Drill and learn the Japanese kanji!
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Asahi Kanji App includes a JLPT study mode
N5 to N1
Please read the presentation below the applet, especially the part concerning the new levels (N5 to N1) of the JLPT.
Drill the kanji for the JLPT
Starting in 2010, the Japanese Language Proficiency Test is now divided in 5 levels instead of the former 4.
A new level was inserted between 2 and 3, meaning N5 corresponds to the old Level 4.
N1: slightly more advanced than the original level 1, but the same passing level
N2: the same as the original level 2
N3: in between the original level 2 and level 3
N4: the same as the original level 3
N5: the same as the original level 4
The test measures levels of competence described in a general way.
( see summary of linguistic competence required for each level)
The Japan Foundation does not publish Test Content Specification as it is discouraged to study from kanji and vocabulary lists.
It means that there is no official kanji list nor a definite number of kanji to know for each level.
However, you will find numerous publications, web sites like this one and pieces of software dedicated to the preparation of each level.
Their content is based on the kanji and vocabulary used in previous JLPT tests (when it still had 4 levels).
It will take a few years before new (but still non-official lists) can be established.
Please be aware that kanji in any one exam may be drawn at the discretion of exam authors from outside the lists compiled from past exams.
For the time being, you are pretty safe with the lists found on this site. If you are preparing the N3 level, try to study some kanji from the present level 2.
If you have a smartphone or a tablet, please check out the
Asahi Kanji app for iOS
if you have an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, or
Asahi Kanji app for Android
, which offers more features and a better ergonomy than this (2001!) web applet.
(English version, 2141 Jōyō kanji, this time very official 2010 list.)
Reading actual texts is by far the best way to learn the written language,
but flashcard programs have always been useful tools.
This program can help you get a sense of how much you already know, brush up on your Japanese, and prepare for a test.
We also believe that a certain amount of rote learning is a necessity when it comes to studying the kanji.
This program was thus conceived as a reviewing tool or a drill tool.
It is designed for students who have already started to learn Japanese. It is
therefore assumed that you can read katakana and hiragana signs.
You can drill yourself on sets 40, 55 or 60 cards (depending on the level), after customizing the appearance
of the cards depending on the focus of your study.
You can toggle the visibility of items on the cards by clicking on the
various panels. You can for example hide the meanings and examples, and flip
through the series, making sure you know them all. Buttons let you move forward
and backward through a "stack" of cards, but using the arrow keys on
your keyboard will be less tedious.
The kanji are grouped according to the 4 levels of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.
A text box lets you jump to any card by number within the present set. Type a number in the text box
and press the return key on your keyboard, or click on the button "Go to" to
jump to any card in the set. To move to another set, click into the blue table
at the top of the page. It will load a new set of 60 kanji (20 k) but will not
download the applet again. It should therefore be very quick.
As is customary, the On reading (the Chinese reading later referred to as on-yomi)
is given in katakana and the Kun reading (the Japanese reading later referred to as
kun-yomi) in hiragana. If a kanji is a verb stem, the inflectional endings
(usually written in hiragana after the kanji) are shown in parenthesis. A kanji
may have many meanings or interpretations. Only the most common meanings are
shown. One to three examples are given for each kanji. These examples can be
either common compounds or common expressions. We limited ourselves to frequent
compounds or uses of the kanji, which explains the blanks.
Click on the tabs marked On-yomi, Kun-yomi and Meaning in order to choose
the type of drill.
You will be presented with a set of 5 kanji. Click the kanji whose on-yomi,
kun-yomi or meaning matches the one displayed underneath.
You can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move to the next card.
After clicking on a kanji, whether your choice is right or wrong, you will have the possibility to have a look at the corresponding card
by pressing the space bar. Press again the spacebar to return to your test. (toggle) .
This is a drill, not a grading test, and "cheating" by looking at the card is a good way to learn.
The "rules of the game"
The Japanese writing system is complex. As you know, Kanji have one or several
on-yomi (or sometimes none), one or several kun-yomi (or none), and many share
the same On or Kun readings.
Since we keep a score, we had to define some rules.
Naturally, on the test cards, kanji are displayed in random order, within each set of 60 kanji.
When you give a good answer, the kanji is marked as "known" (although it
might be a little hasty) and is not tested again during the session. However,
it can reappear later as a distracter (i.e. a "wrong" kanji). The drill
will end after you have given 60 or fewer good answers (some kanji do not
have common On or Kun readings).
The on-yomi and kun-yomi drills only display the 2 most common readings.
Kanji that have no on-yomi or kun-yomi are not tested, but they might be
displayed as distracters.
The kanji tested and the distracters do not share the same readings, therefore
there is only one correct answer.
The score is the number of good answers divided by the number of tries.
If you click on the wrong kanji, your score will be decreased.
If you go on looking for the right kanji after giving a wrong answer, your
score will remain unchanged.
But we advise you to go to the next card since the kanji you just missed will
be displayed once more, in another random position.
After missing a few times, the kanji that keeps reappearing will become obvious.
This program was designed as a drill and not as a grading test, and we hope
this behavior will help you learn.
The score is only a means for you to keep track of your progress from one
drilling session to another and to encourage you.
The report will display the date, the kanji range tested and your scores.
For security reasons, a Java applet is not allowed to read or write a file on your hard disk. Therefore, you
will have to select the text with the mouse, copy it by using the keyboard shortcuts (the save command
of your browser has no effect on a Java applet), and paste it in a text editor.
Its purpose is to help you keep track of your progress.
When you go through the tests, the program memorizes the wrong choices
and the kanji you should have chosen. You will find here the cards of the
kanji you should concentrate on. The behavior of the cards is the same as in the Review stack : you will be
able to hide or display the meanings and examples by clicking on the panels (toggle).
The search for examples was greatly facilitated by the existence of electronic dictionary files such as the famous Edict, a project started by
As a large number of English translations are similar to those given in this dictionary, this site and the information it contains is bound by the conditions stated in the licence and copyright
statement of the "The Electronic Dictionary Research and
Development Group, Monash University".
Project design and development: Roger Meyer
Proofreading of the Japanese data: Akemi Sano, Keiko Higuchi