Mostly recognized as a symbol of antisemitism and terror because of its association with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party, the swastika is also an icon widely used in ancient religions in many parts of Asia to convey “mercy” or “good fortune.”
A simple search on google give you this meaning from Wikipedia; The name swastika comes from Sanskrit (Devanagari: स्वस्तिक) and denotes “conducive to well being or auspicious”. In Hinduism, the clockwise symbol is called swastika, symbolizing surya (sun), prosperity and good luck, while the counterclockwise symbol is called sauvastika, symbolizing night or tantric aspects of Kali.
That’s why so many people have been more than surprised by the way the people of Japan might describe this symbol. Check out this video that has been going viral:
So if you just watched the video you will have discovered that in modern Japan, the swastika is referred to as manji (written as 卍), it has become popular among the youth, with schoolgirls often incorporating the symbol in selfies and photos posted on social media.
In its current usage, manji has come to mean a variety of things, according to Kotaku. For some, it is a catchphrase spoken while taking photos, like the word “cheese” in Western countries. There are also those who use it to describe a person with a playful or mischievous personality.
But others use the term to mean “to appear strong,” “high class,” or a pun on the Japanese word maji (まじ), which means “seriously” or “really.” As a symbol, it is also used to represent a person running, a punctuation mark or express “yay.”
Voted as female Japanese teens’ favorite buzzword in 2016, manji became even more widely used in the present, prompting message service Line to include the term in a video that features schoolgirls’ notable catchphrases.
Many of you may not know that Japan’s government refuses to teach WWII history in full. All they say(to an extent) is that Japan lost and we’re not gonna go into details. This means the current generation of Japanese will not have an understanding of what the Nazi’s version of this symbol means. And personally I really do not think it’s a bad thing.
In a way, the resurgence in the manji’s popularity among Japanese youth can be seen as their way of reclaiming the ancient symbol, albeit inadvertently, from years of historical bastardization, of being equated to racial supremacy and intimidation.
So don’t be so quick to judge the Japanese for their interpretation of this image. After all, it was never belonged to the Nazi’s in the first place…. don’t you think it’s time to reclaim this image to anyone can use it how they want to?
I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments over on our Facebook page.