Faculty Spotlight: Noriko Reider

photo of Noriko Reider

  • professor of Japanese
  • teaches Japanese language, literature, and culture courses, including Japanese Tales of the Supernatural
  • research interests include Japanese tales of the supernatural
  • enjoys her family, reading, and traveling


"I was born in Tokyo, where I received my B.A. and my first M.A., in Japanese History, at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. I then came to the U.S. to get my second master's degree and Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. I also have certification in the Japanese tea ceremony.

"I love my specialty. I teach Japanese because it's my native language and I enjoy guiding students through my language and culture."


"I really love the GRAMELAC [German, Russian, Asian, and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures] department. The faculty gets along with each other very well, and that really supports my passion for teaching.

"I enjoy my language classes primarily because I do not have to worry about English! I also love teaching Japanese culture courses such as Japanese Tales of the Supernatural, a traditional Japanese drama class, a Japanese film course, and a course on Buddhism and Culture in Japan.

"My interaction with students is very meaningful, and I like to hear their perspectives. I have great students, and they inspired my second book, Japanese Demon Lore: Oni, from Ancient Times to the Present. I was looking for some English content on the oni (demons/ogres), and that is how I started my research.

"I believe critical thinking and reflection are important for students, beginning with one's own culture. When you compare and contrast your culture with another, you begin to reflect, think critically, and learn a lot more."


"My research interests include many traditional Japanese themes, including the supernatural. Although in modern times the mysteries of these tales and legends have been explained, long ago there was no clear understanding. For example, people used to think hypothermia was caused by a beautiful 'snow woman' who lived in the mountains.

"I recently taught a Japanese film course, where we watched Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood, which is based on Shakespeare's Macbeth. My students' input about the film and its depiction of demons and the supernatural led me to writing a research article.

"In this way, teaching and research are always related for me. The things I discuss in my classes with students have sparked ideas for research, and things I find in my research have sparked discussions in my classes."

Outside the Classroom

"I'm a professor, a mother, and a wife, and that's everything to me. My daughter graduated from Miami University in May 2015 and my son is a sophomore. My family really motivates me, and I also love the Japanese tea ceremony, travelling, reading, and eating."

[July 2015]