Japan axes use of a swastika map symbol so it will stop confusing tourists

(FoxNews.com) - If you've ever traveled in Asia, you may have been caught off guard by a symbol considered by most Western travelers as a sign of fascism.

The swastika is an ancient Sanskrit symbol meaning "good fortune" or "well-being" and as been used by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains for millennia. But in the 1930s as the Nazis rose to power in Germany, they usurped it to represent power of the Aryan race.

Now, ahead of several international sporting events, Japan is dropping the use of a symbol closely resembling a swastika-- and other confusing images on maps -- for tourists following complaints that they are offensive or hard to understand, reports the Japan Times.

The swastika has long been used in Japan to represent a temple, but now the Geospatial Information Authority is proposing the symbol of a three-story pagoda, instead.

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