Meet: Yumiko – exchange student from Tokyo

Bucerius Law School welcomes exchange students from all over the world to Hamburg each fall while its LLB students study abroad.

Education & Study |

What is your home university?

My home university is Waseda Law School which is located close to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office.


How is studying different here?

At my home University, I devoted all my time to my studies and so did the students around me. Whereas, in this exchange program, I feel that all exchange students are very free to enjoy their days in their own way.

Of course, I also myself enjoy attending in events offered by the Bucerius Law School, going out to parties every weekend with my friends, and other guerrilla-wise events. I feel that the ability to study efficiently are required in this situation.

Why did you decide to learn German out of all languages?

Because I used to listen to classical music when I was a child and I was familiar with Germany. Moreover, there is also the influence of Japanese comic books! In Japan, German is considered a very cool sounding language and German words often appear in Japanese comic books.


What was the biggest change for you when you came here?

Rather than saying that I have changed a great deal during this stay, it would be better to say that I have recognized the changes that had already taken place during my previous stays. For example, the tolerance for other people's lifestyles and the feeling of being accepted as I am are different from what I feel in Japan, in a good way.

On the other hand there are some differences from my previous stays, i.e. that I am trying to have more opportunities to break out of my comfort zone.


Why is a German-Japanese relationship important future wise?

I believe it is important to continue to strengthen our relationship because there are actually not that many countries in the world that have as many aspects in common with Japanese society, such as the rule of law, democracy and civil law.


Where do you see the biggest opportunity for that relationship?

It goes without saying that academic exchange between Japan and Germany is very active, as shown by my current study as an exchange student in Germany and the German-Japanese Online-Criminal law day held online at Bucerius. The Elbphilharmonie Hall's acoustical design was designed by Nagata Acoustics which has also worked on large halls in Japan. Moreover, Yokohama-city, whose port is Hamburg's sister port and which is my birthplace, has visited Hamburg to study the citys successful urban renewal methods.

Hamburg and Japan have established a relationship in which both cities are learning from eachothers techniques. And in fact, what I have personally focused on recently is the strengthening of our relationship in the area of defense. For example, it is worth noting that the frigate Bayern visited at the port of Tokyo last November 2021. Of course, I went there to see it!

Furthermore it was very impressive that Eurofighter of German Air Force visited Japan and flew in formation with planes of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force over the highest mountain in Japan, Mt. Fuji in September of this year. It was the first time a German Air Force plane had ever flown over Japan!

Where do you see the biggest challenge in that relationship?

I would say that there is a fairly big geographical distance compared to other countries in the Pacific Ocean.


What can we do to assess that problem?

I believe that studying in a country means having a connection with that country, which, in turn, can strengthen the relationship between countries beyond governmental diplomacy. I think it is important to establish grassroots contacts in as many countries as possible under the recent rapidly changing situation.

I am the first Japanese exchange student at Bucerius. That is why I have gained so much from this program and stay. I hope that more and more Japanese people will jump into an unprecedented environment and that the grassroots relationship with Germany will grow even stronger.

Yumiko, thanks for the interview. 


Emma Schimmel