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Ace Your JLPT Level 4 Kanji

If you're reading this, you're probably looking for the scoop on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test level 4 kanji.

Contrary to what you might think, level 4 is actually the easiest JLPT—level 1 is the hardest. If you're like many other people, you find kanji tough to study up on.

For the kanji section, you need to know 80 kanji. If you know which ones to get comfy on, there won't be any surprises on test day.

Rather than giving you a long item-by-item checklist, I'll keep it short and sweet. Here are the JLTP level 4 kanji you need to know:

  • All the numbers, up through the kanji for 10,000. You don't need to know the kanji for zero.
  • The days of the week. You do NOT have to know the complicated kanji that is pronounced you (that's level 3).
  • Anything you would use to give a time of day of time of year. You also need to know relative times like "next year", "last year", etc.
  • Prepositions—here, you just need the kanji that mean on, under, before/front, after/behind, and inside.
  • People—you need to know the kanji for male and female, mother and father, child, and person. You also need to know two writings of "friend"—yuujin and tomodachi (you only need to know the tomo part).
  • Adjectives—you need the kanji for ookii, chiisai, shiroi, takai, nagai, and marui.
  • The 4 compass directions, as well as "left" and "right".
  • Basic verbs—iku, kuru, miru, kiku, yomu, kaku, yomu, umareru, taberu and yasumu. You also need the kanji for deru and dasu, and the one for hairu and iru.

Some Oddball JLPT Kanji

If you don't know these ones already, just look up the kanji of the following pronunciations:

  • Ame (rain)
  • Soto (outside)
  • Yama (mountain)
  • Kawa (river)
  • Nani / nan ("what?")
  • Gaku (as in daigaku, referring to "study")
  • Kou (as in koukou, referring to "school")
  • Go (as in Nihongo, referring to "language")
  • Koku (as in gaikoku, or "foreign country")
  • Hon (as in Nihon, which you just gotta know!)
  • Den and sha (as in densha, meaning "train"). Also know that the kunyomi of sha is kuruma, meaning "car"
  • Ten and ki (as in tenki, or "weather")

Similar to the "80/20 Rule", mastery of these handful of kanji will allow you to read a surprising amount of Japanese. Plus, you'll ace your JLPT level 4.


Did you know...
If you receive a gift in Japan, the respectful thing to do is open the wrapping paper slowly and carefully.


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