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: ttps://

Like our blog? Please share it!


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.

Exploring Kyoto

This revised and updated edition of the Japan travel classic and cultural guide gets you wandering from downtown quarters to remote mountaintop temples and features expanded information on new museums and gardens now open year-round for viewing.

The Fourth String

Two women. Two cultures. One music.

Tag Cloud

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