Unlike the limits of the Kanji Kentei material regarding individual kanji characters where those limits are defined by the scope of the “Kanken Kanji Jiten” dictionary,
there are no such boundaries with regards to words or expressions that can be written using such characters, and used for Kanken questions, even… even if such words or expressions are not included in the dictionary.
This is to say that,
for example, even on the Kanken level 1 you will never be asked to write or read a kanji that is NOT listed in the “Kanken Kanji Jiten” dictionary,
it is exactly for this very reason that, though this may sound counterintuitive, despite being relatively common ones no such words as, for example, 花崗岩 or 枸櫞酸 can be used for Kanken questions because such words are written with kanji characters which are absent from the canonical source.
When people not very much familiar with the topic describe Kanken level 1 they often emphasize its difficulty by saying
that to pass it one should learn more than 6000 kanjis, and while technically this is certainly true, in reality this presents only a fraction of the problem.
Because obviously the number of lexical units that are written using all those characters, and which can theoretically be used for Kanken questions, is far and far larger than the nominal number of kanji characters themselves.
So, the more characters you need to know for each particular level the more material you MAY need to know to pass it – and from one level to another this number increases in almost a geometrical progression reaching its peak in the Kanken level 1, where the actual precise scope is largely unknown, and can only be approximated by combining the content of all existing Japanese language and kanji dictionaries, and subtracting everything that is written using characters beyond the material included in the Kanken Kanji Jiten dictionary.
Of course, to make the test practically passable the organizers tend to compose its questions mainly based on the content of the Kanken Kanji Jiten and Kanken Yojijukugo Jiten,
and i think it is reasonable to suggest that if one fully learns those sources, and is able to use that knowledge during the test (under the constraints and duress of limited time and much stress) one should be able to pass the test every time, including the level 1.
On the other hand, considering the sheer volume of those dictionaries, since this is beyond what most people are capable of,
especially when it comes to the first level of Kanken, the problem of expanding one’s expertise in the areas where a lot of material not explicitly given in the official canonical sources is used, becomes so crucially important.
One particular such area is related to the section 8 of the test which is dedicated to proverbs and classical expressions.
The necessity to go beyond the canonical sources usually becomes apparent when one reaches a stage where on average they are able to get about 140 points.
Among the ways to improve one’s performance in this area is to strengthen one’s command of yojijukugo which are sometimes used as a material for the content of the 8th section by breaking them down, and “reading” them in a “kanbun”-style way.
It goes without saying that the most sure-proof way to completely master this area would be through extensive reading and studying of the classic literature,
but such a noble thing may not always be possible for everyone due to such obvious reasons as a lack of time, access to relevant literature, or, perhaps, insufficient commitment to the task in general.
Well, we all have our lives and circumstances, and thus it is always convenient to have a condensed source of material on this or that particular topic we are dealing with.
This was a problem which i was facing personally when i was trying to pass the Kanken level 1 for the first time, and to address it i was collecting all related material on proverbs and classic expressions i was able to come by into one place for better subsequent access and efficiency.
Such my efforts have eventually led to the creation of the database i wanted to introduce here.
By the time of writing this , which is September 2022, this database of proverbs and famous expressions that can theoretically be used for the 8th section of the Kanken level 1 test contains more than 6000 entries, and to my knowledge is the biggest collection of its kind existing on the Internet.
To access it go to the page on this site called『故事成句諺』 where the material is organized in hiragana order, and is contained in a sort of a spreadsheet with 100 entries on each page.
The entries are for reference purposes, and do not contain meanings or explanations, for which you would either need to search elsewhere on the Internet or rely on corresponding paper or electronic dictionaries.
Although I tried to make my utmost effort to avoid any mistakes if you notice some please inform me using a contact page on this website.