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Kanji

Shinsan

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I'm currently studying Japanese.Do i NEED to learn Kanji if I want to move to Japan?Is it common?
 

Petaris

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When I visited Japan I saw Kanji everywhere, but I have listed it as the last thing to study on my list as I think having an understanding or Hirigana and Katakana is a better first step. I think that will allow for (possibly) easier learning of Kanji. But that is just my opinion. It is definitely something you will want to study, but I would suggest getting the other two under your belt first.
 

Soloistic

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If your serious about learning Japanese, you should first learn kana (hiragana, katakana) then work on vocabulary, grammar, etc. When you have a base knowledge, then you can start picking up some kanji.

Kanji is everywhere in japan like the roman letters are found throughout America. Though you will also see kana and roman letters. Kanji and Kana are both found Everywhere throughout Japan.
 

nice gaijin

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So is the question "Is it OK to be functionally illiterate?" Personally, I'd say no.
 

tanhql

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if you want to live in japan, you'll need at least jlpt 2 standard, which most certainly means you'll need to know kanji.
 
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I want to say first that I fully 100% agree with all earlier posts , except for needing at least jlpt 2 standard. However these answers surely will scare someone into not going to Japan even if the poster is not. I know people who can't read even hiragana/katakana and they live and work here. So to answer your question ,no it is not needed. But like the others have said , it will make life a lot easier, not to mention more interesting.
 

tanhql

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when i say living in japan, it means living like a japanese, including understanding at least the common keigo used in customer service, in case you're approached my a salesperson or similar. also, you can converse with japanese you meet, read most writings (like signs, notices etc) with no problem.
 
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when i say living in japan, it means living like a japanese, including understanding at least the common keigo used in customer service, in case you're approached my a salesperson or similar. also, you can converse with japanese you meet, read most writings (like signs, notices etc) with no problem.
Not to sound argumentative, but in that case you will need more Jlpt 2 , Jlpt 1 won't be enough either, that is just my experience.
 

Mike Cash

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Not to sound argumentative, but in that case you will need more Jlpt 2 , Jlpt 1 won't be enough either, that is just my experience.

I manage quite well with nothing more than JLPT2. And that includes reading novels and nonfiction in Japanese.
 
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I manage quite well with nothing more than JLPT2. And that includes reading novels and nonfiction in Japanese.
Like I said earlier, you don't need to be able to read much Japanese at all and still get by, but by the poster tanhql standards to be able to function at the same level as a Japanese, you will need a lot more than Jlpt 1. I quote "read most writings (like signs, notices etc) with no problem.", to me that requires more than Jlpt 2.
 

Mike Cash

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I read most signs and notices with no problem. And I only have JLPT2.

Everything I get at work is in Japanese only, and I get by with no problem. And I only have JLPT2.

I read Japanese books, sans dictionary or other reference materials, for my own enjoyment and get through them with no real problems. And I only have JLPT2.

I don't deny that JLPT1 would be preferable, and I wish I had the give-a-damn to study Japanese again and maybe get myself up to that level. But I don't have the give-a-damn, and that is due in part to the fact that I get by in daily life just fine-n-dandy on JLPT2.

I think probably folks who consider JLPT2 to be too lightweight for functional literacy have just not put the time and effort into actual real-world reading that they have put into just memorizing the kanji.

I take it you have passed JLPT1? Or did I misunderstand you in an earlier post?
 
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I read most signs and notices with no problem. And I only have JLPT2.

Everything I get at work is in Japanese only, and I get by with no problem. And I only have JLPT2.

I read Japanese books, sans dictionary or other reference materials, for my own enjoyment and get through them with no real problems. And I only have JLPT2.

I don't deny that JLPT1 would be preferable, and I wish I had the give-a-damn to study Japanese again and maybe get myself up to that level. But I don't have the give-a-damn, and that is due in part to the fact that I get by in daily life just fine-n-dandy on JLPT2.

I think probably folks who consider JLPT2 to be too lightweight for functional literacy have just not put the time and effort into actual real-world reading that they have put into just memorizing the kanji.

I take it you have passed JLPT1? Or did I misunderstand you in an earlier post?
Well let me ask you this Mike, when did you get Jlpt 2? To me it sounds like you are well past Jplt 2 level. A test is just that , something to gague where you are at and if you can read with relatively no difficulty then you are at a higher level. Remember reading is just one part of the exam and just b/c jlpt 2is the highest accredication that you have does not mean that will dictate your Japanese level for the rest of your life until you decide to strap on the thinking cap and go for Jplt 1, does it?. Remember when you are emersed in this society learning is almost garrenteed if you put the effort in like you say, you of all people would know this.

For example, I knew a lot of Chinese students who got near close to perfect scores on Jplt 1 in the reading part ,but still failed the test miserably. What does this tell you? that they have no ability in practical communication.

People put too much emphasis on tests and books. I don't how many people I have run into who claim they have Jplt 1 and I have really wondered how they got it, b/c their ability to converse in a practical evironment was dismal to say the least.

Just my 2 cents.
 

Mikawa Ossan

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Yes, I think the only reason you don't have a JLPT Level 1, Mike Cash, is because you've never taken it. I am certain after having met you that you can pass it without any difficulty.

To answer the OP, I agree with everything said before. Coming to Japan and living and working here can be done, but you'll find your stay to be much, much more rewarding if you can read a certain amount of kanji.

Ask yourself if you would like to be illiterate in your own country. Essentially it's the same question, but replace the "your own country" with "Japan".
 

Mike Cash

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I passed it in '97, I think it was. But all the things I mentioned above were true in '97 as well as in '07.

I have to agree wholeheartedly with Dave about running across people with JLPT1 and wondering how the hell they got it. Not because of their ability to converse, because I don't think I've ever met one in person. But quite a few times I've seen them ask questions on the net that they very easily should have been able to answer for themselves in two minutes using the Japanese side of Google.
 
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I take it you have passed JLPT1? Or did I misunderstand you in an earlier post?
Sorry did not see this in you post.
Yes I passed Jlpt 1 many years ago. In recent years I have obtained a few accreditation in the care / medical industry, obviously these are geared towards Japanese people to qualify them for certain professions.
 
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I passed it in '97, I think it was. But all the things I mentioned above were true in '97 as well as in '07.

I have to agree wholeheartedly with Dave about running across people with JLPT1 and wondering how the hell they got it. Not because of their ability to converse, because I don't think I've ever met one in person. But quite a few times I've seen them ask questions on the net that they very easily should have been able to answer for themselves in two minutes using the Japanese side of Google.
Chinese and Koreans seem to be able to get it easier than English speaking foreigners.

I think you will find that a lot people train for "passing" the test and not actually to understand the language, well thats what I have seem to encounter. I know one Canadian guy who had the Jlpt 1, but I could see why he had it as he was good, this was about tens years ago though and I don't know where he is now.
 
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I am currently going to take the JETRO Business test, as this one of the hardest exams that a Forienger can take that is to judge Japanese ability.
Look at the graph below , the rank goes from J1+, J2, J3, J4, J5 and J5 being the lowest. Look at the right side of the graph, it shows you the percentage of people with 日本語能力試験1級 and what level they are. When I get around to taking it my goal is J1+.



To the OP, sorry for the derail.
 

Elizabeth

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Like I said earlier, you don't need to be able to read much Japanese at all and still get by, but by the poster tanhql standards to be able to function at the same level as a Japanese, you will need a lot more than Jlpt 1. I quote "read most writings (like signs, notices etc) with no problem.", to me that requires more than Jlpt 2.
If he's talking primarily about writing at the general level most "signs and public notices," should be clear to anyone between Jlpt 3 and 2.

I'm talking outside museum exhibits, obscure temple or jinja names, etc. There are old time kanji there, even place names which should be part of a general education, that unfortunately stump even the average
native speaker.
 
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