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An Artist of the Floating World Study Guide & Plot Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 54 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of An Artist of the Floating World.
This section contains 344 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
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An Artist of the Floating World Summary & Study Guide Description

An Artist of the Floating World Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Related Titles and a Free Quiz on An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Plot Summary

An Artist of the Floating World tells the story of Masuji Ono, a Japanese artist who became a leading cultural figure in support of imperialism and Japan's involvement in World War II. In the years leading up to the war, his pro-war propaganda made Ono a highly respected artist, and he commanded a prestigious reputation in the community. Since as a young boy his father had told him he'd never amount to anything if he pursued his art, success was particularly sweet to Ono. Moreover, his first art teacher, Seiji Moriyama, also told Ono he would never amount to anything if he eschewed Moriyama's aesthetic style to paint his political works of art. On separate occasions, both his father and Moriyama went so far as to burn Ono's paintings. An Artist of the Floating World tells the story of how Ono's political life leads him to the point where he denounces his star art student, Kuroda, causing his pupil to be arrested and his paintings burned.

The story begins in post-World War II Japan. Ono is retired, and his main preoccupations in life are repairing his bomb-damaged home and negotiating the marriage of his youngest daughter, Noriko. We learn, through the narration and reminiscences of an old man, how Ono got to this point in his life. The marriage investigation reveals that Ono's reputation has suffered tremendously since Japan lost the war. The death and damage toll faced by the country have caused a backlash of anger towards Ono and his generation for beginning the war. Ono, having spent most of his career furthering militaristic agendas, is now faced with the ruins of his home, his country, and his reputation. Through Ono's occasionally confused eyes, we gradually learn about the events surrounding Kuroda's imprisonment. Ono is faced with a difficult emotional journey—to admit his mistakes, accept his responsibility for what occurred, and ultimately to find forgiveness, both for himself and from his family after having blindly pursued and advocated the ideals that resulted in the death and destruction of the country and people he loved.

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This section contains 344 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our An Artist of the Floating World Study Guide
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An Artist of the Floating World from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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