Kanji Kentei

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The Japan Kanji Aptitude Test (日本漢字能力検定, Nihon Kanji Nōryoku Kentei) evaluates one's knowledge of kanji. The test is more commonly known as the Kanji Kentei (漢字検定), or the shorter Kanken (漢検). The test is administered by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation (日本漢字能力検定協会, Nihon Kanji Nōryoku Kentei Kyōkai).[1]

There are 12 levels (levels 10 through 3, pre-2, 2, pre-1 and 1) with level 10 being the easiest and level 1 the most difficult. The test examines not only one's ability to read and write kanji, but also one's ability to understand their meanings, to use them correctly in sentences, and to identify their correct stroke order. Although the test was originally developed for native Japanese speakers, non-native speakers may also take the tests.

Native speakers pass levels 10 through 7 at better than an 80% rate, whereas level 1 is so difficult that fewer than two thousand people take it each time it is offered, and fewer than 20% of those pass.

For levels 10 through 8, the test is 40 minutes long; for levels 7 through 1, it is 60 minutes long. A minimal score of 70% is required to pass levels 7 through pre-2, and a score of 80% is required for levels 10 through 8, 2, pre-1, and 1.

Levels 10 through 4 are primarily taken by kindergarten to elementary school age (up to 12 years old) children. Levels 3 and above are typically taken by high school students and adults.

Level 2 is as high as many Japanese, even those with higher education degrees, tend to go. Passing level 2 can be used as leverage when applying for jobs, etc. Passing levels pre-1 and 1 is especially rare even among native speakers.

Test levels and skills[edit]

Level 10[edit]

  • Pass rate for this level: 95.0% (in 2016-17)[2]
  • Tests the 80 kanji learned in the first grade of elementary school (age 7); see Level 10 kanji.

Specifically:

  • Tests knowledge of proper readings of kanji in context
  • Tests knowledge of proper readings of two-character compound words, given two choices
  • Tests knowledge of proper character stroke order and stroke count
  • Tests ability to correctly identify and write kanji, given character reading and context[3]

Level 9[edit]

  • Pass rate for this level: 90.1% (in 2016-17)
  • Tests the 240 kanji learned up to the second grade of elementary school (age 8); see Level 9 kanji.

Specifically:

  • Tests knowledge of proper readings of kanji in context
  • Tests knowledge of proper character stroke order and stroke count
  • Tests ability to correctly identify and write kanji, given character reading and context
  • Tests knowledge of proper endings of kanji strokes (for example, whether a hook is drawn or not, and in which direction)[4]

Level 8[edit]

  • Pass rate for this level: 84.8% (in 2016-17)
  • Tests the 440 kanji learned up to the third grade of elementary school (age 9), including writing ability and the ability to use in sentences.

Specifically:

  • Tests knowledge of proper readings of kanji in context
  • Tests knowledge of proper character stroke order and stroke count
  • Tests ability to correctly identify and write kanji, given character reading and context. This includes knowledge of antonyms, the ability to differentiate between homonyms: different kanji with the same reading, and the ability to correctly write characters when given the character radical
  • Tests knowledge of okurigana[5]

Level 7[edit]

  • Pass rate for this level: 86.3% (in 2016-17)
  • Tests the 640 kanji learned up to the fourth grade of elementary school (age 10), including writing ability and the ability to use in sentences.

Specifically:

  • Tests knowledge of proper readings of kanji in context. This includes knowledge of different readings of the same kanji
  • Tests knowledge of proper character stroke order and stroke count
  • Tests ability to distinguish between on and kun readings of characters
  • Tests ability to correctly identify and write kanji, given character reading and context. This includes knowledge of antonyms, the ability to differentiate between homonyms: different kanji with the same reading, and the ability to correctly write characters when given the character radical
  • Tests knowledge of okurigana
  • Tests knowledge of two-character compound words[6]

Level 6[edit]

  • Pass rate for this level: 79.2% (in 2016-17)
  • Tests the 825 kanji learned up to the fifth grade of elementary school (age 11), including writing ability and the ability to use in sentences.

Specifically:

  • Tests knowledge of proper readings of kanji in context
  • Tests knowledge of okurigana
  • Tests knowledge of character radicals and radical names
  • Tests knowledge of proper character stroke order and stroke count
  • Tests knowledge of two-character compound words, including the various methods by which compound words have been formed
  • Tests ability to correctly identify and write kanji, given character reading and context. This includes knowledge of three-character compound words, knowledge of two-character compound antonyms and synonyms, and the ability to differentiate between homonyms: different kanji with the same reading
  • Tests ability to distinguish between on and kun readings of characters in compound words (with the compound reading provided)[7]

Level 5[edit]

  • Pass rate for this level: 72.2% (in 2016-17)
  • Tests the 1006 kanji learned up to the sixth grade of elementary school (age 12) (i.e.,the kyōiku kanji), including writing ability and the ability to use in sentences.

Specifically:

  • Tests knowledge of proper readings of kanji in context
  • Tests knowledge of character radicals and radical names
  • Tests knowledge of proper character stroke order and stroke count
  • Tests knowledge of okurigana
  • Tests ability to distinguish between on and kun readings of characters in compound words
  • Tests knowledge of two-character compound words, including the various methods by which compound words have been formed, and the ability to identify compound words based on the word definition
  • Tests ability to correctly identify and write kanji, given character reading and context. This includes knowledge of four-character compound words, knowledge of two-character compound antonyms and synonyms, and the ability to differentiate between homonyms: different kanji with the same reading [8]

Level 4[edit]

  • Pass rate for this level: 50.1% (in 2016-17)
  • Tests the kanji learned up to the sixth grade of elementary school, plus an additional 316 daily use kanji (常用漢字 jōyō kanji)
  • Tests on readings and kun readings, and the ability to use kanji in sentences
  • Requires the ability to read about 1300 characters, and write about 900
  • Tests knowledge of synonyms and antonyms
  • Tests ability to differentiate between homonyms
  • Tests idiomatic phrases and four-kanji compound words
  • Tests knowledge of radicals required to use a kanji dictionary

Level 3[edit]

  • Pass rate for this level: 46.8% (in 2016-17)
  • Tests the kanji learned up to the sixth grade of elementary school, plus an additional 601 daily use kanji
  • Tests on readings and kun readings, and the ability to use kanji in sentences
  • Requires the ability to read about 1600 characters
  • Tests special or unusual kanji readings
  • Tests ateji (当て字), phonetic readings of characters
  • Tests knowledge of synonyms and antonyms
  • Tests ability to differentiate between homonyms
  • Tests idiomatic phrases and four-kanji compound words
  • Tests knowledge of radicals required to use a kanji dictionary

Level Pre-2[edit]

  • Pass rate for this level: 31.8% (in 2016-17)
  • Tests the kanji learned up to the sixth grade of elementary school, plus an additional 934 daily use kanji (a total of 1940 characters)
  • Tests on readings and kun readings, and the ability to use kanji in sentences
  • Tests special or unusual kanji readings
  • Tests ateji
  • Tests knowledge of synonyms and antonyms
  • Tests ability to differentiate between homonyms
  • Tests special compound words
  • Tests complex radicals

Level 2[edit]

  • Pass rate for this level: 21.2% (in 2016-17)
  • Requires the ability to read and write all of the 2136 daily use kanji (jōyō kanji)
  • Tests on readings and kun readings, and the ability to use kanji in sentences
  • Tests special or unusual kanji readings
  • Tests ateji
  • Tests knowledge of synonyms and antonyms
  • Tests ability to differentiate between homonyms
  • Tests special compound words
  • Tests complex radicals and composition of kanji

Level Pre-1[edit]

  • Pass rate for this level: 19.1% (in 2016-17)
  • Tests the ability to read and write all 2965 kanji in level 1 of JIS X 0208, with their on readings and kun readings
  • Requires the ability to use the kanji in sentences and to choose the most appropriate kanji for a given context
  • Tests special or unusual kanji readings
  • Tests ateji
  • Tests knowledge of synonyms and antonyms
  • Tests ability to differentiate between homonyms
  • Tests special compound words
  • Tests complex radicals
  • Tests kanji unique to the Japanese language (kokuji)
  • Tests knowledge of abbreviated kanji forms (ryakuji) such as 餠→餅, 摑→掴
  • Tests classical Japanese proverbs and idiomatic expressions

Level 1[edit]

  • Pass rate for this level: 10.4% (in 2016-17)
  • Tests the ability to read and write all 6355 kanji in levels 1 and 2 of JIS X 0208, with their on readings and kun readings
  • Requires the ability to use the kanji in sentences and to choose the most appropriate kanji for a given context
  • Tests special or unusual kanji readings
  • Tests ateji
  • Tests knowledge of synonyms and antonyms
  • Tests ability to differentiate between homonyms
  • Tests special compound words
  • Tests complex radicals
  • Tests kanji unique to the Japanese language
  • Tests classical Japanese proverbs and idiomatic expressions
  • Tests place and country names
  • Tests the ability to recognize the relationship between modern and ancient or old character forms

Locations[edit]

Besides testing locations in Japan there are several overseas examination centres in East Asia and North America and one in Europe (in Lille, France)[9].

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 日本漢字能力検定 [Japan Kanji Aptitude Test] (in Japanese). 日本漢字能力検定協会. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Survey - Data". Nihon Kanji Noryoku Kentei Kyokai. Retrieved 3 May 2018. 
  3. ^ "Kanken - Test Summary - Previous Level 10 Test" (PDF). Retrieved 5 May 2018. 
  4. ^ "Kanken - Test Summary - Previous Level 9 Test" (PDF). Retrieved 5 May 2018. 
  5. ^ "Kanken - Test Summary - Previous Level 8 Test" (PDF). Retrieved 5 May 2018. 
  6. ^ "Kanken - Test Summary - Previous Level 7 Test" (PDF). Retrieved 5 May 2018. 
  7. ^ "Kanken - Test Summary - Previous Level 6 Test" (PDF). Retrieved 6 May 2018. 
  8. ^ "Kanken - Test Summary - Previous Level 5 Test" (PDF). Retrieved 6 May 2018. 
  9. ^ 海外の会場のご案内, Information about overseas centres

http://www.kanken.or.jp/kanken/faq/

References[edit]

  • 漢字検定 (2009). 平成21年度 日本漢字能力検定協会 (Heisei 21 Kanji Kentei registration form and information packet).

See also[edit]

External links[edit]