An Artist of the Floating World (2019) poster
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 9 users
# of Watchers: 32
Reviews: 1 user
Ranked #64679
Popularity #99999
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Set in post-World War II Japan and tells the story of Masuji Ono, a renowned artist looking back on and coming to terms with his life against the backdrop of a country being rebuilt after the war. (Source: Variety) ~~ Adapted from the novel "An Artist of the Floating World" by Kazuo Ishiguro. Edit Translation

  • English
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • dansk
  • Norsk
  • Country: Japan
  • Type: Special
  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: Mar 30, 2019
  • Aired On: Saturday
  • Original Network: NHK
  • Duration: 1 hr. 29 min.
  • Score: 6.8 (scored by 9 users)
  • Ranked: #64679
  • Popularity: #99999
  • Content Rating: G - All Ages

Where to Watch An Artist of the Floating World

Prime Video
Purchase (sub)
Free (sub)

Cast & Credits


An Artist of the Floating World (2019) photo


The Butterfly
2 people found this review helpful
Aug 2, 2023
1 of 1 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 4.5
This review may contain spoilers

"The essence of cowardice"

The world of An Artist of the Floating World was built on sets with overly saturated colors like a series of beautiful paintings. The story began with an old man on the Bridge of Hesitation as he grappled with his memories, his place in the world, and regret. The only problem was that his memories were unreliable as he reached back into a fading past that still had the power to affect his present.

Aging artist Ono Masuji began to flow in and out of memories when his youngest daughter Noriko was in marriage negotiations. Because the last negotiations fell through, his oldest daughter told him that she hoped he took "precautionary steps" in regards to the other family's investigations into theirs. His memories caused him to travel to the time when his father burned his paintings refusing to have an artist for a son which only made Ono's ambition burn brighter. He began working in a mass art production company and then for a master artist who specialized in the decadent "floating world" of the night and geishas. After the invasion of China, he entered the artistic world of propaganda.

Setsuko's cautionary words caused him to re-examine a chance meeting with the former prospective son-in-law that went deeper than his initial thoughts. A business owner involved with the war and a propagandistic composer both committed suicide, further stirring old feelings. He discovered the younger generation wanted men involved in imperialist Japan to admit their mistakes and take responsibility for the consequences of their actions on the people and country. He began to reflect on his past loyalty to the country through a new lens.

I have never read the book and can only hope it filled in a few of the gaps left in this film. There were times I wondered if I was watching something akin to A Beautiful Mind. Duplications of actions occurred with different characters, Ono's daughters were unaware of conversations he said they had, and his hallucinations made me wonder if some characters were real or personifications of his guilt. Was he never as important as he thought or had he faded into irrelevancy in the new world order quickly? The constant flow from the present to different points in the past could make for a dreamlike experience. If we had to have a guide in this fluid world it would be Ken Watanabe, he did an amazing job as a man who had to come to terms with a career that not only did not endure but went up in flames.

As if written in first person, Ono narrated the film but he was an undependable narrator who admitted he wasn't sure what he said or what others said. By seeing everything through his unreliable perspective, there was no touchstone to evaluate his comments, no opposing voice to guide to a greater grasp of the truth. In the end it was an interesting film about a country coming to terms with and also suppressing a militant past. The younger generation and those "traitors" who suffered for daring to question the war confronted the old guard and wanted an apology. "…now we clearly know who the real traitors were." Ono slowly began to recognize his responsibility in the collective suffering even if his memories, like this story, were ambiguous at best.


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  • Special: An Artist of the Floating World
  • Country: Japan
  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: Mar 30, 2019
  • Aired On: Saturday
  • Original Network: NHK
  • Duration: 1 hr. 29 min.
  • Content Rating: G - All Ages


  • Score: 6.8 (scored by 9 users)
  • Ranked: #64679
  • Popularity: #99999
  • Watchers: 32

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