This website focuses on the Jōyō kanji, a list of 2,136 characters issued in 2010 by the Japanese Ministry of Education. If you know all of these well, you can function in daily life in Japan. 1,006 kanji of these are taught in primary school (the kyōiku kanji) and an additional 1,130 kanji are taught in secondary school. You can access the official list in PDF on the ministry’s website (in Japanese). Please note many more characters exist beyond this list, but they are less used.
I made the deliberate choice to not include any of the kanji information about levels and numbers except the JLPT levels N1-N5, the classification most used by foreigners learning Japanese as it is important for the JLPT exam. JLPT stands for Japanese-Language Proficiency Test. I believe that less is more, less information helps to focus on the items that matter: readings, words and example sentences.
However, there is one problem: no official list is available for the JLPT levels. Luckily, official lists were available before 2010 and on basis of these lists a categorization has been made. My lists differ slightly from other lists you might find online as I matched the characters with the latest list of Jōyō kanji and made my own judgement to which level a character should belong to. My lists of words and example sentences are also a little bit different as compared to other sources as I put some algorithms on them in order to only show the ones that are important, as well as making adjustments here and there, handpicking some of them and even drafting my own.
- All JLPT N1 Kanji (1149 characters) – most difficult level
- All JLPT N2 Kanji (368 characters)
- All JLPT N3 Kanji (369 characters)
- All JLPT N4 Kanji (170 characters)
- All JLPT N5 Kanji (80 characters) – easiest level
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