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In May, members of a packed audience at a small theater in Tokyo greeted a documentary on traditional Kurdish music with rapturous applause. Many of them then went up on stage to join an invited Kurdish musician in a dance.

The event was part of a spotlight recently turned on several films and publications about the everyday lives and culture of Kurds, some 2,000 of whom live in Japan. It represents a shift in focus from the issues surrounding political repression and refugees that are usually associated with them.

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