How to read and understand your Japanese health check report

By Kirsty Kawano

If you’ve lived in Japan for a while now, in one way or another you have most likely come across the annual health check, or 健康診断 (kenko shindan), the once-a-year reality check that — despite often being the bearer of bad news — makes things a tad more complicated by having way too many kanji. Typically organized by your company, Japan’s health check practice is a brilliant system in place, making sure that all employees are being regularly advised not to put on extra weight, smoke and drink less, and consume more vegetables in addition to, of course, exercise regularly and have less stress.

For the lucky few usually working in foreign companies, the report will include at least a brief English translation. For the rest of us, however, we can feel our blood pressure rise as we wonder what those little lines of kanji comments are trying to tell us about the health of our hearts and lungs. To help you navigate your health check results without the need to reveal your darkest secrets to your Japanese colleagues while desperately trying to figure out what that C or D on your report means, here is a guide to some of the key phrases you will find in every health check report in Japan.

Your health report at a glance

While every clinic has its own template, the one above is an example of a typical health check report. If you do the health check at the same clinic every year, your report will also include results from previous years next to your current results, so that you can clearly see how much weight you’ve gained (or lost) and how your health looks like altogether in comparison to a year ago.

The results in details

The following are terms you will find in the general categories on your report.

  • **定期検診結果報告書 **(teiki kenshin kekka hokokusho) Health check results report
  • This is the title that will be at the top of the page. There are many varieties to this, but they all mean the same thing.
  • 総合判定 or 総合所見 (sogo hantei or sogou shoken) Comprehensive judgment
  • As well as numerical data and kanji comments, your result sheet will likely include a grading system. Most likely those will be expressed in alphabet letters (and sometimes in numbers), typically covering six levels, from A to F (or E).

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© Savvy Tokyo

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