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Japanese Buddhist seeks to educate West on swastika of good fortune

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By Matthew Carland

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I am in absolute agreement that people in the West need to be educated as to what the Manji is and how it differs from the Nazi Swastika. It is commendable that the US Jewish community welcomes this correction of a misunderstanding. I also believe Koreans need to be educated that the 16 rayed Japanese Naval Ensign is the equivalent of the German Iron Cross, not the Nazi Swastika. And all Americans, whose military service members train together with Japan with the Stars and Stripes flying alongside the Rising Sun flag, should likewise welcome a correction to the misunderstanding that Korean nationalists are advancing.

29 ( +38 / -9 )

Somehow I dont think that in western countries (at this point in time) re educating yourself in swastika origins is a priority and something people have time for.

In Asia, this doesn’t even need to be discussed. Perhaps he wants attention? This will get you some

-17 ( +7 / -24 )

It's a noble thought but there's no way it will go well in the US with the current PC climate. He needs to prepare himself to become the first Japanese Buddhist white supremacist...

-15 ( +8 / -23 )

The Nazis got the Swastika from Blavatsky, who in turn got it from Buddhists in Tibet.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

I agree with all of this but c'mon, you're not going to be able to rehabilitate the image of the Swastika in the west. It's not happening. It's such loaded imagery and has so much baggage that no matter what the correct symbolism is or how much it was perverted by the Nazis, there's no saving it in the west. Plenty of right-wing hate groups even tout the same line 'I don't have a swastika Tattoo, it's the hindu symbol for peace' and the like.

There's no rehab for that symbol in the west. Do what you can within Japan before the olympics to educate people coming here if you must, but because it evokes such a visceral response in the west... the more you draw attention to it the more people will subconsciously associate Japan's use of these symbols with something extremely negative within their own cultural context. It doesn't matter what is technically correct here, it's so problematic in practice.

-13 ( +11 / -24 )

with the current PC climate

As opposed to the good old days when sexual abuse and racism were just good ole boys having some fun? Jump into the 21st century dude, it's quite liberating.

Sadly this crusade to influence the West is probably not going to influence the people it's designed to as travelers typically have open minds and likely already know some history and have cultural awareness.

the more you draw attention to it the more people will subconsciously associate Japan's use of these symbols with something extremely negative within their own cultural context. 

Disagree, as with peoples attitudes towards tattoos, MGBGT people , Hajib e.t.c. the widely viewed opinion varies and can change with exposure and experience.

3 ( +15 / -12 )

As opposed to the good old days when sexual abuse and racism were just good ole boys having some fun? Jump into the 21st century dude, it's quite liberating.

Way to read into my comment and put words into my mouth. But thanks for proving my point that people are overly sensitive about anything and everything these days. Racists and sexist boogeymen behind every tree.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

"When (U.S. President Donald) Trump came up, so did all the hate crimes as well," said Nakagaki to Kyodo News. "If I don't say it now then more misunderstanding will spread."

Perhaps Mr Nakagaki should start at home?

https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/article/1587835/shinzo-abes-new-cabinet-members-deny-neo-nazi-links

https://twitter.com/cracjp/status/628431568978051072

Seems like a awful lot of Japanese need some education, too.

-12 ( +9 / -21 )

Hitler stole the symbol and inverted it.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

The sign is familiar to Japanese and I myself thought before why it was similar to Nazi Swastika. I have never heard Jewish people or Israel did any protest in Japan about the sign. Even Japanese people do not pay any attention about belongings of the temple. Buddhism in Japan is losing ground. People go to temples only when their family member dies or on memorial days of the deceased. They are like funeral businesses. It is not a religion any more. No religious social activities by them. They do not have any influence to the Japanese society. At the funeral, the monks recite sutra that we do not understand at all and we have to pay a lot of money. Temples that have good and big buildings have become sightseeing places and to enter the temples, they charge fees.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Alfie NoakesToday  08:10 am JST

"When (U.S. President Donald) Trump came up, so did all the hate crimes as well," said Nakagaki to Kyodo News. "If I don't say it now then more misunderstanding will spread."

Perhaps Mr Nakagaki should start at home?

He is starting at home. He lives in New York.

23 ( +25 / -2 )

@simon g

Disagree, as with peoples attitudes towards tattoos, MGBGT people , Hajib e.t.c. the widely viewed opinion varies and can change with exposure and experience.

Well I mean I agree with that, but the west already has had lengthy exposure to the Swastika, that's the point. We've already decided that within a western cultural context that it's not negotiable. Like someone above said, most people who make it all the way out here already have some exposure to the historical and cultural context of Swastikas as they are represented in buddhism, and if they don't a quick google search would enlighten them.

The article is talking about spreading awareness to people who live in the west, who already have a highly emotionally negative response to the symbol about this other use that exists in a place. All it does is subconsciously connect that negative feeling to Japan or buddhism in people who most likely will never come here or find it useful to dig deeper into the subject. I just don't see the point.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Just tell em its a hammer and sickle, they'll love it.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Hitler stole the symbol and inverted it.

So simple an explanation, and yet perfect and hit the nail on the head! well done!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

And actually, the tattoo comparison is useful here. The Japanese didn't always disdain tattoos. Japanese traditional tattoos are some of the most beautiful in the world and didn't become taboo until the Meiji period and only culturally taboo starting in the early 20th century as a result of rapid westernization. For hundreds of years tattoos played an important part in Japanese culture. The ban on tattoos was lifted pretty much right after WWII. In Japan, especially in the Showa era, they were associated with the Yakuza and general criminal activity. Only a small portion of the history of tattoos in Japan did they have a negative connotation, and yet Japanese people still have a very negative response to them.

Now think about the swastika. In western cultures, it's only ever had negative connotations outside of the Nazi Party before and during WWII. It's associated with genocide, inarguably more horrifying than an organized crime group. There's no history at all in the west of the swastika symbolizing anything other than absolute horror.

Think of how hard going it will be to rehabilitate tattoos in Japan, if they ever manage to do so.

Trying to rehabilitate the swastika in the west is literally never going to happen, regardless of historical context. It's a losing bet every time.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Well when you can't export useful technology you export nonsense.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Buddhism temples where western tourists visit have to hurry to hide the symbols so that they will not lose foreign tourists. The same thing may happen to them as Yasukuni where they think war criminals are enshrined.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

The image is tarnished, people can't change for this.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Open-minded, educated ppl should be able to discern what's clear antisemitism/ what's not. A Swastika symbol in a Hindu, Buddhist temple or home -anywhere in the world- is perfectly fine. You'd have to be pretty obtuse/ignorant to think Nakagaki and other Buddhists/Hindus wearing the Manji as a necklace or on clothing are actually proselytizing nazi ideology.

Good luck to him!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

As long as we never forget the horrors and depravity that we saw from fascism and communism in the 20th century ever again. Unfortunately humans seem to have very short ( and selective ) memories. A generation or two and we start to drop our guard. The darker sides of our human natures still lurk.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Ancient symbols and relics of a past that should be going extinct (imo).

Not important!

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

All I can honestly see this accomplishing is making a certain type of Westerner think there's some grassroots movement in Japan to feel bad about "corrupting" the image (and force them to accept it) and in turn make Japanese people who don't even care about any of this to begin with feel that their culture is being attacked by outsiders. Just leave it as it is before idiots on both sides take over the headlines.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics approaching, Nakagaki hopes tourists will educate themselves about the Buddhist swastika, as they are bound to see them -- on train maps, clothing and household items -- while in Japan.

It's a bit of a shock when you first come to Japan and see your first swastika in a temple, but most travellers have an awareness of cultural differences and don't take it as connected with Nazism and genocide. That same openness of mind doesn't necessarily apply domestically in Europe or Anglosphere societies, though, and there is a valid historical reason for that in the case of the swastika.

Although it is typical of Western cultural arrogance to insist that our own cultural reading of something is the only way there is to interpret things, in this case the historical associations of this symbol in Europe are so horrific that it's impossible to overcome them. I think that Mr. Nakagaki's ambitions to educate Westerners about the symbol are well-intentioned, but overall are doomed to failure.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Although it is typical of Western cultural arrogance to insist that our own cultural reading of something is the only way there is to interpret things, in this case the historical associations of this symbol in Europe are so horrific that it's impossible to overcome them. 

The manji is not even the same symbol, as pointed out, it's not tilted and it faces the opposite direction. But visually yes the Nazi symbol is so taboo no one in the West has been educated as to the difference or even the existence of similar-looking symbols from human history.

It's good to spread awareness. None of the Nazi insignia or symbols were original: they appropriated, copied, and twisted from other far older and unrelated societies. People should know this fact. In my own hometown neo-Nazis are still doing this very thing as they try to appropriate the "Viking" imagery brought by Norwegian immigrants. Historically of course they have no relation to each other.

However I agree there is not enough awareness and too late. If only people in the West knew of the manji in the early 20th century.

Just as long as ignorant tourists or Olympic spectators don't come here and start defacing temples or calling police because "there's a swastika"

6 ( +6 / -0 )

He is starting at home. He lives in New York.

As I'm sure you know full well what I meant was Mr. Nakagaki could begin by educating all those Japanese people (like Taro Aso the ex-Prime Minister and current Finance Minister, Tomomi Inada the former Defence Minister, Takaichi Sanae, another former minister) who have publicly praised the Nazis and Hitler, along with fascist groups like the Zaitokukai whose members frequently wave swastika flags at their rallies.

Rehabilitating the swastika abroad is one thing but rehabilitating it in his home country first would be a start.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

what's to explain? Hitler took the symbol and reversed it. The true symbol remains. No one I know had a problem with this because we were taught about the co-opting of symbols in school. Millions of people have visited Japan not having a problem either. Is it only a USA education problem?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

The National Socialist logo was the swastika. This monk is crazy thinking that he can put the two side by side and erase the horrors of what the German socialists did to the world.

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

Left turning represents good fortune. Right 45c angle turning represents bad fortune. What's wrong with that?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I remember seeing a very old Native American swastika at the Chicago museum.

Time to get over the symbols.

Theres a reason it’s called the Twisted cross.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I am sure westerners will understand!

Because Japan was never a member of the original "nazist axis" and got nothing to do with nazism... oh wait a minute..

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Leave it to the fascists to the symbol for peace and good fortune backwards. How apropos...

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Don't get me wrong, I believe he is right; but I also know that westerners won't listen to him, at all.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Symbols from Ancient Egypt has More meanings and nicer designs too.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Good on him. The symbols and colours are ultimately irrelevant. What matters is the ideas. The Nazis killed millions because of an ideology, a worldview. It is that that needs to be fought.

Comparing others to the Nazis is commonly seen as sensationalism, see Godwin's law, but it should not be forgotten that the Nazis did not kill people at the beginning. They started with propaganda and moved through incremental levels of oppression. I think the first people they started killing were political opponents in Germany and the mentally ill.

(The military government in Myanmar isn't exactly giving Buddhism a good name at the moment)

1 ( +4 / -3 )

As is written in the article, the swastika symbol is used in Japanese (web) maps as a marker to tell the locations of temples. I checked google map and found they do not use the markers. It is inconvenient for Japanese. We can find the temples in one look by the markers. If foreigners see the Japanese maps when they come to Japan in 2020, they will be shocked Japanese web maps have so many swastika marks. Please use google maps only. But if they do not understand Japanese, it is very difficult to find the temples on the map.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@Schopenhauer

Japan has already decided not to use the swastika to denote temples on tourists maps, so it is not just Google

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/plans-to-ditch-swastika-as-temple-symbol-on-tourist-maps-in-japan-met-with-criticism-a6821526.html

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Too often conflicts and arguments start from simple misunderstandings. The Buddhist symbol of the swastika is an excellent example of this human miscommunication. What started as a positive and beautiful symbol by the Buddhists was perverted and twisted by the German Nazis. This seminal work by Rev Dr. T. K. Nakagaki finally clearly and beautifully clarifies this simple and unknown truth”

Rabbi Michael Schudrich, The Chief Rabbi of Poland

“Nothing symbolizes evil and hate in our era more graphically than the image that the Nazis emblazoned on their flags. In a globalized world where East and West now meet and mix, profound misunderstandings too easily arise when the German Hakenkreuz becomes confused with the Indian swastika. With careful scholarship, a deep respect for Jewish life and identity, and great sensitivity toward the memory of the Shoah, T. K. Nakagaki has disentangled the Nazi symbol from the authentic meaning of the swastika. In doing so he has also challenged us to resist and refute evil and hate in whatever form they are manifested, and to work for the peace for which the ancient swastika authentically stands.”

Dr. Dale T. Irvin, the President and Professor of World Christianity, the New York Theological Seminary

“Reverend Toshikazu Kenjitsu Nakagaki has shown intellectual courage and integrity in selecting for his book the controversial symbol of the swastika, stigmatized in the West for its association with ideas of racism and hatred and revered in the East for ages as representing a sacred spirituality. He has done a commendable job in presenting his extensive study and research opening the door for the inquisitive to the significance of this many-faceted icon and its implications for peace and reconciliation in today’s complex world. The book is undoubtedly impressive and deserves wider global attention and readership.”

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations (2002-2007)

https://sites.google.com/site/thebuddhistswastikaandhscross/home

8 ( +9 / -1 )

If foreigners see the Japanese maps when they come to Japan in 2020, they will be shocked Japanese web maps have so many swastika marks. 

Maybe for 5 seconds tops.

(The military government in Myanmar isn't exactly giving Buddhism a good name at the moment)

And the Ukraine government and some parts of the country are full of neo nazis, but “they’re our” neo nazis.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think most tourists would probably go through the same thought process I did when seeing the manji on a map:

"Whoa, that's a lot of swastikas. That's weird. They must mean something else here, because I've never heard of Japan being some hotbed of Nazism, that they advertise on maps at train stations".

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The two symbols are completely different. I learnt their meanings when I was a little kid. There is no need to hide it in Japan but I am not against promoting education about it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

You can find this symbol and a six pointed star on the same Hindu temples, and they have nothing to do with Nazis or Jews. I think most people can just deal with it.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This symbol was use thousand of year .It is unfortunate the western culture the German racist group have took this symbol as their hatred symbol.If I am correct their racist symbol rotate the other way. For their stupid meaning.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Now think about the swastika. In western cultures, it's only ever had negative connotations outside of the Nazi Party before and during WWII. It's associated with genocide, inarguably more horrifying than an organized crime group. There's no history at all in the west of the swastika symbolizing anything other than absolute horror.

Trying to rehabilitate the swastika in the west is literally never going to happen, regardless of historical context. It's a losing bet every time.

Interesting post savethegaijin, BUT No one's saying that we should 'rehabilitate' the swastika; just discern/understand that it means different things for different ppl etc. Same with the Roman salute & nazi salute, Chaplin's toothbrush mustache and Hitler's I.e all look awfully similar yet mean totally different things for different ppl, in different eras & countries etc.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I am in absolute agreement that people in the West need to be educated as to what the Manji is and how it differs from the Nazi Swastika.

Yes, the world should re-align itself in regards the religious cultures of some tiny, Unesco-protected islands in the Pacific inhabited by people with zero cultural flexibility or awareness other than their own. It's just easier that way. If anyone is offended, it's obviously their fault...

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

"Every effort to educate people on both sides, in Asia and elsewhere around the world, is a positive thing."

Yes, but they key words in your comment is "both sides". For example, I find it unfathomable that the man did what he did in New York 25 years ago and had absolutely no idea how it would be met. You don't start a dialogue by introducing a symbol people hate and that can cause extreme reaction as a means to say "You are wrong about what it means." People here need to learn, too, why some who visit might misinterpret the sign. It is not up to them to simply become educated on something they don't know has other meanings, it is up to educators to teach them. Those who know have to be prepared to discuss it. DO NOT change the symbols in Japan, but if someone asks why there are "swastikas", calmly explain that it is a Buddhist symbol appropriate, twisted (in appearance and definitely in meaning) by Hitler, and does not mean what they might think it does. Educate people here, first, for those who do not know, and then try to spread the word, here and abroad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unless kept alive by user of symbols with their attached meanings and inferences as well as emotional ties to them, they will all "change". So far most words in the English language have changed and evolved lover the years, decades and centuries. So will the "swastika". The easiest way to change the imagery is to use the name most acceptable for it such as the "manji" and internationalize that word. We all know "ninja" and "anime" all over the world as with "katana" and "tsunami".

All it takes is the media to take it up so the social media can run its course.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There’s no harm in Nakagaki teaching the original history behind the swastika symbol and it’s use in much of Asia. The people should go on using it as they have. It’s just as important to recognise that in the West the symbol is lost as a symbol of hate and nationalism. A global conflict and the murder of six million Jews will do that.

A little less arrogance and a little more sensitivity is all that’s required. Some education on “different strokes for different folks” is all that’s required.

Changing the temple mark on foreign language maps is a reasonable, sensitive accommodation. A good thing.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Education is so very important.

But with the rise of fake news, there's seems to be a pushback against it. History is rewritten daily and it's a constant battle to keep the distortions, falsehoods and misleading narratives at bay. So, Rev Nakagaki should be commended for his efforts. But, whatever he does, there will always be some who revel in their ignorance. It doesn't matter if you tell them that the symbol is ancient and the nazis appropriated it for their foul reich. It doesn't matter if you tell them that the nazis were not socialists - that the first bunch of people Hitler locked up were socialists.

People will believe what they want - despite the evidence. Sadly, this appears to be inherent, especially online.

I wish the Reverend the very best in his endeavours. He's up against some seriously unlearned opponents.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I first saw the Buddhist symbol while serving in Southeast Asia years ago. Noticed it was reversed. Was told its significance. Never thought much about it after that.  I think most westerners will be OK with the symbol, once they know its Buddhist history.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It doesn't matter if you tell them that the nazis were not socialists

If you retrospectively refine the definition of socialism to deliberately exclude the National Socialist German Workers Party, than sure, you might be able to claim that the Nazis weren't real socialists. However, if you use a generally accepted definition of Socialism (ie. Google's definition), it becomes increasingly difficult to make that argument. The Nazi's clearly advocated for state control of industry, media, education, healthcare, housing, redistribution of profits, seizure of ill-gotten gains from the wealthy, an end to materialism, and so on. They were clearly economic socialists. To claim otherwise is to distort history and is almost as spurious as the argument that real socialism has never been tried. The fact that Hitler locked up advocates of competing flavours of socialism is not convincing proof that Nazis were not socialists.

People will believe what they want - despite the evidence.

Please point us in the direction of this evidence.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

USA has a serious nationwide mental problem when it comes to their political correctness, if you cannot see it, then you should really consider getting some serious help as you won't last long in Japan, or Europe for that matter.

Which European countries? There are over 40. They have different ideas of what is politically incorrect.

In my home country, the UK, the PC police don’t sleep on the job.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Please point us in the direction of this evidence.

Very easy, that. Just a read of your post, attempting to equate the nazis with socialists.

You've made your mind up on that and no matter how many times it's proven to be bunkum, you've stated your position on it. Which is your right to do so, natch.

It's a bit like latter-day parties that claim to be liberal or democratic, but are nothing of the sort.

Interesting article here

https://www.abc.net.au/religion/nazism-socialism-and-the-falsification-of-history/10214302

Under Hitler, the party looked squarely to the middle classes and farmers rather than the working class for a political base. Hitler realigned it to ensure that it was an anti-socialist, anti-liberal, authoritarian, pro-business party - particularly after the failed Beerhall Putsch of 1923. The "socialism" in the name National Socialism was a strategically chosen misnomer designed to attract working class votes where possible, but they refused to take the bait. The vast majority voted for the Communist or Social Democratic parties.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Yes, the world should re-align itself in regards the religious cultures of some tiny, Unesco-protected islands in the Pacific inhabited by people with zero cultural flexibility or awareness other than their own.

It's not just Japanese culture that contains the symbol. It's there in the article.

No harm in educating oneself. I do wonder why some people find it such a darn hassle to do so.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The Nazis claimed that communism was dangerous to the well-being of nations because of its intention to dissolve private property, its support of class conflict, its aggression against the middle class, its hostility towards small business and its atheism.[238] Nazism rejected class conflict-based socialism and economic egalitarianism, favouring instead a stratified economy with social classes based on merit and talent, retaining private property and the creation of national solidarity that transcends class distinction

-Joseph W. Bendersky, A History of Nazi Germany: 1919–1945

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Toasted Heretic

Thanks, I read the article you linked to but I'm thoroughly unconvinced. The article is premised entirely on the idea that you can't be a real socialist if you also believe in x, y and z, but that doesn't logically follow.

Hitler realigned it to ensure that it was an anti-socialist, anti-liberal, authoritarian, pro-business party 

If we accept that socialism is simply a system of state ownership or control of the economy (as per the ordinary definition of socialism) where does this professor get the idea that someone who is illiberal, or authoritarian or pro-business cannot be a real socialist? These things are not mutually exclusive. You can be an illiberal authoritarian socialist, as evidenced multiple times in the 20th century. Again, he's appears to be engaging in a redefinition of the word socialism to avoid association with the Nazis. Of course, acknowledging that the Nazi's were in fact socialists doesn't mean that socialism is an inherently evil ideology that will lead to a holocaust. There are well meaning socialists and evil socialists, just like there are good and evil proponents of other economic systems.

@jcapan

Nazism rejected class conflict-based socialism

But they did adopt a non-class conflict based socialism. Socialism does not require adoption of the Marxist idea of class based conflict.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

There is a big difference between how the swastika was used in the West, and how it has been used in the East.

In the West it will be forever linked with the Nazis, the Gestapo, the SS, and the extermination camps. The East was almost devoid of all of those things, except for the death camps, and it was not the Nazis who ran those.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Too many posters here who cares only modern history or humane history started from 20 century

1 ( +6 / -5 )

If we accept that socialism is simply a system of state ownership or control of the economy (as per the ordinary definition of socialism)

I find that definition hard to accept. More important concepts are social ownership and egalitarianism. State ownership might be one means to achieve that, but it also allows for quite different things too. Naziism could just as easily be described as National Capitalism as National Socialism. The key element is nationalism, and that the state defines the national interest. Not a very pretty state of affairs.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If by chance Hitler didn't make any changes at all to the symbol then the Buddhist swastika and the Nazi swastika would truly be one and the same thing.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

OssanAmerica: " I also believe Koreans need to be educated that the 16 rayed Japanese Naval Ensign is the equivalent of the German Iron Cross, not the Nazi Swastika. And all Americans, whose military service members train together with Japan with the Stars and Stripes flying alongside the Rising Sun flag, should likewise welcome a correction to the misunderstanding that Korean nationalists are advancing."

Leave it to Ossan to turn a topic about educating into an anti-Korean rant.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

Hitler took this symbol over. Similar to how racists too over the stars and bars confederate symbol. Feelings toward these symbols will not change no matter their original meanings. You can't go any deeper than how people believe about something.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@albaleo

I find that definition hard to accept.

Well, it's not really my definition. The Oxford dictionary defines socialism as: "A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole". That's it. Of course, there can be many different flavours of socialism, some more egalitarian than others, but this is the one irreducible element that identifies them all as socialist.

Naziism could just as easily be described as National Capitalism as National Socialism.

I have to disagree since the defining characteristic of capitalism is private ownership and control. It's not as if German companies could have refused to tow the Nazi line even if it was directly opposed to their financial interests. The economy was entirely controlled by the state.

The key element is nationalism, and that the state defines the national interest.

Are socialist societies not acting in their national interest as well? Which socialist states have been non-nationalist? Having the state define the national interest is of little or no consequence unless the state is a socialist one where it has ownership or coercive control over the economic system to enable it to act in that national interest. In a capitalist society, they largely lack that control. In a socialist society, they have that control. This is the big difference, and is there any doubt that Nazi Germany had total control over the economy?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

and do educate the rest of the world as to how supposed pure altruist Japanese Buddhists come to possess tons of money with their Mercedes cars parked at their residences for all to see - Buddhists my arse

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

@M3M3M3

but this is the one irreducible element that identifies them all as socialist.

But what is that irreducible element? You used "state ownership" earlier, but the definition you quote says "owned or regulated by the community". Sorry if I seem to be nitpicking. I agree that state ownership seems to be the reality of socialist states. But I'm a bit of an idealist, and sometimes wonder whether a socialist village or socialist farm is a practical possibility. (Sadly, I don't shop at the co-op these days, but I used to when living in south Osaka.)

since the defining characteristic of capitalism is private ownership and control. 

I think that was still the case in Nazi Germany. But "control" can be thought of in many ways. Private ownership is meaningless if there is no law and enforcement to protect it. I can't think of any capitalist society that didn't support state controlled law and order.

I suspect we are likely to get modded for going off topic. Thanks for your comments.

I'd just like to say good luck to Nakagaki and I hope he broadens people's outlooks.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The truth is always a good thing, whether we want to hear it or not. I am against ignorance, misunderstanding, lack of education. Only two kinds of people would construe my words as "anti-anything" else; those who are uneducated. And those who understand but can't help but post something negative about anything Japan. Some posters qualify for both.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Changing the temple mark on foreign language maps is a reasonable, sensitive accommodation. A good thing.

And allow people to wallow in their own ignorance?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The swastika was co-oped by the Nazis. This was a cultural crime to say the least. If you look up “Swastika” on Wikipedia you’ll find it is was not exclusively a Buddhist symbol. The swastika goes back to prehistory and examples can be found all over Asia, Africa and North America, where it was used by the by its indigenous people. Prior to Hitler, the swastika was a fairly popular and innocent symbol. It was the symbol of the 45th Infantry Division of the U.S, Army. There remains a small town in Ontario, Canada called Swastika.

Yes, Buddhists have a right to complain that the swastika good luck symbol was stolen from them (among many others) by Hitler. My sympathy for the Buddhists, however, is damped by the persecution of the  Rohingya people in Myanmar by that country’s Buddhists and by the silence of Buddhists outside. For the  Rohingya people the Buddhist swastika can hardly symbolize good fortune.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

GyGene,

Hitler took this symbol over. Similar to how racists too over the stars and bars confederate symbol. Feelings toward these symbols will not change no matter their original meanings. You can't go any deeper than how people believe about something.

Perfectly said.

The fact that Japan signed a pact with Nazi Germany doesn't help the cause either.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Hitler was magpie, a cultural thief and he was clever in what he chose to steal. Before the Nazis, the swastika was a universally popular symbol of good luck. It was used extensively in advertising. Products and companies named themselves after the swastika. Airplanes, cars, trains and uniforms used the swastika. It was a diabolically brilliant move that Hitler chose this popular symbol for the Nazi party--the National Socialist Party, another rip-off. Hitler was in no way remotely a Socialist.

It is amazing what Hitler ripped-off. When I was in Germany years ago, some German friends presented me with a wooden dish that carried a German folk saying. They took pains to explain this dish was made before the Third Reich and explained it did not mean what the Nazis twisted it to mean. They told me many folk saying were twisted by the Third Reich.

Hitler was a “populist” in the sense of claiming that what he was for was for the “folk” and of the “folk.” Yes, the Volkswagen. The people’s car. But this was fairly innocuous compared to the main thrust of Hitler’s populism. There was the expression “Volkisch” and “Unvolkisch” Of the folk and not of the folk. Modern art, Jews, communism, real socialism, homosexuality, democracy, etc. were not of the “folk” and had to be done way with. The swastika, the symbol of good luck, had to be “of the folk” because Hitler and the Nazi party were good luck.

Much of what Hitler screwed up remains screwed up to this day.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Many of us in the west, like us military veterans. Already know the Nazis purposely mis-used the manji symbol. It is mainly the Democrats, Liberals and progressives who have a big problem with the symbol and some will even attack people because of it. They are the ones who do not  understand the real meaning..

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Joe, that is rubbish. Jewish people have a probably with that symbol for one obvious reason: the Holocaust.

Also it is very hard to like the swastika when it is spray painted on your house of worship.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

It is a valiant effort, but I don't think a single American newspaper has picked up on this story. But here's the thing: in the US and Europe the swastika was well-known as a symbol for good luck prior to the Nazis' use of it. In my home city of Columbus OH there used to be a medicine company that made things like liver pills, and their symbol was the swastika for a good thirty years. When Hitler rose to power and became well-known in the US, the company quit using it.

A local newspaper (the Columbus Citizen) devoted it's front page for July 20, 1917 to the first day of the WWI draft in Franklin Co., and one article on the front page pointed out that the room chosen for the draft had swastikas on the walls and the ceiling. Once again, the article pointed out that it was a good luck symbol. As a newspaper collector, I own this particular paper.

Rudyard Kipling used to have the symbol on his books, until he ordered the publisher in the mid-30s to stop using because of the Nazis' appropriation of it. I have a copy of one of these books, from 1912.

Unfortunately the damage to the symbol's meaning under the Nazis (as well as the pure evil of what the Nazis did and tried to do) is done in the West. Unless there is a consistent media presence on the true meaning behind the swastika, it will continue to be misappropriated by white supremacists and neo-Nazis to spread their filth.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hatred of the swastika is the folly of the western civilizations stemming from their hatred of anything different. Besides, their anti-semitism goes beyond the age of nazi germany and Hitler and, seemed to have pricked their conscience only when Hitler brutally massacred 6 million Jews in modern times. Then also, they stood and watched it happen. The West cannot be educated by the East as long as the West holds on to the belief that their culture is superior and, don't atone for the brutality they have committed, together, against the rest.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another one that gets little play in the press is what happened to the toothbrush mustache because of the Nazis.

The toothbrush mustache used to be a perfectly respectable form of the mustache before Hitler made it infamous. Now, nobody can ever rock one of those again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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