JLPT VS Kanken for working in Japan


I’ve been wanting to work as a pharmacist in Japan in the far future (think 10+ years). I’m assuming I’ll have to at least pass Kanken 2 to work, but does anyone know the common level you’re supposed to be at to work in Japan? I’m guessing JLPT will be pretty useless for working there?

I’m also wondering if I should do the JLPT first, or if it would be more effective doing Kanken (or both?)?.

Thanks for any feedback! :sunny:

If you are not a native speaker, jobs will be looking at the JLPT, either N2 or N1, If they look at anything. But as a pharmacist you’d have many other things to deal with first, such as all the medical vocabulary and licensing in Japan. Kanken level 2 and N1 are not really even remotely comparable.

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No one is going to care that you have Kanken, other than “oh, wow, that’s neat.”

And I’m saying this as someone who passed level 5 last year and is preparing for level 4 now.


Alright, so JLPT is really the practical thing to do, thanks!

Licensing is probably going to be hell, especially if I want something that’s accepted both in my country and Japan (which might very well be impossible.).

But I figure Japanese is something I can deal with right now by learning gradually, while I’m currently taking a bachelor in my country right now, so the issue of licensing won’t be until the future :stuck_out_tongue:

I would imagine maybe 2 and up someone would care about, in the way that Japan cares about needless certificates. But either way, after N1 I’d recommend the test of Business Japanese which is administered by the Kanken folks anyway.

The problem is it probably wouldn’t stand on its own, without a general Japanese test as well. I know it’d be crazy to pass level 2 without N1 level knowledge, but I can still see them saying “let’s see what you can do on a general language test”.

Hi there kumosayi, I have some information for you that you did not ask for explicitly, but it pertains to your case.

Pharmacists in Japan are not only expected to be licensed in Japan specifically (you cannot import your licensure received in another country), but to have attended a pharmacy program in Japan. That is, you cannot attend pharmacy school in your home country and then come to Japan and sit a licensure exam, if I recall correctly. Likewise, I would imagine, you cannot export your Japanese pharmacy licensure back to your home country.

At the very least you are looking at sitting for multiple licensure examinations. If you do school in your home country, you very likely would have to go through another degree program (possibly four year) at a university in Japan due to the way Japan handles the vocational training for being a pharmacist. Be careful about your decision, it is very unlikely that you will be able to easily practice pharmacy in two countries, if at all.

If you are dead set on being a pharmacist in Japan, you should apply to pharmacy programs in Japan.
Take my advice with a grain of salt, I am not a pharmacist, although I was on that track at one point. Do some more of your own thorough research.

Good luck!

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Yea that’s true, I can see them saying that

Thanks for the answer!

I did expect at least a 3 year program in Japan, knowing there was a possiblity I would have to take a 6 year course. My japanese is far from good enough to study in Japan currently, so in order to have an income, I figure I’ll take the degree here, learn Japanese to an acceptable level and then study in Japan for however many years needed to complete the steps to get the license.

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It sounds like you’ve got the necessary determination and I think that’s great! Wishing you the best in your endeavours!

When do you think you’ll be ready for level 4? I’m preparing for level 6 at the moment but hoping to do level 5 by the end of the year. Do you think that’s too ambitious?

I’m taking level 4 in June.

Do you already know all the level 6 kanji? How many of the level 5 kanji do you know?

I’ve never tried to prepare for a Kanken level where I didn’t already know the reading and meaning of the kanji for that level, so it’s hard for me to say.

I can probably read and understand most, if not all, of the level 5 kanji. But I haven’t even started to practice writing them. I hope to be ready for level 6 by June. By ready, I mean be able to write all the kanji and have enough vocabulary to know which kanji I need to write. So I’m giving myself 6 months to prepare for level 5. Each level gets progressively harder, though and after each level, you have another 200 or so kanji added to your review list so my pace is slowing. Not to mention the complexity of the kanji and accompanying vocabulary.
I know everybody is different but I figure each level is progressively harder for everyone and was wondering what I should expect for level 5.

The major difference between level 6 and level 5 (other than the new kanji) is that the section that involves determining the correct missing kanji from a kanji compound tests you on compounds that have 4 characters, rather than just 3.

So on level 6 you’ll see stuff like
Where you have to replace the katakana with a single kanji

And on level 5 you’ll see stuff like

I don’t know if that’s actually an increase in difficulty, except when it involves idiomatic 四字熟語, but in my experience those appear in level 5 quite infrequently.

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Thanks. Actually looks fun.

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