Departures (2008)
"Okuribito" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Music  |  19 June 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 36,692 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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Won 1 Oscar. Another 33 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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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
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Did You Know?


Although the character of Mika was initially planned as being the same age as Daigo, the role went to pop singer Ryôko Hirosue, who had previously acted in Takita's Himitsu (Secret) in 1999. Takita explained that a younger actress would better represent the lead couple's growth out of naivety. In a 2009 interview, Takita stated that he had cast "everyone who was on my wish list". 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.
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Remade as Untitled Departures Remake See more »


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

Best Japanese film in 2008!
20 September 2008 | by (Tokyo, Japan) – See all my reviews

Beautiful and touching movie about life and death. My favorite movies dealing with the same issue are Akira Kurosawa's "Ikiru" and "Red Beard". Also, Juzo Itami's comedy "Funeral" is pretty good one. Same as these master's works, Director Takita successfully put good comedy elements in this serious film. The idea "Death is a gate for another world" may be based on Buddhism belief, but I am sure you can relate yourself to this story with your own experience of losing somebody important. Masahiro Motoki was at his best for the leading role. He once played similar role in "Sumo Do, Sumo Don't" by Director Masayuki Suo (Shall We Dansu?) in terms of being put in awkward situation, involved seriously and end up finding the virtue in it. Music score is by Joe Hisaishi. Great as always. He has done great jobs on films for Takeshi Kitano and Hayao Miyazaki. I am sure this will be the best Japanese movie in 2008. 10/10

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