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What level of Japanese is required to find jobs in Japan?

2023/12/03

Director: Kotaro Muramoto
Principal of Nihongo Online School
In September 2019, he founded "Nihongo Online School". Since then, has been teaching Japanese online lessons, with a total of over 1,000 students.
He has designed an individualized curriculum based on student’s needs and study goal. And is conscious of making the classes speech-centered in order to improve students’ speaking skills.
The school asks students to submit homework assignments worth 2 hours per lesson to improve faster. By supporting students with these features, students are able to efficiently improve Japanese language skills.

First of all, what level of Japanese is required to do some work in Japan? Many people who want to live or work in Japan have this question in mind.

What level of Japanese is required for each job?

N5 is the level at which you can understand basic Japanese to some extent, while N1 is the level at which you can understand Japanese used in a wide range of situations. In addition, in order to work as an employee at a typical Japanese company, it is said that at least the “N2” level is required.

Let’s take a look at what job options are available at each level.

N5-N4 level

This is a level that you can have daily conversations. At this level, your communication skills, practical skills, and understanding Japanese habit and discipline will be tested more than your language certification. It depends on the job, but the ability to adapt to the Japanese work environment and the desire to continue learning the language are also important. Full-time employment is difficult, and even part-time employment is often very limited, most of jobs doesn’t require speaking Japanese.

・Factory staff・English teacher ・Cleaning staff・Agricultural staff・Convenience store staff・Izakaya/Restaurant kitchen staff・Construction/construction staff

N3 level

Generally speaking, this level is said to be necessary for a wide range of part-time jobs, including customer service. Full-time employment is difficult, and even contract employment is often very limited.

It’s also rewarding because you get to communicate with other staff and interact directly with customers.

・Pub/restaurant hall staff・Convenience store/supermarket clerk・Travel guide for Japanese people

N2-N1 level

Once you reach the N2 level or above, if you have specific skills and experience, many Japanese companies will give job offer as a full-time employee. “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” is widely known as Working VISA. Most of employee work for Japanese company as full time, they have this type of VISA. If you want to live a long and stable life in Japan, you should definitely aim for this level.

・Including engineering positions, most of office work position require N2-N1.

In this way, the higher your Japanese level, the more likely you are to get a job with a stable working environment and good conditions.

What is the level of Japanese at which you can advance your career?

As we mentioned above, most Japanese companies require a minimum of N2 on the JLPT. Also, conversation skill level is required to be at least 7 (on a scale of 1 to 10) according to our conversational Japanese assessment method below.

Once you start working, you may find it difficult to find time to study Japanese because you are so busy with your daily tasks. Therefore, if you want to come and work in Japan, we recommend that you hone your Japanese language skills as much as possible while you are still in your home country. Let me show job market in Japan for IT industry(software engineer) as one of the example. This shows the relation of job opportunities with experience and Japanese ability. If Japanese level is lower than JLPT N3 level, only 10 % of demands, otherwise, if JLPT N2-N1 level, there are for total 90% of demands and higher salary opportunities.

These 3 students have been studying with us at Nihongo online school. They improved Japanese skills, so got more opportunity for the next step. And successfully got new better job!

Successfully changed jobs from English teacher to engineer at an IT company

“Improved communication in Japanese, and was able to change job with desired annual salary.”

Annual salary before job change(English teacher at school): 3 million yen
Annual salary after changing jobs for software engineer(Tech company in Tokyo): 4.5 million yen

Passing the N2 exam increased the number of companies I applied to, and increased my annual salary】

“I was looking for an engineering job in Osaka, but was limited in where I could apply due to my JLPT being N3.”
Outcome after taking the course: “Passed N2 and was able to find a job with the salary he was looking for after learning Business Japanese.”

Annual salary before job change: NA
Annual salary after changing jobs: 5.1 million yen

【Increased interview passing rate due to improved conversation skills, and got a new job with a higher salary

Issues before taking this course:”I had passed JLPT N2, but was not able to get a job offer because I could not communicate well at the Japanese interview.”
Outcome after taking the course:”Improved conversational ability, increased interview pass rate, changed job to an IT company, and increased annual salary.”

Annual salary before job change: 4.5 million yen
Annual salary after changing jobs: 5.1 million yen

There is no such thing as studying Japanese too much. Learning Japanese is an investment in your future that will definitely give you a return. Let’s all work together to achieve your goals!

Teacher YUKI wrote this article

Qualifications:Completed 420-hour Japanese language teacher training course
I started my career at a Japanese language school in Bolivia and have been teaching at Nihongo online school since 2019.

Experience:I myself am interested in foreign cultures and languages, so I find it very stimulating to meet students from different backgrounds and share lesson time with them.
I am always happy when students are able to express themselves well in the Japanese they have just learned, and I feel happy to be teaching.

In the future, I would like to be able to teach Japanese through Japanese anime, manga, and traditional culture as well. I would also like to constantly research how I can learn Japanese more efficiently, using my own experience in learning foreign languages.
I try to explain words and sentence patterns using a variety of examples so that students can easily understand under what circumstances they are used. I also provide many opportunities for students to speak up, so that they can learn in a participatory manner with a focus on output.

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