This study conducted an item analysis of the linguistics questions in the 2014–2021 recruitment exams for secondary school Japanese teachers. The frequency of the linguistics questions was examined by year, subfield, and question format. The results showed that the frequency of linguistics questions has increased over the past five years, and the 2021 exam included the highest number till date. Most of the linguistics questions concerned phonology/morphology and syntax/semantics that tested the examinees’ analytical skills. The questions in the 2021 exam seemed more difficult than previous exams because they included topics from sociolinguistics and semantics that might not be familiar to examinees and did not clarify the unfamiliar linguistic terms used in the questions. Linguistics education in the current secondary school teacher education program does not cover the linguistic knowledge required by the current recruitment exam, suggesting the need to change either the program or the exam.