An Artist of the Floating World

by

Kazuo Ishiguro

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Mrs. Kawakami Character Analysis

A bar owner in the pleasure district, Mrs. Kawakami has been greatly aged by the war. Even after all the other buildings in the area have been torn down, and Ono and Shintaro are her only customers, Mrs. Kawakami keeps her bar open in the hopes that the pleasure district will see a resurgence. Eventually she sells her bar.

Mrs. Kawakami Quotes in An Artist of the Floating World

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

Coming out of Mrs Kawakami's now, you could stand at her doorway and believe you have just been drinking at some outpost of civilization. All around, there is nothing but a desert of demolished rubble. Only the backs of several buildings far in the distance will remind you that you are not so far from the city centre. 'War damage,' Mrs Kawakami calls it. But I remember walking around the district shortly after the surrender and many of those buildings were still standing. The Migi-Hidari was still there, the windows all blown out, part of the roof fallen in. And I remember wondering to myself as I walked past those shattered buildings, if they would ever again come back to life. Then I came by one morning and the bulldozers had pulled down everything.

Related Characters: Masuji Ono (speaker), Mrs. Kawakami
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:
April 1949 Quotes

Mrs Kawakami was quiet for a moment, as though listening for something amidst the sounds the workmen were making outside. Then a smile spread over her face and she said: 'This was such a splendid district once. You remember, Sensei?”

I returned her smile, but did not say anything. Of course, the old district had been fine. We had all enjoyed ourselves and the spirit that had pervaded the bantering and those arguments had never been less than sincere. But then perhaps that same spirit had not always been for the best. Like many things now, it is perhaps as well that that little world has passed away and will not be returning. I was tempted to say as much to Mrs Kawakami that evening, but decided it would be tactless to do so. For clearly, the old district was dear to her heart — much of her life and energy had been invested in it — and one can surely understand her reluctance to accept it has gone for ever.

Related Characters: Masuji Ono (speaker), Mrs. Kawakami (speaker)
Page Number: 126-127
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Kawakami Character Timeline in An Artist of the Floating World

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Kawakami 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
...how highly he is esteemed. For instance, on a recent evening, he was drinking in Mrs. Kawakami ’s place (a bar), when Shintaro advised Mrs. Kawakami that Ono could help her relative... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
...someone who is not bitter like most people these days. It is pleasant to visit Mrs. Kawakami ’s and find Shintaro at the same bar he has been visiting for the last... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
Mrs. Kawakami often teases the gullible Shintaro, tricking him into thinking she is serious when she is... (full context)
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
Mrs. Kawakami has been aged by the war, and she has very little business at her bar.... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
In the present day, the atmosphere in Mrs. Kawakami ’s place feels to Ono like it has never changed, but the rest of the... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
These days, Ono and Shintaro often reminisce about old times as they sit drinking at Mrs. Kawakami ’s place. One night, Mrs. Kawakami tells Ono he should encourage people to bring the... (full context)
April 1949
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
...ruins from the bombing are being cleared away and new buildings are being constructed. Outside Mrs. Kawakami ’s, a concrete road and the foundations for large office buildings are being built. Mrs.... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
...nature that he had not noticed before. Ono raises the issue of Shintaro’s cunning with Mrs. Kawakami , but she disagrees. She sighs sadly and says that it seems Shintaro will not... (full context)
June 1950
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
...the Bridge of Hesitation to the area that used to be the pleasure district. Where Mrs. Kawakami ’s stood is a large office building, and where the Migi-Hidari once was, there is... (full context)