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Should Japan stop identifying Buddhist temples on maps with the traditional "manji" symbol that is often confused with a Nazi swastika?

27 Comments
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Hey JTers, let's change a symbol that has been around for thousands of years because of some jackhole that screwed it up in 10 years. What do you think?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

No. Its pretty obvious it has nothing to do with the Nazi Swastika. What they really need to do is sort out the maps. The numbering system of roads is crazy. A continuous road can change its number 5 times in 10kms and trails are shown like large roads and large road are shown like trails. Thank god for google earth. As for the address system???? How does anybody find anything. No problems with the Swastika for shrines. A lot of the symbols dont make sense and are not logical to me but its easy to learn what they mean.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Whatever we do, we must not change the arbitrarily-selected symbol for Buddhist temples on maps. Even though in the 3+ times this topic has come up here no one has ever been able to find someone who is actually offended by the manji and the issue is simple confusion, we do not know how to frame disputes in anything other than offense vs. freedom, and it makes us feel important to cast ourselves on the side of freedom. Therefore, we must stand together against the evil imaginary people trying to take away our manjis.

The people trying to take away our Japan Post symbol we can ignore, because there is no identifiable group offended by the Japan Post symbol so it doesn't fit into our freedom narrative. Good thing JT isn't even reporting on them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Should European city maps stop using the "cross" to respect other religions such as Islam? There must be a way to show respect.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If it's not a swastika it's not offensive.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's common knowledge in the western world that the nazis adopted this symbol from the Buddhist church. It seems that only the Japanese people are not aware of this.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

They are on stones at temples both clockwise and counterclockwise and I am not sure why.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There seems to be two excuses for wanting to change the symbol.

One, is that some people are bothered because they associate the Buddhist symbol with Nazis. I think it would only help these “traumatized” people to see the symbol in situations unrelated to the Nazis to help desensitize them.

The second excuse is that many foreigners are allegedly unaware of the symbol’s meaning. That might be true, but I don’t think the alternative symbol would be any better. Those who wouldn’t understand the traditional manji probably wouldn’t understand the proposed one, they might think it’s a birdhouse or something.

I am getting a little suspicious of the actual polling these guys did, and also about why JT has so many articles on this subject.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

No, it shouldn't be changed.

When I first noticed the similarities between the swastika and the manji symbol, I became more interested in knowing the history behind this symbol. I think for most of us, it's interesting and probably regarded as one of those teachable moments. For example: How old, why and who invented the manji symbol? Where, how and why did Hitler get the idea for using the swastika as the symbol for the Nazi party? Besides, the KKK uses the cross as their symbol, don't they?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No. It's the responsibility of tourists to educate themselves.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I'd partially agree with improving the symbol if it was a safety issue (e.g., hospital, police...), but in the case of the manji, it is all part of the cultural learning experience; changing it would be silly.

Next, they'll suggest serving Starbucks coffee at tea ceremonies!

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

When I was living in Sydney Australia there in a building on the waterfront called the Customs Building. Built in the early 1800,s. THe marble entrance door Jams were one meter wide. It has the same symbols engraved 50cm2 at every 100mm intersection. So there were a lot of them. They never removed the marble just let be. I see people with tattoo of this symbol and I really really laugh to myself because of the meaning that has existed for Millenniums.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Only if we get rid of the cross as well, since an upside down cross means satanic worship

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I don't think symbols of ancient history should be erased due to it being used by the Third Reich for a short time.

With the continuous use of this symbol comes with it education.

Not until I saw these on Japanese maps did I find out that it was related to Buddhism. Which later led me to learn why Hitler adopted it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I know it's Shinto, but they need to put one on Yasukuni.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

SpeedFEB. 08, 2016 - 09:28PM JST I don't think symbols of ancient history should be erased

No one has called for the symbols to be erased.

Wakayama MamaFEB. 08, 2016 - 12:53PM JST One, is that some people are bothered because they associate the Buddhist symbol with Nazis. I think it would only help these “traumatized” people to see the symbol in situations unrelated to the Nazis to help desensitize them.

Can you cite even a single person referenced in any news article which suggests this is the reason for the idea to change the symbol on maps?

MarkGFEB. 08, 2016 - 10:34AM JST If it's not a swastika it's not offensive.

Can you cite even a single person referenced in any news article who suggests offence is relevant to the discussion?

Jordi PuentealtoFEB. 08, 2016 - 10:22AM JST Should European city maps stop using the "cross" to respect other religions such as Islam?

Can you cite even a single person referenced in any news article who suggests respect for any other religion is relevant to the discussion?

Wakayama MamaFEB. 08, 2016 - 12:53PM JST why JT has so many articles on this subject.

It's fairly obvious, isn't it? Look how many comments we have here that have nothing whatsoever to do with the story. No one thinks the manji is "offensive", no one thinks it should be removed to respect any religion, and yet that almost exclusively the content of this comments section. From a marketing perspective, this is almost a perfect clickbait news story in that the audience is certain to comment and return to the page for followup (each time viewing an ad and generating revenue for the site) even though its demonstrable that hardly anyone has actually bothered to read the story.It's revenue for little effort. Of course JT is going to milk it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

My family is pretty rural in Mass., Maryland, and upstate NY. I sent an email to 50 of my relatives and guess what ALL 50 knew it was a Buddhist symbol. So I am sure that it is pure BS that anyone is offended by thinking the symbol is a swastika. To me it is insulting for Japanese to think non-Japanese do not know or understand what the symbol is. Just because we are not natives does not mean we are stupid, or have no understanding of the culture of this archipelago. Just sayin'.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They should put up more of them.....in order to educate people.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Once I was shown and told the differences and saw where it was displayed, it didn't remind me of a swastika any longer. People need to learn the differences.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm not familiar with the history of Nazi, however, that figure has its own meanings respectively, so stopping identifying Buddhist temples on maps with the traditional "manji" symbol is not the sense. In addition, I think there are few minority who care about the figure.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What you have here is a symbol. Nothing more, nothing less. If you know what it is meant to represent, then there's no problem.

The problem is where people attribute a meaning to a symbol where none is intended. That's what the Nazis did, and that's what is happening now.

Go fig...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NO!

Sooner or later everyone learns the difference and then feels stupid, embarrassed, and smarter for learning the difference.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm torn on this. From what a few Japanese told me, the decision was based on survey's given to tourists about what might make it easier to get around/understand maps. Something to that effect. REmember everyone, there are several symbols that will be changed, such as can be found here: http://www.spoon-tamago.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Japan-New-Pictograms.jpg

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So I am sure that it is pure BS that anyone is offended by thinking the symbol is a swastika.

You and some other people in this thread seem confused about that, putting the word in quotation marks or implying that swastika means Nazism.

The symbol is - no matter what - a swastika, whether it represents Buddhism, Hinduism, Nazism, or anything else. The clue is in the name, which is derived from Sanskrit, although its origins as a symbol are older still and like many other basic symbols, likely to have been independently created in more than one part of the world.

It will continue to be used without offence in its non-Nazi contexts, and it will continue to be a swastika.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Buddhism shouldn't take the responsibility of the crime committed by Nazi.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

How are the others doing? There are more Buddhist countries around.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A lot of these problems are due to confusing perceptions across the world. This has to end for civilization to evolve with times.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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