kanji kentei – level 10

The kanji kentei is the official test for native Japanese speakers; the level 10 is for 1st graders (6-year olds). We will only go over the basic kun-yomis and on-yomis; at this moment there is little point to learn correct but more advanced readings of a kanji.

1-st graders learn 80 kanjis that we have split in 5 groups. We can use the following list to review them, or go to the link to study them.

  • verbs, adverbs, and adjectives (this page)

    入 出 休 立 見 生  早 正 大 小
    白 赤 青 夕 年 先  上 下 中 左 右

  • Numbers and money

    一 二 三 四 五  六 七 八 九 十  百 先 金 円

  • Living things

    目 耳 口 手 足  男 女 子 人 王 名
    犬 虫 貝  木 林 森 竹 花 草

  • Nature

    土 山 石  空 気 天 日 月  水 川 雨  力 火 音

  • City life

    校 学 本 文 字  田 町 村  玉 糸 車

Let’s get started:


はいる – enter, insert でる – exit, leave やすむ – rest, sleep
たつ – stand up みる – see まれる うまれれ – be born

I was born in this village.
watashi wa kono mura de umaremashita.
わたしは この むらで うまれました。

This is the entrance; that is the exit.
kore wa iriguchi desu; are wa deguchi desu.
これは いりぐちです。あれは でぐちです。
これは入口です。 あれは出口です。


はやい – early; fast しい ただしい – correct; justice
きい おおきい – big さい ちいさい – small

This car is fast, right?
kono kuruma wa hayai desu ne.
この くるまは はやい ですね。

A large cake and a small fork.
ookii keiki to chiisai fouku.
おおきい  ケーキ と ちいさい フォーク。


kanji kun-yomi on-yomi
しろ white はくじん 白人 caucasian
おもしろ 面白い interesting
あか red
あお blue

comment: 面白い (omo-shiro-i – interesting) comes from 面 (omo – face, mask), and 白い (shiro-i – white), because when we see something interesting, our faces ‘brighten’ or ‘light up’.

The American flag is red, white and blue.
amerika no hata wa aka, shiro, ao desu.
アメリカの かたは あか、 しろ、 あお です。

aka (red), ki (yellow), and ao (blue)

Japanese people are not color-blind and can tell perfectly well green from blue. The reason ‘ao’ can be either red or blue is because ‘ao’ covers more colors than our blue. For example, in Japan the traffic lights are red, yellow, and either green or blue, but regardless of whether it is green or blue, Japanese refer to it as ‘blue’. The grass and the sea are also ‘ao’ [Taekim]. The name for the color green is ‘midori’, though, so a frog would be ‘midori, not ‘ao’, but a green traffic light would be ‘ao’, not ‘midori’.

The ‘Rising Sun” flag

On the token of colors, in many countries we draw the Sun yellow, but in Japan the Sun is drawn red, e.g., the red circle in the Japanese flag is the Sun; well… it is the ‘Rising Sun’ flag, after all. In reality, we are all off because sunlight is white; ‘daylight’ and ‘full-spectrum’ lightbulbs that mimic sunlight, used in places where we need to be alert – kitchens, reading rooms, and garages – produce a white light, different from the yellow light of ‘soft-white’ lightbulbs, used in places where we relax – living rooms and dormitories.


kanji kun-yomi on-yomi
ゆう evening
ゆう 夕べ yesterday evening
とし year さんねん 三年 three years
とし 今年 this year きょねん 去年 last year
おととし おと年 two years ago らいねん 来年 coming year
さき previous, former せんせい 先生 teacher
せんしゅう 先週 previous week
せんげつ 先月 previous month

This year there are three teachers.
kotoshi sensei ga san nin imasu.
ことし せんせいが さんにん います。

Last night I saw the moon.
yuube ni tsuki wo mimashita.
ゆうべに つきを みました。

‘sensei’ (teacher) is written ‘先生’, meaning ‘before in life’. This is the same 先 of 先週 (sen-shuu – week before), 先月 (sen-getsu – month before), and the ubiquitous 先輩 (sen-pai – someone older or with a higher rank than me) that shows up in every anime that takes place at a school.


うえ – above, up した – below, down なか – inside, middle, center
ひだり – left みぎ – right

There is money on the table.
teeburu no ue ni okane ga arimasu.
テーブルの うえに おかねが あります。

The dog is in the car.
inu wa kuruma no naka ni imasu.
いぬは くるまの なかに います。