Letters from HUAP

Dr. Sonoko Dorothea Bellingrath-Kimura

Professor, Humboldt University of Berlin / Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)

When Hokkaido University offered me a partner position, I was very happy to be connected to my alma mater and my desire to go to Sapporo again grew stronger. I have Hokkaido University pamphlets in my office to present the appeal of the University to visitors. Many people in Germany have heard of “Hokkaido” and “Sapporo”, which is associated with good impression, such as Snow or delicious pumpkin named “Hokkaido”. Many members of the association of alumni of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) in the German-speaking area have been to or have acquaintances in Hokkaido. When I see graduates of Hokkaido University or participants of the summer programs, I feel like I’ve known them for many years.

I’m happy that the Graduate School of Global Food Resources and other organizations of Hokkaido University are currently active in fostering international human resources and research activities. I am also conducting a joint research project with the Laboratory of Soil Science for which I am receiving Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research. I’m planning to visit places where I studied when I was in the doctoral course, and I’m looking forward to it. I’d like to interact with current students of Hokkaido University and to receive them as exchange students in the future. When some people from the German agricultural machinery industry sought my advice because they wanted to observe Japan’s smart agriculture, I recommended Hokkaido and a visit by their delegation to Hokkaido University was realized.

Since the pandemic started, online meetings and communications through instant messengers have become common, and it has become possible to work efficiently and flexibly from home or other places. Even so, I feel it is important to meet people in person, because small talk you have with someone you run into may sometimes develop into discussions about research activities. I think online and in-person communications should be combined effectively in the future.

I currently live in the State of Brandenburg, about 30 minutes by train from the east of center of Berlin. It is a northern region, but it does not have as much snow as Sapporo. The nearby city of Fürstenwalde has a plant of the Beer Brewery, which advertises to be the roots of Sapporo Beer. I was very surprised to find a slide show of the streets of Sapporo, the Clock Tower, and Odori Park at the plant. In Germany, many peopleenjoy hiking and walking on holidays, and the entrances to forest roads are lined with cars in the mushroom-picking season. (Locals know the secret places, and so do I!)

Cycling tourism is also popular, and projects to link bioeconomy and cycling tourism are  conducted mainly in the Lausitz region with its old brown coal mine sites. Co-development-
type research involving the stakeholders is recommended, and the research style is changing
in the direction of conducting research, development, and innovation simultaneously under the
name of Living-Lab. This is necessary to provide research results promptly to meet the on-site needs and address climate change “now”. Research on “right crop for right site” intended to identify optimal ways of utilizing agricultural land is currently conducted with the aim of improving ecosystem functions of soil besides food production, including carbon accumulation and groundwater preservation through smart agriculture.

I was able to spend nine wonderful years at Hokkaido University. I want to tell everyone at  Hokkaido University that you can be proud of your university in the world. Please value your ties expressed in the Miyako zo Yayoi dormitory song.




私が今住んでいるのはベルリン中心部から電車で東に30 分ほどのブランデンブルグ州です。北国ですが札幌のように雪は多くはありません。近くのフュルステンバルデという都市には、サッポロビールのルーツとされているベルリンビール醸造会社の工場があり、工場には、札幌の街並み、時計台、大通のスライドショーがあってとても驚きました。休日にはハイキングや散歩を楽しむ人が多く、キノコ狩りの季節には林道の入り口に車が並びます(地元民は秘密の場所を知っ

でも、ステークホルダーを巻き込んだCo-Development 型が推奨されていて、Living-Labという名称で、研究と開発、イノベーションを同時に行う方向にスタイルが変わりつつあります。現場のニーズに合わせ、研究成果をすぐに提供し、気候変動への対応を「今」行う必要があるからです。現在は「適地適作を1つの圃場内でどのように行えるか」という研究が進められており、スマート農業を使って、炭素蓄積や地下水保全といった食料生産以外の土壌の機能を使う生態系サービスの向上を目指しています。