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Yuko Nakajima says her job isn’t as pretty as portrayed in “Departures,” director Yojiro Takita’s Oscar-winning 2008 film about Japanese ritual morticians.

While the movie cast a tender light on the occupation, the 37-year-old says it can get messy and requires speed and nerves: The corpses she handles are in various stages of decomposition and are sometimes damaged beyond recognition. There’s also a certain amount of stigma associated with the trade in a society that considers death taboo.

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