As Kurdish people in Japan seek to settle and adjust to life, some harbor misgivings about their future and for the safety of their relatives back home.

"It's too sad, and I remember him whatever I see," said a 35-year-old Kurdish chef in Warabi, Saitama Prefecture, of his 25-year-old brother. The man, a militia member, was killed during a firefight with Islamic State militants in a Kurdish town near the border between Turkey and Syria in June.

Ethnic Kurds inhabit a mountainous region spanning parts of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. While they are estimated to number 20 million to 30 million worldwide, more than 10 million live in Turkey.