SBP Blog

Japanese Buddhist T.K. Nakagaki sets out to educate West on swastika of good fortune

Michael Palmer - Monday, December 17, 2018

The Kyodo News profiles Rev. Dr. T.K. Nakagaki's mission to educate the west on the origins of the Buddhist Swastika. His new book The Buddhist Swastika and Hitler's Cross gracefully explains this ancient symbols origins and how it was misappropriated by the forces of evil.

"When monk Rev. Kenjitsu Nakagaki was honoring Buddha's birthday with a sacred flower ceremony at a shrine in Seattle in 1986, he was met with sharp criticism for the chrysanthemums he arranged in the shape of a counterclockwise swastika.

Nakagaki, then 25, who moved to Seattle from Osaka, Japan, for his first mission the previous year, was unaware neo-Nazis and white supremacists continued to use the Nazi swastika to promote hate. He knew the symbol as "manji," a Chinese character that means "good fortune" in the Japanese language.

"You can't do that in this country," Nakagaki recounted a devoted temple member's words in telling him to remove from the roof of the flower shrine a symbol that is a racial epithet in the United States and Europe.

"After I got that lesson, I decided not to use that particular symbol -- for the past 25 years."

But such episodes in which Nakagaki felt Buddhism was being marginalized piled up. And at a 2009 interfaith workshop, where a hate crimes expert called the swastika "a universal symbol of hate and evil," he made the decision to preserve the emblem's original meaning.

"This narrow and limited perspective is unacceptable for those of us who value and have grown up with the swastika in our religions and culture," said the 57-year-old."

Read the full article here.


Like our blog? Please share it!

Categories

Subscribe to the SBP Mailing List

New Releases

Amy’s Guide to Best Behavior in Japan


Going to Japan? This unfussy modern guide guarantees you keep it polite and get it right!

Easy and Fun Katakana


Learn the second key Japanese syllabary from every angle: reading, writing, and real-world examples.

Oh, Tama!


A deeply eccentric novel about lives and connections—and a cat of course—in 1980s Tokyo: witty, offbeat, and strangely profound.

The Fourth String


Two women. Two cultures. One music.

Tag Cloud

Korea photography henry kiyama japanese music japan custom Year of the Dog the fourth string book reviews awards kyoto book hoarding a mejiro novel fantasy literature author event tea garden journal of a zen monk's wife holocaust traditional japanese instrumenet center of east asian studies william f sibley Interview osaka lions roar monks wife dazai Coming of Age Day author publishing michael emmerich journal peace diy mfa japanese cutlure shaimsen book signing a memoir zen monk in japan astro boy holden caufield fred schodt t.k. nakagaki catcher in the rye huffpost book talk japan book review japanese travel Ukiyo-e Chinese history the japan times japanese books in english World War Two photography writing japan vacation classic japanese literature musical chinese comics nazi politics and prose announcement hitler Chinese New Year how to order in japan expat damian flanagan matcha gallery awa illustration jun hazuki shun medoruma no longer human benjamin franklin award poetry of consciousness japanese drunk the buddhist swastika the asian review of books nara Basho's Narrow Road a shameful life Travel walt disney stone bridge press shamisen performance japanese craft Okinawan literature how to literary review tk nakagaki traditional japanese instrument tourist zen traditional alan moore new books Chinese Astrology author tour black jack forewrod reviews indies 2019 Olympics book tour japan today graphic novels wife seppuku sensei comics eastern and western philosophy monk wife Japan koun hiroaki sato internment non-fiction janet pocrobba why we write podcast interfaith hitlers cross china history stone bridge cafe american shamisen diymfa learning in japan blurb suicide Japanese aesthetics zen monk book publicity year of zen comic history China Chinese culture books religion jared cook polite Nikolas Bunton paul mccarthy guide rachel manley tomoko aoyama koto benjamin franklin awards japan behavior swastika buddhism behavior anime japan etiquette World War II japanese etiquette classic mark gibeau donald keene oh tama bowing in japan the silver spoon gaijin pot tokyo buddhist lesley university Tokyo Olympics ancient symbols Art/Design Christianity amys guide to bes tbehavior in japan Translation Korea new york events publicity kyodo news dark horse performance haiku japanese books foreword reviews mieko kanai Shoah book blurb my year of dirt and water new release reviews award Children's Books the hidden writer the millions Spirituality Poetry Children's Literature Language japanese book what do in japan japanese translation hooked cross janet pocorobba green tea japanese culture welton gaddy japanese podcast japan restaurant foreigner in japan IBPA manga biography 1960's Japan living in japan memior osamu tezuka The Colorado Review the japan society jing liu frederik schodt haibun the fourth string a memoir of sensei and me buddhist priest sensei and me drinking in japan 1960s Korea kansuke naka brad hawley japan trip book review evil eating in japan japanese instrument tea manners event memoir writing Japanese literature frank beyer pacific rim review of books japan book nichi bei weekly, naomi hirarahara how to travel in japan japanese bath huffington post ningen shikkaku book reading bookstore travel to japan 2020 Olympics UCLA disney learning shamisen Second World War buddhist symbols state of belief Culture washington dc japan books tricycle magazine asia japan food memoir a memoir of sensei and me japan guide new york best behavior in japan buddhist swastika journal of a zen monk manji visitor finalist juddhism four immigrants review Basho takuma sminkey japan culture literary prize memoir, tracy franz, zen monk, buddhist university of chicago ibpa publishing university Anime/Manga/Comics Spring Festival suehiro maruo PEN AWARD journal' monks wife Christianity in Japan hippocampus magazine pottery yukio mishima japanese instruments literature osamu dazai ritual History alan brill tracy franz book shamisen japan travel student teacher giajin gaijin journal of a zen monks wife in japan asian review of books astrology diary manga VIZ gaijinpot Japanese art japanese customs understandind china through comics min kahng japanese classic zazen in the woods of memory Japanese holidays zen monk wife monk ancient symbol WWII japanese people leonard koren author signing world literature today AAS ex pat literature travel Japan kinokuniya event book award Chiune Sugihara amys guide to best behavior in japan foreword indies Asian Studies japan memoir hate amy chavez purification danica davidson otakuusa will eisner etiquette verticle gratitude in japan Alexandra Johnson
RSS