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Japan Removes Swastikas from Tourist Maps

By Maiya Gessling The North American Post

In its bid to make itself more accessible to tourists as the Rugby

World Cup and Tokyo Summer

Summer Olympics approach, Japan’s tourist maps are being overhauled to mixed reception. Most notably, the symbol used to represent Buddhist temples, which closely resembles Nazi Germany’s swastika though it has a much older history of its own, will be replaced by a three-story pagoda.

the change has drawn controversy, as the swastika-like symbol originated in Sanskrit and has been associated with Buddhism for centuries. Head of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan, Takayuki Nakamura, told the Japan Times, “Some say we should change symbols for Japanese-language maps at this opportunity, while others say the traditional symbols should stay…It will take a while before any changes are made, as we need to co-ordinate with related government agencies.”

Other changes include the symbols for police station, hotel, post office, church and hospital.

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The North American Post is a community newspaper that celebrates Japanese culture in the Greater Seattle area. Founded by 1st generation Japanese-Americans in 1902, the publication is one of the oldest minority-owned newspapers in the region. Today, with bilingual articles in English and Japanese, the publication connects readers with diverse cultural backgrounds to Seattle’s Japanese community. Our articles include local news, event calendars, restaurant reviews, Japanese cooking recipes, community interviews, and more.