Yojiro Takita’s Departure (aka Okuribito) is a magnificent film that encompasses the beauty of Japanese Culture. It was arranged in such a way that audiences will have a glimpse of the cultural traditions of the Japanese people. The cinematographic approach of the film emphasized the theme of life and death with a touch of comedy elements. The beliefs attributing Buddhism is shown in the film since it gives the notion that “Death is a gate for another world”.
Viewers will find themselves united among the feelings of the characters since it narrates the story of how a person feels when they loose somebody who is very important in their lives. Daigo (Masahiro Motoki) in the movie met the turning point of his career when their orchestra has been disbanded. Out of his joblessness, he opted to settle with his family back in his hometown and worked as an “encoffiner”. The said job is very tough because he is in charge of preparing the body of dead people and beautify it before placing it in coffins and sending it to the next world.
He stands as the gatekeeper between life and death. Having the said job, he was ridiculed by the people around him including his wife and children. But the good thing is that he was able to realize that true love is the ability to let go of the people we love because they will be in a much better place. This has been part of the Japanese culture because letting go of relatives are really hard for them since they treasure close family ties so much. Another apparent theme in the movie is the hardship that jobless people experiences.
Part of the culture of Japanase people who unexpectedly losses their job and sought for opportunities ahead of them. Once they are given the opportunity to work again, the tendency is that they will exert their effort to make the most out of their new jobs. In the case of Daigo, he was despised by the community because his work is considered not part of the “right job” in the society. The movie delivers a layer of complications in culture relationships and family expectations.
The challenges of everyday lives are shown in the film in the nicest possible way that viewers could understand. Being a “nonkashi” or an encoffiner is an unusual profession. This caused so many complications in Daigo’s life because working so close with dead people has the high regard connotation. A person like him is doing something that is so universal but people are always viewing him downwards. The good thing about the film is that it shows viewers the location that is perfect for each scene.
It was shot in Yamagata which is Japan’s rural region area that is slowly decaying because of the changing seasons. This is the time where people are moving away and finding much better places. Another apparent part of the film are the scenes where food is given more emphasis. It shows how relevant food is in Japanese culture because it has a deep connection with life, eating and other desires of the Japanese. The wife of Daigo in the movie Ryoko Hirosue (Mika Kobayashi) manifests the fragility of the kind of relationship that they had as man and wife.
She also constantly showed how to play up to social norms by having an attitude that is really inclined to the Japanese culture. The receptionist in the movie Kimiko Yo (Yuriko Kamimura) sets the boundaries between the personalities of the characters. She is the one that adds up humor to the film despite her difficult job. The head undertaker Tsutomu Yamazaki (Ikuei Sasaki) is the stereotypical boss who is always leading by example. He wants his employees to learn from him and expands his learning once his employee gains more skill.
Japanese boss are usually viewed this way because they used to be supportive and relaxed both on their own capacity and their employees’ performance. The disrespect for someone who is working with the dead seems like a real cultural taboo in the film, but no further explanations were given nor presented. The unhappiness of Daigo’s marriage with his wife is very unusual because all he wanted is to give her the good life by earning money from his job. the movie deals with Japanese culture and people’s relationship as they deal with changes and grief in their lives.