Tokyo to ban swastikas from maps | DW Travel | DW | 20.01.2016
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Tokyo to ban swastikas from maps

The ancient Sanskrit symbol was used to denote religious buildings long before it was appropriated by the Nazi regime, but it continues to spread confusion among Western visitors to Japan.

Tourist maps of Tokyo are no longer to indicate temples with Swastikas. The national map-making body called for change after tests revealed that foreigners found them irritating, as the online magazine Japan Todayreported on Tuesday. Until now, Buddhist places of worship have been marked by the symbol Manji – a cross with ends pointing left. It will now be replaced by a three-storey pagoda.

The new design came about in part due to the Summer Olympics 2020 that will take place in Tokyo. Map makers would also like to indicate hotels using a bed symbol, since the encircled H currently in use could be mistaken for a hospital or helicopter landing site.

Japanese maps use a wide T with a separate line across the top to represent a post-office. A conventional envelope is the planned new symbol for tourist maps. And a saluting man in a uniform hat will take over from the large “X” currently used for police stations.

at/ks (kna)