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Whether because they are bored, driven to absorb as much of life’s wonder as they can, or because they regard certificates as legups on the career pole, many Japanese of all ages are flocking to fonts of knowledge on everything from kanji (Chinese written characters), to shochu (low-class distilled spirits) to movies and aromatherapy.

In particular, the popularity of tests on history, culture, food, local industries and locally famous people has been skyrocketing since the launch of the “Tokyo City Guide Kentei (Tokyo City Guide Test)” in November 2003.

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