Test Your Japanese Might: Final Stage

This is it. You’ve cleared stages 1 and 2 which means your Japanese is probably pretty damn good. You should be incredibly proud of where you are already, as you have already achieved a higher level than most Japanese learners will ever reach. But I know you Japanese learners out there that come to this site. Always seeking more. Always aiming for the top. This is the final grounds to see where you stand.

This final stage test was a real pain to create, which is why it took so long. There were significant problems in its development:

Knowledge requirement in addition to Japanese

To test you on the upper levels requires knowledge of advanced topics. So if you are only 17 and taking this test, regardless of how good your Japanese is, there is a good chance you may not know the topics. Or it may be something you completely have no interest in. However the only way to test the higher levels is to hit on more complex fields.

I’m only in my low 70s

Yeah, I know, I’m not quite legendary yet. This means that I am creating a test that will go significantly higher than my own level. So the best thing I can do is use my own level as a gauge for the higher level blocks in figuring out how much I don’t understand of them.

Very few people will make it to the top tier levels

I have only personally met a few other foreigners who were over 65. I have occasionally seen a few select foreigners on TV who passed above the 80s. I have never seen or heard anyone in the 90s, though I’m sure they exist (for example, the few foreigners who have passed the Japanese Bar Exam)

Now before you start saying to yourself “foreigners will never achieve this level” or “the level doesn’t really exist,” remember the different world we are living in now. Yes, Japanese used to be the seemingly impossible to progress language even just 20-30 years ago. I believe with the incredible nonstop immersion access that the internet provides to foreigners, all the powerful new online tools, apps, equipment, and methods, the newer generation of Japanese learners (that’s you guys) has the ability to produce a lot more people that will start hitting the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, and yes, even the legendary 99.

You are treading on new grounds where no foreigners have ever been before. Then again, I also think that most Japanese learners’ ultimate goal is only to reach somewhere in the range of 65(fluent) to 80 (knowledgeable), and that is fine too. I may eventually stop there as well.

Levels 90 and 99 are combined

The difference between the top two tiers is near impossible for me to test to any great accuracy. The only real distinction that I make on the level guide is that at level 90 you can passively engage in the supreme peaks of the language, and in 99, you can actually reproduce those peaks. But in reality, all levels 90+ require a test of output. Since this test only covers passive reading, the best solution I can come up with is to provide 5 incredibly complex comprehension lines.

In order to figure out your level if you are taking this block:

1. Understand 80% of 3 out of 5 = passing level 90. Anything less, adjust your level between 80 and 90 depending on what percentage you understood (similar to the earlier levels).
2. Understand 85% of between 3 and 4 of the 5 = In between level 90 and 99.
2. Understand 90% of 4 out of 5 = passing level 99.

You might have expected 100% of 5 out of 5, but that’s just not realistic. You’re only human. You can’t know everything.

The Level 90/99 block is classical literature

This is by far the most difficult Japanese, as most Japanese themselves can’t understand it, and the best way to test these levels. However, these level blocks will be skewed if you actively study classic literature in your earlier levels. Just because you are level 50, doesn’t mean you can’t start studying classical literature. So adjust accordingly if you fall under this class of learners (which for some reason I doubt is very common).

The final stage is significantly more subjective than the previous 2 stages

As some of you have pointed out in the comments at stage 2, you may know all the words and grammar, yet not understand the lines. This test is no different, and it is really your ability to assess (and be honest with) yourself. However, I guarantee that on these levels, you will not know all the words and grammar.

And for fun to all of you just browsing this post even though you fell under a much earlier level

Go through these levels as well, and get a glimpse into the complexities of the sacred grounds of Japanese. What percentage did you understand? Leave it in the comments!

Important Reminders

– You still need 90% of 2 out of 3 comprehension lines to pass (except for block 90/99 as noted above)
– In the comments, if you fall anywhere over level 50+, leave your 1) test results level, 2) how long you have been studying Japanese for (both length of time and frequency), and 3) what method(s) you are using.
– I’m not perfect and make an occasional error. The sites where I took the material from also make errors. If you spot something that you know to be wrong in a comprehension line, please step up and let me know so I can fix it.

Get ready to enter the hardest Japanese test you will ever take in your life.

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Level 65: Fluent

1.  2010年12月、スーダンはあわや内戦の危機を迎えていた。政府は南部の地域に対して、独立の是非をめぐる国民投票を約束したが、オマル・アル・バシール大統領は南部の油田を手放すつもりはなかった。双方の言い分が隔たっていくなか、コロラド州ロングモントにある民間のサテライト・イメージ(衛星画像)企業「DigitalGlobe」が軍部の動きを追い、戦争の兆しを監視し始めた。映像は国連の援助を受けた俳優のジョージ・クルーニーが率いる団体「サテライト・センチネル・プロジェクト」へと逐一送られた。この人道的プロジェクトはスーダンの平和促進のために衛星写真を利用し、不要な戦闘を未然に防ぐことを目指した。結果は上々だった。スーダン南部は投票の結果無事に分離独立を果たし、内戦は起こらずに済んだ。

2001年以来利用されている自社衛星の使われ方として、これはほんのわずか一例にすぎない。現在、軌道上にはさらに2つの衛星が回っている。これは地上にある50cm以上の物体を明瞭に映し出し、かつ8つの色帯を捉えることができる(人間の眼は3つしか識別できない)。5つの色帯は、例えばある場所の特定の植生を、あるいは深海を映し出すために使用される。

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2. 米証券取引委員会 (SEC) はハリウッドの複数の映画制作会社に対し、中国政府当局者とのやりとりに関する質問状を送った。消息筋が明らかにした。質問は予備的なもので、海外腐敗行為防止法に関連したものとみられている。SECスポークスマンはコメントを控えた。ハリウッドにとって、中国は新たな映画市場としても資金調達先としてもますます重要になっている。政府の報告によると、年間興行収入は2015年までに50億ドル(約4000億円)に達する見通し。昨年は21億ドル、ほんの5年前には5億2800万ドルだった。

中国での映画配給は、国営の中国電影集団(チャイナ・フィルム・グループ)と華夏電影発行有限責任公司がほぼ独占する状態が続いている。同国政府は映画館に対し、上映中の作品の代わりに他の作品を上映するよう命じることができる。例えば10年には、ジェームズ・キャメロン監督の「アバター」2次元(2D)版の代わりに、国が資金拠出した孔子の映画を上映するよう命じた。

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3. 多機能情報端末「iPad(アイパッド)」の中国での商標権をめぐり、中国工商行政管理総局の付双建副局長は24日の記者会見で、「商標法の規定上、合法的な登録者は依然として『唯冠』だ」と述べ、中国のIT機器メーカー「唯冠科技」が商標権を保有しているとの見解を示した。

中国政府が見解を明らかにするのは初めてだ。米アップルは昨年、商標権所有の確認を求めた1審で敗訴し、現在、広東省の高裁で控訴審の審理が進められている。唯冠は各地の商工当局にアイパッドの販売の差し止めを申請している。付副局長は「高裁の審理が終了したら、法に従って処理する」と述べ、高裁の審理を待つ考えを示した。

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Level 80: Knowledgeable/Sophisticated

1. 加圧水型原子炉の特徴:一次冷却系と二次冷却系という分離された冷却系を有する原子炉では、放射性物質を一次冷却系に閉じこめることが出来る為、沸騰水型原子炉 (BWR) のようにタービン建屋を遮蔽する必要が無く、タービン・復水器が汚染されにくいため保守時の安全性でも有利である。ただ、蒸気発生器という沸騰水型原子炉にはない複雑に配管がからみ合った熱交換器や必然的に増えるポンプや配管類の保守性や安全性は別に考慮されるべきである。実際に蒸気発生器のトラブルは過去に頻発しており、近年は事故があまり起こらないのは保守担当者の労力に拠っている。

沸騰水型原子炉でもほぼ同様だが、加圧水の炉心出口温度を上げることでより高い熱効率を得ることが出来るが、主に燃料棒の金属被覆ジルコニウムの温度に対する脆弱性の問題で、あまり高温にすることが出来ない為に、火力発電所では常識となった超臨界水を熱媒体として使用することは出来ない。沸騰水型原子炉では加圧水型原子炉に比べ、二つの冷却系間における熱交換ロスがないので経済性では優位といえる。

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3. 捻挫とは文字通り関節を「捻り挫く(ねじりくじく)」事をいい、骨と骨を繋ぐ可動部関節周辺部位の損傷、関節を包む関節包や骨と骨を繋ぐ靭帯及び軟部組織(内臓・骨以外の総称)を損傷した状態を指す。関節に、生理的可動許容範囲を超えた動きが強要される為、関節周囲の組織の損傷は大なり小なり必ず起こる。多くは損傷に連動して患部に痛みや腫脹、熱感等の炎症を引き起こす。また、理論上、関節がある部位なら場所を限定せず全身に起こりうるが、現実的には起きやすい関節、おこりにくい関節はある。ぎっくり腰やムチウチの一部は、それぞれ腰椎・頚椎捻挫を起こした状態である。(大半は、関節ではなく単なる筋肉の障害の場合が多く、捻挫とは言わない)

また、捻挫と同じく、関節に許容範囲を超えた動きが与えられた為におきる損傷として、脱臼亜脱臼がある。それぞれ、捻挫:骨の位置関係に異常がない(関節面が完全に接触をたもっている)、亜脱臼:関節面が一部接触を保っている、脱臼:関節面の接触が全く失われている、という違いがある。 脱臼・亜脱臼を整復した後の症状は、重度の捻挫と変わりない為、交通事故や労働災害など金銭が絡む補償の問題から、しばしば1次診察医療機関と2次診察医療機関の間で論争を引き起こしている。

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4.  日本国民は、正当に選挙された国会における代表者を通じて行動し、われらとわれらの子孫のために、諸国民との協和による成果と、わが国全土にわたつて自由のもたらす恵沢を確保し、政府の行為によつて再び戦争の惨禍が起ることのないやうにすることを決意し、ここに主権が国民に存することを宣言し、この憲法を確定する。そもそも国政は、国民の厳粛な信託によるものてあつて、その権威は国民に由来し、その権力は国民の代表者がこれを行使し、その福利は国民がこれを享受する。これは人類普遍の原理であり、この憲法は、かかる原理に基くものである。われらは、これに反する一切の憲法、法令及び詔勅を排除する。

日本国民は、恒久の平和を念願し、人間相互の関係を支配する崇高な理想を深く自覚するのであつて、平和を愛する諸国民の公正と信義に信頼して、われらの安全と生存を保持しようと決意した。われらは、平和を維持し、専制と隷従、圧迫と偏狭を地上から永遠に除去しようと努めてゐる国際社会において、名誉ある地位を占めたいと思ふ。われらは、全世界の国民が、ひとしく恐怖と欠乏から免かれ、平和のうちに生存する権利を有することを確認する。

われらは、いづれの国家も、自国のことのみに専念して他国を無視してはならないのであつて、政治道徳の法則は、普遍的なものであり、この法則に従ふことは、自国の主権を維持し、他国と対等関係に立たうとする各国の責務であると信ずる。

日本国民は、国家の名誉にかけ、全力をあげてこの崇高な理想と目的を達成することを誓ふ。

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Level 90/99: Master

1. 禪師いはく、然らばたん気は生れ附ではござらぬ。何とぞしたときの縁に依て、ひよつとそなたが出かすわひの。何した時も、我でかさぬに、どこにたんきが有るものぞ。そなたが身の贔負故に、むかふのものにとりあふて、我がおもわくを立たがつて、そなたが出かして置て、それを生れつきといふは、なんだいを親にいひかくる大不孝の人といふもので御座るわひの。人々皆親のうみ附てたもつたは、佛心ひとつで、よのものはひとつもうみ附はしませぬわひの。しかるに一切迷ひは我身のひいきゆへに、我出かしてそれを生まれつきと思ふは、おろかな事で御座るわひの。我でかさぬに短気がどこにあらふぞいの。

一切の迷ひも皆是とおなじ事で、我まよわぬに、まよひはありはありはしませぬわひの。それをみなあやまつて、生れ附でもなき物を、我欲で迷ひ、気ぐせで、我出かして居ながら、生れ附とおもふゆへに、一切事に附てまよはずに、得居ませぬわひの。何ほど迷ひがたつとければ、一佛心にかえて迷ひますぞいの。みな一佛心の尊ひ事をしれば、迷ひたまふてもまよはぬがほとけ、迷はぬがさとりで、外にほとけになりやうはござらぬわひの。身どもがいふことをそばへよつて、とつくり能のみこんで、きかしゃれ

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2. 世の儒者は師を信じ、古を是とする癖がある。聖賢の言はみな深い省察から出た言葉であるとして、疑をさしはさもうとしない。そもそも聖賢が慎重な用意のもとに筆を執って書いたものでも、ことごとくが真実であるとは保証できね。いわんや卒然と吐かれた言葉においておや。……古人の才は今人の才にひかならず、今日のいわゆる英傑は古のいわゆる聖・神に当る。されば孔門の七十子が聖神にして、市場その比を見ずと称せられるのも、もし、かりに孔子という師が今日の人であったとすると、現代の学者でもみな顔淵・閔子騫の徒ということになるのである

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3.  隴西の李徴は博學才穎、天寶の末年、若くして名を虎榜に連ね、ついで江南尉に補せられたが、性狷介、自ら恃む所頗る厚く、賎吏に甘んずるを潔しとしなかった。

人生は、一分を減省すれば、便ち一分を超脱す。如し交遊を減ずれば便ち紛擾を免れ、言語を減ずれば、便ち愆尤寡く、思慮を減ずれば、便ち精神を耗せず、聡明を減ずれば、則ち混沌完す。彼の日に減ずるを求めずして、日に増すを求むるは、真に此の生を桎梏するかな。

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4. 参禅は須すべからく祖師の関を透とおるべし。妙悟は心路を窮めて絶せんことを要す。祖関透らず心路絶せずんば、尽ことごとく是れ依草附木えそうふぼくの精霊せいれいならん。且しばらく道え、如何いかんが是れ祖師の関。只ただ者この一箇の無字、乃すなわち宗門の一関なり。遂に之れを目なずけて禅宗無門関と曰いう。透得過とうとくかする者は、但ただ親しく趙洲に見まみえるのみに非あらず。便すなわち歴代の祖師と手を把とって共に行き、眉毛厮びもうあいい結んで同一眼どういっげんに見、同一耳どういっにに聞く可べし。豈あに慶快けいかいならざらんや。透関を要する底てい有ること莫なしや。三六〇の骨節、八万四千の毫竅ごきょうも将もって、通身に箇この疑団を起こして箇の無の字に参ぜよ。昼夜提撕ていぜいして、虚無きょむの会えを作なすこと莫なかれ、有無うむの会えを作すこと莫れ。箇の熱鉄丸ねつてつがんを呑了どんりょうするが如くに相い似て、吐けども又吐き出さず。従前の悪知悪覚を蕩尽とうじんして、久々に純熟して自然じねんに内外打成一片ならば、啞子の夢を得るが如く、只た自知することを許す。驀然まくねんとして打發だはつせば、天を驚かし地を動ぜん。関かん将軍の太刀を奪い得て手に入るるが如く、仏に逢うては仏ぶつを殺し、祖に逢うては祖を殺し、生死岩頭しようじがんとうに於いて大自在を得、六道四生ろくどうししょうの中に向かって遊戯三昧ゆげざんまいならん。且しばらく作麼生さもさんか提撕ていぜいせん。平生へいぜいの気力を尽くして箇この無の字を挙こせよ。若もし間断けんだんせずんば、好はなはだ法燭の一点すれば便ち著つくに似ん

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5.

陽気陶々たる初夏の候 草木莽々として茂るに
ひとり懐いを傷め永く哀しみ 汨然流されて南にゆけり
幽邃なること気遠きばかり はなはだ静寂にしてまた清浄
心結ばれて鬱屈するは 憂いに遭うて長く窮すればなり
情をいたわり志を明らめ 冤の罪に屈してみずから抑う
方木を削って円となさんも われいまだもとの態を変えず
初本の道を改むるは 君子の恥ずるところ
規画明らかに墨縄しるく 古法を修めて意図変わりなし
心直く資性厚きは 大人の美とするところ
巧匠も思うて削らずば 誰か尺度の正しきを知らん
あやの模様も幽きに処けば 矇そう奏してあやなしとなし
離婁微かに睇眄ていべんすれば 瞽者は以て明無しとなす
党人は白を指して黒と言い 上を倒さまにして下となす
鳳凰は伏籠の中に捕われ 鶏雉は大空を翔り舞う
玉と石とを混同し 一概にしてこれを量る
かの党人の鄙にして妬なる ああわが善とするところを知らず
重き積荷の多きに堪えれど 身は陥りて事の済るなし
瑾・瑜の美玉懐に抱けど 窮して示す人ぞなき
村里の犬の群れて吠ゆるは その怪しむを吠ゆるなり
俊秀を誹り英傑を疑うは もとより凡人の態のみ
あや実質身に通ずれど われの異彩を人の知るなく
材木積み重ねたるごとさわにあれど わが才能を知る人ぞなき
仁を累ね義を襲ね 謹厚、徳をゆたかにせしも
重華(帝舜)に逢うことなくんば 誰かわが従容の心を知らん
古来聖君、賢臣と並ばざるあり その何故なるやを知らず
湯禹聖王のこと久遠 茫漠思慕を寄するも如何せん
この恨みを止めこの怒りを改め 心を抑えてみずからつとむ
暗き世に遭うて節を移さず 後の世に法られんと願うのみ
行きゆきて宿場を離り 昧々として日まさに暮れなんとす
賦して憂思をのべ悲愁を楽しむは やがて果つべき命の限りにこそ
乱に言う、
ああ浩々たる元湘の水 分れ流れて水声汨たり
長き路は暗くさびしく 前途遠くはてしなし
吟詠絶ゆることなく悲傷し 嘆き永うして慷慨するも
世すでに吾を知ることなく これを人に説くにまた術なし
忠信の情を懐き敦厚の質を抱けど ひとりわが是非をただすなく
伯楽すでにあらざれば 駿馬も力を量るに由なし
人は資質を天に享けて生まれ おのおの志に安んずるところあり
心を定めてこれを堅持するや われまた何を畏れん
死の避くべからざるを知って 願わくは命を惜しむことなけん
明らかに世の君子に告ぐ われ将に節に死して法を示さん

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****Note****:
– Do not read the comments until you’ve taken the test, as they contain spoilers to the answers
– I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about how you did, but first read through all the comments and responses I gave to others, as your question will probably already be answered.
– I probably can’t answer your questions about the level 90/99 block, because to be honest, I don’t understand most of it.



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Adam

Adam

Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.

Comments

Test Your Japanese Might: Final Stage — 26 Comments

  1. Well I guess I can say I’m around level 65…the part about the satellite’s capabilities was pretty crazy!

    I tried 90/99 and actually understood maybe half of #2 and bits and pieces of the rest…just goes to show that even at much lower levels you can still inflict SOME damage on those million HP super bosses before they waste you!

  2. I think it’s important to note also, that most *native* Japanese speakers will never achieve legendary status as well. How many average Japanese people are taking the bar exam or discussing obscure works of classical literature? That’s why what you said about most people being content with levels 65-80 is true. It’s because that’s what level 99% of the functioning adults in Japan are operating at- and that level is just fine with me.

  3. I certainly don’t consider myself a native speaker, yet I managed to understand everything without even using an electronic dictionary?

    Speaking of which, there’s nothing “business” about lvl50, as well, from my opinion. It’s just some regular texts which aren’t hard at all. Second-year students translate those kind of texts at my university, for example.

    Considering the above, maybe you should add move levels before reaching classical literature?

    • Your university is very impressive. Must have a good program, because my university’s second year students would hardly be able to reach level 20.

  4. “Fluent” seemed pretty normal- just stuff that shows up in newspapers or journal articles (or maybe a more well-written wiki). Didn’t really feel difficult or high-level. “Native” was basically specialized technical vocab so might have been a little unfamiliar to people who hadn’t seen that particular subject before. But Japanese compound words are easier to figure out the first time than English simply by breaking them down, so even never-encountered vocab can be understood in the first go. I guess I was kind of expecting something more epically amazing with these, but they ended up pretty tame.

    The “Master” stuff roadblocked me, full of words using familiar kanji with unfamiliar readings (subject of all those 大人の漢字 books you see in the used bookstores). Knowing the character’s basic meaning doesn’t help much since the different reading indicates a less obvious nuance. I got my game over here, since these always screw me up in real life too…

    Interesting test all in all.

    (Low 80s, lived in Japan since 2007 with some university here too. Probably 9 years of study.)

  5. Level 62.
    That was a fun read!

    I don’t consider myself passed due to not being able to pronounce a few words in the “fluent” section (I knew every word in the level 50 test, coincidentally), and the possibility of misinterpreting things – which I have no way of telling.

    That said, by the nature of a reading test, this is very skewed towards a person who knows Chinese. From the level guide, I consider myself “proficient” – around level 30. After all, I have never been to Japan and cannot hold any sophisticated conversation; I would not consider myself anywhere close to fluent. However, I could even pick out many pieces of level 80 (and of course I completely died on the last level).

    I had studied Japanese for 4 years in high school in Canada, mostly time-wasting imo. I started SRS’ing last year, which means around 1.5 years of SRS for me, accumulating N2 grammar and approximately 6k vocab, and I took the N2 last week (hopefully passing).

    Also, don’t think that 17 year olds won’t know about nuclear reactor or the constitution! Not especially for people who read a lot =)

  6. Level 65. Anything above that, I could understand bits and bobs, but too many unknown words. I had fun doing this! It was a good way to gauge my reading level.

  7. Meh, I think I did mediocre. Last time I took the test April 2012, I was around level 45, and I think I’ve only gained about 10 levels. So around 55.

    I passed level 50, but on the level 65 test, I went like this.

    First one was around 70%
    Second was around 60%
    Third was around 40%

    I think I did pretty bad, for my own standards.
    So I guess I’m around level 55 or so.

    Lately I’ve been reading a lot, around 900 pages in the past 9-10 days so far, from the tadoku contest. I’ve always neglected reading, I have dozens of japanese books but I barely read them before.

    But after I saw the Tadoku contest, my mentality has changed on reading, and with my new attitude, and at my current rate, I will have read around 2500-3000 pages by the end of this month. And by the end of this years summer it will be around 20,000 or so pages, so I believe that will be my long term “antidote” for Japanese suckness for now. Obviously, I’m not going to stop after this years summer, but I’m starting senior high school next year (Grade 11 in America) which has a lot more Japanese people, and I already communicate with them on facebook and such, but I’ve never talked to them in real life.

    I want to be at least around the “fluent” level when I meet them in real life, because I don’t really want to be known as the guy who has ‘ok’ Japanese, but the guy who speaks at least ‘good’ Japanese. And of course, on the internet it is a lot easier to make it seem like you are better that you really are. People on the internet say I speak “too good to be a foreigner” or “feel like i’m talking to a Japanese” or “you’ve had to have lived in Japan for a while” but of course that is just an illusion.

    I think (pretty sure) that I speak naturally, considering I waste most of my time talking on chat sites with Japanese people and karaokeing to some Hiphop, which is known to bend the language in a way flows. Maybe that is what creates an illusion that I am better than I am?

    Continuing at this rate, hopefully by the end of this years summer I’ll have reached level 65 at least.

    Either way, my “stats” if you will.

    Total time studied so far: 26 months give or take
    Method: Mass immersion. Barely any english remains in my non-education life. Movies, anime, music, manga, etc as close to 24/7 as I can get it.

    Anki
    Sentences: Anki sentence deck is around 6200 cards.
    Kanji: Well it’s just the RTK deck that came with Anki.

    • Wow, nice dedication on reading and immersion. It took me 2.5 months to read 1000 pages worth of text

  8. Level 70ish, I guess?

    About 1-2 unknown words per text for lvl 65.
    Too many unknown words for the lvl 80 one. I could read the 3rd text without much difficulty (looked up 3 words), but the first text was too technological and the second one had too many unknown terms (I got the gist of it, but too many lookups for it to be anything but a failure).

    However, I disagree a bit on the choice of text for the last level. I could read the second text quite easily, and most of the other texts are not as advanced or classical as you’d expect… They were on par with 森鴎外: got the grammar, but too many old words… still, not exactly classical level. I’m sure a well-educated Japanese person could read them just fine.

    Stats: 2 years of dawdling around at absolute beginner level + 2 years of intense study. No real method and no mass immersion.

  9. A year after finishing RTK, plus a year and a half of faffing around, and I’d put myself probably high 50’s, low 60’s. I wouldn’t say I understood everything in part three of the last section of the level 50 test, and I was struggling at times in part one of level 65 here.

    Method: nothing concrete, but nothing out of the ordinary.
    Anki: 1700 cards (deleted around 1000) + RTK1 pre-made and slightly edited deck.

  10. Looks like I’m about level 60. Not too bad for 4 years of studying. To be fair though, my reading/writing is superior to my speaking/listening, so maybe I should roll back a couple of levels. These days I’m mainly studying by reading manga, novels, playing games, watching TV/movies, just trying to immerse myself. I have been working in a Japanese company for a few months, so that helps.

  11. I’m guessing I’m about level 60. I understood about 40% of level 65 in general, but my vocab is pretty weak. I’ve been studying Japanese since 2007, in college classes and dabbling in various methods (Anki, study immersion etc) and I’ve lived and worked in Japan for a few years. I stopped using Anki because once you fall behind in reviews it’s impossible to catch up. Has anyone at these advanced levels found Anki to be significantly helpful?

    • I’m at level 75 and still use it. It’s such a minimal time commitment to review, yet keeps me from forgetting the less common words, and is a constant reminder of new ways to say things in my speech.

      I haven’t added a new card in almost a year and a half though.

  12. I’m around level 60ish in that read-only test. My ability to speak is probably in the low 40’s.
    Technically i started in February 2009 (a month before my very first trip to Japan) but i stagnated around level 20 until march 2011 when i decided to stop using textbooks and go full immersion (props to Adshap and “mr all fun”). Reading the previous comments, it looks like almost every japanese learner went through that phase were you spend a long time to learn close to nothing then they suddenly “get it” and their level skyrockets.
    Textbook always promise you that “this time it will work and with minimal efforts!111!!” but they can only get you that far, keep your money to empty a book off the day you go to Japan.

  13. Why is there furigana in the fourth sample text of the highest level? For example 須すべからく、透とおる、尽ことごとく. I think you should find a version without such reading aids:
    参禅は須く祖師の関を透るべし。
    妙悟は心路を窮めて絶せんことを要す。
    祖関透らず心路絶せずんば、
    尽く是れ依草附木の精霊ならん。etc

    or even leave it as a 漢文 to make it even more challenging.
    参禅須透祖師関。
    妙悟要窮心路絶。
    祖関不透心路不絶、
    盡是依草附木精霊。etc

    I don’t understand the text, but why spoil the fun for the few that may actually be able to read it.

  14. That’s fantastic, some months ago I took the test and past the level 40 and understand about one sentence of the 50, and now I almost passed the level 65! I’m very close to fluency, now I’m going to focus hard on:

    -Listening, to make that skill as good as my reading
    -Speaking, my speaking is around level 40. I can speak well but not for a long time, and my vocab is to simple considering my passive vocab, so it’s time to polish it
    -(extensive) reading, to be able to read almost as fast as a native

    Considering all those things I guess I’ll put my overall progress about lv 60. I already have a hell of vocab, time to make it flow, I can already see the end of the race, I fell like I already own this language, I just need to take it

  15. Pretty much full comprehension until 80+, where I’m unfamiliar with a lot of technical language. Then again, I can still guess most of the meaning. That’s the power of Kanji for you.

    Another way to measure these things would be with reading/comprehension speed. Maybe get some educated native Japanese to read a bunch of text and time it. Then compare your time. I just finished grad school in Japan, and I found that above all it was speed of comprehension which really caused me a lot of stress, as opposed to knowing or not knowing this or that word. With English I can rip through paragraphs at blinding speed, and you take that ability for granted. Truth is though that it takes years and years of heavy reading to develop.

  16. I am Kanon from above. I think I can understand most of level 80 now. Certainly the kanji presented no difficulty. As noted by Daniel, I am quite a bit slower compared to reading easier texts or reading in English for example, and some of the literature I’m reading are surprisingly hard to understand despite passing this test, both of which show that I still have some way to go before reaching native level. Obviously the solution is just to read more that’s all. I’ll definitely have to participate in the tadoku contest and jack up the volume…

    On the other hand I don’t think I will spend the effort to reach master level reading. There are more important things to work on like my comparably bad listening and speaking. I want to be able to understand news and anime at least. Besides I’m not too interested in classical stuff.

  17. Third text in the fluent category, and that’s it for me. Haven’t really read anything about that kind of topic before, resulting in a comprehension at about… 70%? The texts before that one was easy enough. In any case, I’m okay the result. Funnily enough, I didn’t really have any trouble with the text in the native category. Finally found a use for 頚椎, never thought that was going to happen. That’s what you get from not stopping to branch when you run across obscure terminology, even though you clearly don’t have any use for it.

    I have been studying for about 1 and a half years, so I think it’s quite a decent result. The time spent is equivalent to 50+ new words a day average, and the reading required to do that. To keep this up, I did have to skip between different subjects, books and texts, when they became to easy. Not incredibly fun, but effective.

    I must, however, confess, that my listening skill sucks (ass), and my speaking and writing skill is next to not existent – i have never trained those two. And I’m pretty bad at reading katakana (remember folks, always learn the basics first).

  18. I got to around level 78. I tried up to 90 and started having problems following the context. Its definitely nice to see other ideas for tests instead of the JLPT/BJT. I’ve been studying Japanese for 13 years and lived in Japan for a year. I can definitely say that most people will not push themselves to get up into the 90s level. Many people that I’ve met who study classical literature in Japanese have specialized dictionaries for help. I’m impressed with the challenges you gave. Thank you.

  19. I’m not exactly sure what you’re referencing by “Classical Literature.” Do you mean kogo? If so, you can start studying kogo at whatever level, since it is a dead language and the grammar is totally different than Modern Japanese. I admit, it’ll be hard to learn outside of an academic setting where there are scant resources for self-teaching. But it’s basically learning a totally different language. You’d even have to buy a totally different dictionary (a kogojiten MJ–>Kogo) If you were to ask any Japanese Joe-Schmoe to read the first paragraph of the Tale of Genji–or even the first line of Ise Monogatari–they could probably read it out loud, but they wouldn’t know what it means (even though kogo is usually pretty straight forward and syntactically simple, especially early monogatari).

    Taisho-era Japanese, on the other hand, is considered Modern Japanese but it’s really conflated, stuffy and hard to read. So to set ALL Classical Japanese Literature at such a high and almost unachievable level is kind of discouraging (and misleading at the least, imho). You need to specify what era of Japanese literature you’re referring to.

    That’s like saying learning Middle English is level 90 of English proficiency. Middle English is a dead language and NOT Modern English, and also usually pretty simple to read once you know the language.

    (I completed an translation of an early Kamakura-jidai wakashuu as my undergraduate thesis when I was around level 70).

  20. Level 65 pretty much 99% but still don’t feel like I’m near fluency, still nice test and a good confidence boost. Level 80 is readable but a few words stand out that I don’t know, however I can roughly guess the meaning but still had to look them up.

    Duration of study: 1 year and 1-2 months
    Consistency: Full hard core immersion (besides University in English)
    Methods: Essentially ajatt, heisig first, loads of reading, loads of listening and loads of sentences in anki.

  21. Bloody hell…I’m level 65 in understanding, however I can barely string a sentence together to save my life :O

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