Just as the title suggests, I’m curious as to how American and allied soldiers reacted to seeing what they would probably knee-jerkingly assume to be a familiar symbol of hate and of their enemy in Europe. You can most commonly see what I would call swastikas, only out of pure ignorance to their appropriate name, adorned to Buddhist temples. Were there instances of soldiers defacing temples? Any push from occupation authorities to have them removed? And did the occupation forces receive any information as to their true meaning?
I apologize if I broke any formatting rules with this post. I’ve been a member for some time, but I don’t frequent forms. And I’m traveling said country now, with no time to study up.
Hello! I haven’t ever read of any such defacements. My dad was part of the occupation (USN, didn’t stay long); he just spoke of the wreck Japan was (he took some pictures, it sure was a wreck), and how the civilians just seemed numb to… everything. Didn’t mention anything about the Japanese military except to say they didn’t make any trouble.
On a higher level, the US military, from MacArthur on down, knew that it would be a bad idea to deface religious shrines. It would not surprise me to learn that the people who saw to the temples would cover up such a symbol themselves.
By the way, the Japanese still used the swastika themselves to denote temples on maps as recently as the late 2010’s, to be replaced by something that would not be so “confusing”.