Departures Themes

Departures Themes


Death is the element that appears most frequently in the film. Performing rituals for the dead, Daigo is thrust into a world that was a mystery to him until them. Being exposed every day to death, Daigo changes his ideas about the world and about what is important or not. He develops an almost fatalist point of view, considering that it is not worth struggling to reach the top when it is likely that a person will die before getting the chance to get there. Despite being presented as a universal tragic event, death is seen as something normal, something everyone will have to face at one point in their lives. Because of this, the notion of death becomes normalized throughout the film to the point where the sight of a dead person no longer produces the same emotions it did inside Daigo as it did in the beginning of the film.


Another predominant theme analyzes the effect prejudice has I a person’s life. After those around Daigo find out where he works, their perception about Daigo changes completely. If at first, he was someone they looked up to, he soon became someone they despised and considered as being dirty and disgusting. The idea that the work he was doing was not a noble one affected the relationship he had with his wife to the point where Mika felt as she had no other option than leave him and move , back in with her parents. Towards the end of the film, all those who criticized Daigo for choosing to work as a mortician change their perception about Daigo and about the work he does.

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