May 29th 2009
  • Drama,
  • PG-13,
  • 130 min,
  • Other
  • Cast: Ryoko Hirosue, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Kimiko Yo, Masahiro Motoki, Takashi Sasano, Toru Minegishi, Tetta Sugimoto, Yukiko Tachibana, Tatsuo Yamada
  • Director: Yojiro Takita
  • Writer: Kundo Koyama
  • Producers: Toshiaki Nakazawa, Ichiro Nobukuni, Toshihisa Watai
  • Executive Producer: Yasuhiro Mase
  • Casting: Takefumi Yoshikawa
  • D.O.P.: Takeshi Hamada
  • Editor: Akimasa Kawashima
  • Music: Joe Hisaishi
  • Production Design: Fumio Ogawa


Academy Award® winner for Best Foreign Language Film, "Departures" is a delightful journey into the heartland of Japan as well an astonishingly beautiful look at a sacred part of Japan's cultural heritage.

"Departures" follows Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki), a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and who is suddenly left 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

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Filming Locations: Sakata, Japan
  • MPAA Warning: thematic material, violence, drug references and language
  • Production Companies: Amuse Soft Entertainment, Asahi Shimbunsha, Dentsu, Mainichi Hoso, Sedic, Shochiku Company, Shogakukan, Tokyo Broadcasting System
  • Production Schedule: 18 April 2007 - 10 June 2007

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Japan's contender for the 2009 foreign language Oscar.

The Japanese title "Okuribito" means "the sending [away/off] people" (as in: people who send) - but this word is not normally used in Japanese.

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Worldwide Release Dates

  • 13 September 2008: Japan
  • 30 October 2008: South Korea
  • 27 February 2009: Taiwan
  • 5 March 2009: Singapore
  • 12 March 2009: Greece
  • 19 March 2009: Hong Kong
  • 2 April 2009: Israel
  • 15 May 2009: Brazil
  • 28 May 2009: Argentina, Netherlands
  • 3 June 2009: France
  • 16 July 2009: Russia