Visual kei: visuality, narratives and textuality in a musical sub-culture

Keywords: Sub-culture; symbolism; visual culture; narrations; hermeneutics.


This article seeks to show how narrative, textuality, and visuality are essential elements of a music genre, going to reinforce its style as much as its symbolism and perception. The visual kei genre, a popular music style in Japan, is used in the article. Although it is often considered a style of hard rock or heavy metal, the article will emphasize how the use of narratives (the characterization of performers), visuality (fashion, make-up, coloring, etc.) and textuality (lyrics, symbolism, language) make this genre a true sub-culture. Through hermeneutic analysis and taking phenomena as examples, it will show how music can thus become a form of expression of those people who feel excluded from Popular Culture and find in one of these mentioned elements a way to express their identity. It will then show how the sub-culture is inclusive for those people whose identity is not reflected by Popular Culture.


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Author Biography

Roberto Fracchia, University of Tohoku - Japan

Researcher in anthropology at University of Tohoku (Japan). M.A. in cultural anthropology at the University of Milano-Bicocca (Italy). B.A. in intercultural communication at University of Milano-Bicocca


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How to Cite
Fracchia, R. (2022). Visual kei: visuality, narratives and textuality in a musical sub-culture. Religación, 7(33), e210949.