Created By: Xzenu on March 20, 2012 Last Edited By: saintdane05 on October 5, 2012
Troped

Non Nazi Swastika

The original symbol: As used before the Nazis tainted it, and as it's still used in many cultures.

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Trope

The Swastika is an ancient Sun symbol, used in many cultures throughout history. If you see a Swastika in a work - any work - made in the 1920:es or earlier, the symbol has nothing to do with racism or nationalism or hatred or anything else associated with Those Wacky Nazis.

It's usually golden rather than black, and usually inverted compared to the swastika of the Nazis. Usually, but far from always - there's lots of variants.

Polar opposite of A Nazi by Any Other Name: this trope one is about cases where the most famous symbol of Nazism actually doesn't have anything to do with Nazism.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • YuYu Hakusho had a minor villain with a swastika tattooed on his forehead. This was removed in the English dub.

  • Manji of Blade of the Immortal has the swastika symbol on the back of his clothes as a reference to immortality. In fact, manji is the Japanese name for the swastika symbol. In the original version, it's drawn in the "Nazi direction", but in English translation was flipped to the "Buddhist direction".
  • In Bleach, Ichigo's bankai incorporates swastika shapes, usually as the guard of his sword.
  • In One Piece a swastika is incorporated in the crest of the Whitebeard pirates
  • Both Ran and Yukari Yakumo from Perfect Cherry Blossom use a manji-themed spellcard in their battles with you. Ran's version is Shikigami's Shot "Ultimate Buddhist" and Yukari's is Evil Spirits "Butterfly in the Zen Temple."
Comic Books

  • In Sin City, the Asian assassin Miho throws a large shuriken in the shape of a manji.

Film
  • In The Da Vinci Code, Langdon is making a conference. He shows part of an image of a swastika, everyone thinks about nazis, then Langdon shows the complete image, with a clearly buddhist context.
  • In Kal Ho Naa Ho, Naina and Jennifer paint a swastika in the window of their restaurant - in New York - as part of its revamping. No one comments on this, and the new concept is a huge success.

Literature
  • One autobiography of the last Tzar mentions The Empress being very fond of the Swastika.
  • In The Great Gatsby, the Jewish gangster Meyer Wolfsheim operates out of the "Swastika Club" (presumably, like many older buildings, it has that design on it). There is some argument though that this wasn't an innocent usage, as Wolfsheim is something of an anti-Semitic caricature, and the Nazi movement had already adopted it as their symbol by the time the novel was written, and Fitzgerald was fairly knowledgeable of white supremacist movements.

Live-Action Television
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker: in the Rakshasa episode, Kolchak sought wisdom from an emigrant from India, who had swastikas. The man explained that in his culture they were holy symbols.

Tabletop Games
  • One of the Pokémon trading card game cards, the Koga's Ninja Trick card, originally had the symbol on it in mirror image until people complained and it was altered.

Video Games
  • Both Ran and Yukari Yakumo from Perfect Cherry Blossom use a manji-themed spellcard in their battles with you. Ran's version is Shikigami's Shot "Ultimate Buddhist" and Yukari's is Evil Spirits "Butterfly in the Zen Temple."
  • This is set up purposefully in Epic Battle Fantasy 2. The Big Bad Lance is portrayed as a neo-Nazi intent on destroying the world to rebuild it. However, if one looks carefully at his uniform, his swastika is facing the other direction from the Nazi swastika to form the Buddhist symbol for peace, an appropriate reflection of his ultimate motives.
  • The original The Legend of Zelda had a dungeon shaped like a swastika, described as "manji" in the manual. Definitely a case of Values Dissonance.

Real Life

  • Here's a list of cultures and religions that have used the swastika.
    • Hinduism: A representation of the god Ganesh, as an emblem of good fortune, to evoke "Shakti".
    • Buddhism: As a representation of eternity.
    • China and Japan: Eternity and the number 10,000. Also used in Japan to mark the locations of Buddhist temples on maps.
    • Jainism: Even more prominent than in Buddhism or Hinduism; all holy books and temples must bear the swastika.
    • Iran: A golden necklace of three swastikas at least three thousand years old was found.
    • Ural Mountains: The Bashkir people feature the swastika prominently in their ancient iconography.
    • Armenia: The swastika was prominent in medieval architecture, such as churches and fortresses.
    • Pre-Columbian America: The swastika has been found associated with cultures throughout North and South America, including the First Nations of Canada, the Navajo and Hopi of the southwestern US, the Mississippian culture of the east and southeast US, and the Kuna people of Panama. Some of these, are still in use today, though efforts are made to distance them from the Nazis.
    • Ancient Grome: A symbol of eternal motion, representing a windmill or watermill. Typically not found alone, but rather as part of a repeating design.
    • Celtic: Pre-Christian Celts used swastikas on their metalwork and stonework.
    • Germans: Bore special importance in funerary symbols, possibly as an emblem of Thor.
    • Illyria (South-eastern Europe): Represented the sun.
    • Baltics: Pre-Christian. The two versions were called the fire cross and the thunder cross, and represented the Thunder God Perkons and the sun.
    • Slavic: Pre-Christian. Found in ornamentation.
    • Sami (Arctic Europeans): A double cross or double axe is found on their drums, thought to represent the thunder god, a derivation of Thor.
  • In several parts of Asia such as Japan, South Korea, and Thailand, the manji is commonly seen on buddhist temples and service centers.
  • The Raelians hold an annual "take back the swastika" day to try to rehabilitate the public's perception of the swatika.
Community Feedback Replies: 70
  • March 20, 2012
    Xzenu
    Thought of this trope while working on the quite different trope Pink Swastikas.
  • March 20, 2012
    Dragonmouth
    Yu Yu Hakusho had a minor villain with a swastika tattooed on his forehead. This was removed in the English dub.
  • March 20, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    • In One Piece a swastika is incorporated in the crest of the Whitebeard pirates
    • In Bleach, Ichigo's bankai incorporates swastika shapes, usually as the guard of his sword.
  • March 20, 2012
    zarpaulus
    • Possible, in HP Lovecraft's works the Elder Sign used to prevent Eldritch Abominations from doing much damage is described as resembling a swastika. The RPG and other adaptations with illustrations usually portray it as a pentagram instead. Granted Lovecraft was a known anti-Semite.
  • March 20, 2012
    Chabal2
    Many Buddha statues have a swastika on the forehead, though usually with more than four arms.
  • March 20, 2012
    Jordan
    • Manji of Blade Of The Immortal has the swastika symbol on the back of his clothes as a reference to immortality. In fact, manji is the Japanese name for the swastika symbol. In the original version, it's drawn in the "Nazi direction", but in English translation was flipped to the "Buddhist direction".
    • In The Great Gatsby, the Jewish gangster Meyer Wolfsheim operates out of the "Swastika Club" (presumably, like many older buildings, it has that design on it). There is some argument though that this wasn't an innocent usage, as Wolfsheim is something of an anti-Semitic caricature, and the Nazi movement had already adopted it as their symbol by the time the novel was written, and Fitzgerald was fairly knowledgeable of white supremacist movements.
  • March 20, 2012
    TwinBird
    It's easier to get away with this if it's marked with dots - the dots have a special name, I think, but it's still considered a swastika. For instance:

    • In Kal Ho Naa Ho, Naina and Jennifer paint a swastika in the window of their restaurant - in New York - as part of its revamping. No one comments on this, and the new concept is a huge success.
  • March 20, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Real Life: Many, many old buildings. This troper recalls a floor mosaic with these symbols in his elementary school. Kids used to stamp on them in a contest to see "how many Nazis they (we) could kill."
  • March 20, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Also, Literature and Mythology And Religion: the symbol was used by many pagan cultures and today is used by Neo-Pagans. It has different meanings in different traditions but is usually a positive symbol. It's found in many books on the subject of Neo-Paganism.
  • March 20, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Kolchak The Night Stalker: in the Rakshasa episode, Kolchak sought wisdom from an emigrant from India, who had swastikas. The man explained that in his culture they were holy symbols.

    In fact, the word is not "swastika" in its other form, but I don't know what the proper word is.

  • March 20, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    Both Ran and Yukari Yakumo from Perfect Cherry Blossom use a manji-themed spellcard in their battles with you. Ran's version is Shikigami's Shot "Ultimate Buddhist" and Yukari's is Evil Spirits "Butterfly in the Zen Temple."
  • March 20, 2012
    chicagomel
    One of the Pokemon trading card game cards, the Koga's Ninja Trick card, originally had the symbol on it in mirror image until people complained and it was altered.
  • March 20, 2012
    Saturn500
    Level 3 in the original The Legend Of Zelda is shaped like one.
  • March 20, 2012
    PaulA
    • The distinction is a plot point in Barbara Hambly's Sun-Cross duology, in which a wizard travels to another world in response to a magical call for help. The world he travels to is ours, and the magicians calling for help are Nazis, but not knowing our history he initially thinks their use of the sun-cross as their emblem is a good sign.
  • March 20, 2012
    c0ry
    In Real Life, the Swastika in its original form is not a taboo symbol in India - IIRC, the original form they use there is black, but it is rotated by 45 degrees and "faces" the other way.
  • March 20, 2012
    TwinBird
    • A Cracked video in which a man is forced by his bosses to shave off his toothbrush moustache in 1939 ends with him asking if he can still wear his "manji shirt - it's Buddhist, means luck" (but when he shows it, it's right-facing and tilted).

    Although while on the subject - there's no "Buddhist direction" and "Nazi direction." Buddhists nowadays often have swastikas facing left, but that's pretty much only Buddhists. Hindus and Jains nearly always have it facing right, and I think at least historically most other religions that have used it as well. For Hindus and Jains, it's usually dotted, and for a number of peoples it's curved, though, for the obvious reason. I think tilting it is pretty much just a Nazi thing, but don't quote me on that. It seems like a very dangerous thing to promote the idea that there's a "Nazi direction," or anything else unique to them that isn't, though, again for obvious reasons.

    I know "sauwastika" is another word for it facing left, but I don't know of another word for the right-facing symbol, even dotted, that's not just some other language's name for it - sometimes "shakti" is incorrectly used, but that's an associated concept, I'm pretty sure, not the symbol itself.
  • March 20, 2012
    Miragician
    This is invoked purposefully in Epic Battle Fantasy 2. The Big Bad Lance is portrayed as a neo-Nazi intent on destroying the world to rebuild it. However, if one looks carefully at his uniform, his swastika is facing the other direction from the Nazi swastika to form the Buddhist symbol for peace, an appropriate reflection of his ultimate motives.
  • March 20, 2012
    TwinBird
    ...dammit what did I just say.
  • March 21, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    Paradisca Corbasi, the word swastika is derived from Sanskrit. Sometimes an older Greek term "gammadion" or "tetragammadion" is used to denote a non-Nazi context for the symbol.

  • March 21, 2012
    Ryusui
    I'd actually recommend using the Greek term, just so the disconnect is clear - the current title makes it sound like you're being ironic or sarcastic.
  • March 22, 2012
    AgProv
    Real Life: in early 1942, one of the first American Army units to be sent to Britain was the 45th infantry division raised in Arizona and New Mexico. The men of the division had been extensively briefed on their duty to be courteous and well-behaved to the British people and to understand they were arriving in a country that had been at total war with the Germans for nearly three years. Above all it was vital to avoid misunderstandings and cultural misperceptions.

    However, it was only when this division left the South-West and was temporarily housed in barracks on the east coast prior to embarkation, that people remarked on what in New Mexico had been so commonplace as to be unremarkeable.

    For this division's shoulder-patches and distinguishing emblem was a Native American sun-wheel, a sign of good luck and safe return from journeys known by Navaho, Apaches, et c. It was only in New York and New Jersey that it was pointed out that 25,000 men arriving in Britain with a swastika on each shoulder would probably not give the desired impression on their British hosts, who in all probability were not especially up to speed with Navaho tribal symbols and would perhaps see something different here, like an insult. The south-western division hastily commissioned a new shoulder patch..
  • March 22, 2012
    morenohijazo
    In the film version of The Da Vinci Code, Langdon is making a conference. He shows part of an image of a swastika, everyone thinks about nazis, then Langdon shows the complete image, with a clearly buddhist context.
  • March 22, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    EDITED IN: NVM, misinterpreted the trope.
  • April 10, 2012
    TropeEater
    ^^^^What's wrong with a little sarcasm now and then? It's all in good fun. Pointing things out and discussing them is what this wiki's all about... it's not like we're criticizing anything.
  • April 10, 2012
    reub2000
    There are other symbols that can be seen as being co-opted. The fasces was a roman symbol of unity. It can be seen on the lincoln memorial. Today it is mostly associated with facism.
  • April 10, 2012
    Jordan
    Edit- I was mistaken- it's the previous American dime that has the faces symbol on the back- I thought the current ones with Franklin Delano Roosevelt also had it on the back, but it's actually a similar-looking torch. It is kind of interesting though that the dime that had the fasces on the back was around between 1936-1945 (i.e. was contemporaneous with Italian Fascism).
  • April 10, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Maybe we could call it Friendly Neighborhood Swastika?
  • April 10, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In an obvious fictionalized version, in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Xenophillious Lovegood wears a symbol which Viktor Krum identifies as one associated with the evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald; but it's just the symbol of the Deathly Hallows. It is by wearing the symbol that those who believe and search for it are known to each other. It isn't strictly speaking an evil symbol; it was used by an evil wizard and now has the taint of evilness.
  • April 10, 2012
    IsaacSapphire
    Older editions of Rudyard Kipling books have a swastika used in it's good luck sense on the publishing information page.
  • April 10, 2012
    chicagomel
    Don't we already have a trope like this? I'm blanking on the name...doesn't the title involve Kanji or something? Or is that the mirror image version, specifically?
  • April 10, 2012
    Tropeless
    Close, it's Manji. I do believe it's specific to the mirror version, and the Legend Of Zelda dungeon is called the Manji Dungeon (unofficially.)
  • April 11, 2012
    timotaka
  • May 5, 2012
    aurora369
    Russian Civil War era money. The swastika was on some of these funny bank notes, such as the (totally democratic) Provisional Government 250-ruble note.
  • May 5, 2012
    DracMonster
    This almost seems like it might be a Useful Notes page.
  • May 5, 2012
    PDL
    I don't really like the current name for this suggested trope. It suggests that it is Suspiciously Specific Denial and the symbol always had evil connotations to it.

    I'd get rid of the "Good Sunny Golden" part.
  • May 5, 2012
    Bagpiper
    This was played for laughs in the ill-fated TV series Outsourced, where Todd asks one of his Hindu coworkers to take down a swastika because he doesn't understand the religious context.
  • May 5, 2012
    Rpgingmaster
    I think a better name would be Non Nazi Swastika Use.

    It's shorter, more concise, and says the same thing in with more brevity.
  • May 5, 2012
    katiek
    I want to throw out This Was Stika as a kind of pun, but er maybe not...
  • May 5, 2012
    Stratadrake
  • May 5, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^I like that one, with a custom-title Nazi-Free Swastika. Otherwise it might sound like "You've joined the Nazi party. Congratulations! Here's your free swastika!"
  • May 5, 2012
    dalek955
    I like Stratadrake's name, the original name did have kind of a creepy vibe to it. Although you could deal with randomsurfer's problem by calling in Naziless Swastika

    Also, a lot of examples can be found under No Swastikas.
  • May 6, 2012
    oztrickster
    Neji from Naruto has a swastika on his forehead, it was changed in the english version.
  • May 6, 2012
    BlackDragon
    I believe this popped up in Hunter X Hunter too... one of the other competitors in the Hunter Trials is a Buddhist Monk/Martial Artist type who makes use of swastika symbols... I think he even had a tattoo of one. Don't remember which way they were turned, though.
  • May 6, 2012
    Ryuuma
    About the title... the proper name is Manji, isn't it? How about "Manji Swastica" or something on that line...?
  • June 26, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Bump. Hey, what about "Pinwheel Of Prosperity"? THAT is a name that sounds all golden and sunny and Nazi-free.
  • June 27, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Real Life: The Raelians hold an annual "take back the swastika" day to try to rehabilitate the public's perception of the swatika.
  • June 27, 2012
    Jhimmibhob
    The swastika was a popular decorative element in both Art Nouveau and Art Deco. In fact, its frequent appearances in these genres might have been what drew the Nazis' attention to the symbol in the first place, and influenced their decision to adopt it.
  • June 29, 2012
    Xzenu
    It is true that "The Good Sunny Golden Swastika" can be mistaken for being pro-nazi or whatever. However...

    • "Non-Nazi" and the even worse "Nazi-free" both have "nazi" in them. So it still connects the swastika to nazism. No thanks.

    • "Pinwheel" is unclear, and "prosperity" too limited.

    • "Manji Swastica", hmm... A quick googling later... I now agree on having Manji in the title, and the already cool author Irshad Manji just got even cooler in my eyes. :-p
      • However, wikipedia says no on re-spelling swastika into swastica. Google as well: Spelling it with a "k" is more than ten times as common.

    I was going to suggest Ancient Good Swastica, but nah. I'll merely use that as a redirect now.

    Manji Swastika it is. Thanks, Ryuuma.

  • June 29, 2012
    AP
    Comic Book

    • In Sin City, the Asian assassin Miho throws a large shuriken in the shape of a manji.

    Real Life

    • In several parts of Asia such as Japan, South Korea, and Thailand, the manji is commonly seen on buddhist temples and service centers.
  • June 29, 2012
    Goldfritha
  • July 4, 2012
    AgProv
    aka the hakaristi in Finland.
  • July 12, 2012
    TropeEater
    I liked the original name better. It gets the point across. "Manji Swastika" doesn't tell us anything about how the trope is used.
  • July 12, 2012
    Arivne
    ^ I have to agree. Non Nazi Swastika makes it clear that it isn't the Nazi swastika.
  • July 12, 2012
    Blubble
    I think giving it a Japanese name is a bad idea because it's a symbol primarily linked to the Indian subcontinent. Japan only adopted it much, much later.

    To continue with what AP wrote:

    Real Life

    • In several parts of Asia such as Japan, South Korea, and Thailand, the manji is commonly seen on buddhist temples and service centers. Generally, the Nazis are about as familiar to Eastern audiences as the Japanese conquests are to Western audiences: not very much.
  • July 12, 2012
    NimmerStill
    ^Agreed. Maybe "Original" or "Dharmic" or "Hindu/Buddhist" Swastika? Though a similar symbol was also used by Native Americans.
  • July 19, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
  • July 20, 2012
    dalek955
    Yah, the point of the trope is the absence of Nazis. Not the point of the examples, but the point of the trope. Also backing Non Nazi Swastika.
  • July 20, 2012
    Surenity
    Real Life:

    • In Armenia swastikas were called "arevkhatch" (sun cross) and in pagan times symbolized the sun and eternity. They even sometimes show up on old churches from the middle ages and before.
  • August 22, 2012
    surgoshan
    Real Life
    • Here's a list of cultures and religions that have used the swastika.
      • Hinduism: A representation of the god Ganesh, as an emblem of good fortune, to evoke "Shakti".
      • Buddhism: As a representation of eternity.
      • China and Japan: Eternity and the number 10,000. Also used in Japan to mark the locations of Buddhist temples on maps.
      • Jainism: Even more prominent than in Buddhism or Hinduism; all holy books and temples must bear the swastika.
      • Iran: A golden necklace of three swastikas at least three thousand years old was found.
      • Ural Mountains: The Bashkir people feature the swastika prominently in their ancient iconography.
      • Armenia: The swastika was prominent in medieval architecture, such as churches and fortresses.
      • Pre-Columbian America: The swastika has been found associated with cultures throughout North and South America, including the First Nations of Canada, the Navajo and Hopi of the southwestern US, the Mississippian culture of the east and southeast US, and the Kuna people of Panama. Some of these, are still in use today, though efforts are made to distance them from the Nazis.
      • Ancient Grome: A symbol of eternal motion, representing a windmill or watermill. Typically not found alone, but rather as part of a repeating design.
      • Celtic: Pre-Christian Celts used swastikas on their metalwork and stonework.
      • Germans: Bore special importance in funerary symbols, possibly as an emblem of Thor.
      • Illyria (South-eastern Europe): Represented the sun.
      • Baltics: Pre-Christian. The two versions were called the fire cross and the thunder cross, and represented the Thunder God Perkons and the sun.
      • Slavic: Pre-Christian. Found in ornamentation.
      • Sami (Arctic Europeans): A double cross or double axe is found on their drums, thought to represent the thunder god, a derivation of Thor.
  • August 22, 2012
    EdnaWalker
    Raelians use the swastika too.
  • October 3, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Bumping after a few weeks because this seems to have fallen behind...
  • October 3, 2012
    MrRuano
    The Yu Yu Hakusho example had this lampshaded in Lanipator's Abridged Series.
  • October 3, 2012
    saintdane05
    I think we might be ready for launch. Is this okay?
  • October 3, 2012
    oztrickster
    The Blade Of The Immortal example needs to be fixed, it should be Manji of Blade Of The Immortal.
  • October 3, 2012
    NimmerStill
    I thought we changed the title to Non-Nazi Swastika.
  • October 4, 2012
    dvorak
    one Hagar The Horrible cartoon had a barbarian with an emblem that vaguely resembled a swastika on his shield.
  • October 4, 2012
    Nithael
    In France, there are swastikas on the floor of the cathedral of Amiens (built in the 12th century).

    But we should change it back to Non Nazi Swastika
  • October 4, 2012
    saintdane05
    Changed the name again.
  • October 5, 2012
    saintdane05
    I think we are ready for launch. Agree?
  • October 5, 2012
    arromdee
    Is this actually a trope?

    Or to put it another way, if the symbol had been anything other than a swastika would we have a trope about it, or is the only thing that makes this a trope "... and is not a Nazi"? I don't think "... and is not a" makes it a trope, and just being a symbol doesn't make it a trope.

    Would we have a trope about, say, every work that uses a hexagon, or even a cross?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=nthm588gxqc8jtqh20sde85d&trope=NonNaziSwastika