The effects of sarcopenic obesity, the co-existence of sarcopenia and obesity, on mood disorders have not been studies extensively. Our objective was to examine the association of depressive symptoms with sarcopenia and obesity status in older Japanese adults. We analyzed data from 1731 functionally-independent, community-dwelling Japanese adults aged 65 years or older (875 men, 856 women) randomly selected from the resident register of Kashiwa city, Chiba, Japan in 2012. Sarcopenia was defined based on appendicular skeletal muscle mass, grip strength and usual gait speed. Obesity was defined as the highest sex-specific quintile of the percentage body fat. Depressive symptoms were defined as a Geriatric Depression Scale 15-item score ≥ 6. Multiple logistic regression was employed to examine the association of depressive symptoms with four groups defined by the presence/absence of sarcopenia and obesity. The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 10.1% and the proportions of sarcopenia/obesity, sarcopenia/non-obesity, non-sarcopenia/obesity, non-sarcopenia/non-obesity were 3.7%, 13.6%, 16.9% and 65.8%, respectively. After adjustment for potential confounders, sarcopenia/obesity was positively associated with depressive symptoms compared with non-sarcopenia/non-obesity, whereas either sarcopenia or obesity alone was not associated with depressive symptoms. The association was particularly pronounced in those aged 65 to 74 years in age-stratified analysis. We conclude that our findings suggest a synergistic impact exerted by sarcopenic obesity on the risk of depressive symptoms, particularly in those aged 65 to 74 years.