Even in the land of tests, there are some things that shouldn’t be tested.

Last week on W.T.F. Japan we looked at the top five Japanese autumn foods. And you know what’s kind of surprising? Japan doesn’t have an official “autumn foods certification exam.”

Japan has a test for pretty much everything else. You want to go to high school? Take the exam. You want to go to college? Take the exam. You want to show off how many kanji you know? Take the exam. You want to be a weather girl? Take the exam.

While some exams make sense, like for schools and work licenses, others are just… odd. And that’s why today we’re counting down the top five craziest Japanese certification exams.

There are so, so many of them out there it was hard to choose just a few. I waded through hundreds of Japanese certification exams and narrowed it down to the ones that made me drop my No.2 pencils in shock.

So let’s get to it! Starting off with…

Honorable Mention: Rice Certification Exam

certification-exams-6Kentei Uketsuke

Think you like rice? Think again. You’re not allowed to say anything about those sacred grains until you’ve passed the Rice Certification Exam.

Let’s make something clear right off the bat: the Rice Certification Exam is in no way necessary for anything ever. Even if it’s your dream to become a sushi chef – or even a fried rice chef – passing the exam would have absolutely no bearing on your future.

Also, like all the tests on this list, the Rice Certification Exam has no hands-on component. It’s just multiple choice and short answer questions about… rice.

Why does the exam exist then? The short answer: because Japan. The longer answer: because there are people out there who really, really (no even more than that) really like rice, and they want to show off how much they know.

Here’s what the official webpage says about its own exam:

“The Rice Certification Exam tests a wide knowledge of the various varieties of rice, its nutritional value, history, as well as its interaction with people and nations, dishes it’s used in, and foods that go with it.

“Those who wish to learn things that can improve their family’s health, or who want to/are currently working in the food industry, and even those who simply like rice are welcome to challenge their knowledge.”

That’s why the Rice Certification Exam is only an honorable mention: there might be some small benefit people could gain from studying for it, and it might make your resume stand out a bit. Or it might just make you look like a weirdo for taking the Rice Certification Exam.

But who cares about that; let’s get to the most important part: what kind of questions are on the exam?

Here are two example questions from the Rice Certification Exam. The first is for the easier level “A Rank” and the second one is for the harder level “Special A Rank.”
(Answers below)

Q1: In 1978, which convenience store first started selling onigiri (rice balls)?
A: 7-Eleven
B: Lawson
C: Family Mart
D: Seico Mart

Q2: Which variety of rice is it said that China’s Yang Guifei ate regularly to stay beautiful?
A: White rice
B: Genmai (brown rice)
C: Red rice
D: Black rice (unmilled rice)

Highlight here for the answers: Q1 – A (7-Eleven), Q2 – D (black rice)

If you got those right, congratulations – you’re really good at guessing! And if you didn’t guess, well then maybe you want to head over to the official Rice Certification Exam website and sign up for this year’s upcoming test in November.

#5. Japanese Pro-Wrestling Certification Exam

certification-exams-8Kentei Uketsuke

Again let’s be clear here: this is not a exam to become a pro-wrestler yourself. The Japanese Pro-Wrestling Certification Exam is merely a test for fans of the sport to show off to other fans how much of a bigger and better fan they are.

Here’s what the official website says about the exam:

“We fans of Shinnichi Pro-Wrestling experience all of the anger and tears that take place in the ring. We live our lives with our hearts in the wrestling world. And now we present to you a way to show off your passion by officially deciding who out there has the most detailed knowledge of the sport we love.”

And… that’s pretty much it! Unlike the Rice Certification Exam, I can’t imagine this one even having some sort of marginal real-world use outside of bragging rights. This exam is for hardcore Japanese pro-wrestling fans only, as evidenced by their example questions. Here’s a fun one:

Q1: Which wrestler who is good at dancing also aggravated their dispute with Zero-One MAX and recently joined K-DOJO as the Ω member?
A: El Samurai
B: BXB Hulk
C: Yujiro
D: Ryusuke Taguchi

Highlight here for the answer: Q1 – D (Ryusuke Taguchi)

Oh, uh… yeah, of course! How could we have possibly forgotten?

To be fair, if you’re a Japanese pro-wrestling fan, then that answer was probably pretty obvious (and you should probably check out the official test website).

At least by taking the test you get to show off how big a fan you are of something you love, unlike the next item on our list….

#4. Retirement Power Certification Exam

certification-exams-9Nihon Teinenryoku Kyokai

Crap, grandpa’s going to retire soon… what do we do? Make him get a hobby? Find him an easy part-time job?

No, wait! Let’s just keep him busy by having him study for the Retirement Power Certification Exam!

Yup, that’s right. This isn’t a class where you get to ask questions about retirement or hear other people’s experiences, this is an exam (with official study materials) that you memorize information for and then regurgitate in multiple-choice format. You’d think by the time people were nearing retirement they’d have had enough of pointless busywork like this, but this exam is so popular it’s carried out twice a year, so who are we to judge?

While planning for retirement is definitely a good idea, I don’t see the point of having an exam. If you’re going to read and memorize a lot of information on the topic, then what’s the point of taking a test at the end? You’re an adult; you don’t need a number score to tell you whether or not you’ve learned something anymore!

But here we are. We live in a world where the Retirement Power Certification Exam exists, and we’re going to look at some sample questions from it:

Q1. If your medical expenses for the year are _____ yen or more, then it can be deducted from your income tax if you file a return.
A: 50,000
B: 100,000
C: 200,000

Q2. The system where an elderly person gives up their house/land as collateral for a loan, and it only has to be repaid after they die with the collateral sold as real estate, is known as a _____.
A: Reverse mortgage
B: Fixed-term lease
C: Real estate investment trust

Q3: The deadline for submitting the declaration of inheritance tax is _____ from the day following the start of the inheritance.
A: 3 months
B: 6 months
C: 10 months

Highlight here for the answers: Q1 – B (100,000), Q2 – A (reverse mortgage), Q3 – C (10 months)

ZZZzzzZZZzzz… huh? Oh, it’s done?

Er, I mean… wow, that was fun! Honestly, nothing quite gets the blood-pumping like a multiple-choice test about retirement. If that sounds good to you too, then check out the official Retirement Power Certification Exam website.

#3. Housewife Certification Exam

Are you sweeping the floors the right way? Doing food shopping and laundry as efficiently as possible? Well now you can find out officially how much of a housework prodigy/failure you are with the Housewife Certification Exam!

This one is just depressing. Here’s what the exam’s own website says about itself:

“When asked ‘what is the merit of taking the Housewife Certification Exam,’ well unfortunately it’s only something fun to try and show off your skills. It doesn’t have any tangible benefit and is not necessary for finding a job.

“But people who have taken it say that even if it doesn’t help with work, it can still be a great conversation topic, and it’s good since it tests skills that are fundamental to living.”

Yes, I love getting together with my friends and talking about exams we want to take! “Dude, have you taken the Retirement Power Certification Exam yet? Oh my God, you are missing out!”

And unfortunately if you haven’t taken this one yet, it looks like you’ve missed the boat. The Housewife Certification Exam is no longer officially running, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a look at some sample questions:

Q1: When doing your household finances, what percent should be set aside for spending money?
A: 10%
B: 15%
C: 20%

Q2: What direction do you iron clothes in?
A: Against the stitches in the fabric
B: Diagonal to the stitches in the fabric
C: Along the stitches in the fabric

Q3: Which is best for washing baby clothes?
A: Low alkali detergent
B: Neutral detergent
C: Laundry soap

Highlight here for the answers: Q1 – A (10%), Q2 – C (along), Q3 – B (neutral)

Well I don’t know about you, but I feel like tying a bandana around my head, scrubbing some floors on my knees, and competing with other mothers to see who can make the best kyaraben lunches for their kids.

There hasn’t been any updates on the exam’s official website for a couple years, but hey, it might be worth it to check back every now and then. You don’t want to be the last of your friends to get certified in sweeping the floor correctly!

#2. Otaku Certification Exam


Many people don’t even like being labeled otaku themselves, but apparently there are those that embrace it so much they want to take a test just to prove how much more of an otaku they are than anyone else.

This is a monster of a certification exam that only has a 6.2 percent pass rate. To put things in perspective, Tokyo University – the hardest college to get into in Japan – had a 34.2 percent pass rate in 2015. Also, the Otaku Certification Exam was only held once, in 2005, so unlike Tokyo University you can’t pull a Love Hina and keep trying to get in every year.

Not intimidated? Well try on these practice questions for size:

Q1: Choose the order that puts the Dragon Quest series’ releases in order of highest-selling to lowest-selling. As a baseline #8 sold 3.6 million copies, and none include overseas sales.
A: 7-3-8-6-4-5-2-1
B: 3-7-8-6-5-4-2-1
C: 7-8-3-5-6-2-4-1
D: 8-7-3-4-5-6-2-1

Q2: The names below are all main characters from the Final Fantasy series. If put in chronological order of appearance, which would appear at #2 and #5?
Cloud, Firion, Tina, Tidus,
Squall, Butz, Cecil, Zidane

Q3: Which console had the codename “Dolphin” before it was released? Which console had the codename “Katana” before it was released?
SNES, Dreamcast, GameCube,
PlayStation 2, Sega Saturn, Xbox

Highlight here for the answers: I have no idea!

Unfortunately the official Otaku Certification Website has been down for a while. It took hours of searching just to find those sample questions, and even then they didn’t come with answers. We’ll all just have to wonder what the right answers are until a wizened otaku comes along to enlighten us.

The Otaku Certification Exam would have easily taken first place on this list if it weren’t for one other very special – and very specific – certification exam.

And the #1 craziest Japanese certification exam is…











#1. Naruto Certification Exam

certification-exams-7Kentei Uketsuke

Oh baby! Break out the shuriken and Sexy-no-Jutsu ’cause it’s time for the real-life chunin exam!

No, I’m serious. You can choose between three levels on the Naruto Certification Exam: genin (easy), chunin (medium), and jonin (hard) – just like the three levels of ninja in Konoha Village. Here’s what the official site says about the test:

“This exam will test your knowledge of Naruto with questions about scenes, quotes, character profiles, jutsu names and much more that only the most elite Naruto fans can answer.”

So let’s cut the filler and get right to the sample questions. Here’s one from the genin level:

Q1: When Naruto first used the summoning jutsu, what did he summon?
A: Slug
B: Snake
C: Tadpole
D: Konohamaru

And from the chunin level:

Q2: What type of seal did Orochimaru put on Sasuke?
A: Earth
B: Light
C: Heaven
D: Darkness

And finally, from the jonin level:

Q3: Neji’s final, dying words to Naruto were: “Because you said _____.”
A: “You look up to me.”
B: “I was a dunce.”
C: “I was a genius.”
D: “I was your brother.”

Highlight here for the answers: Q1 – C (tadpole), Q2 – C (heaven), Q3 – C (genius)

How did you do? Did you get them all right? If so, good news! The Naruto Ceritification exam is alive and well and ready for you to sign up and take in February 2017. Just go to the official exam website, register, watch the entire series a couple of dozen times while taking copious notes, and you’ll be all set.

But just remember: if you get caught cheating five times, you and your team are disqualified. Believe it!

So there you have it, the top five craziest Japanese certification exams. Are you planning on taking any of the ones on this list, or any other certification test in Japan? The Kanji Kentei and the JLPT are both pretty popular, but as we’ve seen, Japan has a different flavor of test for just about anyone out there.

References: Kentei Uketsuke, Omoshiro Kentei no Mori, Teinenryoku Kentei, Agrilichter, Akiba Blog, Twitter/@orurun_shoboon
Featured/top image: GAHAG (Edited by RocketNews24)

We’ll be back next Thursday with a very special Halloween edition. In the meantime, give me a follow on Twitter and let me know if there are any topics you’d like to see covered on W.T.F. Japan. See you next week!