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Departures (2008)
"Okuribito" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Music  |  19 June 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 36,188 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 107 user | 163 critic | 27 from

A newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Daigo Kobayashi
Tsutomu Yamazaki ...
Ikuei Sasaki
Ryôko Hirosue ...
Mika Kobayashi
Kazuko Yoshiyuki ...
Tsuyako Yamashita
Kimiko Yo ...
Yuriko Uemura
Takashi Sasano ...
Shokichi Hirata
Tetta Sugimoto ...
Tôru Minegishi ...
Yoshiki Kobayashi
Tatsuo Yamada ...
Yukari Tachibana
Tarô Ishida ...
Sanae Miyata ...
Naomi Togashi
Ryôsuke Ôtani ...
Tomeo's father
Mitsuyo Hoshino ...
Kazuko Kobayashi
Tatsuhito Okuda


Daigo Kobayashi is a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and now finds himself without a job. Daigo decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled "Departures" thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a "Nokanshi" or "encoffineer," a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. While his wife and others despise the job, Daigo takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of "Nokanshi," acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed. The film follows his profound and sometimes comical journey with death as he uncovers the wonder, joy and meaning of life and living. Written by Regent Releasing

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The gift of last memories


Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 June 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Departures  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$74,945 (USA) (29 May 2009)


$1,542,503 (USA) (11 June 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Yôjirô Takita attended funeral ceremonies to understand the feelings of bereaved families, while Tsutomu Yamazaki never participated in the encoffinment training. See more »


[first lines]
Daigo Kobayashi: [voice over narration] When I was a child winter didn't feel so cold. It's nearly two months since I moved home from Tokyo. It's been an awkward time.
See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.35 (2009) See more »


Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 - 'Choral': IV. Presto, Allegro assai
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Marvellous!!! One of the best movies I've ever seen!!!
25 August 2008 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Probably the best movie I've ever seen. I have seen it at the 32nd Montreal World Film Festival and I hope it'll be well awarded! Even though the plot line is the "death", it's done with such kindness, softness and emotion (every little thing in the Japanese culture is made like a piece of art) and being able to make us feel so much emotions concerning the subject was really enjoyable. It's really a must see, the music is so captivating in every moment of grief. I had to hold my tears 5 times at least. I was also glad to see Tsutomu Yamazaki, I hadn't saw him since Tampopo... that was years ago (there are not a lot of Japanese movies to see in french theaters.)

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