Stumbling Upon an Unexpected Symbol at Senso-ji Temple in Tokyo
While the Western world has appropriated the swastika into a controversial icon, the symbol had been free of stigma in ancient times—signifying good luck and prosperity in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. In Japan, the swastika is called manji. In Tokyo, head to Asakusa Station, stroll down the Nakamise—a maze of shops—and enter Senso-ji Temple, one of the city's most popular attractions. You will find the swastika displayed in various places on the temple's peaceful grounds, which may be jarring at first glance. As you wander past koi ponds and sculptures of the Buddha, you meditate on the meaning—and fascinating appropriation—of this symbol in our world's history.