Anyone tried Kanken?

Wow, I do not think I could suffer through 6k kanji. How long would that even take? I’m assuming you would only need 6k kanji if you were like trying to go for your doctorate in Japanese…as a Japanese person. I’m fine with my 2,136!


I actually just mentioned studying for kanken (using the series of preparation books and the nintendo ds carts) as my way of having studied kanji before finding wanikani, in a thread here recently; but haven’t taken any of the tests. I would say it’s worth seeing if you like the study materials (I did) but if you’re asking if you should take the tests for career credentials etc I have no advice on that point.

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To anyone sweating bullets over much kanken covers, it’s worth noting that the very top levels of kanken aren’t even taken or passed by native japanese speakers.


As far as employment goes, they probably won’t care much about the kanji kentei. If you have an N2/N1 along with a degree in something relevant, you’ll be fine.


There’s a difference between “you don’t need kanken to get some kind of job in Japan” (which is true) and “an employer won’t care that you’ve got a high kanken certificate even if you are matched up against a resume that doesn’t have it”.

Obviously no one requires it, but they’d notice. Japanese people are shocked when they hear I even signed up for a low level.


Adding to what Leebo has just said, I’ve heard it can make a difference in getting jobs and promotions, especially for the higher levels.


Like you said, I am sure having it on a resume vs not having it can’t hurt, and it would look particularly impressive as a foreigner. But even then (being pessimistic I guess), if “Levels 10 through 4 are primarily taken by kindergarten to elementary school age (up to 12 years old) children. Levels 3 and up are the tests that high school students and adults typically take” is true, wouldn’t you really need at least level 3, if not higher, to actually look impressive?

I suppose if you are just being compared to other foreigners it would be fine.

We’re talking about how it relates to other certifications for foreigners, right? If you are hoping to impress anyone with N2 or N1 relative to natives, that isn’t going to happen.


I think being compared to natives, as a foreigner you would probably never measure up? No matter how hard you studied or what certifications you held (kanken or JLPT or something else) you would not possess the knowledge of a native speaker who has lived their whole life in Japan. To be cynical, lol.

So yeah I did mean the kanken would look good if you were competing for some position against another foreigner, as it would show you have at least that much more provable kanji knowledge I guess?


That’s not cynical, that’s just realistic. They’ll humor you with 日本語が上手ですね no matter what your level is, and just about anything you say can be nitpicked by someone. I do wonder why I even bother with language learning sometimes.


I realize my posts have sounded really negative, but I definitely think it is ambitious and cool to take the kanken. I just personally don’t think I will go down that road (at least not any time soon).

And yeah, the 日本語が上手ですね got old /so fast/.


I wonder if Japanese people think they own the most difficult language in the world? Just trying and going relatively nowhere is still 上手.


It’s probably a combination of things. They are less frequently exposed to learners of their language than English speakers are exposed to learners of theirs. They want to be polite. They themselves struggle with English, so they respect the endeavors of others. Or they’ve just had it ingrained that that’s a thing you say to someone learning Japanese, maybe.

The level you have to exhibit to elicit it is pathetically low though. It should be illegal to say that to someone who can’t muster more than one word at a time. It’s hard not to think they’re looking down on you when you know how terrible you sound.


So, I’ve been studying the 6th grade kanji like crazy, especially writing them, and I just took my first practice test for level 5 today from those books I bought.

I passed! 152 points out of 200! I made some stupid mistakes, but those were mostly related to other grade level kanji I haven’t yet gone back to focus on.

Now my goal is a perfect score in June lol


Hello ddbandnfhdjdh

Nice. 152/200 sounds really good for a first try!

Of course it doesn’t matter right now, but do think you will study for the next level after you pass this one?

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Yeah, that’s the most likely next step. I could imagine going for level 3 instead with a big enough gap in time, but we’ll see.

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Cool, I hope to be at that level too eventually…

Good luck in June!

I thought people might be interested in seeing some examples of questions. Just seeing the descriptions of the levels doesn’t really give you a feel for how they work.

This is for Level 5

Type 1 - Write the bold kanji’s reading in hiragana

(WK level 33 kanji)


Answer: じゅく

Type 2 - Choose the correct radical and its corresponding name

(WK level 24 kanji)

I actually made this one harder than it is on the actual thing, but I can’t be bothered to show all the real choices

Answer: A, 4

Type 3 - For the bold stroke, write the number corresponding to the kanji’s stroke order, as well as the total number of strokes.

(WK level 19 kanji)

Answer: 5th stroke, 8 total strokes

Type 4 - Write the kanji and okurigana for the corresponding katakana portion.

(WK level 13 vocab)

水面に ウツル 満開の桜を見る。

Answer: 映る

Type 5 - Correctly classify the reading of the kanji compound as on-on, kun-kun, on-kun, or kun-on

(WK level 20 vocab)


Answer: kun-kun

Type 6 - Write the kanji that corresponds to the katakana in the 4-kanji compound

(WK level 32 kanji/vocab, the last two characters are a WK vocab)

学習意 ヨク


Type 7 - Complete the antonym with a kanji that corresponds to one of the available readings

(WK level 34 vocab)

Given word: 拡大 Antonym: __小

Possible readings: かん、すい、しゅく、まつ


Type 8 - Construct a kanji compound from the available kanji using a description as reference

(WK level 34 vocab)

Description: たぶんこうだろうと決めること。

Available kanji: 告 推 収 容 値 警 定 価

Answer: 推定

Type 9 - Correctly categorize the kanji compound as one of the following A) two kanji with the same meaning ex. 進行, B) two kanji with opposite meanings ex. 強弱, C) the first kanji explains the meaning of the second kanji 国旗, D) The second kanji clarifies the meaning of the first kanji ex 消火)

(WK level 12 and 51 kanji)


Answer: D - the second kanji clarifies the meaning of the first (climb - summit)

Type 10 - Write the kanji for two homonyms based on context sentences.

(WK level 23 and 24 vocab)

墓前にキクの花を ソナ える。
災害に ソナ えてひなん訓練をする。

Answer: 供、備

Type 11 - Write the kanji from the provided katakana.

(WK level 30 vocab)

台風の ヨクジツ はいい天気になった。

Answer: 翌日


Only got one right out of eleven…
No Kanken for me :laughing: