In episode 12 of Himouto! Umaru-chan there appear swastikas on the car's navigation. What are these supposed to represent?

Map with swastikas

  • 2
    I think this was answered somewhere else, but I can't find it at the moment. On Japanese maps, swastikas are used to represent the locations of Buddhist temples.
    – Logan M
    Dec 26, 2015 at 0:50
  • @LoganM The question is different, but your answer here does mention its usage on maps.
    – mivilar
    Dec 26, 2015 at 2:14
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    The first umaru question ! :D
    – Ikaros
    Dec 26, 2015 at 2:41
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    @LoganM Skeptics.SE mentions that they're used on maps: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/20067/… Dec 26, 2015 at 4:15

1 Answer 1


The Nazis did a great job at stigmatizing swastikas but the symbol has been used for other purposes before and still is. You can verify that this isn't particular to the anime by looking at the respective area on Google Maps for example. Or any other major Japanese city for that matter.

Enoshima Station area in Google maps

Due to it's use in Hinduism, you will likely find it associated with temples and the like. Tofugu has an article on it with a bit more detail. The Wikipedia article also goes into detail of the symbol's usage in asian cultures. Additionally, the version used on the Japanese maps is the clockwise one 卍, while the one used in Nazism is counter-clockwise 卐.

You are however not the only one confused, so to brace for the expected influx of foreign visitors around the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, Japan's mapping agency (the GSI) is planning to change some of the symbols to make the maps easier to understand.

Symbols set to change on maps of Japan

These changes are only for the maps aimed at foreigners though, the Japanese ones will apparently remain unchanged, so you can expect anime car navigation to still look like this in 5 years.

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