written 卍文. A decorative pattern symbolizing good fortune, popularly known
as the swastika motif. It is though to have entered China from India in
connection with Buddhism, and was eventually adopted as a Chinese character.
Its earliest appearance in Japan is as an inscription on the leg of the Yakushi Sanzonzou 薬師三尊像 (697) in Yakushiji 薬師寺, Nara. From
the Heian period on, it often appeared on the crests of families and temples.
The bent legs of the symbol were sometimes extended for some distance, symbolizing
long-lasting or unending good fortune. In addition, the manji 万字
was an element in interlocking patterns such as the linked swastika pattern
and *sayagata 紗綾形.