Japan may remove "Swastika's" from Maps


Foreign Misunderstandings

Foreign Misunderstandings

A recent survey in Japan shows that tourists associate the ancient Sanskrit Swastika symbols on maps that denote religious temples with Nazi Germany. Although the symbol, called "Manji" in Japanese, has been used for thousands of years in Japan, Japan’s tourism authorities are considering redesigning maps to use a new three-tiered pagoda to replace the "Manji" symbol. While this may alleviate some confusion, the potential change is not sitting well with everyone. The symbol has been used in Japanese culture significantly longer than the Nazi party, and even if the symbol on maps are changed, many temples and shrines still feature the "Manji" symbol. Some believe that it would be more appropriate for foreigners to learn about some of Japan’s culture before coming to the country, or see this as an opportunity for foreigners to learn about the symbol as something more than a Nazi icon. This could in turn lead to more acceptance of the symbol world-wide, signifying that there is more to it than Nazism. The "Manji" symbol is heavily used in many part of Asia today, and has ancient roots in Europe, and North America.

Part of Kyoto with 4 "Manji" symbols, each identifying a temple or shrine.

Other Changes

Japan may also change the "Hotel", "Police", and "Post Office" icons on maps as well.

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