SOAS University of London

Centre for Media and Film Studies

Marcos Centeno

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  • Teaching
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Marcos Centeno
Japan and Korea Section, Department of East Asian Languages and Culture

Senior Teaching Fellow in Film Studies

Centre for Media and Film Studies


SOAS Japan Research Centre (JRC)

Academic Staff, Japan Research Centre

Dr Marcos Centeno
Email address:
+44(0)20 7898 4227
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Office Hours:
Tues 5-6pm, Thurs 6-7pm / Appointment by email


Marcos Centeno teaches Japanese Cinema and World Cinemas. His research developed in Europe and Japan focuses on the Japanese avant-garde and non-fiction film, transculturality, and the representation of youth and ethnic minorities.  

He studied Communication at the University of Valencia where he obtained an Extraordinary Award of the School and in Japan, as a Waseda University grant holder. He also has professional experience working as a television director and as an independent filmmaker. He received several awards such as best director, best documentary film, prize of human rights, and prize of interculturality for his full-length documentary film, Ainu. Pathways to Memory (2014), which was released in the U.S. and screened at universities and film festivals in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

He held a doctoral fellowship at the University of Valencia where he taught courses in Film and Media Studies and went back to Japan for several years as a Research Associate at the International Institute for Education and Research, Waseda University. He was also visiting researcher at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, and Goethe Universität Frankfurt, and participates actively in several European research groups. Centeno obtained his PhD with a thesis entitled Susumu Hani (1950-1960): The Theoretical and Practical Contribution to the Japanese Documentary and Youth Cinema, which is the first anthology written on the figure of Susumu Hani, a study that sheds light on his period as a documentary maker as well as on his theoretical contributions. 




My research is centred on different aspects of Japanese cinema: on the one hand, film theory with particular interest in the one produced in Japan. On the other, the analysis of the aesthetics, narratives and the context of production, considering the uniqueness of Japanese films and, at the same time, Western influences and transcultural phenomena. The case studies undertaken are as follows:

  • The cinematic portrayal of youth. First, I have looked at the birth of “teen cinema”, understood as part of the subculture created by the entertainment industry. It implied facing the problem of the taiyōzoku multidimensional phenomenon, the assimilation of Hollywood codes of genre within the new juvenile star system and other transnational influences. Second, I defined youth cinema as a part of a counter-culture reacting against film industry and identified the commitment of filmmakers to the New Left, the student protests of the fifties and sixties and its links to other Western author cinemas.
  • Post-war documentary film. This area of research concerns the avant-garde documentary movement of the fifties, the role of the Iwanami Eiga studios and the work of Susumu Hani who, being at the same time a theorist and documentary maker, became a key figure in the renewal of the cinematic language of the sixties.
  • Film representations of ethnic minorities in Japan. After a piece of research on the zainichi, Korean residents in Japan, I began to be interested in the Ainu people. During my three years of doctoral studies at Waseda University, I joined courses of Ainu language and culture and I had first-hand contact with the Ainu community in Tokyo. I searched for film materials on Ainu culture and history throughout archives in Japan and Europe (German, Switzerland, France, Spain, UK, Italy), I interviewed specialists on the matter (between 2010 and 2013) and a result of this job I finished my full-length documentary, Ainu. Pathways to Memory (2014). This fieldwork provided me with a valuable first step for furthering my research on the film representation of the Ainu people throughout history. From the perspective of Area Studies, I have reflected on questions of (counter) hegemonic discourses, the notion of “otherness”, ethnicity, identity and the myth of Japanese homogeneity. From the field of Communication, I have analysed the ontological problems of the image, its faithfulness to social reality and the projections of the creator’s daydreams. The last two decades of epistemological crisis in the fields of Visual Anthropology and Ethnographic Cinema have shaped the theoretical framework of this research.



Centeno, Marcos (2018) 'Contextualising N. G. Munro’s filming of the Ainu Bear Ceremony'. Japan Society Proceedings. [Forthcoming]

Centeno, Marcos (2018) 'Deceiving ‘Primitivism’. Ainu people in 1910s Travelogues'. Annals, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature. [Forthcoming]

Centeno, Marcos (2018) 'The Limits of Fiction: Politics and Absent Scenes in Susumu Hani’s Bad Boys (Furyōshōnen, 1960). A Film Re-reading through its Script'. Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema, (10), pp 1-15.

Centeno, Marcos and Morita, Nori (2018) 'Introduction: Japanese Cinema and the Transnational. Towards a New Paradigm?'. Arts, (Sep). [Forthcoming]

Centeno, Marcos (2018) 'El arte de la (re)producción. Contribución japonesa al debate sobre qué es la imagen (eizō) [The art of (re)production. Japanese Contribution to the debate on what is image (eizō)]'. Trama y Fondo, (44). [Forthcoming]

Centeno, Marcos (2017) 'Failures of the Image: Backstage Look at the Early Film Portrayals of the Ainu People'. Orientalia Parthenopea 17, pp 189-211.

Centeno, Marcos (2017) 'The Fight for the Self-Representation: Ainu Imaginary, Ethnicity and Assimilation'. Aphaville. Journal of Film and Screen Media 13, pp 69-89.

Centeno, Marcos (2017) '¿Es el cine japonés un cine nacional?'. Studium. Revista de Humanidades 23, pp 245-272. [Forthcoming]

Centeno, Marcos (2017) 'Del Viaje del Turista Al Viaje del Héroe. Mímesis Cinematográfica del Discurso Turístico Japonés Sobre España. El Caso de Andarushia (2011) [From a Tourist Journey to a Hero Journey. Film Mimesis in the Tourist Japanese Discourse on Spain: the Case of Andalushia]'. MIRAI Estudios Japoneses, (1) 1, pp 93-111.

Centeno, Marcos (2017) 'Transnational Circulation of Images of the Pacific War (1941-1945): The Japanese Empire Seen through Spanish Newsreels'. Irish Journal of Asian Studies (IJAS), (3), pp 1-17.

Centeno, Marcos (2015) 'The Shapes of Otherness: the Representation of the Ainu People in Brodsky’s Travelogues 1918-1919'. Kokoro, Revista para la difusión de la cultura japonesa 17, pp 14-22.

Centeno, Marcos (2015) '¿Qué se oculta tras el papel en blanco de machino? El dibujo como puerta al mundo interior infantil en children who draw (1956) de Susumu Hani.'. L’Atalante. Revista de Estudios Cinematográficos. [Submitted]

Centeno, Marcos (2014) 'Demystifying the Notion of Japaneseness: the Documentary 'Ainu. Pathways to memory'. Eikyō, Influencias japonesas 13, pp 4-7.

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.

Centeno, Marcos (2014) '“The ‘Other’ Ainu in Japanese Documentary Cinema: from the Rediscovery of Minorities to Memory as Struggle in Tadayoshi Himeda’s Films'. Studium. Revista de Humanidades 20, pp 203-230.

Centeno, Marcos (2012) 'Who can say that we should not live like dogs? Retrospective of Shuji Terayama.'. Contrapicado. Escritos sobre cine.

Centeno, Marcos (2010) 'Use of the Archive Pictures and Political Context in the Japanese New Wave.'. Cinéma et Art Contemporain III, pp 116-122.

Edited Books or Journals

Centeno, Marcos and Raine, Michael, (eds.), (2018) Trends in Japanese Documentary Film. MDPI. (Arts, December 2018). [Forthcoming]

Centeno, Marcos and Morita, Nori, (eds.), (2018) Special Issue "Japanese Transnational Cinema". MDPI. (Arts, September 2018).

Book Chapters

Centeno, Marcos (2018) 'Comunicación visual de conflictos. La masacre de Nankín [Visual Communication of Conflicts. The Nanking Massacre]'. Comunicación y Cambio Social. Sao Paulo: Universidad Estadual Paulista de Brasil UNESP. [Forthcoming]

Centeno, Marcos (2018) 'Susumu Hani and the avant-garde documentary movement'. Memoria y paisaje en el cine japonés de posguerra. Santiago de Chile: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. [Forthcoming]

Centeno, Marcos (2017) 'Method Directors. Susumu Hani and Yasujirō Ozu: a Comparative Approach across Paradigms'. In: Becker, Andreas, (ed.), Yasujirô Ozu and the Aesthetics of his Time. Darmstadt: Büchner-Verlag, pp 125-152.

Centeno, Marcos (2017) 'Tokyo 1958 and Bad Boys: Post-war Narratives through Avant-garde Documentary'. In: Martínez, Dolores and Guarné, Blai and Lozano, Artur, (eds.), Media and the Politics of Memory in Japan. New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books. [Forthcoming]

Centeno, Marcos (2016) 'The rediscovery of the Japanese documentary cinema. The contemporary study of the unknown works of Susumu Hani in Iwanami Eiga'. In: Lozano Méndez, Artur, (ed.), El Japón Contemporáneo. Una aproximación desde los estudios culturales. Barcelona: Bellaterra, pp 33-54.

Centeno, Marcos (2016) 'Transcultural Corporeity in Taiyozoku Youth Cinema. Some Notes on the Contradictions of Japaneseness in the Economic Miracle.'. In: Becker, Andreas and Adachi-Rabe, Kayo, (eds.), Presentation of Bodies in Japanese Films / Körperinszenierungen im japanischen Film. Darmstadt: Büchner-Verlag, pp 143-160.

Centeno, Marcos (2015) 'El redescubrimiento del cine documental japonés. El estudio contemporáneo de la desconocida obra de Susumu Hani en Iwanami Eiga.'. In: Lozano, Artur, (ed.), El Japón Contemporáneo. Una aproximación desde los Estudios Culturales. Barcelona: Ediciones Bellaterra. [Forthcoming]

Centeno, Marcos (2011) 'Discovering Minorities in Japan: First Korean Representations in Japanese Cinema.'. ACCS. The Asian Conference on Culutral Studies. Conference proceedings. Osaka: IAFOR (The International Academic Forum), pp 125-137.

Centeno, Marcos (2011) 'Views of Modern and Postmodern Tokyo: Dehumanization, Urban and Body Changes'. In: Biserna, Elena and Brown, Precious, (eds.), Cinema, Architecture, Dispositif,. Pasian di Prato: Campanotto Editore, pp 156-161.

Monographs and Working Papers

Centeno, Marcos (2018) Re-editing the Pacific War in Franco Newsreels (1941-1945). London: The Second World War Research Group, Kings College.


Okada, Hidenori and Aguilar, Gonzalo and Fiss, Karen and Keller, Patricia and Pérez-Bowie, José Antonio and Alcoriza, Javier and Centeno, Marcos (translation) (2014) 'Des)encuentros: ¿Por qué es necesario volver a los clásicos del cine? (Hidenori Okada)' L’Atalante. Revista Revista de Estudios Cinematográficos 18, pp 90-110.

Ichiro, Kataoka and Centeno, Marcos (translated by) (2008) 'La evolución del Katsudo Shashin Benshi' L’Atalante. Revista Revista de Estudios Cinematográficos 7, pp 37-45.

Book Reviews

Centeno, Marcos (2015) 'Review of: Anime, Religion and Spirituality: Profane and Sacred Worlds in Contemporary Japan. By Katharine Buljan and Carole M. Cusack. Equinox, 2015'. Reading Religion. A Publication of the American Academy of Religion.


Centeno, Marcos and Liverani, Laura (2013) 'Ainu 2009-2013'. [Unpublished]


Centeno, Marcos (2014) 'Ainu. Pathways to Memory'.


Centeno, Marcos (2015) Susumu Hani (1950-1960): la aportación teórico-práctica al documental y al cine juvenil japonés. Una aproximación al caso de Hani como precursor de la Nueva Ola.. PhD thesis. Universitat de València. [Inpress]

Centeno, Marcos (2009) Transition in the Japanese Youth Cinema (1956-1960): from the Taiyōzoku Phenomenon to the New Wave. Crazed Fruit, Kisses and Cruel Story of Youth. Comparative Analysis, Contextual Parameters and Thematic and Formal Transgressions.University of Valencia. [Unpublished]


Centeno, Marcos (2016) 'Kore-eda’s Our Little Sister: a Return to the Japanese Classicism' Film Criticism, 40.


This list was last generated on Wednesday, 18th July 2018, 09:39 Europe/London.