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Asian faiths try to save sacred swastika corrupted by Hitler

22 Comments
By DEEPA BHARATH

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The topic is delicate and it is good that careful discussions are being done about it, people that are not deeply involved in either side may see it as something easy to solve (either thinking a ban or ignoring the people affected by the symbol as the simplest solution) but obviously this is not the case.

Respect for both sides is of absolute importance here, and fortunately society has been able to recognize it.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

“You cannot call it a symbol of evil or (deny) other facts that have existed for hundreds of years, just because of Hitler,” said Nakagaki, who believes more dialogue is needed.

They are not calling it "just because of Hitler". This NagaFookinSaki needs to take his head out of his backside. Under this symbol millions of people were killed not so long ago, including some in my family. So while for a lot of people the swastika is a symbol of peace, I guess for many others it is really THE symbol of evil, and they have millions of reasons to call it that...

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

It is a symbol that was misappropriated by the Nazis.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

They are urinating into a very stiff breeze. The swastika will never be acceptable again. Ever. Too much death and destruction was committed under that horrible symbol.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

First of all, it's different symbol the original one is in counterclockwise direction while the one that being used by German in second world war is clockwise version. Usually people who really pro this symbol censorship will ignore that detailed fact in the first place.

Beside that that original symbol already exist 2400 years before 2nd world war took place. So it already adopted in many cultures long before German actually finally use it.

There is no doubt with that in long history eventually someone will make stain on that symbol, however it doesn't mean that symbol should be censored and erased from existence.

Here another example, there is a time that white supremacist and pro segregation people in US they use spanish church's white hood, however that white hood in many forms already used by church from 13th century, even before US really exist. Spanish church still that kind of hood until today.

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20170413-this-white-hood-carries-many-meanings

Greta Elbogen, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor whose family members were killed at Auschwitz, said learning the swastika is sacred to so many is a blessing and feels liberating. Elbogen, born in 1938 when the Nazis forcibly annexed Austria, went into hiding in Hungary before immigrating to the U.S.

Elbogen said she no longer fears the symbol: “It’s time to let go of the past and look to the future.”

Right, it's time to move on. Don't be held by the past.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

They are urinating into a very stiff breeze. The swastika will never be acceptable again. Ever. Too much death and destruction was committed under that horrible symbol.

Millions of people worldwide use that symbol to practice their religion long way before nineteen centuries and it still continue even after being stained by irresponsible people in the past during second world war.

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/jainism/

https://nypost.com/2020/11/10/jews-hindus-and-buddhists-discuss-the-meaning-of-the-swastika/

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If we look at history, much more many were killed in the name of Christianity, and by the same logic, we should be deeply offended and ban the symbol of the cross

But then there'd be no hypocrisy.

The swastika will never be acceptable again.

The swastika, in its ancient form, is acceptable all over India, Japan and the Sinosphere (Mainland China, HK and Taiwan). In HK and Taiwan, you will see it on the front of Buddhist vegetarian restaurants. I hardly think they would meeting places for Nazis.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@ebisen

symbol of evil

Surely, we all understand how symbols work, a random shape is associated with a concept, and idea, a group... and voila, you've got yourself a symbol.

And as such all kinds of symbols have been for all throughout human history been used for good and evil and all things in between. Strating with countries flags, or people's flags, religious signs like crosses (Egyptian and so forth), stars and pentagrams, moons and half-moons, etc., etc. Nazis killed Jews and Jehovah's Witness under the swastika and identified Jews with a star and Witnesses with a purple triangle, the Jew star is in turn, I suppose, not liked by Palestinian supporters. And other of their countless war enemies through history; the Japanese rising sun flag and current flag is hated in several places throughout Asia, several native cultures and religions were annihilated under the Spaniard catholic cross in Latin America, under the moor half-moon countless Europeans were enslaved and castrated. But on the other hand all these symbols have also meant help, rescue, compassion at different places and stages of history for different peoples.

All in all, symbols are just a deliberate association of two inherently UNRELATED things. And as such we should be able to at will separate them FROM what others unilaterally use as a sign for their self predications.

It also depends on the CONTEXT in which is being used.

Only a bonehead would think a swastika in a hindu environment is a symbol of evil.

We need to be smart.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think my message was misunderstood - I have nothing agains cultures using it as a symbol of peace, but I take offence with how lightly this Nagasaki guy tries to dictate what we can and can't call:

“You cannot call it a symbol of evil or (deny) other facts that have existed for hundreds of years, just because of Hitler,” said Nakagaki, who believes more dialogue is needed.

While I have nothing against people for who this represents peace, they have to understand that for many other people this represents evil in a very tangible way. It is not "just because of Hitler".

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

They are urinating into a very stiff breeze. The swastika will never be acceptable again. Ever. Too much death and destruction was committed under that horrible symbol.

Step out of your bubble please.

Swastika is an ancient symbol for good fortune and prosperity in some cultures, and that the Nazis misappropriated it will not change the fact. It's ubiquitous outside the homes, temples and even on the vehicles of Hindus.

Swastika the word itself is of Sanskrit origin and it's also used as a name for girls in India, so next you will be saying that anyone by the name of Swastika should also be banned from ever coming into the US.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ebisen Today  11:55 am JST

I understand. Trauma, as PTSD and all other degrees is also a reality, so the fact that it some symbols represent evil and trigger memories, etc. is not something to be taken lightly either.

That being said, part of the healing process against trauma is to disassociate the actual evil act from the peripheral things that just happened to randomly concur or be associated with it. This is what makes trauma so awful and hard on victims, because totally innocuous things like a song, a smell, a sign, a color, etc. that can be found in everyday life become attached to the evil event, making it difficult to move past it.

Disassociating makes it easier for survivors. But it doesn't mean forgetting or ignoring the fact that it was used as such.

As you mention understanding both sides is necessary.

And lack of empathy, like the comment you mention is not the right way forward.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It will also be worthwhile to understand how the Nazis came to misappropriate Swastika.

The roots go back to belief in the advanced ancient Aryan race and civilization which was thought to have settled in ancient India in prehistoric times. According to the theory of Aryan race, these light-skinned Aryans were the group who invaded and conquered ancient India from the north and whose literature and religion subsequently shaped the course of Indian culture and civilization, particularly the Vedic religion that is the precursor to Hinduism.

In the 19th century, white supremacists used the term Aryan to mean the 'White Race'. The term Aryan itself is of Sanskrit origin though. Members of that so-called Aryan race spoke Indo-European languages, were credited with all the progress that benefited humanity, and were purported to be superior to all other races. The Nazis regarded the German people as the purest members of the mythical Aryan race.

So it's not just the Swastika that was borrowed by the Nazis, but the belief in the superior Aryan race itself that was common to both the groups. And that is the reason why there are so many points of convergence between the white supremacists in the West and the Hindu nationalists in India.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

FYI, Buddhist/Hindu swastika is legal in Germany, only the Nazi version which is reversed and angled at 45 degree is illegal.

Unlike Buddhist/Hindu swastika, the Rising Sun Flag is a modern invention closely tied to Japan's imperialism, thus must be banned just like its fellow Nazi Swastika.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Japanese maps mark sites of Buddhist temples with swastikas, called manjis in Japan, and Shinto shrines with torii gates.

I've always wondered why they use the infamous symbol of Nazi Germany for Buddhist temples. 

Now, I understand.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Where or what is the problem? Hitler's swastika is black and stands alone.

Original swastikas are coloured and embelished with symbols. Another distinction can be made by spelling the original as Swastica or Swestika. Jewish people should think like Greta Elbogen whose family members perished in Auschwitz. She said, "I no longer fear the symbol. Let go the past to face the future."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No, not in India, Japan, and many other countries in Asia. Hitler stole and twisted (pun intended) it, that's not swastika's problem. Deal with it

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The swastika was used throughout European history before mid-century Germany made it prominent so Europeans should reclaim it from its demonisation too as part of their native culture

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Samit BasuToday  03:24 pm JST

FYI, Buddhist/Hindu swastika is legal in Germany, only the Nazi version which is reversed and angled at 45 degree is illegal.

Unlike Buddhist/Hindu swastika, the Rising Sun Flag is a modern invention closely tied to Japan's imperialism, thus must be banned just like its fellow Nazi Swastika.

The issue is not one of legality. It is one of ignorance, that many people can not tell the difference.

The rising sun flag is a naval ensign. It also appears in Japanese history from the 1600s. Countless Koreans served under that flag, and many are honored at Yasukuni. Navies of all democratic countries train together with the JMSDF vessels that fly that flag. The rising sun flag was never a political flag like Hitler's reversed swastika. It is the Japanese equivalent of the Iron Cross, which was used by Germany in WWI, WWII and today. South Koreans need to get over this misdirected grudge.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@OssanAmerica

Countless Koreans served under that flag, and many are honored at Yasukuni

...

South Koreans need to get over this misdirected grudge.

"Misdirected grudge", eh?

As usual, you're brooming a lot of inconvenient facts under the carpet.

Additional information on that part of the statement.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korea_under_Japanese_rule#Korean_service_in_the_Japanese_military

*Japan did not draft **ethnic Koreans into its military until 1944 when the tide of World War II turned against it. Until 1944, enlistment in the Imperial Japanese Army by ethnic Koreans was voluntary, and highly competitive.*

...

*Starting in 1944, Japan started the conscription of Koreans into the armed forces. All Korean males were drafted to either join the Imperial Japanese Army, as of April 1944, or work in the military industrial sector, as of September 1944. Before 1944, 18,000 Koreans passed the examination for induction into the army. Koreans provided workers to mines and construction sites around Japan. The number of conscripted Koreans reached its peak in 1944 in preparation for war.From 1944, about *200,000 Korean males were inducted into the army.

Long story short, when in 1944 it was obvious that things were going south as in "South Pole southwards" for the Imperial Japanese Army did they "lower" their standards and conscripted Koreans into their ranks...to serve as cannon fodder.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Comparing the Jewish Holocaust and the swastika, and the Asian Holocaust and the imperial flag. In both cases, the estimated death toll is around 6 million (though the latter is said to be about twice that number). "Misdirected grudge?" There are at least 6 million reasons for that grudge...

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

There is a small town in Ontario Canda called Swastika.

Per Wiki:  The gold mine and town were named after the Sanskrit good-luck symbol Swastika.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Obviously not one of you have ever looked closely a the map of Tokyo for example . There are hundreds of circled swasticas all over the map ! They are markers for Temples , the last I heard the Governor of Tokyo was considering changing the symbol , but I haven't checked a new map , so have a look at an old and new map guys , and see how many you find .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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