Departures Literary Elements

Departures Literary Elements


Yōjirō Takita

Leading Actors/Actresses

Masahiro Motoki ,Tsutomu Yamazaki

Supporting Actors/Actresses

Ryôko Hirosue, Kimiko Yo






Best Foreign Language Film in 2009

Date of Release

23 August 2008 (MWFF) 13 September 2008(Japan)


Toshiaki Nakazawa

Setting and Context

Present time Japan

Narrator and Point of View

The film is presented from a first person point of view who presents the events in a subjective way.

Tone and Mood

Tragic, sad, regretful, ironic

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist is Daigo who fights against the prejudice the others have regarding the profession he has.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is between Daigo and Mika. The reason why there is a conflict between the two is because Mika is unable to accept her husband’s job.


The film reaches its climax when Mika leaves Daigo and returns to Tokyo.


The profession which Daigo will have once he moves back to his hometown is foreshadowed towards the beginning of the film. Soon after Daigo finds that he no longer has a job, his wife brings home a squid she received from a neighbor. When Mika tries to cook the squid, she realized that the squid is still alive. A little bit later, they go to the river to release the squid which died on the way there. The death of the squid is the beginning of death becoming a recurrent motif in the film. It also foreshadows the work Daigo will do in the future.


When Sasaki tells Daigo that the first job he was called for was not bad proves to be an understatement as they are presented having to deal with the decomposing corpse of a lady who died two weeks before she was discovered.

Innovations in Filming or Lighting or Camera Techniques

One of the particularities of the film that are made to stand out is the combination between serious and dark scenes and humorous scenes. This combination prevented the movie from becoming too dark and serious and offered instead a combination that made the viewer feel at ease while watching the film.


There are many allusions in the film that suggest the fragility of life. One such allusion is the presence of cherry blossoms, flowers that are common in Japan during spring time. However, while they are beautiful, the cherry blossoms last only for a short period of time. The symbol is used to emphasize the fragility of human life and how fast a person can die.


Daigo’s reaction to Mika’s news can be considered as being a paradox. While Daigo seems to be deeply affected by his father’s abandonment, he doesn’t try to convince Mika to stay after he found out that she is pregnant by promising her that he would quit his job. His reaction is strange considering the way he thinks about those who abandon their children.


A parallel can be drawn between Daigo’s father and Uemura. Both had abandoned their children while they were still young. Daigo’s father left when he was just five years old and Uemura left when her son was 6 years old. While the viewer doesn’t know what Daigo’s father felt during the time he was separated from his son, Uemura admits that she feels guilty every day and that she misses her son dearly. When Daigo asks her why she doesn’t return to him, Uemura tells him that the guilt and the shame that resulted from what she had done stops her. But even if Uemura doesn’t talks with her child, she still lover her son. Similarly, Daigo’s father continued to love his son even though he didn’t saw him for 30 years and the fact that Daigo found a stone letter he gave his father when he was young in his dead father’s hand proved it so.

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