Julia Kuehnle

Julia Kuehnle

Julia Kuehnle

Class of 2018

Nationality: I am half Japanese, half German, and I was born in the United States.


How many years did you attend YIS?
I attended YIS for ten years.  

Where did you go after graduating from YIS?
I pursued my studies in Political Science and Economics at Waseda University in Japan. I also did an exchange semester abroad at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
Where are you currently based, and what is your occupation? 

I am based in Yokohama, near the former YIS campus, and I work in the Marketing Department at Unilever Japan. 
Congratulations on your success at the Miss World Japan 2022. What motivated you to undertake this challenge?

Amongst the four major international beauty pageants for women, Miss World values the volunteer work initiatives of its participants the most through its “Beauty with a Purpose” examination. Since I had actively participated in volunteer work during my time at YIS, and continued with these activities after graduation, I decided to join the competition to share my achievements and future aspirations with other young women in Japan. 
What were some of the difficulties in your preparation for the contest and what did you take away from it? 

Being surrounded by participants who had skills and expertise which I did not was very intimidating. While there were areas of the competition that I felt confident in including the “Beauty with a Purpose” and “English Debate” examinations, not having any modeling or show business experience resulted in me struggling in the “Top Model” and “Multimedia (Social Media)” examinations. 

I learned that confidence is the most important factor in presenting the best version of yourself. Being tall I was always insecure about my height growing up. In an effort to make myself appear as short as possible I have had poor posture throughout my life. Taking part in the competition made me realize my own confidence and now I am happy about my height and I try to present the best version of myself daily.


Are you able to use your experience to further your goals, ambitions, and aspirations?

Yes, through the competition I was able to share my goals, ambitions, and aspirations with a large audience which has opened up many new opportunities for me. One of my future aspirations is to provide employment support services to the homeless living in Japan, including those living at the Kotobuki-cho Chiku center, where I have been doing volunteer work ever since I was in middle school at YIS. I recently gave a speech to over 1,000 students at a speech contest and am excited to see where the journey will take me.

What type of sports or non-academic activities were you involved with at YIS?

I was involved with several service activities at YIS. I held a leadership role in the Chiku Service Club for two consecutive years and I took part in the Student Council as well as the Animal Relief Club. I was also part of the Volleyball, Basketball, and Badminton teams throughout my high school years. 

Which grade level or class at YIS would you want to relive, and why? Would you do anything differently?

If I had the opportunity I would relive my senior year in high school and reach out to more students, teachers, and staff. I realize now how valuable and unique the people, environment and community at YIS are, and how much my time at school shaped the person I am today.

Which aspects of your YIS education helped prepare you the most for your current professional and personal life?

The importance that YIS puts on service activities and education outside the scope of traditional academics has prepared me the most for life. I only realized after graduating that the level of importance YIS places on service work is not typically seen in Japanese schools. I have been able to use my experiences and share them with others to spread awareness of volunteer opportunities. I recently spoke to Japan’s Education Minister, Mr.Shimomura, who has worked for many years to implement the International Baccalaureate diploma in Japanese schools. During our discussion, we talked about the importance of partaking in service activities at a young age. I hope that more schools will put a higher priority on service activities in the future. 

What famous person, past or present, would you most like to meet in person, and why?

I would like to meet Beyoncé.  Not only has her music shaped a large part of my childhood but she is also a committed philanthropist. She started the Survivor Foundation with Kelly Rowland to provide housing for displaced families after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as well as make several donations to support more recent movements. If I had the chance to meet her, I would like to discuss her future aspirations to make the world a better place.