An Artist of the Floating World

by

Kazuo Ishiguro

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Kuroda Character Analysis

Ono’s most promising student, Kuroda eventually strikes off in his own direction artistically. Disapproving of the new direction of Kuroda’s work, Ono gives Kuroda’s name to the Committee of Unpatriotic Activities, which leads to Kuroda’s arrest, interrogation, and mistreatment in prison. After the war, Ono goes to visit Kuroda, who has secured a good position as a teacher at the same school that Mitsuo Saito attends, but Kuroda’s student Enchi tells Ono that Kuroda will not want to see him. Kuroda affirms this to Ono in a letter, which leaves Ono concerned that Kuroda’s dislike for him will have a negative influence on Noriko’s marriage prospects.

Kuroda Quotes in An Artist of the Floating World

The An Artist of the Floating World quotes below are all either spoken by Kuroda or refer to Kuroda. 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.
November 1949 Quotes

I have learnt many things over these past years. I have learnt much in contemplating the world of pleasure, and recognizing its fragile beauty. But I now feel it is time for me to progress to other things. Sensei, it is my belief that in such troubled times as these, artists must learn to value something more tangible than those pleasurable things that disappear with the morning light. It is not necessary that artists always occupy a decadent and enclosed world. My conscience, Sensei, tells me I cannot remain forever an artist of the floating world.

Related Characters: Masuji Ono (speaker), Kuroda, Seiji Moriyama, Mori-san
Page Number: 179-180
Explanation and Analysis:

'Did you have authorization to bum those paintings?’ I asked.

'It's our policy to destroy any offensive material which won't be needed as evidence. We've selected a good enough sample. The rest of this trash we're just burning.'

'I had no idea', I said, 'something like this would happen. I merely suggested to the committee someone come round and give Mr Kuroda a talking-to for his own good.' I stared again at the smouldering pile in the middle of the yard. ‘It was quite unnecessary to bum those. There were many fine works amongst them.'

Related Characters: Masuji Ono (speaker), Plain-clothes Officer (speaker), Kuroda
Related Symbols: The Smell of Burning
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:
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Kuroda Character Timeline in An Artist of the Floating World

The timeline below shows where the character Kuroda 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
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
...and his brother Yoshio. Shintaro had not been one of the top students. Ono’s protégé Kuroda had mocked Shintaro for his extreme gratitude at Ono’s intercession to help his brother get... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
...always turn towards him when they thought he might impart some wisdom. On one occasion, Kuroda asked what Ono had learned from the experience at the Takeda firm, and Ono replied... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...people got drunk and were merry, but with dignity. He still has a painting of Kuroda’s entitled “The Patriotic Spirit” that depicts a night of drinking at the Migi-Hidari. The painting... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Ono says that he has only seen his former protégé Kuroda once since the end of the war. It was in the first year of the... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Ono says he would not be giving Kuroda any thought if his name had not come up when he ran into Dr. Saito... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
...his tram stop, Dr. Saito tells Ono that they have a mutual acquaintance: a Mr. Kuroda. Dr. Saito says that Kuroda mentioned Ono’s name. Ono says he has not seen Kuroda... (full context)
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...terrified. Ono mentions that they ran into Dr. Saito and that Dr. Saito had met Kuroda. He notices his daughters exchange a glance and has the sense that they have been... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...course of Noriko’s life. Setsuko brings up Dr. Saito, and then Dr. Saito’s acquaintance with Kuroda. She says she remembers when Kuroda used to visit them and spend long hours in... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...Matsuda says that, if Ono is concerned about the past, he should probably seek out Kuroda, even if it will be painful for them to meet again. Ono says he has... (full context)
April 1949
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...of her behavior towards him. In fact, earlier that day, he had gone to visit Kuroda. (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Ono reports that he had easily found where Kuroda lives. A professor at Uemachi College had told Ono the address and updated him on... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Ono goes to Kuroda’s apartment and rings the bell twice. A young man answers the door and asks if... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Enchi tells Ono not to hurry away, because Kuroda will want to thank him. Ono is surprised at this. Enchi says he had assumed... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...tells Enchi that he must have been a very young man back when Ono and Kuroda knew one another, and he shouldn’t jump to conclusions about the relationship without knowing the... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...Ono says he did not allow Enchi’s words to upset him but was disturbed that Kuroda might be so hostile to him, given how this could impact Noriko’s marriage. He writes... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Dr. Saito brings up Kuroda, explaining that his younger son Mitsuo studies at the Uemachi College. Ono asks Mitsuo if... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Ono interrupts Mr. Kyo, asking Mitsuo if Kuroda has spoken to him about Ono. Mitsuo is confused, saying that he is not well-acquainted... (full context)
November 1949
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
...war. It is also, he says, the place where he had his last conversation with Kuroda. (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
...sure if Mori-san used that phrase, or if this is what he himself said to Kuroda years later during their last conversation.) (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
Ono reflects on visiting Kuroda’s house the winter before the start of the war. Upon arriving at the house, he... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
...to the back yard, where a plain clothes officer is standing by a bonfire, burning Kuroda’s paintings. Ono says he thought the officers would simply give Kuroda a “talking-to” rather than... (full context)