SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Centeno, Marcos (2014) 'Las grietas de la imagen. Una mirada a la trastienda de los primeros documentales etnográfico sobre el pueblo ainu (1897-1936).' Secuencias. Revista de historia del cine (40). pp. 62-80.

Text - Draft Version
Download (310kB) | Preview


This work is a historical study of the representation of the Ainu people through ethnographic documentaries made in Japan before the Pacific War. The corpus has been divided into three sections: first, the Ainu in the first Lumière actualités filmed in Japan. Second, in the actualités of Pathé productions and the reference to the lost documentary of Torii Ryozo. Third,in the travelogues, made in Japan by Frederick Starr and Benjamin Brodsky in the 1910s. When comparing the film analysis to the social reality of the Ainu, in section four, it becomes clear how documentaries tried to project a deceiving ethnicity belonging to a time prior to the moment they were filmed. Thus, filmmakers aimed at causing attraction of the Western audience through the exotic and ahistorical view of a cultural and geographically distant people. The approach to the productional circumstances of the images reveals the mise en scène, the premeditated construction of Ainu identity. All this could cast doubt on the validity of the ethnographic documentary as social testimony.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Ainu, actualités, travelogue, documentary, ethnographic cinema, Japanese cinema, Lumière, Constant Girel, Pathé, Benjamin Brodsky
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Centre for Film Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General)
ISSN: 11346795
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2015 11:04
Related URLs: (Organisation URL)

Altmetric Data

There is no Altmetric data currently associated with this item.


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item