Baseball terms on the JLPT

So, I noticed that WK has a lot of vocabulary that are used exclusively for baseball. Do we really have to learn these terms in order to pass the JLPT? Because I could really care less about baseball. So, I don’t really understand the point of learning these terms if I don’t intend to do anything with sports in Japanese.

It’s come up recently before, but if you wanna engage with the language you’re gonna need to know a wide variety of vocab. JLPT does opinion pieces, and they cover wide variety of subjects. Even today on the front page of NHK this morning was a baseball story. If you wanted to read it, you couldn’t if you didn’t know the vocab or looked up every other term in Yomichan or something.

These are in fact, every day terms and phrases you will hear or read in Japanese unless you’re just in it to read manga and watch anime.


That sucks. Like I live in Japan and want to learn the language, but honestly baseball is incredibly boring for me. Like I didn’t even care to read about in the States. It just sucks that I have to read about it now.


Yeah, unfortunately that’s not really how language work. Maybe you don’t care about baseball, but Japanese people do, so baseball vocabulary will pop up in various context and people will casually use baseball related expression. (Same way even American that hate baseball still use expression like “cover all the bases”, “in the ballpark” or “curveball” in English)

Also the JLPT looove talking about Japan culture specificity so having a text about why only the US and Japan care about baseball would be the most JLPT thing ever. (90% chance it already happened to be honest). In my case, for example I remember during a JLPT that one of the the listening situation was “Journalist interview a baseball player about the game he just won”.


You know what a homerun, strike, stealing a base, etc is in English regardless. Its the same mindset.

Arzar kind of stole my thunder but yeah… its useful.

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For me, the struggle is that learning this vocab just seems like busy work. I don’t really see how words like 球威 or 犠飛 will be in anyway useful if I am looking at a career in education in Japan.

It is going to be the same situation for everyone. I expect that every single WK user has a unique profile in terms of their background/interests/culture/goals/need for learning Japanese.

Every user can point to some items that they would never care about and can provide a list of items not on WK that are of interest and important to them that are “missing”. I can. In an ideal and prefect world perhaps WK would be designed and content-filled specifically based on my tastes and needs. But in reality they do their best to be as useful as possible to as many as possible. Yeah, I realize that last sentence could end up being yet another spark to fan into a flame, which is not my intention. WK is not perfect. But it never can be as long as there are multiple users whose requirements are not identical. Even the route of “OK, we will add everything possible” does not work as there will be a user for which “XYZ is a requirement for me and I cannot use WK without it” and some other user for which “unless XYZ is removed I cannot use WK with it”.

If you really just want them to go away for you, you can just create a user synonym (ihatebaseball for example - but something much shorter would be easier) for all of them.


I have no idea within which sort of institution or at what grade level. If in the public system at lower grades, hopefully you don’t get tapped to help coach one of the baseball teams or clubs. I have known quite a few elementary and middle school teachers that got voluntolded for school teams and clubs they knew nothing about and wanted nothing to do with. Been there, done that myself (but not in Japan).


Don’t think of it in terms of learning about Baseball itself per se. Think of it in terms of learning a little-language of metaphors that you can use (and others will surely use) to talk about things other than Baseball, but in terms that are familiar to the average everyday person (in Japan, for instance).

For instance, you don’t need to know the technical details of what a ‘home run’ is, in order to know that metaphorically speaking, it means ‘a huge score, all in one go!’

Perhaps you like some other game or sport. Suppose you happen to like Chess. Chess and Baseball could hardly be further from each other in terms of the actual games themselves. But metaphorically speaking, to say that a ‘home run’ is like ‘capturing the queen’, is a perfectly reasonable metaphor/simile.

In such a way, you can relate baseball terms to something else that you do have some interest in. And then you just treat it like a little mini-language for building up metaphors in everyday life.

We regularly use dozens of such mini-metaphorical-languages like this all day long, often without even realizing it. You’re just picking up the lingo for yet one more of them. Again, you needn’t care at all what the terms actually refer to in actual Baseball. What’s important is that you can recognize the terms for what they mean metaphorically, so that you can relate them to other spheres of life that you do care and know about.

Just my 2 cents.


Unless something has changed, I don’t think WK makes any claims that they’ve chosen items or vocab for JLPT prep purposes.


while there has been some mentions about the cultural significance of baseball in Japan already in the answers, I think it’s safe to say that you don’t really have to learn about baseball if you don’t want to. WK is for learning kanji. I doesn’t teach you the vocab specifically needed for JLPT. For that, you’ll need to look up other ways to cram items, though there are no official lists for vocab as far as I know.

Many users before you have commented on the baseball items. Some simply make use of the user synonym feature and add a single answer to all the items, to make quick work of them, without learning them.

As far a I know, the reason WK teach you about baseball is because the Overmind Kouchi loves baseball! :joy: (+ the cultural significance to Japan)


Then don’t learn them. :man_shrugging:


That makes too much sense.

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Perhaps, but the JLPT also puts in little definitions where they think a word in the text is a bit obscure or niche for test takers, and I suspect baseball jargon would fall under that heading. So if I were studying vocab for JLPT purposes this is hardly very high up the priority list. (The word ベースボール itself is something you’d be expected to know.)

As a non WK user, this feels to me like a case where WK’s “everybody learns the same words” approach gets a bit awkward. For the OP, my suggestion would be something like “learn the words you do encounter; don’t worry about baseball terms until you do run in to them as metaphors or whatever and find an actual need for them”. That way you’ll know why you’re learning them and you’ll learn the most common ones and not the ones you’ll only want if you’re a baseball fan.