An Artist of the Floating World

by

Kazuo Ishiguro

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Ichiro Character Analysis

A strong-willed boy of seven, Setsuko’s son Ichiro grows up without any memory of the events of the war that so heavily affected his world. He frequently asks uncomfortable questions of his grandfather Ono, like whether he had to retire from painting because Japan lost the war. Ichiro is obsessed with icons of American pop culture, like the cowboy Lone Ranger and the cartoon sailor Popeye. He likes to act macho and enjoys acting out male solidarity with his grandfather while mocking the weakness of his mother and aunt.

Ichiro Quotes in An Artist of the Floating World

The An Artist of the Floating World quotes below are all either spoken by Ichiro or refer to Ichiro. 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

"We took him once to the cinema to see an American cowboy film. He's been very fond of cowboys ever since. We even had to buy him a ten-gallon hat. He’s convinced cowboys make that funny sound he does. It must have seemed very strange.”

“So that’s what it was,” I said with a laugh. “My grandson’s become a cowboy.”

Down in the garden, a breeze was making the foliage sway.

Noriko was crouching down by the old stone lantern near the back wall, pointing something out to Ichiro.

“Still,” I said, with a sigh, “only a few years ago, Ichiro wouldn't have been allowed to see such a thing as a cowboy film.”

Setsuko, without turning from the garden, said: “Suichi believes it's better he likes cowboys than that he idolize people like Miyamoto Musashi. Suichi thinks the American heroes are the better models for children now.”

Related Characters: Masuji Ono (speaker), Noriko, Suichi , Ichiro
Related Symbols: Lanterns, Gardens
Page Number: 35-36
Explanation and Analysis:
November 1949 Quotes

'No. He wasn't a bad man. He was just someone who worked very hard doing what he thought was for the best. But you see, Ichiro, when the war ended, things were very different. … after the war, Mr. Naguchi thought his songs had been — well — a sort of mistake. He thought of all the people who had been killed, all the little boys your age, Ichiro, who no longer had parents, he thought of all these things and he thought perhaps his songs were a mistake. And he felt he should apologize. To everyone who was left. To little boys who no longer had parents. And to parents who had lost little boys like you. To all these people, he wanted to say sorry. I think that's why he killed himself. Mr Naguchi wasn't a bad man at all, Ichiro. He was brave to admit the mistakes he'd made. He was very brave and honourable.'

Related Characters: Masuji Ono (speaker), Ichiro, Yukio Naguchi
Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ichiro Character Timeline in An Artist of the Floating World

The timeline below shows where the character Ichiro appears in An Artist of the Floating World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
October 1948
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...and shoots Ono an inquiring glance. Eager to change the subject, she scolds her son Ichiro, who is rowdily running back and forth on the veranda. Setsuko calls to Ichiro to... (full context)
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Ono calls to Ichiro to come sit with him so that they can discuss “men’s things.” Ichiro obeys and... (full context)
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
...of the month before. Leaving his daughters talking on the veranda, Ono goes to find Ichiro, who is impersonating a man on horseback, yelling, “hi yo silver!” and other words Ono... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Ono picks up a sketchpad that he gave to Ichiro as a gift the night before. Ichiro does not want his grandfather to see his... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
Ono offers to help Ichiro make his drawings better, which interests Ichiro. He asks his grandfather if he used to... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Ono tells Ichiro that, as a reward for his good work on the drawing, he will take him... (full context)
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
Eventually Ono goes out to the veranda and finds Setusko sitting there. Noriko and Ichiro are in the garden below. Ono sits with Setsuko and tells her about Ichiro’s game.... (full context)
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
After supper that evening, Ono tells Noriko about his plan to take Ichiro to the monster movie. Noriko says they already have plans to go to the deer... (full context)
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...that it will be very pleasant for her to spend time with her father, and Ichiro will enjoy spending time alone with Noriko. Ono is glad about this outcome, because he... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...did not try to challenge Suichi. Instead, he talks to him about his work and Ichiro. He only came to realize later that Suichi’s mood that evening was typical of him... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...had not come up when he ran into Dr. Saito last month when he took Ichiro to the monster movie. On that day, Noriko and Setsuko do not accompany them to... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
On the tram, Ono and Ichiro run into Dr. Saito, the father of Taro, the man with whom Noriko is in... (full context)
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
At the theater, Ono and Ichiro see the poster Ichiro copied in his drawing. Ichiro laughs and says that it is... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
After dinner, Ichiro is having trouble going to sleep. Noriko blames her father’s poor judgment in taking Ichiro... (full context)
November 1949
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...enjoyed the walk through the park with Setsuko on their way to meet Noriko and Ichiro. (full context)
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
That day, Setsuko and Ono met Noriko and Ichiro by a statue, and then Ono took Ichiro to lunch at a department store. Ichiro,... (full context)
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Ono returns to his account of his lunch with Ichiro at the department store. Ichiro pours spinach into his mouth as if it is a... (full context)
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Ono tells Ichiro that he since he is eight years old now, he will see that he gets... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Ichiro asks Ono if he knew Yukio Naguchi, and Ono says that he didn’t personally. Ono... (full context)
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
That evening, Ono and Ichiro go to the Izumimachi area, where Noriko and Taro’s apartment is. The area is full... (full context)
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Ono tells Setsuko and Noriko that he wants to give Ichiro a taste of diluted sake, but his daughters say that is a bad idea. Ono... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...how his wife objected when he gave Kenji his first taste of sake at around Ichiro’s age, adding that it did Kenji no harm. He regrets bringing Kenji up in such... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...that night, Taro tells amusing stories about his work. Ono is uncomfortable to see how Ichiro watches each time the sake is poured out. Setsuko says to Taro that even though... (full context)
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Ichiro reaches over, taps the sake flask, and looks at Ono. To distract him, Taro asks... (full context)
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
After dinner, Ono goes into the spare room where Ichiro is going to sleep. Ichiro asks Ono if Noriko is drunk and giggles at the... (full context)