An Artist of the Floating World

by

Kazuo Ishiguro

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Shintaro Character Analysis

One of Ono’s less promising students, Shintaro is nonetheless someone whose company Ono seeks out. While Ono’s most promising students gather at the Migi-Hidari for high-minded discussions about art and patriotism, Shintaro frequents the small bar owned by Mrs. Kawakabi. Shintaro is extremely grateful to Ono for helping his brother Yoshio get a job and often showers Ono with praise. After the war, Ono and Shintaro continue to spend time drinking together, until Shintaro asks Ono to write to a school where he is applying for a job saying that Shintaro had not liked the direction their work together took during the war. Ono refuses to help Shintaro, and their friendship ends. After this, Ono compares Shintaro to his fellow pupil the Tortoise, saying both men lacked the courage to follow their convictions or admit their mistakes.
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Shintaro Character Timeline in An Artist of the Floating World

The timeline below shows where the character Shintaro 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
...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 get a job. Ono realizes that... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Ono says that, even if Shintaro seems naïve, it is nice to spend time with someone who is not bitter like... (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 kidding. Shintaro also sometimes believes... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
...recounts how he once told his students assembled at the Migi-Hidari about the incident with Shintaro and his brother Yoshio. Shintaro had not been one of the top students. Ono’s protégé... (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,... (full context)
April 1949
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
...has received an offer to sell her property, and she is considering it, especially since Shintaro no longer comes to her bar, making Ono her only customer. (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Over the winter, Shintaro told Ono that he was applying for jobs teaching art at high schools. Although Ono... (full context)
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Intergenerational Conflict Theme Icon
Ono says he does not recall this disagreement. Shintaro says he was drunk at an engagement party and rudely told Ono that he disagreed... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Family Reputation, Family Secrets, and Familial Loss Theme Icon
...this conversation from the present moment, Ono says that it may seem that he treated Shintaro harshly, but what had been going on in his own life sheds light on why... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
...because there is dignity in admitting to mistakes made in good faith. He says that Shintaro would be a happier man if he had the courage to honestly admit to his... (full context)
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
City, Nation, History Theme Icon
Ono now believes that Shintaro has a cunning side to his nature that he had not noticed before. Ono raises... (full context)
November 1949
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
...groups have both a leader and a “Tortoise.” Ono thinks about this. He believes that Shintaro was the Tortoise of his own pupils, even though he wasn’t called that. Ono reflects... (full context)
June 1950
Memory, Self-Perception, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
The Relevance of the Artist Theme Icon
Most people, Ono thinks, never feel this kind of contentment. Certainly, the Tortoise or Shintaro would be incapable of it, because they never risk anything to rise above mediocrity. Ono... (full context)