Kenji Goto is among a rare breed of journalists who, while reporting from conflict-ridden Syria, has never regarded himself as a war reporter. Instead, he has tried to capture the voices of ordinary citizens whose fates have been irreversibly changed by war.

Goto, 47, began reporting on Syria and its people four years ago, when its civil war broke out. He went missing in mid-October in the north of the country after entering from Turkey, reportedly to look for Haruna Yukawa, the second hostage seen in the video.

In May, Goto told a newspaper his focus as a reporter is always the people suffering, rather than the war itself.