NICHIREN MISSION OF HAWAII

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  1. Nichiren Buddhism
            * Nichiren Shu
            * the Lotus Sutra
            * Our Practice
            * Major Temples
  
2. The Buddha &  Nichiren
        Shonin

            * Life of the Buddha
            * Life of Nichiren Shonin
            * History of Nichiren Buddhism
  
3. History of Nichiren Mission
        of Hawaii

            * Part I (When the Nichiren
              Buddhism came to Hawaii)
            * Part II (Before the World War
              II)
            * Part III (After the World War
              II)
  4. Sunday Service
            * Morning Service
            * First Sunday - Kito Service
            * Second Sunday - Combined
              Service
            * Third Sunday - Special
              Service
            * Forth Sunday - Shodaigyo
              Service
            * Fifth Sunday - Activity Day
            * This Year's Calendar of
              Services and Events
 
  5. Memorial Service
            * About Memorial Service
            * How to hold Memorial
              Service
  
6. Funeral Service
            * About Funeral Service
            * About other Services related
              to Funeral Service
            * How to hold Funeral Service
  
7. Kito (Blessing) Service
            * About Kito Service
            * How to hold Kito Service
  
8. Wedding Ceremony
            * About Wedding Ceremony
            * How to hold Wedding
              Ceremony
   
9. Other Activities
            * Columbarium (Niches)
            * Eitaikyo (Perpetual Memorial
              Service) Program
            * Eitaikuyoto (Eternal Peace
              Tower)
            * Visitation
            * Class
            * Counseling
            * Sunday School
            * Fujinkai (Women's Auxiliary)
            * Rainbow Conference
            * Fundraise
 
  10. Newsletter
            * This Month's Newsletter 
            * Archive
 
  11. This Month's Sermon
            * This Month's Sermon
            * Archive
 
  12. Facilities and Map
            * Facilities and Pictures
            * Map
  
13. Links
    14. Contact us
    15. Copyright
HISTORY OF NICHIREN MISSION OF HAWAII

Part III

3, After the World War II (Last half of the History of the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii)

Chronologically speaking, the second half of the 100 year history of the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii begins with the 50th Anniversary celebration of the birth of Nichiren Buddhism in Hawaii. It is more practical, however, to draw a line in 1946, when Bishop Mochizuki returned from the relocation camp on the mainland U.S.A. and re-opened the Mission. The year marked the end of the Japanese-style and the beginning of the American-style Nichiren Mission of Hawaii. The impact of the war made the change inevitable.

The Japanese living in Hawaii and their descendants who had never been forced to choose between Japan and America, were forced to do so by the Pacific War. Most of them, quite naturally, chose to be Americans. The psychological change caused various changes in the Japanese American society such as the disappearance of Japanese kimono from the group pictures of temple events. Cut off from the roots in Japan, even Japanese Buddhist ministers changed—from sectarian to interdenominational in outlook. English began to replace Japanese in family conversation. Culturally, they have become Americans rather than Japanese.

On the other hand, as the constitutional freedom of religion and assembly was restored to Japanese Americans after the war, many of them flocked to the Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, reacting to the religious suppression during the war years.

In the mind of those who flocked to the Buddhist temple, however, there was a subtle change. They felt like seeking refuge in Japanese Buddhism while refuting things Japanese. As a result, they were drawn by the un-Japanese Americanized Buddhism.

A positive effect of the Pacific War on Japanese Buddhism in Hawaii was the consolidation of inter-denominational friendship among Buddhist priests. Almost all Japanese Buddhist priests in Hawaii were sent to relocation camps on the mainland U.S.A. Living together as virtual prisoners in the confinement of these camps for several years required them to stand together. The solidarity among them resulted in the establishment of the Hawaii Buddhist Council to work together actively in the postwar years.

Airplane trips were not yet common, and traveling by boat took time. With the high cost of long distance telephone calls and without modern communication facilities such as facsimile and e-mail, contact with Japan depended on letter writing. As a result influence of Japan was virtually non-existent compared to that of today, making the trend of Americanization inevitable.

Foreseeing the inevitable change, Bishop Mochizuki successfully led the Mission to proceed so that it would not fall behind the Americanization of Japanese American community in Hawaii.

 

1) Return of Bishop Kanryu Mochizuki

Discharged from internment on December 10, 1945, the Mochizuki family returned to Kapapala for a short time and moved to Honolulu early in the following month.

On January 6, 1946, Bishop Mochizuki held a solemn service to report his return to the Buddha. On the 13th of the month, he held a memorial service for the repose of ancestral souls of member families, the war dead, and all those who had passed away during the war years.

Activities of the temples were Americanizing in many ways: songs in praise of the Buddha were sung at Sunday School; sermons were given in English; and the Young Buddhist Association (YBA) was organized. On Sundays, services were performed in both English and Japanese. Prior to the war, Sunday services were held weekly but only a few members participated in them with most members preferring to visit the temple only for traditional services, such as ohigan and obon. However, as the temple activities became Americanized, members who visit the temple every Sunday increased and it became customary for everything to be carried out on Sundays. Also, under the auspices of the Hawaii Buddhist Council, joint services of the member temples became established as annual events.

Priestly costume also changed. Except for formal services such as ohigan and obon priests at that time wore a robe and stole over a white shirt, black tie and trousers in black. Today this habit has been abandoned except for the priests of the True Pure Land School.

Even the entertainment after special services became international from Japanese. A famous Korean dancer, Ms. Halla Pai Huhm, who became a temple member during Bishop Mochizuki’s tenure, performed traditional Korean dances with her disciples after the annual services for ohigan and obon.

50th Anniversary of the Introduction of Nichiren Buddhism in Hawaii

On April 26, 1953, the grand ceremony commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Introduction of Nichiren Buddhism to Hawaii was held at the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii officiated by Reverend Shobun Kubota, who represented the Chief Priest (hossu) of the Kuonji Temple on Mt. Minobu. Rev. Kubota, a graduate of Tokyo University, studied in England and taught at the Rissho University, where he served as a Professor, Chairman of the Department of Buddhism, and the Vice-President. At the same time he was the Editor-in- Chief of a religious journal entitled the Hokke (Lotus Flower). The year 1953 was actually the 51st Anniversary for Nichiren Buddhism in Hawaii, but it was the 700th year since the Establishment of the Nichiren Shu Order in Japan. Therefore, it was decided to celebrate the 50th and 700th anniversaries at the same time in 1953. Thus the official title of the event became "Grand Ceremony Commemorating the 700th Anniversary of the Establishment of Nichiren Buddhism and the 50th Anniversary of the Introduction of Nichiren Buddhism in Hawaii". Organizationally, the head of the Nichiren Shu Order (archbishop) then was inseparable from the Head Priest (hossu) of the Kuonji Temple on Mt. Minobu; the Chief Priest of the Kuonji Temple was also the Archbishop of the Nichiren Shu Order. Representing the Nichiren Shu Order, Reverend Kubota traveled to Hawaii alone. The Japanese traveling abroad in those days were subject to strict limitation, so it is assumed that a staff in attendance was impermissible. Reverend Kubota departed the Haneda Airport aboard a Pan American flight at 5:30 p.m. on April 22nd. The plane landed on Wake Island at 1:30 at night, resumed the flight after refueling and arrived in Hawaii at 4:15 p.m. It took 18 long hours to fly from Japan to Hawaii, which sounds almost incredible today.

Waiting for him at the Honolulu International Airport were Bishop Mochizuki and about 100 devotees as well as reporters of such newspapers as the Hawaii Times, Hawaii Hochi, Honolulu Advertiser, and Star-Bulletin.

Reverend Taimyo Shinkai who was assigned to the Temple as an assistant to the Bishop since July 1952, and Reverend Joei Oi, who was formally a Honmon Shu priest and a teacher of the Rissho Japanese Language School, helped Bishop Mochizuki make the event as successful and meaningful as possible.

The welcome party for Reverend Kubota, held at the Lau Yee Chai Restaurant in Waikiki on April 24th, was attended by a large crowd of 400. The emcee was Masayuki Kido, and the Public Prosecutor General Edward Silver delivered the welcome address on behalf of the Governor, while City Councilman Matsuo Takabuki relayed Mayor Wilson’s welcome message. It was shortly after the U.S.-Japanese Peace Treaty was signed when Reverend Kubota visited Hawaii, so it is conceivable that the U.S. officials were trying to re-establish friendly relations between the U.S. and Japan.

April 25th: A memorial service was held for the repose of the deceased Chief Priests and lay members of the Mission—the late Reverends Gyoun Takagi, Kenpo Kinuya, Benko Sueto and Ejun Ikoma; and the late lay priests Seiji Sakakibara, Tamehei Nagai and Yoshitaro Yoshikawa. A commemorative article was presented to Mrs. Hisako Sakamoto, who lived in and guarded the Temple during the war years.

April 26th: The 50th Anniversary Commemorative Service. Led by the Honolulu Boys Club Band and accompanied by Sunday School children, members of the Women’s Club and officials of the Board of Directors, 120 tendo and chigo (children in angel costumes) paraded from Kawananakoa Intermediate School to the Temple in Barron Lane beginning at 12:00 noon. The commemorative service began at 2:00 p.m. led by Reverend Shobun Kubota and Bishop Kanryu Mochizuki, attended by Reverends Joei Oi, Taimyo Shinkai and Myoryu Aniya. Also attendees in honor were the Bishops of the Hawaii Buddhist Council member temples—Zuien Inoue of the Higashi Hongwanji Mission, Mitsumyo Tottori of the Shingon Mission, and Zen’yu Aoki of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission, Buntetsu Miyamoto of the Jodo Mission, and Zenkyo Komagata of the Soto Mission—as well as Reverend Goki Takiguchi of the Shinshu Kyokai Temple. Seiji Yoda, Shizue Uyeda, Noboru Morita and Eiko Yamada offered incense representing the Mission, Women’s Club, Y.B.A., and Sunday School respectively. Toshiko Nagano recited words to the Buddha, in Japanese, as the representative of the tendo and chigo (children in angel costumes). Following the service, the celebration party was held with Masao Sakamoto acting as the emcee. The participants were entertained by Sunday School children’s dances and plays. The Nichiren YBA members played an episode in the life of Nichiren Shonin, "disciples imprisoned in a cave".

On April 27th, Reverend Kubota visited the National Cemetery at Punchbowl to pray for the departed souls and a home for the aged to comfort its patients. On the 28th, he led the morning service at Blow Hole in commemoration of the Birth of Nichiren Buddhism in 1253 and gave a memorial lecture at the auditorium of Kawananakoa Intermediate School that night. On the 29th, a round table discussion with Reverend Kubota was held at the Mission. On the 30th, he gave a lecture in English at the Y.B.A. Hall. On May 1, Reverend Kubota delivered a lecture at the Mission under the auspices of the Women’s Club.

On May 2nd, Bishop Mochizuki and President Yoda accompanied Reverend Kubota to Hilo on the island of Hawaii. Councilor Kealoha of the County of Hawaii and many Nichiren Buddhists welcomed him at the airport. Some came all the way from Pahala. Reverend Kubota and his party visited the Hamelani Veterans Cemetery to pray and they attended a welcome luncheon party at the Naniloa Hotel, in which Mr. Tadashi Nagasako was the emcee and Mr. Ken'ichi Shintaku gave the welcome address. Early in the morning of the following day, Reverend Kubota and his party arrived at the temple in Kapapala. The parking lot in front of the temple was completed courtesy of Mr. Ramsey, the plantation owner. Approximately 500 pilgrims gathered for the commemorative service that began at 10 a.m. At the party that followed the service, Mr. Kitsuki was the emcee, Toraki Nambu reported the state of affairs at the Kapapala Temple, and Toshiyuki Kai expressed gratitude to Mr. Ramsey in behalf of the Temple. Mr. Minoru Kanda from Pahala and Mr. Yoshiaki Miyahara from Nalehu delivered congratulatory addresses. On May 4th, Reverend Kubota and his party returned to Hilo and he gave a commemorative lecture at the Yamatoza Hall. On the following day, when they visited a home for the aged to give comfort to the aged, they were treated to a welcome luncheon at Dr. Kutsunai’s home. They returned to Oahu in the afternoon.

On May 6th, they visited the Wahiawa branch temple and Reverend Kubota gave a memorial lecture at the Lelehua High School in Wahiawa.

On May 8th, they visited the Puunene Nichiren Mission on the island of Maui and were welcomed by the Councilor of the County of Maui and others. They visited the Makawao Veterans Cemetery and made a courtesy call on President Baldwin of the Puunene Sugar Company. At the welcome party held at the Grand Hotel, Ineo Yoshino acted as the emcee, and President Jotaro Ochiai of the Puunene Mission delivered the welcome address. The Commemoration Service was held on the following day, May 9th, at the Puunene Nichiren Mission.

On May 10th, they returned to Honolulu and attended the "Respect the Aged" party in the afternoon. Reverend Kubota also gave a letter of appreciation and accompanying memorial gift to Mr. James Gilliland, who helped maintain the Mission during the war. For three days beginning May 11th, Reverend Kubota lectured on the Lotus Sutra at the Mission. On May 14th, he gave a lecture in English at the University of Hawaii at Manoa before departing for Japan at ten o’clock in the evening of the same day.

Staying in Hawaii for 24 days and 22 nights, Reverend Kubota thus continued to work without a break. Needless to say he contributed tremendously to enhancing the prestige of the Nichiren Buddhism in Hawaii. For what Nichiren Buddhism is today in Hawaii, we owe a lot to his selfless efforts as well as to the enthusiasm of Bishop Mochizuki and the fervent desire of the members and friends of the Mission to uphold the Dharma. At this point, we should not forget a few more contributing factors. First we should mention the fact that Reverend Kubota traveled alone. It is conceivable that he could not help traveling without an attendant given the international situation, but it made it possible for him to move freely and engage in many side activities. Next, he knew English and was an excellent English speaker. Thirdly, most members of the Board of Directors had received Japanese language education before the war, and therefore were able to understand, read, or write Japanese despite the fact that most of them were born in Hawaii. As a result, religious services and events in Hawaii could proceed as smoothly as in Japan. Although the Japanese language had been prohibited during the war, the Japanese speaking people were still influential after the war as a child was able to read the congratulatory message of chigo in Japanese.

It has been 50 years, almost two generations, since then. Now few can read Japanese, not to mention writing it. It is a fact today that hardly anyone looks at newspapers, brochures, and leaflets in Japanese, which are being sent from Japan for free distribution.

 

Move to Nuuanu

The process of Americanization of Japanese Buddhism can be seen in the temple architecture in the 1950s. The temples of Japanese Buddhism in Hawaii had made a drastic change. Japanese temple buildings started to be reconstructed in modern or Indian style. Nichiren Shu Betsuin faced a major point of change as well. On April 28, 1957, Hawaii Betsuin moved from School Street to the present location, built the "temporary" Main Hall, and held the dedication ceremony on November 3rd, of the same year. The old Main Hall of the temple was built in 1917 and needed a full-scale reconstruction. The move solved the pending plans to repair and extend the existing temple building. The new temple site along the Pali Highway was secured in 1956 through the efforts of Realtor Albert Yonaoshi, who was a member of the Nichiren Mission. It was the old mansion of the Cook family in Nuuanu.

The owner of the mansion was Theodore Cook, one of the top five in Hawaii. It seems Mr. Cook had taken up residence in Nuuanu in 1915 or so. Several houses around the current Betsuin are said to have been the residences of employees of the Cook family, and the land on which these houses stand was not a part of the deal. The Betsuin purchased Mr. Cook’s residence, currently used as the temple office, together with land area totaling approximately 80,000 square feet (a little less than 2 acres) at the bargain price of one dollar per square foot including the buildings. Mr. Cook was known as a Japanophile and it is said that ten of his employees were all Japanese. Having heard of the construction plans for the Pali Highway, he is said to have decided to sell his residence for fear that the tranquility in the Nuuanu Valley would be disrupted.

Some members suggested a plan to purchase residences of the employees as well. An architectural plan for an Indian style temple was initially drawn up, but it had to be abandoned due to shortage of funds. We should say, however, that it was a great achievement that the Nichiren Mission at least acquired one of the most beautiful properties in Hawaii. It was planned, moreover, that the former temple property in Barron Lane be converted to an apartment complex to help finance the missionary activities of the new temple in the future. We are deeply grateful to Bishop Mochizuki, members and devotees of the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii at the time, who made this decision despite the huge loan.

The Japanese garden on this property includes a pond in the shape of the Chinese character for the mind. Mr. Kiyoshi Takano is credited making this sole, purely Japanese style garden pond in Hawaii. Local people call it "the Japanese pond".

 

Sunday School and YBA

As stated earlier, temple activities were different from those in Japan. Events were mostly carried out on Sundays. The second and third generation Americans of Japanese ancestry visited the temple every Sunday, listened to the sermon, and strengthened their faith in the Buddha.

Sunday School means educational programs for children that are held before or after the Sunday service. Boys and girls up to high school age attended it. The sermons in Sunday School are mostly translated version of children’s stories for the purpose of teaching morality. The basic doctrines of Buddhism such as "The Fourfold Noble Truth" and "The Eightfold Holy Path" were taught, and the citations from Dharmapada (Dharma-phrase Sutra) were read. The tenet of the Sunday School curriculum was virtually common among the six Japanese Buddhist Schools belonging to the Hawaii Buddhist Council. In other words, it was the basic Buddhist doctrines rather than the sectarian theology. The Flower Festival of the Hawaii Buddhist Council commemorating the birth of the Buddha drew inter-sectarian participants, with Sunday School children playing main roles even today. The children also enjoyed putting on a play, celebrated birthdays with candies, made presents for parents on Mother’s or Father’s Day and sing songs of praise to the Buddha.

Sunday School was very active in the 1950s. Mrs. Shizue Morimoto was the principal, who acted as emcee every Sunday. Mrs. Tsuruyo Higuchi, well-versed in Buddhist stories, was also an active leader. Jane Kusunoki, a YBA member, played the organ, read Buddhist stories for children, and planned other activities for Sunday School. Bishop Mochizuki assigned his young assistant ministers to be in charge of the Sunday School while Hoover Tateishi positively involved himself with Sunday School activities. Children of such young families as Aokis, Wakis, Kimotos, Ninomiyas, Chinens, Kokis, Furukawas, Itos, Aiharas, Kurogis, Ishiharas, and Koyamas attended Sunday School every week.

The graduates of Sunday School joined the Young Buddhist Association (YBA). The YBA members actively participated in events at the Mission as well as out in society such as the mini-golf, bowling, horseback riding, hiking or games against their counter parts of other temples. In 1949, the YBA published a liturgy called "Hasu no Oshie", in English for Sunday School children. They also published the biographies of Sakyamuni Buddha, Nichiren Shonin, and Buddhist doctrines in easy English written by Dr. Shobun Kubota of the Rissho University in Tokyo. As hardly any English books on Nichiren Buddhism were available at the time, the publication of these teaching materials in English was an important step forward. The English translation of the Lotus Sutra by Reverend Senchu Murano and the multi-volumed English translation of the Writings of Nichiren Shonin by Reverend Kyotsu Hori were not available until the 1970s.

It was about this time when "Nichiren" a movie produced by the Daiei Movie Company starring Kazuo Hasegawa was shown in Hawaii. As a fundraiser, the Nichiren Mission sold tickets for the Kokusai Theater. Mr. Muneo Kimura, a member of the Nichiren Mission, was the President of a local corporation that ran the theater, and Bishop Mochizuki promoted the sales of tickets by driving to members’ houses to sell tickets.

Hawaii is a place where incantation and prayers flourish. Many members of the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii are said to believe in faith-healing. This is not only among Japanese but it is the nature of locality to believe in the soul. From the time of Bishops Sueto and Watanabe’s tenure, those who converted to Nichiren Buddhism has mostly been through incantation and prayers. Bishop Mochizuki was not a full-fledged kito master, so this trend declined at the Mission. Outside the Mission, however, fervent Nichiren Buddhists such as Mrs. Shizue Uyeda, with the strength of inspiration and prayers converted many people to Nichiren Buddhism. Mrs. Uyeda later entered the priesthood, renamed Nun Myojo Uyeda, and became the Chief Priest of the Puunene Nichiren Mission. Mrs. Aniya, who organized a small band of followers in Wahiawa, Oahu, entered the priesthood as a disciple of Bishop Mochizuki and was renamed Nun Myoryu Aniya. Thanks to these fervent devotees who converted non-believers to Nichiren Buddhism through the power of prayers, the Mission gained greatly in membership around this time.

While fervent devotees tried to induce the people into the Nichiren Mission, Bishop Mochizuki was busy organizing the increasing members. Various Japanese Buddhist temples were beginning to be like traditional American churches. They had to meet the needs of the new society of Americans of Japanese ancestry which appeared suddenly in the postwar era. During this period of change, Buddhist missionaries in Hawaii had to study the English language, forcing young Buddhist ministers to study English at the University of Hawaii. It began with Reverend Kyotsu Hori and succeeded by Reverend Ryue Ikoma.

 

After 22 years as the Bishop of the Hawaii Mission, Kanryu Mochizuki passed away on January 18, 1963 at the age of 65. His Buddhist name is Chukoin Nisshiki Shonin. His private funeral was led by Reverend Taimyo Shinkai, who worked under him in the 1950s, and the Betsuin went into mourning for him. His formal funeral on April 28th was led by Bishop Yohaku Arakawa of the Nichiren Shu Order of North America (NONA). Tearfully reading his message of condolence, Mr. Seiji Yoda appealed to the entire congregation to support the Mission and young Reverend Ikoma in one united body.

Of all the Nichiren Shu priests, Bishop Kanryu Mochizuki lived in Hawaii for the longest period, making Hawaii his final home. Thirty-one years had passed since his arrival in Hawaii. Reverend Mochizuki first worked at the Kapapala Temple as the Chief Priest for nine years, went through the internment on the mainland U.S. during the war and returned to Hawaii after the war to render services to revive the Mission. The Mission was full of energy with members across three generations; the aged second generation, the grown-up third generation, and the growing fourth generation participating in the temple events. It was also during his tenure as Bishop that branch temples were born in Wahiawa and Hilo. He carried out commemorative events in memory of the 50th Anniversary of the introduction of Nichiren Buddhism to Hawaii and exalted the reputation of Nichiren Buddhism in Hawaii all the more. He also cooperated with leaders of other denominations to establish the Hawaii Buddhist Council. Moreover, he ventured to move the Mission to the present location, the greatest project in the history of Nichiren Mission of Hawaii. It was also during his tenure that a book of Buddhist songs in praise of the Buddha was compiled by the YBA and published by the Mission in April, 1962. Bishop Mochizuki endured the hardships of plantation days, World War II relocation camps, postwar prosperity, the new temple building and the Americanization of the Mission. Facing the most dramatic changes squarely, he successfully guided the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii throughout his long tenure.

The death of Bishop Mochizuki marked the end of an epoch as far as managing of the Mission is concerned. Temples of Japanese Buddhism in Hawaii before the war had largely been managed by the Chief Priests of the temples. When young Reverend Ikoma became the acting Chief Priest of the Nichiren Mission, however, management of the Mission shifted to the temple officials represented by the Board of Directors. This has become an established tradition today, not only in the Nichiren Mission but also in most religious corporations in Hawaii. Bishop Mochizuki was the last Chief Priest who managed the Mission efficiently under the old system.

 

Archbishop Nichijo Fujii Visits Hawaii Three Times

Accompanied by Chief Administrator Benjo Kaneko and Reverend Kyoyu Fujii, Archbishop Nichijo Fujii of the Nichiren Shu Order arrived in Hawaii on December 4, 1963. His purpose was to visit Pearl Harbor, where the Pacific War began, and to recite the Lotus Sutra for the repose of those American sailors and soldiers who sacrificed their lives, and for world peace. Archbishop Fujii visited and paid homage to a Japanese cemetery on the following day and paid courtesy calls to the Governor of Hawaii and the Mayor of Honolulu on December 6th. On December 7th, he held the 23rd memorial service aboard the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor for the repose of the war dead both in America and Japan, offering flowers. In the evening, the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii hosted a dinner party to "Welcome Chief Abbot Nichijo Fujii of the Kuonji Temple on Mt. Minobu and His Party" held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel in Waikiki. It was attended by nearly 500 people. After visiting the islands of Hawaii and Maui to deliver sermons on the 9th and 10th, he left Hawaii for Japan on the 12th of December.

Mr. Juji Okabayashi, who was the President of the Mission when it welcomed the Archbishop, states in the Nichiren Shu Newspaper,

Many things happened to us, the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii, last year. Among them the most unforgettable was that we welcomed the party of the Archbishop and the Chief Administrator for the first time in 65 years since the introduction of Nichiren Buddhism to Hawaii. Visiting the far away islands in Hawaii, they promoted the friendship and amity between the U.S. and Japan, held a memorial service aboard the Arizona Memorial, and memorial services for the deceased Americans of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii in order to fulfill the grave mission of bridging for the great Nichiren Shu Order to expand overseas. This is something we can never forget throughout our life. Despite their short stay in Hawaii, they had a great effect, deeply impressing high officials of the state, city and county, especially the American Navy, promoting the friendly relationship between the U.S. and Japan. The Venerable Chief Administrator observed the state of affairs in Hawaii with his own eyes, so we will be most happy if he understands us in Hawaii and continues to help us.

While in Hawaii Chief Administrator Kaneko one day spoke of the late Bishop Mochizuki. When he was talking about his recollections, a large black moth, which was perched on a purple curtain in front of the Three Treasures (Gohonzon), suddenly began to flutter around. It is said that the congregation felt as though it was a messenger of the late Bishop.

Archbishop Fujii revisited Hawaii in 1965, when he stopped by Honolulu on the way to the World Federation of Nations Convention as the honorary president of the Japanese delegation. Departing Haneda and arriving in Honolulu on June 17th, Archbishop Fujii paid homage to the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor and the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii on the following day, leaving Honolulu for Seattle, Washington, on June 19th. In June of 1967, Reverend Ken’ei Kobayashi, Chief Priest of the Zuirinji Temple in Yanaka, Tokyo, and his party of eleven, visited Hawaii. The number of Nichiren Shu members, priests and lay persons began to increase about this time.

On September 8, 1970, Archbishop Fujii visited the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii on his way back from Los Angeles, and Sacramento, California, where he presided at the dedication ceremonies of the Los Angeles Betsuin Temple (on September 6) and Sacramento Nichiren Temple on the following day.

 

Reverend Ryue Ikoma

Reverend Ryue Ikoma, son of the sixth Bishop Ejun Ikoma, was born in Hawaii, and grew up in Japan. Upon arriving in Hawaii, he was placed in charge of Sunday School. When Bishop Mochizuki passed away, Reverend R. Ikoma was appointed to fill the vacancy as the acting head of the Mission, the position he held as long as two years and two months. Thrown in to the rapid current of Americanization in Hawaii, however, he decided to continue graduate study at the University of Hawaii, and resigned from the Mission in July 1965, after serving the temple for six years. Ultimately Reverend R. Ikoma gained a Ph. D. degree and continued to study at the East West Center until he met the untimely death on May 30, 1982, at the age of 45. The funeral service was held in the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii for him. His Buddhist name is Taieiin Nichijun Shonin.

 

2) The Eighth Bishop Ryushin Okihara

Reverend Ryushin Okihara was appointed on March 21, 1965, by the Nichiren Shu Headquarters to serve the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii. His installation was recorded on a long roll-type group photograph which had been popular for decades. He was an experienced overseas minister on the mainland U.S. A. during the pre-war years. Beside being the Chief Priest of the Nichiren Shu temples at Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, he had founded the Portland Nichiren Buddhist Church and had served as the Bishop of the Nichiren Order of North America (NONA) before going back to Japan.

In Hawaii he was instrumental in re-establishing some of the traditional Japanese customs at the Mission, and kito ceremonies were re-established as a regular monthly service. He began regular lessons in Japanese on the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Buddhism. His enthusiasm brought much activity to the temple. The current statues of our Founder and the Three Treasures enshrined in the New Main Hall represent Bishop Okihara’s efforts. He was also instrumental in establishing closer ties with the Honolulu Myohoji Temple through his relationship with Reverend Eijo Ikenaga. The Kaishu-e Service commemorating the establishment of Nichiren Buddhism, began to be held jointly with the Honolulu Myohoji Temple. Other major services such as obon and ohigan were held at the Mission with Reverend Ikenaga participating. Bishop Okihara also instituted the shodaigyo (Odaimoku chanting practice) on Wednesday evenings. It was well-attended by members, who chanted the Odaimoku continuously for one hour. Some of them sat on the mat spread in front of the inner sanctuary and chanted. He also started the Daikokuten (a deity of fortune) Festival. Although the statue of Seishoko (Lord Kato Kiyomasa) had been in the Mission since its beginning, Bishop Okihara brought the statue out of its mini-shrine at the Seishoko Festival. For most of the members it was the first time that they saw the statue of Lord Kato out of his own shrine.

Bishop Okihara felt that the main object of worship or the Gohonzon (the most revered one) enshrined at the Mission since its inception was too small to befit the headquarter temple of the Nichiren Shu Order in Hawaii. Thus he began the fund raising campaign. As the Gohonzon of the Nichiren Shu temple, two types are commonly used: "a stupa with two Buddhas" and "a Buddha with four bodhisattvas". The former is the type of the Gohonzon that had been enshrined at the Mission from the beginning, consisting of an Odaimoku stupa with two Buddhas of Sakyamuni and Many Treasures (Taho) sitting on both sides of the stupa. On the other hand, the latter type consists of Sakyamuni Buddha attended by four bodhisattvas. Bishop Okihara preferred the latter. As a result it was agreed to make the new Gohonzon in the former type (the same type as the Gohonzon of the Mission since its inception) but on a larger scale. On the bottom of the newly carved statue of Nichiren Shonin together with the new Gohonzon, it is written, "The eye-opening service for the statue of our Founder, Great Bodhisattva Nichiren; donated by the Chief Priest and devotees of the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii, was conducted by the eighth Chief Priest of the Nichiren Sect Mission of Hawaii and the Bishop of the Nichiren Shu Order in the District of Hawaii, Gon-Daisojo Ryushin Nikkai Okihara." The old Gohonzon, which had been enshrined in the Main Hall, has been enshrined in the hall that houses the ashes of the deceased since then.

As the altar in the Main Hall was expanded, a covered patio was created right next to the Main Hall to serve as a social hall.

The Mission continued its annual events such as the picnic at Ala Moana Park and the scattering of the toba made of paper-thin wood after the Bon Service. A short 8 mm film still exists showing Bishop Okihara beating a large portable drum aboard a fishing boat. This tradition is no longer observed and instead the floating paper lantern ceremony is now held at the Japanese pond in the yard of the Mission.

Bishop Okihara returned to Japan in 1968. He did not have enough time to have a new bishop appointed by the Nichiren Shu Headquarters, so he called Reverend Kanjitsu Iijima, a Nichiren minister overseas, from the mainland U.S.A. and installed him as his successor. On January 13th, he returned to Japan after 3 years in Hawaii. Bishop Okihara was appointed to be the Resident Priest of the Zenshoji Temple in Hiratsuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and he passed away on May 8, 1986, at the age of 89. He is called Shodoin Nikkai Shonin.

 

3) The Ninth Bishop Kanjitsu Iijima

Reverend Kanjitsu Iijima, who was installed as the Chief Priest of the Mission on January 6, 1968, had been a Nichiren Shu overseas minister since 1935. After serving as the Chief Priest of the Nichiren temples in Seattle, Sacramento, and San Francisco in succession, he was residing in a suburb of Los Angeles, California, when he was requested to come to Hawaii. He was married to an American of Japanese ancestry, and was able to speak fluent English. Well-versed in yoga, Bishop Iijima was advocating the maintenance of health by means of yoga meditation. He began to renovate the first floor of the office building and also began giving short sermons at funerals. Although he did not attend the formal 100-day session of Aragyo (vigorous ascetic practices), he continued practicing the kito services at the Mission in response to the request of members. He showed much originality in adapting the teaching of the Lotus Sutra to modern American society, and the Board of Directors' meetings began to be held in English during his tenure.

However, it was about this time that anti-religious sentiment grew rampant among the youth all over America. As the Vietnam War dragged on, an anti-war or pessimistic and decadent mood spread all over the American society. It was the period of hippies and the era of free spirit. College demonstrations, long hair, tie-dyed shirts, bell bottoms and jeans were in fashion. Skeptical of traditional authorities, Americans stayed away from churches in a sharp contrast to the post-war years. Churches everywhere lost members drastically, especially the children. The Nichiren Mission was no exception; although Sunday School maintained enough members, YBA membership declined to six or seven. Still it continued to function, interacting with the YBA of Buddhist temples of other denominations.

Bishop Iijima retired in 1971 after serving the Mission for three years. He moved back to Los Angeles and passed away on March 22, 1992 at the age of 78. His Buddhist name is Ren'oin Nichirin Shonin. He was replaced by Reverend Kyotsu Hori.

 

4) The Tenth Bishop Kyotsu Hori

Reverend Kyotsu Hori returned to the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii from Richmond, Virginia, on July 4, 1971. He originally came to Hawaii on July 4, 1954, as an overseas minister stationed at the Nichiren Mission. He resigned the post in September of 1958, and went to study at the Columbia University in New York City, from which he received his Ph.D. degree.

On February 18, 1973, Chief Administrator Koin Watanabe of the Nichiren Shu Order came to Hawaii to preside over the 70th Anniversary service in commemoration of the introduction of Nichiren Buddhism to Hawaii at the Mission. Altogether 45 people, priests and lay devotees, accompanied him to Hawaii. On the following day, they visited the Puunene Nichiren Mission on the island of Maui to hold the 50th Anniversary service of the establishment of the Puunene temple. Then they visited Hilo on the island of Hawaii on the 20th and departed for Japan on the 22nd. It was around this time that the high waves of Japanese investment began reaching Hawaii and Japanese tourists visiting Hawaii started to increase.

Those who bore most of the burden of supporting the Mission in this period were such members as Harry Kushima, Yorozu Ikawa, Shizue Uyeda, Tsuruyo Higuchi, Mitsuko Kuramoto, Shin’ichi and Hatsuyo Hanaoka, a long-term director Juji Okabayashi, Kazuo Yamashita, Minoru Otsubo, and Andrew Aoki who later served as President. Mr. Kiyoshi Ito, a long-term director and President passed away in 1977.

Hoping to establish closer relationship between the Mission and its members and to help enlighten non-followers, Reverend Hori began to issue the monthly newsletter. With Mrs. Hori’s cooperation, he translated the Buddhist tales into English to revitalize the Sunday School. To assist him the Nichiren Shu Order Headquarters first sent Reverend Bun’yu Shimizu and later Reverend Gyojun Tsujimura as overseas ministers. Reverend Kyodan Wakimura also came to learn English. Mr. Thomas Ishihara opened Aikido class every Sunday at the Mission attracting young members.

The Religion Department of the University of Hawaii held a symposium on Kamakura Buddhism, the focus of which was Japanese Buddhism established in the Kamakura Period. As a part of the symposium, panel discussions were held at each Kamakura Buddhist temple. A panel discussion was held at the Nichiren Mission, too, as a part of the memorial events for the Mission’s 70th Anniversary. This was the beginning of several joint projects with the Religion Department of the University of Hawaii. Dr. Alfred Bloom of the University had a great knowledge of True Pure Land Buddhism as well as Nichiren Buddhism. He was a friend of such scholars of Nichiren Buddhism as Senchu Murano (later Bishop of the Nichiren Mission) and Shigemoto Tokoro as well as Dr. Koho Tanaka of the Kokuchukai Association. Reverend Hori’s academic background helped the Mission to contribute to the society academically.

At the Mission, an attempt was made to revitalize the English speaking members through group discussions. The first meeting was held by Bishop Hori and Reverend Eijo Ikenaga of the Honolulu Myohoji Temple. Several members from both temples attended it, but it was merely a one-shot meeting. It did not continue although it showed that both temples were desirous of instituting some innovations to stop the trend of decline in membership. The Board of Directors of both temples proved to be very cooperative to such an attempt.

It was at this time that significant changes began to take place in the management of the Mission. Through the tireless efforts of Andrew Aoki (later President), Hisashi Yoshida, and Raymond Kamikawa, a new wage system for overseas ministers was introduced. Formerly the income of ministers had been based on the "offerings". When the Board of Directors took over the management of the temple, however, such a system that was based on the practices among the Japanese immigrants of the pre-war era proved to be unworkable.

The Archbishop Nichii Kaneko of the Nichiren Shu Order went to Los Angeles, California, to preside over the Grand Ceremony in Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Introduction of Nichiren Buddhism in North America held at the Los Angeles Nichiren Temple on May 26, 1974. On the way back, he stopped by in Hawaii, delivering sermons at the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii and the Wahiawa Nichiren Mission on June 9th. It was his second visit to Hawaii. When he was the Chief Administrator, he accompanied the Archbishop Nichijo Fujii on his visit to Hawaii. In the evening of the same day, the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii hosted the reception at the Ala Moana Hotel to welcome Archbishop Kaneko and his party. A large group of Nichiren Buddhists, 150 or so, came from Japan to join the party.

On February 19, 1978, a group of Japanese nuns headed by Reverend Nun Chiko Kajiyama participated in the 30th Anniversary celebration of the Wahiawa Nichiren Mission. They also held a memorial service on the following day at the Nichiren Mission in Honolulu for the repose of those who died in the Pacific War.

 

List of Japanese Warriors at the Mission

One of the memorable items preserved in the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii is the list of the Japanese military man who sacrificed their lives while attacking Pearl Harbor. It is not widely known that 65 Japanese men died when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. A businessman named Hajime Akita of Zushi City, Japan, learned that no memorial service for the repose of their souls was held in Hawaii. Not a military man himself, he made every effort to assemble their names and other information and compiled a list of those unfortunate war dead. He carried the list to the Buddhist temples in Honolulu, requesting in vain, for the temples to keep it and hold a memorial service for them. The Buddhist temples in Hawaii were afraid of provoking displeasure among Americans, refused his request. Reverend Hori, nevertheless, dared to accept the list and recited the Lotus Sutra for them on June 29, 1973. Mr. Heijiro Abe, who was the squad leader of the Japanese force that attacked Pearl Harbor, later revised the list, made two copies, one of which was enshrined at the Mission on December 7, Pearl Harbor Day, 1983. Ever since then it has been respectfully preserved at the Mission and prayers have been said for their souls every morning. The other copy was presented to the Arizona Memorial by Mr. Abe and his party on December 9, 1983. The head of the Arizona Memorial has promised to preserve it in one corner in the Memorial.

The public opinion of Americans on the Pearl Harbor Attack by Japan is beyond the imagination of the Japanese in Japan. In 1985, the U.S. government and the military held the 40th Anniversary services of the Pearl Harbor Attack on a grand scale both at Pearl Harbor as well as at Punchbowl National Cemetery. On the souvenirs distributed among the guests was written a phrase of "Remember Pearl Harbor." It seemed as though Americans will never forget Pearl Harbor and continue to harbor ill feeling against Japan.

Ten years later, on December 7, 1991, attending the 50th Anniversary events commemorating the Pearl Harbor Attack, President George Bush, Sr. however, declared to the world that the best way for us to contribute to world peace is to forget about hatred of the past as of this day and strengthen the bond of friendship and amity between America and Japan. The resentful words of "Remember Pearl Harbor" was changed to "Recollection of Pearl Harbor". Besides, on September 4, 1995, delegates of American and Japanese veterans gathered together at the Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific to hold a ceremony commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the termination of World War II. During the ceremony they signed the "Declaration of Friendship and Peace" and presented a memorial plaque.

 

Attending the Nichiren Shu Congress for the First Time

It was a precedent shattering move for the Chief Administrator Juken Matsumura to invite Bishop Hori and Bishop Joyo Ogawa of NONA to appear at the 40th regular session of the Nichiren Shu Congress and report on the state of affairs of the missionary activities overseas in May, 1978. Thereafter the Nichiren Shu Order began systematically aiding the overseas ministers in various ways such as publishing propagation materials in English.

When it comes to a book on Nichiren Buddhism in English in those days, there were none readily available except Nichiren: the Buddhist Prophet (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1949) by Dr. Masahara Anezaki. It was a biography of Nichiren Shonin in which there was almost no explanation of Nichiren’s doctrines written for lay people. There were very few other English materials readily available for overseas ministers to spread the teaching of the Lotus Sutra. A book summarizing Nichiren Shu briefly, comprehensively and systematically had been longed for to enlighten non-believers as well as the Nichiren Shu followers in general. It was under such a circumstance that the English version of the Shingyo Hikkei was published in September, 1978. Requested by the Nichiren Shu Headquarters, it represented a one-year effort of translation on the part of Bishop Hori, assisted by his wife, Doris Hori, and Messrs. Eric Kawatani and Raymond Funamoto. Although it has already been a quarter of a century since it was first published, it remains an irreplaceable teaching material utilized daily by overseas ministers for their missionary activities.

On June 17, 1979, Hoover Tateishi passed away at the age of 50. He is named Ichijoin Nichiyo Hosshi. Hoover, like Reverend Ryue Ikoma, was the son of a pre-war overseas minister from Japan, Reverend Shoei Tateishi. He graduated from the University of Hawaii and was a well-known simultaneous interpreter and radio announcer. To our great loss, both Hoover and Reverend Ikoma passed away at a young age.

Bishop Kyotsu Hori went back to Japan in April, 1980, after serving the Nichiren Mission as the Chief Priest for nine years. In Japan he resumed his teaching profession as a Professor of the Tokyo Rissho Junior College for Women. Upon retirement he returned to Hawaii, where he keeps on working on the NOPPA project of translating and publishing the writings of Nichiren Shonin in English and supervising the English publication of the Nichiren Shu News.

 

5) The Eleventh Bishop Senchu Murano

Bishop Murano was installed on September 7, 1980. He came to the U.S.A. in 1933 as an overseas minister stationed at the Los Angeles Nichiren Temple. While serving as the Chief Priest of the Seattle Temple, he studied at the University of Washington until 1938, when he returned to Japan and eventually became a Professor at the Rissho University. When he came to Hawaii as the Bishop, he was 72 years old.

On September 7, 1980, Acting Archbishop Koin Watanabe presided over the 700th Memorial Service of our Founder Nichiren Shonin at the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii. During the service Reverend Murano delivered his acceptance speech as the Bishop of the Mission, but he did not actually come to Hawaii with a permanent visa until December 22, 1980.

As in the case of many other Buddhist temples, overseas ministers are not treated fairly. The bishops of the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii were no exception. Their living quarters was upstairs of the office building without their own kitchen or privacy. Finally the Mission built a separate residence for the Bishop in 1982, 25 years after moving to the present site. It was only in 2002, when the New Main Hall was built, that the young overseas ministers from Japan stationed at the Mission gained access to their own kitchen facilities.

Bishop Murano had been in Hawaii only two years when he was faced with the great task of holding a grand celebration commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the introduction of Nichiren Buddhism in Hawaii on November 14, 1982. It was presided by the Archbishop Nichii Kaneko of the Nichiren Shu Order, who was able to use the newly constructed living quarters as the waiting room. For Nichiren Buddhism in Hawaii, it was an epoch-making event. First, it was the first time that the Archbishop of Nichiren Buddhism made a trip to Hawaii in order to participate in an event in Hawaii. It is true that several Archbishops visited Hawaii prior to 1982, but they did so on the way back from the mainland U.S.A. or sent someone else as acting Archbishops to officiate grand services. Since then the top leaders of the Nichiren Shu Order such as Archbishop Nichiyu Iwama, Chief Administrators Shokan Okumura and Shobun Nagai visited Hawaii one after another. In the second place, it marked the beginning of interchange between Hawaii and NONA. There had been no interchange, excepting private one, between the two. In the 80th Anniversary celebration of the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii, however, Bishop Joyo Ogawa of NONA, together with Reverends Yohaku Arakawa, Ryusho Matsuda, and Shokai Kanai participated. Thereafter overseas ministers were exchanged between the two dioceses, and the Nichiren Buddhist International Center was established to facilitate the global interchange. Also noted is the publication of the History of Nichiren Buddhism in Hawaii by the Mission as the 80th Anniversary commemoration project. We had no historical record of Nichiren Buddhism in Hawaii except the Grand Memorial Celebration Commemorating the 700th Anniversary of the Establishment of Nichiren Buddhism and the 50th Anniversary of the Introduction of Nichiren Buddhism to Hawaii: Memorial Pictures and Record of the Acting Chief Abbot’s Journey of Propagation published on October 13, 1953. What we needed was a unified, birds-eye view history of Nichiren Buddhism in Hawaii. We may say that the History of Nichiren Buddhism in Hawaii has since been the most reliable historical writing, without which much of our history would have been lost forever. In writing this book, A Century of Nichiren Buddhism in Hawaii, we are heavily dependent and grateful for it.

 

Publication of the Hawaii Kaikyo Jiho

The "Hawaii Kaikyo Jiho", began appearing in Japanese in February, 1983. For the purpose of grasping the actual conditions of the missionary activities overseas, the Nichiren shu Headquarters demanded overseas Nichiren Shu temples to submit a monthly report on its missionary activities. Bishop Murano suggested that these reports be put together, edited and published under the title of "Hawaii Kaikyo Jiho (Monthly Report of Missionaries in Hawaii)". Ever since then it has been distributed among Japanese readers in Japan. The first issue consisted of temples’ report and essays of overseas ministers. In the temples’ report are: contents of the Sunday services, the number of congregation attending the services, the number of services held in the previous month, and so on. The ministerial essays are on various subjects such as explanation of missionary activities, temples, and others. They are random in nature and their writings have been free and uncensored.

In November 1984, another piece of scenic beauty was added to the Mission. The Hagoromo (angel’s feather robe) Falls was created on the left side of the Japanese pond. It is not a big waterfall but it is quite a scene to watch it falling into the Japanese pond.

Speaking of the English versions of the Lotus Sutra, they were translated mostly from Sanskrit and a few from Chinese. Although there have been a few forms of English translations of the Lotus Sutra from Chinese (translated by Kumarajiva, which is the basic canon of Nichiren Buddhism), it is hard for us Nichiren Buddhists to use them because their interpretations are not always the same as ours. It had long been hoped, therefore, that the Lotus Sutra be translated into English accurately by a person of the Nichiren Shu Order. It was Bishop Murano who did what had been hoped. It was in 1974 when the long awaited book was finally published, which was revised in 1991, with the cooperation of a former Greek Orthodox priest, Daniel Montgomery. We may wonder why we had to wait for the book as Nichiren Shu Order began sending modern missionaries overseas as long as 75 years ago. The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma will be praised forever not only as a personal achievement but also as an achievement benefiting the whole of Nichiren Buddhists.

Bishop Murano expressed his desire to retire for the reason of his advanced age. He was 80 years old. Although temple members tried to dissuade him, he relinquished his post on April 1, 1989, and returned to be the Resident Priest of the Myochoji Temple in Kamakura, Japan. Nevertheless, he continued to exert himself to help overseas missionaries by writing and publishing teaching materials in English. He passed away at the age of 94 on January 22, 2001, and was renamed as Jirin'in Nisshu Shonin.

For a short while after his retirement until the new Bishop was installed, Reverend Eijo Ikenaga filled the vacancy as the Acting Bishop and took charge of the Mission as the Headquarters of the Nichiren Shu Temples in Hawaii.

 

6) The Twelfth Bishop Joyo Ogawa

The Chief Priest of the Sacramento Nichiren Buddhist Temple was installed as the 12th Bishop of the Nichiren Mission on June 1, 1989. Born in a temple in Gifu Prefecture, Japan, next to the temple of which Bishop Takagi, the founder of the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii, had once been the Resident Priest, Bishop Ogawa came to the U.S.A. as an overseas minister assigned to the Nichiren Temple in Los Angeles. Later he served as the Chief Minister of the Nichiren temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was later assigned to Sacramento in California. He had been the Bishop of NONA since 1977 when he was invited to assume the leadership of the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii.

While in Sacramento, Bishop Ogawa was able to rebuild the Main Hall and classrooms of the Sacramento Nichiren Buddhist Church. Thus he was enthusiastically welcomed by the temple members in Hawaii who foresaw the day when their long-cherished dream of having a formal Main Hall would come true. Such members as Nun Myojo Uyeda, Shige Isokane, Tsuruyo Higuchi, and Chie Yamamoto pleaded with him to build the New Main Hall. Touched by their earnest desire, Bishop Ogawa promised them that their wish would be fulfilled.

Starting in March 1990, Sunday School children began the monthly visit of homes for the aged such as Hawaii Select Care on the last Sunday after Sunday services. They borrowed small pets such as rabbits from the Humane Society and took them to comfort the old people in the homes. Later it became established as a meeting of holding a service and conversation. This tradition continues today as a monthly visit of the Liliha Health Care Center and Island Nursing Home on the third Tuesday by ministers and adult members.

During the same year, the system of perpetual service for the deceased was instituted in November. It is not unusual in American families that each member embraces a different religion. Some children of Buddhist parents seek refuge in Christianity. As a result, children and grandchildren of Buddhists do not hold memorial service for their parents or ancestors, and not a small number of Buddhists become "the deceased without relatives" upon death. Needless to say there are many people who have no children or grandchildren. The system of perpetual service for the deceased was designed and initiated by Bishop Ogawa in order for the Temple to hold memorial services for them forever after their death.

The first Sunday School Seminar was held at the Wood Valley Temple on the island of Hawaii for three days and two nights from May 25-27, 1991. In July of the same year, the address of the Mission was changed from 3058 Pali Highway to 33 Pulelehua Way. It is true that the Temple faces the Pali Highway, but many tall trees hide the view of the Temple from the Highway, so it was decided that the Pulelehua Way, though short and almost unknown, is the practical way to find the Temple.

In commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack, a memorial service was held on June 3, 1992, for the repose of those Americans and Japanese who lost their lives during the incident. It was held at the Nichiren Mission, where the list of Japanese navy men who died on the Pearl Harbor Day 50 years before had been enshrined. Veterans of the former Japanese Navy Air Force Squadron and their families, 320 or so in number came from Japan to pay homage while American Navy officers in active service as well as veterans, too, participated in the service. It was impressive to watch them pray together for the war dead beyond love and hate. During the service, Bishop Ogawa made an impressive speech preaching to forget about such slogans as "Remember Pearl Harbor!", "No More Hiroshima!", and "No More Nagasaki!" and work together for world peace under the new slogans of "Peace from Pearl Harbor!", "Peace from Hiroshima!", and "Peace from Nagasaki!".

Soon after the 50th Memorial Service for the War Dead at Pearl Harbor, the Mission began preparing for the 90th Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Introduction of Nichiren Buddhism. One of the pending projects was the renovation of the existing patio on right side of the Main Hall. It could hold 120 or so people but the floor was about 20 inches lower than the floor of the existing Main Hall, making it difficult, even dangerous, for the aged members to move between the two. So the patio floor was raised by about 20 inches so that if the Main Hall could not hold all the visitors, the remainder could stay in the patio to participate in the service in the Main Hall.

On August 30, 1992, Archbishop Nichiyu Iwama presided over the Grand Ceremony in Commemoration of the 90th Anniversary of the Introduction of Nichiren Buddhism to Hawaii at the Mission. A significant welcoming party was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Waikiki on the previous evening. Over 400 devotees including those from Japan overflowed the "Temporary Main Hall" in which the Grand Ceremony was held.

In 1994, the 700th Memorial Year of Nichiji Shonin, the precursor of the Nichiren Shu missionaries abroad, Bishop Ogawa led a group of Nichiren Buddhists to Japan to participate in the Grand Assembly in Commemoration of the 700th Memorial Year of Nichiji Shonin, which was held on April 23rd at the Civic Gymnasium in Hakodate, Hokkaido. They also attended on April 26th the unveiling ceremony of the "Monument of the Deceased Overseas Ministers" erected in front of the Founder’s Mausoleum on Mt. Minobu.

On September 4th of the same year, Chief Administrator Shokan Okumura came from Tokyo to preside at the Grand Memorial Service in Hawaii Commemorating the 700th Year after the Passing Away of Nichiji Shonin, which was held at the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii. While in Hawaii, the Chief Administrator visited each of the five Nichiren Shu temples, three on the island of Oahu, one each on the islands of Maui and Hawaii. It was the first time that the incumbent Chief Administrator of Nichiren Shu visited all the Nichiren temples existing in Hawaii.

It has been an established tradition that the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii has never discontinued the weekly Sunday service except when the Mission holds the annual Sunrise Service at the Blow Hole to commemorate the Birth of Nichiren Buddhism and joins the Hawaii Buddhist Council to hold the annual celebrations for the birth of the Buddha (Hanamatsuri) and His attainment of Buddhahood (Bodhi Day). When the Nichiren YBA was reactivated (having monthly volleyball tournaments against other YBA groups since May, 1991 or joining the Sunday School staff to plan and execute various events for children), it was decided that they deserved to have a YBA Day. Starting in 1995, every fifth Sunday has been designated as the YBA Day, in which the Temple has no Sunday Service at 10:00 a.m. (although the early morning service at 6:30 a.m. still continued) in order to encourage the YBA activities.

The ministerial assembly of 1995 resolved that the Rainbow Project be pressed forward in commemoration of the 750th Anniversary of the establishment of Nichiren Buddhism. It called for the seven-year plan for the purpose of promoting interchange among all Nichiren temples in Hawaii and jointly carrying out various projects. Previously, Nichiren temples in Hawaii had been rather independent of each other as there were no events in which the participation of all temples was necessary. The Rainbow Project attempted to change this.

The first Rainbow Conference was held at the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii on June 2, 1996. The delegates of supportive groups of each temple, such as the Board of Directors, Women’s Club, and YBA, got together to discuss the annual activity plans for each group as well as joint projects. The resolutions of this annual Rainbow Conference provided the basis for the projects in commemoration of the 750th Anniversary of the establishment of Nichiren Buddhism.

 

Construction of the New Main Hall)

Finally the first step forward was taken toward the fulfillment of the cherished dream. It was on October 6, 1996, when the Building Project Committee was formed with President Francis Sonomura as its chairman. It was the committee for the realization of the "formal" Main Hall, which had been a long-cherished wish of the Temple ever since it moved from Barron Lane to the present site in 1957.

The Grand Assembly of the Nichiren Shu Order, was held at the Yokohama Arena on May 28 to kick off the general campaign with the vow to spread the Odaimoku in commemoration of the 750th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Nichiren Buddhism by our Founder. Likewise, we, Nichiren Buddhists in Hawaii held our grand assembly to kick off our campaign with the vow of successful conclusion of our memorial projects in commemoration of the 750th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Nichiren Buddhism and the Centennial of the Introduction of Nichiren Buddhism to Hawaii on August 24th of the same year, 1997. The first part of the assembly was a solemn prayer service presided by Chief Administrator Shobun Nagai. It was participated by kito masters from the Western District of Tokyo led by Reverend Josho Ueda, Director of the Overseas Propagation Bureau in the Nichiren Shu Headquarters. The second part of the event took place at the Ala Moana Hotel, where a program began with the introduction of the "torch of the vow", which was taken from the assembly meeting at the Yokohama Arena. The representatives of the United Boards of Directors Association in Hawaii, United Women’s Association in Hawaii and the United YBA vowed in front of the Chief Administrator to complete the Commemorative projects while all participants in the meeting vowed to help them.

According to the vow declared in the grand kick off assembly, the Mission began to raise funds needed for the construction of the New Main Hall. Tracing the documents of the Mission, the fund raising attempts were already made in 1974 or thereabout. Those attempts, however, do not seem to have been very serious in those days. When Eric Kawatani, Vice President of the Mission, was elected the Chairman of the Building Fund Committee for the New Main Hall, the campaign to raise funds gained momentum. With the cooperation of the Nichiren Shu Overseas Propagation Promotion Association (NOPPA), Bishop Ogawa began to raise funds in Japan day and night. There is no doubt that without his efforts, it would not have been possible for members to see their dream come true. This should be specially noted in the history of the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii. Reverend Chishin Hirai, who had been at the Mission as an assistant minister in 1993-96 and who had been trying to establish a new Nichiren Mission in London, came back to the Hawaii Mission as an Associate Minister to help the Bishop build the New Main Hall.

On December 7, 2000, workers began to tear down the "temporary" Main Hall of the Mission. Everyone, who had to deal with all the paperwork, sighed with relief. Those members who passed away while dreaming of the new Main Hall must have been pleased to see the old one being torn down. The Gohonzon (the Most Venerable One) was moved to the Lotus room of the Office Building on October 22nd, and Sunday service as well as memorial and other services were held there.

On December 17, 2000, a solemn ground breaking service was held with the help extended by the NOPPA and the Kito Priest Association of the Western Tokyo District. It was a formal grand ceremony rarely seen even in Japan. Those who attended it were all deeply impressed. They seemed most interested in the part of the ceremony in which architects and others dug the soil with hoes or shovels. Many said later that they wanted to participate in doing that part of the ceremony.

After a year and ten months of struggle against technological difficulties, the new Main Hall was finally completed at the cost of $4,500,000. The new building housing the center for the practice of the Lotus teaching was designed by Architect Thomas Katsuyoshi. It is a beautiful building symbolizing a lotus flower. The Main Hall on the second floor measures about 50 feet in width and 100 feet in length, and the first floor is divided into a social hall, kitchen, restrooms, a storage room, etc. On September 15, 2002, the Opening Ceremony was held by all the overseas ministers in Hawaii led by Bishop Ogawa and attended by Nichiren Buddhists numbering 250 or so, all with tears rolling down their cheeks.

 

The Great Mandala Gohonzon of the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii

The Great Mandala Gohonzon enshrined in the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii is said to have been made by Nichiren Shonin himself on the 15th of the 8th month in the 1st year of the Koan Era (1278). Attached to this Gohonzon were the two deeds written by Isshoin Nichii Shonin, who was the 12th Resident Minister of the Chomyoji Temple in Kyoto and 30th Abbot of the Hokekyoji Temple in Nakayama, and Yuimyoin Nichidatsu Shonin, who was the 34th Abbot of the Honkokuji Temple in Kyoto. The deed of Nichii Shonin was dated in 1675 and that of Nichidatsu Shonin in 1789 so that it is conceivable that the Gohonzon had been preserved at the Honkokuji Temple or had been somehow moved from the Hokekyoji to the Honkokuji. As we have no record, we can only conjecture how such a precious Great Mandala Gohonzon came to Hawaii.

It had been believed that Reverend Nichimyo Asahi, who was the forerunner of the missionaries in modern times, Archbishop of the Nichiren Shu and Abbot of the Honkokuji Temple, chose it among the treasures of the Honkokuji Temple and gave it to Reverend Gyoun Takagi, who was about to make a voyage to Hawaii alone by command of the Nichiren Shu Order, expecting him to spread the Odaimoku from the U.S. to all over the world. However, while compiling the 100-year History of Nichiren Buddhism in Hawaii, we researched into the history of the modern Nichiren Shu, in which Nichimyo Asahi played an important role, finding that it is untenable to support this conclusion. As stated earlier there is no doubt that Gyoun Takagi came to Hawaii in 1899.

On the other hand Reverend Asahi became the President of the Nichiren Shu Overseas Propagation Association in 1897 and resigned as the Abbot of the Myokakuji Temple in Kyoto in order to concentrate on propagation abroad. It was not until October, 1902, that he was installed as the Abbot of the Honkokuji Temple, and it is inconceivable that he took out a treasure of the Honkokuji Temple to give it away. The revelation of a new fact, however, seems to explain how the treasured Gohonzon came to Hawaii from the Honkokuji Temple. The Archbishop of the Nichiren Shu was Abbot Nichigo Imamura of the Honkokuji Temple at the time when Gyoun Takagi came to Hawaii as a Nichiren Shu overseas missionary. So, isn’t it possible to replace the name of the person who gave the Gohonzon to Reverend Takagi from Nichimyo Asahi to Nichigo Iwamura? After all the relationship between the Archbishop Iwamura and overseas minister Takagi was the one between the person who went to Hawaii by the order of the Nichiren Shu Order and the person who issued the order.

If we insist on the name of Nichimyo Shonin, it is more likely that the gift was presented not in 1899 but in 1915, when he as the former Archbishop of the Nichiren Shu Order made a trip to the U.S.A. to attend the World Buddhist Convention in San Francisco. On the way, both going and returning, he visited the Nichiren temples in Hawaii. The former Archbishop Asahi was then the Abbot of the Honkokuji Temple and it is conceivable that he presented the precious gift of the Great Mandala Gohonzon to the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii. At the same time Abbot Asahi made a gift of Mandala Gohonzon written by himself to Reverend Nunome of the Kapapala Nichiren Mission, which is now preserved at the Hilo Nichiren Mission.

Reverend Takagi had already been in Honolulu for two years, establishing the Honolulu Nichiren Shu Church, the substance of the present Nichiren Mission of Hawaii, with the membership of 280. In the previous year in September, 1914, moreover, he had purchased half an acre plot at the cost of $3,500 for the projected formal temple. The new Honolulu Nichiren Shu Church consisting of the Main Hall (39’ by 42’ in size) and residential quarters was completed and dedicated on October 14, 1917, at the cost of $15,000.

Under the circumstance, it is also conceivable that the former Archbishop Asahi presented the genuine writing of our Founder to the Honolulu Nichiren Shu Church and his handwritten Gohonzon to the Kapapala Nichiren Church.

Upon the completion of the New Main Hall of the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii in commemoration of the centennial of the introduction of Nichiren Buddhism to Hawaii, this Mandala Gohonzon written by our Founder himself was restored to its original condition and carefully mounted by the Wakabayashi Buddhist Altar Fittings Manufacturing Company of Kyoto, Japan, so that it will last forever. It is now enshrined in the New Main Hall, of reinforced concrete, fireproof building of the Mission.