The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) under joint organization of the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (previously Association of International Education, Japan) started in 1984 as a test to measure and certify the Japanese-language proficiency of those whose native language is not Japanese. In the first year the JLPT was conducted in 15 countries, and approximately 7,000 examinees took the test. Since then, the JLPT has become the largest Japanese-language test in the world, with approximately 610,000 examinees in 62 countries and areas worldwide in 2011. This success is entirely due to the support and cooperation of all involved.
A quarter century since its inception, the JLPT has been undergoing various changes in recent years. In 2009, the JLPT started to be offered twice a year in July and December, as opposed to only once a year in December previously. The year 2010 saw the introduction of the “new” JLPT, which focuses on communication abilities to meet more diverse student needs and is designed based on analysis of data collected over the years.
Today the JLPT is actively used in every corner of the world. We continue to strive for further penetration and improvement of the JLPT in order to provide a wide range of Japanese-language students in all sorts of learning environments with more and equal opportunities to take the test in coming years.
The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) has been offered by the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (formerly Association of International Education, Japan) since 1984 as a reliable means of evaluating and certifying the Japanese proficiency of non-native speakers. At the beginning, there were approximately 7,000 examinees worldwide. In 2011, there were as many as 610,000 examinees around the globe, making JLPT the largest-scale Japanese-language test in the world.
Over time, test applicants have become more diverse, and use of JLPT results has expanded from skill measurement to include employment screening and evaluation for promotions and pay raises as well as use as a form of qualification. Many outstanding suggestions for improvement were also submitted by a wide variety of individuals around the world.
To ensure the continuing relevancy and accuracy of the JLPT, the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services introduced a revised version of the test in 2010. This new test takes full advantage of the most advanced research in Japanese pedagogy and testing theory, and reflects the vast wealth of data accumulated since the original JLPT was launched over 25 years ago.
N4 and N5 measure the level of understanding of basic Japanese mainly learned in class. N1and N2 measure the level of understanding of Japanese used in a broad range of scenes in actual everyday life. N3 is a bridging level between N1/N2 and N4/N5.
Linguistic competence required for the JLPT is expressed in terms of language activities, such as Reading and Listening, as shown in the table below. While not noted in the table, Language Knowledge, such as Vocabulary and Grammar, is also required for successful execution of these activities.
The ability to understand Japanese used in a variety of circumstances.
The ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations, and in a variety of circumstances to a certain degree.
The ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations to a certain degree.
The ability to understand basic Japanese.
The ability to understand some basic Japanese.