I had an email today from someone in Atlanta, Georgia USA. Is there any funeral home in this area, she wondered, that practises nokanshi. I explained that I couldn’t help: the GFG is UK-based. Then I googled nokanshi. And discovered that it is the ritual preparation, in Japan, of the body for cremation.
There’s a fuller description of a nokanshi here.
And you can see how it’s done in the opening scene of the film Departures. (I put some trailers for Departures up on this blog a while back.) Now, I see, someone has posted the entire film on YouTube in 10-min chunks. It’s incredibly beautiful. Okay, the nokanshi discovers halfway through the ritual washing that the beautiful dead girl is actually a boy. No matter. You get the point.
There are no subtitles on the (presumably pirated) YouTube version. But it’s easy enough to follow. And it really is a lovely piece of work.