After graduating from Law Department of Tokyo University in 1896, Yamada Saburo took postgraduate course in international law and then proceeded to Europe and America for further studies in 1897.
Returning home after studies abroad, Yamada Saburo rejoined his alma mater as professor in 1901 and the following year was conferred a doctorate, LL.D. Retired from Tokyo University after 30 years' service to become president of Keijo (Seoul) University. Was for some time also connected with "Hogaku Kyokai Zasshi" (The Journal of the Judicial Association). Emeritus professor of Tokyo University and President of Japanese Academy since the end of World War II.