SOAS University of London

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Luca Proietti


Luca Proietti
Luca Proietti
Email address:
Thesis title:
A noisy engagement: an analysis on the conscious awareness in Japanese noise music
Year of Study:
staarted September 2020
Internal Supervisors


While working in theatre for eight years, I developed an interest in Japanese media and art forms thanks to the originality shown in any artistic field, from cinema to literature, up to music and video games. By enjoying many artists like Murakami Haruki, Tsukamoto Shinya, and Akita Masami, I decided to start deepening my studies on Japanese culture to understand how a transnational reworking would be used to bind with traditional past roots rather than entirely clear up a whole historical culture.

Member of the British Association for Japanese Studies, I achieved my BA in East Asian Languages and Civilisations at Sapienza University of Rome with a dissertation about the graphic signs used in manga to represent the incommunicability between a Japanese and a Western speaker, referring to manga of the slice of life genre such as "Azumanga Daioh" and "Kin-iro Mosaic", and others of the biographical genre such as "Isabella Bird in Wonderland: Unbeaten Tracks in Japan". Then, I completed my MA in Japanese Studies at SOAS University of London by working on a dissertation about the role of rock culture in Japanese theatre reworking, including as a reference angura subculture, the kabuki influence in David Bowie, and a punk transposition of Monzaemon Chikamatsu’s “Drum of the Waves of Horikawa.

PhD Research

My research focuses on Japanese noise music, an experimental music genre that emerged in the 1960s from Group Ongaku experiments inspired by Western avant-garde musicians like John Cage and Fluxus international movement's artists who developed the noise aesthetics from Futurism and Dada. Considering the relationship between noise and society, I will study this music genre and its subculture by highlighting social meanings in different timelines like the 1990s post-bubble economy crisis, the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster, and the 2020s COVID-19 pandemic, raising questions about how a subculture would help to understand the identity of a country and its transnational reworking process, and the reason of a subculture relevance during a crisis period. Thus, I will consider both supportive and revolutionary social implications of noise to underline a historical connection with Edo era kabuki and matsuri.

My study will draw from ethnomusicology and social media ethnography to analyse the social intent carried by the performers and the audience reaction, keeping in touch with fans and communities through webzines, forums, and social networks. Along with primary data composed of news articles, streaming data, and interviews with critics, musicians, and related insiders, I will rely on the existing literature and data collection of past releases and events related to their period. The study will be completed with resources about other subcultures, media, and performing arts to make it accessible to audiences that don’t have proper knowledge of the topic, and to underline the social implications of Japanese noise music by comparisons with other subcultures like angura theatre and cyberpunk.