Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)

What is the JLPT?

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) has been offered by The Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES) since 1984 as a reliable means to evaluate and certify the Japanese proficiency of non-native speakers. In 2011, there were as many as 610,000 applicants throughout the world.

Over time, test applicants became diversified, and use of JLPT results has expanded to include employment screening and evaluation for promotions and pay raises. Many outstanding suggestions for improvement were also submitted by a wide variety of individuals around the world.

Please download and read the 2016 JLPT pamphlet to learn more!


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 will take 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 20 years ago.

Points of Revision
  • Revised to measure communicative competence required to perform tasks.

Emphasizing both practical Japanese communicative competence and knowledge of the Japanese language, this test measures language knowledge which includes writing, vocabulary, and grammar, and the competence required to perform communicative tasks using such language knowledge. Answers will be machine-scored as in the current test. Note that the new JLPT will not include sections to measure speaking or writing proficiencies directly.

  • Revised to increase the number of levels from 4 to 5.

The new test increases the number of test levels from 4 (level 1, Level 2, Level, and Level 4) to 5 (N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5). Similar to the former Levels, N1 is the most advanced, and N5 is a more beginner level; the examinee can choose the level that best matches his or her ability and training. Each test is made up of three sections: writing-vocabulary, listening, and reading-grammar. 

  • The table below shows the corresponding levels of the new test to that of the old test:

N1   Approximately the same level as the former Level 1 test, but designed to assess slightly more advanced abilities.
N2 Approximately the same level as the former Level 2 test.


Positioned at a level bridging the former Level 2 and Level 3 tests.

    (Newly established)

N4 Approximately the same level as the former Level 3 test.
N5 Approximately the same level as the former Level 4 test.

*"N" stands for both "Nihongo" and "New"

Please visit the official JLPT website at http://www.jlpt.jp/e/index.html for more information and updates.