The 11th Japan Spelling Bee Cancelled

The Japan Times Logo

We have made the reluctant decision to outright cancel the 11th Japan Spelling Bee.

This decision was made after careful consideration and close consultations with Scripps and stakeholders following the concerns and uncertainties arising from travel disruptions and other circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. As Scripps cancelled the national finals for 2020, we at The Japan Times have also determined that there is no clear path to safely set a new date in 2020.

We seek the understanding of participants and their families who had looked forward to attending the competition in 2020 and regret any inconvenience this has caused.


What is Japan Spelling Bee?


Under spelling bee rules, each speller must spell their word out loud, and they can request the definition, the language of origin and an alternate pronunciation as well as hearing the word used in an example sentence. Spellers cannot go back and change the order of their spelling once they have spelled a letter out loud.

History and purpose

The spelling bee has a history of over 90 years. It first started in the U.S. in 1925 when nine newspapers joined together to host a spelling bee. Its purpose is to help students improve their spelling, increase vocabulary, learn concepts and develop correct English usage.

In addition to a deeper appreciation for language, it also gives participants important lessons on the value of hard work and memories that will last a lifetime.

Past champions and participating schools