grammar, and listening ability. The levels of the test range, in increasing difficulty, from N5 to N1. There is no good reason to take levels N5, N4, or N3. On the other hand, N2, or occasionally N1, may be required for employment by a Japanese firm in Japan. Many learners self-assess their level without sitting for the exam; feel free to ignore their claims. I took and passed N1 in December of 2015.

Less frequently discussed is the masochistic Kanji Kentei, a comprehensive kanji examination the highest level of which covers the correct stroke order, usage, and pronunciation of more than 6000 kanji. I have never and likely will never sit this exam. For that matter, even native speakers generally cannot pass higher levels of the Kentei without concerted study. This video (no subtitles) is about the first non-Japanese person to pass the highest level of the Kentei.