Digital Japan Bowl FAQ


 Can teachers and student observers observe?

Absolutely. Registered chaperones and student observers will be able to observe the full competition. For the preliminary rounds, we are limited in how many people are able to observe each level, so we ask that observers select one level to observe. Registered observers will be able to observe all culture class workshops and presentations in the main room, and will be able to watch the championship live.

Will all competitors be able to view the Google Form or only the team captains?  Since it is a team competition, it would helpful if all team members are able to view the form and check for typos.

We are still working out the exact logistics of the Google Form documents, but we intend for 25 questions of the preliminary round to be multiple-choice questions, and 25 will require answers to be inputted. For the inputted questions, we are planning on using a Google Sheet so that the team members can collaborate on the form together. For multiple choice questions, all students should be able to see the options, but the team captain will have to click the team’s final answer.

Do we need to be in the same physical room during the competition?

No, students can participate remotely from their rooms at home. Team members will be placed together in a Zoom Breakout Room so that they can discuss their answers with their teammates during the preliminary rounds.

How many seconds are participants given to answer each question?

Student will have 30 seconds to answer each question. This time limit is the same as the physical Japan Bowl competition at the 4-H Center.

Is there a dress code for participants?

Japan Bowl will not follow a strict dress code, but we ask that students be dressed appropriately and avoid wearing articles of clothing such as pajamas, sweatshirts, and tank tops.

Can participants have a chat open on the side to confer with their teammates?

No. For the preliminary round, students will be placed in a breakout room so that they can freely discuss their answers. Two answer forms will be used for the preliminary round: a direct input Google Doc, and a multiple-choice Google Quiz. Students can collaborate on the direct input form, so a separate chat window is not necessary.

For the championship round, students are not allowed to confer for the individual questions or the toss-up round questions.

Will there be some kind of plan in place to regulate cheating?

All competitors will have access to two Zoom rooms: the main Japan Bowl room as well as the room for their individual level’s preliminary rounds.  During the preliminary rounds, teams will be sent to individual breakout rooms and they will be joined by one moderator who will monitor them during the competition to prevent cheating. Zoom backgrounds are not allowed during the preliminary round or championship round and the student should be visible for the duration of the rounds.

We also require all students to sign an honor code before participating, with the understanding that they will be disqualified from the competition if they break it. 

Logistics and Technology

What will happen if connectivity issues prevent competitors from hearing or answering the questions? What if a competitor’s Computer/laptop/ or tablet crashed in the middle of the competition?

We will be conducting tests with each school prior to the competition to ensure that students are able to connect the meetings and familiar with the format. We will also provide a suggestion sheet in advance on how to minimize connectivity issues. However, we are not able to offer IT troubleshooting support to competitors regarding their internet connectivity during the competition. If there are minor sound delays or issues, the monitor in your breakout room will do their best to assist you. We know that anything can happen on competition day and we will do our best to accommodate any problems students might have as they arise, but we ask for your understanding in our limits to assist. We do not want any students to have connectivity issues or be dropped during the competition, so we welcome any ideas or solutions on how to prevent these problems.

Can participants request to listen one more time in case the audio is incomprehensible?

If the audio is cutting out, immediately inform the monitor. If it is a one-off issue we should be able to replay the audio, but we cannot replay the audio for every single question. We will need to know immediately if there is an issue so we can resolve it before moving forward with the questions.

Will only cell phones be allowed to buzz in during the toss up round?

You can also use your tablet or laptop to access the buzzer application we will be using.  However, it would be easiest to use a cellphone if you have one available for the championship rounds. This is so that you can continue to view the Zoom Meeting Room where the questions are being displayed.

Will questions be read in breakout rooms by the monitors or played through a recording on the Powerpoint?

Questions will be played through a recorded Powerpoint, but monitors will be present in each breakout room to answer questions and make sure the video runs smoothly.  

Will participants need to type certain answers in Japanese?

Yes, participants will need to type certain answers in Japanese.  We will practice typing answers in Japanese in the trial meeting with each school and will provide a tutorial that students can reference.

If a student, a student’s family members, teacher, and teacher’s family member had a medical emergency and could not participate in the competition, is that understood with a refund?

Yes, we will offer refunds or a substitution if a student cannot compete because of emergency circumstances. Health and safety should be a priority for all at this time.

My school has removed their approval for the Zoom platform. What should we do?

If this is the case, please email us at and we will work with you to figure out a solution.

Can observers cancel and get a refund?

Yes, observers are able to cancel and get a refund.  Please email us at in order to receive a refund. Please note that you will no longer receive the Japan Bowl goodie box that will be mailed out after the competition.

Can you share the video of preliminary or final rounds with our organization?

Absolutely! One of the silver linings of doing a digital competition is that JASWDC is able to record the competition. We will edit the clips into a video to share with participants and on social media for educational and advocacy purposes.  If you are interested in obtaining clips of specific aspects of the Digital Japan Bowl (with the exception of receiving a recording of the full preliminary round), please send an inquiry to

I understand that we are using Zoom to run the competition. Can students use a browser to access the competition or do they need to download an app?

For full functionality, we would prefer if students download the application to a laptop or desktop computer since they will need a phone or tablet for the championship round.  However, we understand that not all students can have access to download applications so we will run tests before the competition in order to make sure that every student will have access to all of the features we need them to access during the competition.

For the technology troubleshooting prior to the Japan Bowl and the Japan Bowl itself does each student need their own individual laptop or will they be sharing one?

Each student should be using the individual laptop or computer they plan to use for the competition. If your laptop does not have a webcam you may use your cellphone to participate, although Zoom Meetings has limited features on the phone.


Will people who didn’t register to be an onlooker due to reasons of being unable to travel (such as myself) be able to watch the online competition this year?

Yes! If you are interested in becoming an observer, please be sure to register to do so.  This year, observer spaces will be limited so please sign up as soon as you can. Observers will be able to watch the full competition, participate in cultural workshops and activities, and will be mailed a goodie box with Japan Bowl memorabilia.

How will people who registered as chaperones or watchers (such as teachers, family members, etc.) be able to watch the competition this year?

Registered chaperones and observers will be able to participate in the Zoom meetings and all activities. For the preliminary rounds, all observers (i.e. everyone who is not a competitor) will be put into a breakout room together where you will be shown the same PowerPoint as the competitors. Observers will also be provided an observer answer sheet that they can follow along with.

The championship round will be streamed live on the Japan-America Society of Washington DC Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram accounts.


Were we supposed to register for the Digital Japan Bowl separately or do we automatically get registered if we previously registered for the National Japan Bowl?

If you previously registered for the National Japan Bowl you are automatically registered for the Digital Japan Bowl. The only new document you will need to submit is the “Digital Japan Bowl Honesty Pledge.”

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