How do Japanese and German students perceive themselves and each other? How do auto- and hetero-stereotypes in the mutual perception relate to the construction of collective identity? These questions are investigated in the study at hand. In 29 qualitative, semi-standardized one-hour interviews, university students in Germany and Japan are asked about their self-perception and the perception of the respective other culture's members. Only by comparing the "self" (in-group) to the "other" (out-groups), can the "self" be recognized. Communities need to rely on stereotypes for the construction of a shared identity, because collectives like national cultures always present imagined communities (cf. Anderson 2006). The shared narrative is necessarily selective and based on the omission of that which would separate the community's members. That which unites the community is emphasized. The results of the interviews demonstrate the relativity of the mutual perception and help to understand the dialectics of auto- and hetero-stereotypes.