SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Dr Dolores P Martinez

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications




My current research involves exploring the relationship between the Japanese filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa, and modern western film directors. The impetus for the research began in an attempt to turn on its head the Orientalist premise that ‘Japan is a society that copies’ by exploring the variety of ways in which Hollywood as a part of US society has copied from Japan. This research has led me towards an analysis of how local and global filmmaking constitute each other.

The role Kurosawa has played in not only setting a technical standard, which other filmmakers have hoped to achieve or surpass, but also in writing narratives that have been incorporated into other films is the subject of a book I am planning to complete in the next few months. The research for the book has allowed me to consider a wide range of theory relating to the human capacity for creating narratives and translating them, as well as giving me an excuse to watch films with titles like Battle Beyond the Stars; Run, Lola, Run, and The Killing!

My first research was with Japanese diving women (ama, women who dive for shellfish and seaweed) and fishermen in Mie Prefecture. Kuzaki, the village in which I worked, still functioned as a sacred guild (kambe) for Ise Shrine, the most sacred Shinto Shrine in Japan. This combination of occupation and religious life required me to begin thinking about religion in Japan as well as the broader context of religion in modern societies; while also considering the importance of age and gender in organising religious events and village life.

Kuzaki was part of the domestic tourism boom that was important in 1980s Japan, and for several years I wrote about and taught the anthropology of tourism. A short spell of working for a television production company while writing the DPhil thesis led me back to my first area of interest: the mass media.

Subsequent periods in Japan have been spent working on various aspects of Japanese popular culture. I am beginning to think about new research, perhaps on the ways in which different societies depict the future.


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Available for
Regional Expertise
  • East Asia
Country Expertise
  • Japan


Authored Books

Martinez, Dolores (2009) Remaking Kurosawa: translations and permutations in global cinema. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Martinez, Dolores (2004) Identity and Ritual in a Japanese Diving Village. The Making and Becoming of Person and Place. University of Hawaii Press.


Martinez, Dolores (2008) 'Soccer in the USA: 'holding out for a hero'?'. Soccer & Society, (9) 2, pp 231-243.

Martinez, Dolores (2007) 'Where the Human Heart Goes Astray: Rashomon, Boomtown and Subjective Experience'. Film Studies, (11) Winter, pp 27-36.

Edited Books or Journals

Kirsch, Griseldis and Martinez, Dolores and White, Merry, (eds.), (2015) Assembling Japan: Modernity, Technology and Global Culture. Bern: Peter Lang.

Martinez, Dolores and Mukharji, Projit B., (eds.), (2008) Football: from England to the World. London: Taylor & Francis.

Rodriquez, Maria and Ackermann, Peter and Martinez, Dolores, (eds.), (2007) Pilgrimage and spiritual quests in Japan. London: Routledge.

Martinez, Dolores, (ed.), (2007) Japanese Culture and Society. London: Routledge.

Martinez, Dolores, (ed.), (1998) The Worlds of Japanese Popular Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Book Chapters

Centeno, Marcos (2019) 'Postwar Narratives and the Avant-garde Documentary: Tokyo 1958 and Furyō Shōnen'. In: Martinez, Dolores and Guarné, Blai and Lozano-Méndez, Artur, (eds.), Persistently Postwar: Media and the Politics of Memory in Japan. Oxford, UK: Berghahn Books, pp 41-62.

Kirsch, Griseldis (2019) 'Recreating Memory? The Drama Watashi wa Kai ni Naritai and Its Remakes'. In: Guarné, Blai and Lozano-Méndez, Artur and Martinez, Dolores, (eds.), Persistently Postwar: Media and the Politics of Memory in Japan. Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp 85-102.

Kirsch, Griseldis and Manzenreiter, Wolfram and Horne, John and White, Merry and Katsuno, Hirofumi and Martinez, Dolores (2015) 'Afterword: Reassembling after 3/11'. In: Kirsch, Griseldis and Martinez, Dolores and White, Merry, (eds.), Assembling Japan: Modernity, Technology and Global Culture. Bern: Peter Lang, pp 231-238.

Kirsch, Griseldis and Martinez, Dolores (2015) 'Japan as an Assemblage'. In: Kirsch, Griseldis and Martinez, Dolores and White, Merry, (eds.), Assembling Japan: Modernity, Technology and Global Culture. Bern: Peter Lang, pp 1-19.

Martinez, Dolores (2007) 'Seven samurai and six women: Kurosawa's Shichinin samurai'. In: Phillips, Alistair and Stringer, Julian, (eds.), Japanese Cinema Texts and Contexts. London: Routledge.

Martinez, Dolores (2007) 'Pilgrimage and experience: an afterword'. In: Rodriquez, Maria and Ackermann, Peter and Rodriguez del Alisal, Maria, (eds.), Pilgrimages and Spiritual Quests in Japan. London: Routledge, UK.

Martinez, Dolores (2006) 'When Soto becomes Uchi: Some thoughts on the Anthropology of Japan'. In: Hendry, Joy, (ed.), Dismantling the East-West Dichotomy: Essays in Honour of Jan van Bremen. London: Curzon, Routledge.

Martinez, Dolores (2005) 'On the "Nature" of Japanese Culture, or, Is There a Japanese Sense of Nature?'. In: Robertson, J., (ed.), A Companion to the Anthropology of Japan. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell, pp 185-200.

Martinez, Dolores (1998) 'Redefining Kuzaki: ritual, belief and cho boundaries'. In: Hendry, Joy, (ed.), Interpreting Japanese Society. Abingdon: Routledge, pp 213-221.

Martinez, Dolores (1997) 'Burlesquing Knowledge: Japanese quiz shows and models of knowledge'. In: Banks, Marcus and Morphy, Howard, (eds.), Rethinking Visual Anthropology. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp 105-119.

Martinez, Dolores (1996) 'The tourist as deity: ancient continuities in Modern Japan'. In: Selwyn, Tom, (ed.), The Tourist Image: Myths and Myth-Making in Tourism. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, pp 163-178.


This list was last generated on Thursday, 19th May 2022, 10:13 Europe/London.