Kurdistan Flag

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Kurds in Japan celebrating Newroz with their Japanese friends!

Many of the Kurdish immigrants in Japan come from Bakûr and stay under refugee status. The Kurds here learn Japanese whilst speaking Kurdish and sometimes Turkish. The Kurdish children who go to the Japanese schools often become fluently trilingual. Kurds residing in Japan take advantage of cultural freedoms they are not openly permitted in Turkey by displaying Kurdish flags, listening to Kurdish music, speaking Kurdish, and celebrating Newroz. They may also give Kurdish names like “Roni” or “Rohat,” which mean “the sun will rise,” to their children who are born in Japan. These names are forbidden in Turkey due to their political implications (the flag of Kurdistan, banned in Turkey, features a sun).

Newroz, the New Year celebration that is often an occasion for violence in Turkey, is celebrated openly and peacefully in Japanese parks.