It is odd to see a map (i.e. Google maps) with swastika’s all over them – very common in Japan. A quick web search will tell you that it represents a temple:

The earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient India as well as Classical Antiquity. Swastikas have also been used in various other ancient civilizations around the world. It remains widely used in Indian religions, specifically in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, primarily as a tantric symbol to evoke shakti or the sacred symbol of auspiciousness. The word “swastika” comes from the Sanskrit svastika – “su” meaning “good,” “asti” meaning “to be,” and “ka” as a suffix. The swastika literally means “to be good”.

In East Asia, the swastika is a Chinese character, defined by Kangxi Dictionary, published in 1716, as “synonym of myriad, used mostly in Buddhist classic texts“,[1] by extension, the word later evolved to represent eternity and Buddhism.

For most of us, it means something very different. I came across one the other day on a beautiful temple.

2012 08 25 Awaodori _-74

Beside many temples are cemeteries with beautiful stonework.

2012 08 25 Awaodori _-72

I did some reading on Japanese graves as I was curious about the wooden items around the graves.

Often, the name is also written on a sotoba, a separate wooden board on a stand behind or next to the grave. These sotoba may be erected shortly after death, and new ones may be added at certain memorial services.

The vast majority of burials are cremation and the plots are multi-generational family plots. When we were in England I found the grave sites fascinating, they tell a story. They warrant exploration as we settle in and go wandering.

2012 08 25 Awaodori _-71


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