Anyone tried Kanken Games by Imagineer

I just bought Kanken Smart Taisaku. It’s a game for switch that tests your kanji knowledge. I thought it might give me a study related “game” I could play before bed.

Has anyone tried these games before? There was one for DS and 3DS too. I like that it will also teach/test me on writing kanji, which I think will be almost like KaniWani, because it will make me remember “backwards”, Reading>Kanji vs Kanji>Reading.

PlayAsia Link

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I have, and I’ve discussed them at various times in my (ongoing) Kanken thread.

It’s not the main point of the thread, so finding the ones that discuss the games might be a little tough, but I’ve tried the 3DS and Switch ones. The Switch one only a little bit. There are some smartphone apps too.

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Oh goodness 1052 replys haha.

I’ll check out the thread. From a quick search of “game”, it looks like you played 3DS back in 2018 and had a lot of trouble with the game recognizing the 員 kanji. Besides the game being terrible, do you feel like you were able to learn from it and was this kanten prep useful?

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I did feel like I was able to get used to the tests thanks to having the games. I do still think the character recognition can be atrocious at times (厳 is another archenemy, it forever thinks I’m writing the old version, 嚴), but I came to just accept it. I used it extensively in the lead-up to passing level 2 in 2019.

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すごい! Which means you have a level of kanji knowledge on par with or even exceeding some native Japanese.

Okay good. I feel like I made a good choice grabbing a copy. I will not be surprised by the failings though. Well if anyone else is interested… I can post my thoughts some time in the future here or on your thread.

Level 2 covers knowledge you’d acquire in the process of graduating from high school in Japan.

So I think it’s more that most natives are simply not interested in brushing up enough to pass a test that wouldn’t really have much direct benefit for them. If I can ever pass pre-1 though, that truly is a different level than most natives ever reach.


I also bought the 漢検スマート対策 a couple of months ago and later a stylus to write on the Switch but did not have much a chance to play. Please, let us know how did it go with you.

I will! I bought the stylus too, and I’m just waiting for them both to arrive.

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@sergiop I just got it. First impressions are very good. My favorite thing about it is the example sentences. Because it is NOT designed for English Speakers the Japanese is noticeably more natural. They have no need to leave out words that they think English Speakers wouldn’t know. Like fish tank, or bug catching.

Examples I can think of are 稲の苗, いねのなえ Rice seedlings, and はくいき exhale breath. These are things that any Japanese toddler would probably have heard before but wouldn’t be in a 101 textbook.

The game also has a TON of sentences 1300 for one section of one level. I can only think that would be there are at least 60k more sentences.


Not to be a downer, but I thought of some other things I wish were different about the games that I’m not sure I’ve talked about before. It has to do with how they structure the mock tests.

In a real test, you can jump wherever you want in the test, which allows you to tackle things in the order that best suits your confidence and so you don’t end up needlessly wasting time trying to remember something you probably won’t remember.

In the games, you have to do every question when you are prompted, or you forfeit that question and it’s marked wrong.

Additionally, the real tests are structured in a way such that no question will ever give you information you can use to answer any other question. On the games’ mock tests, it’s not unusual to see the same kanji / word prompted twice or even three times throughout the test. I feel like they could easy avoid that but don’t for some reason.

I agree that the total volume is good, and the content is superior to content intended for non-natives. I just wish the tests they had you take were a bit more like the real tests.


I noticed that as well. Right now it doesn’t bother me because I’m using the repetition as a type of SRS, but they definitely could have avoided the repetition on mock tests. For mock tests I might buy paper ones, but I’m liking the game for study.

I have one complaint and that’s that there no way to focus the study. I can study things that I’ve previously gotten wrong but because the questions seem to be chosen randomly out of 1300, I sometimes get the same Kanji over and over but I’m sure there are other kanji I haven’t seen at all. And this also means that if I got it right… but I know I was shakey on it, there’s no way to know I’ll get it again in an appropriate SRS moment to cement the learning.

How did you choose what to study, and when did you feel like you had done enough to move to the next level because I’m not sure I want to work through 1000+ of questions per level.

Thanks for the review. I just tried but I’m feeling demoralized. I was quick to realize that level 1 is the top level and not the lowest so I moved to level 10… But even at level 10, in the simple part where one is suppose to write the hiragana part for the kanji in red, I keep getting :x: even if the game places the correct hiragana in the boxes. I’m writing み for 見 and somehow it says my input was wrong? When I try to see the answer, み was the correct reading for the sentence.

Kanji that requires more than one hiragana seems an even worst case for me, the system always only picks the first letter and places the second in other box. :frowning:

Can you take a pic / screenshot or video of what you’re describing?

Sorry! It was just a stupid mistake. I just figured it out: instead doing one entry, I assumed one had to fill all the boxes. So for 見 instead of writing み I was writing み み み み み …


That’s cute haha.

I often have problems when I get an easy one because I hit submit before the game has processed the entry.

I found that I am making it through level 10 quickly. My stats are like 95/100 for level 10, 65/100 for level 9, and right now 1/25 for level 8. lol. But I like being really bad because it tells me I’ve got a lot to learn. My reading it great except they use words like けん玉. But my ability to produce 遠足 from えんそく was zero at the start even for words like 行く.

By the way I’m 15 hours in and barely managing to answer most level 9 questions. So be prepared for this to be you best friend for 100s of hours if you start playing haha.

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New development. I also downloaded the mobile game that has levels 10-5. I like this game for a different reason. In this game you have 6 “worlds” based on the 6 levels, and in those worlds you have 20 levels. Each level gives you 10 questions all with a 30 second timer. But the nice thing is that within the level you might also get the same question more than one in a different way, and you can redo the level for more practice. I like this because it’s like SRS, and I can focus on kanji I have a problem with.

When using the switch game I like that I can slow down and look up vocab and grammar, and I can choose if I want to practice writing, or reading, but I like the mobile game because I can say oh wow I didn’t understand that level well let me do it a couple more times to cement the learning.

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I finally figure out how to drill only writing. This semester I’m taking a course where all the work has to be handwritten. The problem was that 2 years have elapsed since I was writing Japanese by hand on a daily basis. In the last years, I have mostly just read or typed. Few weeks ago, I was reviewing writing with hiragana. I got beaten on the Kanken Games level 10 on the writing part 40% correct this morning but I think I will be able to catch up fast. It is nice to be able to practice writing in bed at night time (with children, time is very tight).

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Exactly! I’m glad it’s working out!

I hadn’t written kanji is so long that it is taking my brain some adjusting.

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It looks too boring to me so I can’t see myself personally playing that game. I’m waiting for Nihongo Quest N5, Shujinkou, and Koe to come out as those Japanese language learning games look really interesting.