Heidelberg University
Heidelberg Alumni International
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Heidelberg Alumni International


'My time here was a privilege that has shaped me as a person'

Prof. Dr Yuko Nishitani
Prof. Dr Yuko Nishitani

Prof. Dr Yuko Nishitani, jurist at Kyoto University, Kyoto/Japan

PhD programme from 1994 to 1997 at Heidelberg University’s Institute for Comparative Law, Conflicts of Law and International Business Law



When, how long and in what capacity did you stay at Heidelberg University?

I was a PhD student at Heidelberg University from October 1994 to September 1997. I conducted research under Prof. Dr Erik Jayme at the Institute for Comparative Law, Conflicts of Law and International Business Law, right on University Square. 


Why did you decide to come to Heidelberg University?

Because of my research topic. I had chosen to focus on Pasquale Stanislao Mancini (1817–1888), an Italian thinker and authority on international private law (IPL), and Prof. Jayme was the only expert worldwide who had done intensive research on Mancini’s IPL teachings.


What did you like best about your stay, and where do you see room for improvement?

My experience at Heidelberg University was an all-round positive one. I particularly appreciated the expertise of my doctoral supervisor and his students, the helpfulness of the colleagues and assistants at the institute, the wonderful working atmosphere of the institute with summer and winter parties, the surroundings of the University, the natural environment and beauty of the city and the possibility of becoming close friends with German and international students and colleagues.


How did your career continue after your time in Heidelberg?

After my return from Heidelberg I became Associate Professor at Tohoku University in Japan. Since then, I have pursued an academic career.


How do you rate the German scientific community compared to your home country or other countries in which you have conducted research?

The German scientific system allows junior academics more freedom and flexibility, but getting a professorship takes longer than elsewhere.


How important do you think international exchange is for scientists?

I think it is essential and imperative for academics to engage in international exchange. I learned so much during my time in Heidelberg, not just about my chosen field, but also about the German way of thinking, lifestyle, mentality, history, politics and culture in general. My time here was a privilege that has shaped me as a person. Without this experience, I would not have been able to build a successful academic career. Today, I try to give back a little by supporting junior scholars, e.g. when international students want to come to me in Kyoto or our Japanese students want to go abroad.

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Latest Revision: 2018-02-23
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