Tokyo Revengers Manji Symbol
Tokyo Revengers - Manji Symbol

Censorship in Tokyo Revengers Logo: Relax, It’s Not A Nazi Hate Symbol

Several Crunchyroll forum members noticed that the English release of Tokyo Revengers would censor the manji symbol from the anime because of its hateful connotations, but is it even a hate symbol, to begin with?

What is Manji?

If you ever visited a Buddhist temple or been to Japan as a tourist, seeing the manji symbol could come as a shock.

The symbol is a religious icon in many Eurasian religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit and signifies ”conducive to well-being.” Up until the 1930s, people in the West viewed it similarly until WWII for obvious reasons. At the time, the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) adopted the right-facing swastika as a symbol of nationalistic pride and Aryan supremacy.

Tokyo Revengers Manji Symbol
Image credit – Tokyo Revengers

The Symbol in Modern Japan

However, context matters, especially when hate symbols (or lack thereof) are concerned. The symbol in Tokyo Revengers, which is the left-facing manji, means something very different to the Japanese youth.

When the first volume of the manga emerged in 2017, it was during a time when manji had become slang in Japan’s youth culture. It’s the Japanese equivalent of throwing up gang signs or shouting a gang’s name in high school. Similarly, Japanese kids would say manji when smiling for a picture, like anglophones say ‘‘cheese’’ or francophones say ‘‘ouistiti’’.

The symbol can also mean the embodiment of strength. Japanese youth even use the word as a stand-in for maji (まじ), meaning “seriously,” as in ‘‘are you for real?’’ in English. All in all, it became a regular part of the vocabulary, none of which has anything in common with Nazism. As for the actual Nazi symbol, the Japanese use the word haakenkuroitsu (ハーケンクロイツ), or “hakenkreuz,” which means swastika in German.

Tokyo Revengers Manji Symbol
Image Credit – Tokyo Revengers

The Tokyo Revengers story is about the Tokyo Manji Gang (東京卍會), a Japanese youth biker gang. This is the exact demographic that the symbol would appeal to. 

In the end, Westerners are notoriously uncultured, so they immediately jumped onto the hate symbol bandwagon. Despite the facts, the decision was made to censor the manji symbol in the English version.

In case it wasn’t clear yet, it’s not a Nazi swastika. This isn’t the first time that foreign elements were considered ‘‘problematic’’ by a Western audience. However, if the proposed solution is censoring instead of educating, it may only breed ignorance, resentment, and, ironically, more hate.

What do you think? Should the manji symbol be censored, or should people be educated about it? Let us know below.

  1. I was kinda upset by the censorship. I’m an American, but at least I know the difference between a manji symbol and a nazi swastika. Most of the censorship just takes out the symbol, but sometimes half the screen is blurred

  2. I am Israeli and many people told me that symbo He is a Nazi symbol but I tried to explain to them that the symbol of Tokyo Revengers has absolutely nothing to do with it and now I can show them this article so they stop driving me crazy 🙂

  3. Censorship, no matter the shape it takes, is born from ignorance, malice and stupidity, so that’s what it breeds. Sadly, a vast majority of those who are victims of said censorship (aka, those that consume the censored product) usually want to remain ignorant, malicious and stupid. They will claim they don’t, but as soon as they see a footnote explaining what the manji means, they will skip it, and brag about how they didn’t read 4 extra lines of text because it was “too long.”

    Of course, this is not an excuse to enact censorship, because you are also forcefeeding your own biased ignorance, malice and stupidity into the minority that didn’t have it to begin with, like pokemon changing riceballs into donuts, because “kids are stupid and won’t understand people in other countries eat different stuff, so we need to feed that stupidity, keep them ignorant, and forge a hatred against anything foreign.”

    To begin with, the one in Tokyo Revengers is not a swastika, but a sauwastika (it’s facing the opposite way). The words “swastika” and “sauwastika” come from sanskrit, let’s call it “proto-Indian,” and they basically represent day and night, in Eurasian cultures, as well as well-being, prosperity, luck, the life of the Buddha, and even some kinky stuff with the tantric interests of Kali in Hinduism. You can also find it in Aztec Empire as Huitzilpotchlí, or the sun, for the Anasazi in North America it represented life or centre (of the empire, of the universe, of their town), for the Akan in Subsaharian Africa, it can represent devotion, etc, etc, etc.

    It’s a symbol as old as it can be, used even in cultures that had nothing to do with each other, all around the world. Thank you for being willing to educate people, so that those that were robbed don’t need to have their culture cancelled by the ignorant, the ill-intended, and the stupid.

  4. I’m Israeli and this is my fav anime of all time so seeing that flag lowkey pissed me off crazy but seeing this article is nice, thank you

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