The Departure
The Departure
88 min • Society, Health & Science • 2017 • M

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Ittetsu Nemoto is a bad boy do-gooder. A 44-year-old Tokyo native, Nemoto loves riding his motorcycle and dancing all night in clubs. But he’s also a Rinzai Zen priest, who lives with his wife, mother and baby son at a temple in the remote countryside of Gifu prefecture, Japan. There, over the last ten years, he has become famous for his work in combating suicide. He relates to the men and women who come to him for help not as a professional, or a saintly spiritual figure bestowing wisdom from up on high—but instead, as one of them, a screwed-up individual full of pain and suffering, on a high-stakes mission to understand the purpose of being alive. Nemoto is remarkably successful in his career because he refuses to draw lines between suicidal people and himself—but that is also precisely why his problems begin.