Anyone tried Kanken?


I’ll do 4級 next, because I’ll probably do the computer-based one next time, so there’s no reason to fret about being ready by a particular test date. I can choose to take it whenever I want, so I’ll prepare for that and do it when I’m ready.


Nice, that’s convenient.


Today I signed up for 6級 next February. 5級 seems a little out of reach for me at this point lol

Leebo did you sign up for 4 already?


I put it on hold when I failed the N1 in July. Now that I’ve gotten to level 60 here and this JLPT is behind us, I’ll look into it again.

Good luck!


Hope this JLPT went better for you!

I passed the N2 in July and haven’t been able to motivate myself enough to focus on N1. Kanken is more appealing to me because I feel like I encounter more of the material in everyday life.

(Also bragging to my kids that I passed the Kanken means more than a test they’ve never heard of… lol)

Thanks! You too!


It is awesome to have on your resume I guess, but if you cannot speak I think it can backfire even. In my Japanese class there were some Chinese who had JLPT N1, but could hardly utter a word, which is a bit embarrassing.

I was planning to take the JLPT N2 or N1 and continue on Kanken, but I realized my conversational skills were horrible, so I stopped studying and started focusing on speaking. I am glad I did as it actually enabled me to communicate with people. However, in the future I guess I will give it a try^^


So, I have a 3DS, and Kanken Training 2 came out last year, so I bought it thinking it would be good practice.

It’s almost worthless, in my opinion. The character recognition is so terrible, that I actually found it impossible to get it to recognize certain kanji, regardless of how many times I tried, such as 道 and 員. Don’t ask me why it couldn’t do those, but it kept offering similar looking kanji no matter what I tried. And I mean, it’s not like those are anything crazy. So, a bunch of times, I had to pass on some questions during the tests just to be able to move on and not fight the horrible character recognition.

The other side of that story, if they’re offering you the wrong character even when you write it correctly, is sometimes they offer you the right character even when you write it incorrectly. If you are asked for 貢 and you write 員, well that’s fine and dandy, because that’s what it thinks you’re writing. Frequently it’ll give you credit even if you missed entire strokes. The game not checking the stroke count of its offered character against the stroke count of your input is inexcusable to me.

Anything you can learn from it is outweighed by the frustration of being told you are wrong when you’re actually right. And your learning is stunted by letting you get away with messy character input. The real test is extremely strict about how you write things, and passing or failing in this game really gives little indication of how you’ll do. Got a great score? Well, maybe you actually have sloppy handwriting that won’t cut it on the test. Got a terrible score? Maybe you’re actually doing fine and the game just can’t read handwriting for unknown reasons.


I can’t say I’ve tried Kanken training in particular so I’m not sure I’ve got much right for sticking up for it, but in my experience, a lot of those character recognition softwares are about as anal as teachers are in school. I don’t know how much exposure you’ve had to your student’s 国語 classes and homework, but lots of teachers I known are really strict about stroke order, position, and size which is something we don’t really care that much about in English so…? Idk where I’m going with this argument really, but maybe that’s part of the problem?


No, it’s just bad. It doesn’t care about stroke order, or even stroke count, as I mentioned. It doesn’t care if you properly wrote a hane or not. It doesn’t care you you left a whole section of something out. It will try to guess something no matter what you scribble, which means it will often be way off. It should never guess 貢 if I write 員 because the top is so obviously different and not really close at all if you know the basics of kanji, but I couldn’t get it to NOT think I was writing 貢 no matter how many times I wrote 員, with every variation of position and relative size of the components you could think of.

If I’ve screwed up 員 in some way, the proper way to handle that is to say “you screwed up, try again”, not to guess an entirely different kanji that it also clearly wasn’t.

The program does have stroke order and stroke count questions, since it has real Kanken questions, but they are in the form of “choose which number stroke this is, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.” rather than checking that you actually wrote things in the right order.

Later I can make a short video to demonstrate.

And I mean… I think this topic itself is evidence I’m aware of the proper ways to write things, but eh.


I just drew this abomination on the iOS Midori app (with my thumb, on the first try) and it got it right, so that 3DS app must be pretty bad. Now I’m really curious what your version of 員 looks like. A rectangle is so clearly a rectangle that I really wonder how it could get 貢.


Yeah, seriously. Trust me, most of my 員’s were immaculate. Far more precise than I had been writing most other things up to that point. And that’s just the one that was most frustrating. I can show tons of other hilarious guesses by the computer.

Anyway, it just surprises me, because I have tons of official Kanken study materials that I love. So for them to put their name on this game is just weird to me. It can test some of your knowledge, but it will not effectively test the fine points of writing.


First off, I’d like to apologize, it was not my intention to imply that you didn’t know how to write kanji properly… .

Now then, looking at reviews on amazon compared to the original, looks like you’re not alone. That’s a right shame but idk, also kinda what I’d expect from a kanji practice software on the 3DS? Maybe I’m biased, but the 3DS doesn’t seem like my go to device with things like tablets and smartphones as its competitors. Scratch that, I’m definitely biased and too poor to afford both a phone and a game console (and totally not jaded about that at all) so don’t take my opinion seriously.


Yeah, no, I didn’t mean to sound like I was snapping at you, I’m still mad at the game.

There are plenty of apps for writing kanji on tablets and phones, and own many of those. But I’m not aware of anything else that lets you actually take practice Kanken exams (with the exact scoring and timing of the real ones), outside of buying the practice exam booklets. And those obviously don’t get graded automatically or save your results or contain an electronic dictionary.

It’s too bad the most important part is missing from the game.


I’m too lazy to orient this properly, but I think you can still get the idea. Because I had to hold my phone up at the same time maybe this 員 is a little messier than my best effort, but without fail it still comes up as 貢. I think we can all agree, at least, that it’s not a good 貢, even if it’s not a good 員.


@Leebo Could you try it again where the bottom of 口 is smaller than the top if you know what I mean.


I’ve tried just about every permutation you can imagine, but I gave it a few more goes, specifically focusing on making the bottom of the 口 smaller than the top (as well as a few attempts emphasizing that the third stroke of 口 should go past the second stroke slightly to the right, and the second stroke shouldn’t cross down through the third stroke. That kind of thing is actually more anal than the Kanken exams get though.

Every time it came up as 貢.

Again, at this point I don’t even care that it can’t get 員, it’s just absurd that it thinks it’s a different character.


Too bad. I had the same problem with an app and that was the solution in the end. It didn’t work every time but I was able to get it within a few attempts.


I met a Japanese guy who took the 1.5 level last Sunday and was traumatized ahah
So to whom may be beneficial to take this exam? As a support to the jlpt in a resume or more for a PhD application in a Japanese university?
Sorry if was said already I probably missed the post!


I don’t know if there is any practical reason to take most levels of the test. I’ve heard that for Japanese people, level 2 and above on their resume can be helpful. But then something like level 1 is less about you being competent in kanji and more about you being obsessed with studying kanji, so there’s almost no reason to need to go that far.

For me, it’s just a challenge and a measure of my progress.


I plan to take 5級 the next time its offered (I wanted to sign up for the February one, but I had a prior commitment). Looking forward to being destroyed by 音読み for Kanji I haven’t covered in WaniKani yet! :smile:

Shame to hear about the game being less than cooperative. I was looking into getting it, but ultimately didn’t bother, as pulling a Monster Hunter or Poke’mon game out of my 3DS for much else is an unlikely prospect.