TAKAMATSU, Kagawa Pref. – A Shorinji Kempo martial arts group based in Kagawa Prefecture will change its symbol because its similarity to the Nazi swastika has hindered efforts to popularize it abroad, group members said Friday.
For more than 40 years the Shorinji Kempo Federation Foundation has been using the “manji” Buddhist symbol, which originates in Sanskrit and has arms bent counterclockwise, unlike the Nazi swastika, the members said.
“We want to register a new symbol (as a trademark) in as many counties as possible and popularize Shorinji Kempo throughout the world,” said the group’s 47-year-old leader, Yuki So.
The new symbol, which will be made public in January and adopted in April, looks like a circle and means “self-definition” and “care for others,” an extension of the idea and form of manji, So said.
The group, based in the town of Tadotsu, Kagawa Prefecture, has overseas offices in about 30 countries mainly in Europe, Asia and the United States, with about 1.5 million members worldwide.
So’s late father, Doshin, founded Shorinji Kempo martial arts in 1947, learning from the art of self-defense studied by Buddhist ascetic monks in China.