Rinne is a boy of mixed human and shinigami heritage residing in the human world, despite his grandmother's invitation to live with her. He used to live with his grandfather until he died and now lives in an abandoned club building of the school he attends. He performs the duties of a shinigami, though requires tools that a true shinigami would not need and that are quite inexpensive, often times equating to ¥500 or ¥1,000. He also has the expensive Haori of the Underworld (黄泉の羽織 Yomi no Haori?), a robe that allows Rinne to not be seen by ordinary living beings and, when reversed, turns a ghost into a solid being. As he is short on money, he is eager to pick up money, food, or any kind of offering made by the students; he also refuses to spend money on rent, uniforms or many other common necessities. Rinne's name is taken from "Rinne," the cycle of resurrection present in Buddhism, and Rokudo, the six paths that comprise it.
Rin-ne's grandmother, a shinigami, fell in love with a human who was going to die soon and gave him 50 more years to live. It is still unknown about his parents.