An Artist of the Floating World

by

Kazuo Ishiguro

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on An Artist of the Floating World can help.
A nationalist and art-appreciator, before the war, Matsuda influences Ono to take a new direction in his art. Matsuda believes that artists are failing to address the social and political problems around them, and he mocks Ono’s naïve attitude towards the world. Ono comes to work closely with Matsuda and to have great respect for him as an independent thinker who tries to achieve something meaningful through his work. After the war, Matsuda is in poor health and confined to his home. He seems regretful that he never married and has no heirs and says that his life’s work amounted to little. Ono, however, believes that Matsuda doesn’t truly believe this.

Chishu Matsuda Quotes in An Artist of the Floating World

The An Artist of the Floating World quotes below are all either spoken by Chishu Matsuda or refer to Chishu Matsuda. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of An Artist of the Floating World published in 1986.
October 1948 Quotes

“I realize there are now those who would condemn the likes of you and me for the very things we were once proud to have achieved. And I suppose this is why you're worried, Ono. You think perhaps I will praise you for things perhaps best forgotten.”

“No such thing,” I said hastily. “You and I both have a lot to be proud of. It's merely that where marriage talks are concerned, one has to appreciate the delicacy of the situation. But you've put my mind at rest. I know you'll exercise your judgement as well as ever.”

“I will do my best,” Matsuda said. “But, Ono, there are things we should both be proud of. Never mind what people today are all saying. Before long, a few more years, and the likes of us will be able to hold our heads high about what we tried to do. I simply hope I live as long as that. It's my wish to see my life's efforts vindicated.”

Related Characters: Masuji Ono (speaker), Chishu Matsuda (speaker), Noriko
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:
June 1950 Quotes

'But there's no need to blame ourselves unduly,' he said. 'We at least acted on what we believed and did our utmost. It's just that in the end we turned out to be ordinary men. Ordinary men with no special gifts of insight. It was simply our misfortune to have been ordinary men during such times.'

Related Characters: Masuji Ono (speaker), Chishu Matsuda (speaker)
Page Number: 198-199
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire An Artist of the Floating World LitChart as a printable PDF.
An Artist of the Floating World PDF

Chishu Matsuda Character Timeline in An Artist of the Floating World

The timeline below shows where the character Chishu Matsuda appears in An Artist of the Floating World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
October 1948
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
...of Arakawa, however, looked the same as before the war. When he arrived at Chishu Matsuda’s house, a woman of forty answered the bell and showed him into the reception room. (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Ono tells the story of the first time he met Matsuda. At the time, he had been living at Seiji Moriyama’s villa for six years. On... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
That day, Matsuda arrived at the villa and asked to speak to Ono. He told Ono that he... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
The narrative shifts back to the present, thirty years since that first meeting. Matsuda is helped into the reception room by the woman who answered the door. He is... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Matsuda apologizes for having missed Michiko’s funeral and begins to reminisce about when Michiko and Ono... (full context)
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
The woman who answered the door comes in with tea, and Matsuda introduces her as Miss Suzuki. He tells her that he and Ono were close colleagues... (full context)
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Matsuda says he has been lucky not to have lost his savings and assets in the... (full context)
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Ono tells Matsuda the reason he has come: his daughter Noriko is in marriage talks and someone may... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
Matsuda tells Ono that he has already assured him that he will only say good things.... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Matsuda asks who else Ono has visited. Ono tells him he is the first person he... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Waiting for the tram from Arakawa after this visit, Ono is comforted that Matsuda will speak positively about him. He feels it was worthwhile to reestablish contact with his... (full context)
November 1949
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
...shocked by is called “Complacency,” and it was inspired by a walk Ono took with Matsuda. Ono and Matsuda were walking along a bridge overlooking the Nishizuru district, where many shanties... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
...sentiments in the painting are outdated, but he brings it up to show how meeting Matsuda impacted his career. Although he didn’t initially like Matsuda, he found his ideas appealing. (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
One evening not long after their visit to the slum, Ono and Matsuda sit in a bar having a dispute. Ono proposes raising money for the people in... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
Matsuda tells Ono that weak politicians and greedy businessmen are leading Japan into a crisis. He... (full context)
June 1950
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
...a walk he took yesterday over the Bridge of Hesitation. He has just heard of Matsuda’s death and thinks that he had meant to visit Matsuda more often but had only... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
On that visit, Miss Suzuki answers the door and tells Ono that Matsuda is much stronger than he was eighteen months before when he last visited. Ono thanks... (full context)
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Matsuda asks after Noriko, and Ono tells him that Noriko is pregnant with her first child,... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Matsuda asks if Ono is painting. Ono says he has started painting flowers in watercolor to... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
Matsuda recalls how angry Ono used to get when Matsuda teased him for his narrow artist’s... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
Ono looks out at the garden. He can smell something burning faintly and tells Matsuda that the smell makes him uneasy and reminds him of bombings. He adds that it... (full context)
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
A clock chimes and Matsuda says it is time to go feed the carps in his pond. They go outside,... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
Matsuda says that people blame the military, politicians, and businessmen for what happened to the country,... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
...incapable of it, because they never risk anything to rise above mediocrity. Ono feels that Matsuda likely experienced moments of deep pride like he did, because he acted on what he... (full context)
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
After hearing of Matsuda’s death, Ono walks across the Bridge of Hesitation to the area that used to be... (full context)