TACOMA BUDDHIST TEMPLE HISTORY
The first Japanese immigrants arrived in the Tacoma area around 1887 – 1888 to establish businesses as a result of the completion of the transcontinental Northern Pacific Railroad which changed Tacoma from a sawmill village into a boom town.
By 1899 there were about 400 Japanese immigrants in Washington State who worked for businesses, railroad companies and farmers. By 1910 the Japanese population increased to about 1,950 residents in the Tacoma-Pierce County areas and there were about sixty eight Japanese businesses that had become established in Tacoma.
The beginning of the Buddhist movement in Pierce County can be traced to the turn of the twentieth century. Many Buddhist families in the county gathered in different homes to hold occasional services as they were not able to travel several hours to attend the nearest Buddhist Church which was in Seattle. Therefore, in 1910, a respected leader and grocery store owner in Fife, Soroku Kuramoto, originated a plan to invite Rev. Hoshin Fujii of the Seattle Buddhist Church to conduct monthly services in the backroom of his general store. Thus, from 1910 to 1915 Rev. Fujii provided the spiritual guidance and shared the Buddha Dharma with many of the pioneers of the valley.
ESTABLISHMENT OF FIRST TACOMA BUDDHIST CHURCH
A meeting was held in Tacoma in 1915 to discuss plans for organizing a Buddhist church so that everyone in the community would benefit. Hidekichi Yorozuya met with early leaders such as Masataka Fujimoto, Soroku Kuramoto, Jotaro Mori, Jitaro Nakagawa, Hyogo Nakashima, Jiro Sumada, and Heikichi Takeda to provide financial support. Thus, the first Tacoma Buddhist Church came into existence in a small rented room on the second floor of the Hiroshima Hotel at l5th & Market Street. The group requested Rev. Fujii to continue his services on a bi-weekly basis. The first president elected was Hyogo Nakashima.
By 1918, membership in the Church grew to fifty. In May of 1918, three Japanese heroes lost their lives after saving their families in a tragic fire caused by a boiler exploding in a laundry shop, igniting gasoline drums. Due to the large number in attendance at the funeral of the fire victims, this event generated a movement by the members of the Tacoma Buddhist Church to find larger quarters and a more permanent arrangement. In November of 1918 eighty families organized a search committee. At the same time, Sangha members signed a formal request to the Buddhist Mission of North America Headquarters for a fulltime minister in Tacoma. Hyogo Nakashima was chosen to head the fund drive and under his leadership $2,500.00 was quickly raised. On the street level of the Columbus Hotel at 1556 Market Street, the corner room became available, a 1,000 square foot hall. The hall was leased and remodeled as the the new Tacoma Buddhist Church and in November, Rev. Danryo Motodani was assigned as the first resident minister.
On April 8, 1919, during the Hanamatsuri celebration, the Church was officially registered as a member of the Buddhist Mission of North America. Rev. Chizo Kaku replaced Rev. Motodani in October 1920. He officiated until July 1921 when he was transferred to California.
In March 1923, Rev. Doro Kanda was assigned to Tacoma where he served until 1926. On May 29, 1923, the first marriage in the Church was performed by Rev. Kanda when he joined in wedlock Kaichi Ideta and S. Yokome. It was also during his residency, in April 1925, that the Fujinkai was formed with a membership of thirty women. During the early years of the organization there were no elective officers and the club functioned on a monthly toban (assignment) basis. It was not until 1934 that their first election was held. Mrs. Sasaki, wife of Rev. Sensho Sasaki, served as the first president and Mrs. Aiko Kurata, wife of Tacoma’s first Japanese physician, as the treasurer.
Rev. Kanda was replaced by Rev. Yudo Komatsu in November of 1926. Rev. Komatsu served as the resident minister until February 1928. It was during this period, in late 1926, that the YWBA was organized, and the YMBA in 1927. Rev. Komatsu learned of the untended and forgotten graves in and near Tacoma of 40 to 50 Japanese men, women, and children who had lived in Tacoma in the early 1900′s and arranged to include them in the three major memorial services: Obon, Memorial Day, and Muen Hoyo, that are conducted annually to this day.
SUNDAY SCHOOL ESTABLISHED
By the end of 1926, the children of the Issei parents were becoming of school age. To begin their Buddhist education, a Sunday School was organized with an enrollment of less than 10 students. With each succeeding minister and development of new teaching methods, the enrollment reached nearly 150 in the late 1930′s. In the early history of the Sunday School, many of the messages involved stories with moral values based on Japanese customs. Basic doctrines of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism was taught but was done in Japanese. However, in the early 1930′s an English lady, Rev. Sunya Pratt, was to become part of the membership of the Church. Since her entrance into the local church scene, Sunday School services have been conducted almost exclusively in English.
In 1928, Rev. Komatsu left for Japan to enter political life. But before he left, he urged the elders to start thinking of a larger and permanent building. This was his legacy to Tacoma.
In February 1928, Rev. Jokatsu Yukawa came to Tacoma. A young man in his early 20′s with a dynamic personality, excellent judo skills, and possessed of a charisma new to the area, he soon built a strong following of the young and old alike.
CONSTRUCTION OF NEW CHURCH
With the Church expanding under Rev. Yukawa’s youthful and most capable leadership, the need for a larger and permanent building arose. With his encouragement and persuasion a special meeting was held on August l, 1929, at which time it was decided to purchase four lots near 17th & Fawcett Avenue. Plans were made to raise $40,000.00 for construction of a two-story brick building 46′ by 108′ with a basement that could be used as an auditorium, banquet hall and a basketball gym. At the same meeting, president of the church council, Masataka Fujimoto, was appointed to chair the fund drive. Within three months, 679 persons pledged $40,000.00. Ground-breaking Ceremony was held in January of 1930 and actual construction was begun in February. Due to the stock market crash of October 1929, several members of the Sangha lost their money and were not able to fulfill their pledges. A second campaign was conducted to raise another $6,000.00 which was required to finish the project as the contractor would not release title to the building until he was assured of the full payment. Applications for loans at local banks were turned down so in desperation, the Finance Committee turned to the members again, this time to raise the necessary amount by asking for a no-interest loan. The response was quick as twenty-five members came forth to loan the necessary amount to the Church to pay off the contractor. The Church became a reality! It is said that some members, in order to respond to the Church’s need, borrowed money on their life insurance or their house.
A parsonage to house Rev. Yukawa and his young bride was also part of the project. With volunteer labor, the house was remodeled and painted, just in time for their first born, Shojun.
On February 28, March l, and March 2, 1931, ceremonies were conducted to celebrate the completion of the first major project of the Japanese community. On the first day, Rev. Yukawa led 150 children in the Ochigo procession in a parade that began in the old church room in the hotel and ended in the Hondo of the new building. Following the young people, Bishop Kenju Masuyama walked with the statue of Amida Buddha. After the bishop, followed the Seattle, Portland and White River ministers. Finally the congregation marched three abreast. The solemn rites marked the first time many Tacoma caucasians had observed a Buddhist religious service.
OTHER ORGANIZATIONS ESTABLISHED
Of all the contributions Rev. Yukawa made to the Japanese community, his work with the youth is considered his greatest legacy. He laid the foundation for the future of the church by working with the young Nisei who were in the formative years of grade and junior high school age. He made discipline palatable through organized activities like baseball, basketball, football, judo, and hiking and he developed future leaders from the young Nisei he attracted to the Church. The Boys’ Club (Jr. YMBA) was organized in January 1931 with a membership of 50. Further, he recognized the differences in maturity and background between the Nisei and the Kibei who were educated in Japan. To strengthen each group and to bind the two groups harmoniously to the Church, he organized a new group, the Koseikai. The Koseikai evolved into the Young Men’s Buddhist Assn. The boys elected George Teraoka as the first YMBA president. Rev. Yukawa taught the YMBA youngsters judo to instill physical skills and self confidence. To develop greater awareness of their heritage, he established an advanced Japanese Language Night School for the Nisei of senior high school age and older who had progressed beyond the regular community Japanese Language School.
Mrs. Yukawa assisted twenty-five girls in organizing a Young Women’s Buddhist Assn. Under the leadership of President Mineko Takeda, the YWBA sponsored socials, basketball games, plays, concerts, roller-skating parties and recitals.
As Rev. Yukawa’s achievement grew, it was inevitable that he would be leaving Tacoma for a larger assignment. In February 1933, he was appointed to the Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. Rev. Sensho Sasaki moved to Tacoma as Rev. Yukawa’s replacement. Rev. Sasaki and his wife established instant rapport with the young members. One of the first projects undertaken by Mrs. Sasaki was to organize a Girls’ Club (Jr. YWBA) in April 1933 with 30 members.
THE ARRIVAL OF REV. PRATT
Although Rev. Sasaki’s stay was only for a year, it was during his residency that another milestone in the growth of the Tacoma Church occurred — the entry of Rev. Sunya Pratt into the local Buddhist scene.
Rev. Pratt came to the United States from England in 1919, and her family moved to Tacoma in 1931. The family was originally planning on moving to California but had changed its plans and decided to stay in Tacoma. This decision was to become one of greatest fortune for the Buddhists of Tacoma.
Rev. Pratt began to volunteer her services to the Church to assist Rev. Sakow in working with the younger Buddhists. She had no official status and started as a helper with the Sunday School but soon took over classes. Services and classes which were conducted exclusively in Japanese before were now to be in both Japanese and English. She had the ability to impart the teachings of Buddhism and the Nembutsu in simple English. Sunday School enrollment started to increase.
As the minds of the young people reached out for more knowledge, Rev. Pratt formed study groups that met on week nights. The success of these study sessions brought requests from neighboring churches for her to conduct similar sessions in their area. She took the bus to Seattle once a month on a Saturday to conduct classes on Buddhism. On other occasions she bussed to Portland to hold similar classes.
Official recognition of Rev. Pratt’s work in the development and growth of the youth group in its understanding of Buddhism and in their active participation in the Church came on April 23, 1936, when she received her first ordination from Bishop Masuyama in a special ceremony held at the Church. It was at that time that she received her name of “Sunya”.
In 1934 Rev. Shawshew Sakow replaced Rev. Sasaki who was reassigned after a year’s residency. Young Niseis took their first stand against tradition and Issei rule during Rev. Sakow’s residency and were able to resolve concerns and differences in a series of meetings held under control of Rev. Sakow.
Rev. Gikan Nishinaga replaced Rev. Sakow in 1938. After the outbreak of World War II, Rev. Nishinaga was sent to the Internment Camp in Missoula, Montana, along with 32 other prominent Japanese leaders of Tacoma by the FBI.
The Tacoma Buddhist Church closed its doors in May of 1942 for the duration of the war. Families living outside of Tacoma were sent to Camp Harmony, the Puyallup Fairgrounds, in April. The Japanese living in Tacoma were herded into old railroad cars on May 18 and 19 and sent to Camp Pinedale on the outskirts of Fresno, CA. Household goods and personal belongings were either sold, given away or stored in the basement of the Church. Rev. Pratt, meanwhile, received permission from the War Relocation Authority to continue to serve the Buddhists in Camp Harmony with a Sunday School program until the internees were relocated to permanent relocation camps further inland.
While the Church ceased to function, its members continued to harbor the Nembutsu teachings, forming Buddhist groups in the relocation camps where they had been sent — Heart Mountain, Manzanar, Minidoka, Topaz, Tule Lake, Poston, Rohwer — joining Buddhists from other west coast cities.
POSTWAR RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF CHURCH
With the end of the war in August 1945, and with the lifting of the restrictions for the Japanese on the West Coast, families slowly returned to their former homes. The first returnees to Tacoma opened the church to use as temporary quarters until housing became available. Because only a few families were returning to Tacoma, Rev. Nishinaga was temporarily assigned to the Seattle Church in September 1945 to officiate there until the return of their minister.
In May 1946, Rev. Nishinaga resumed residency in Tacoma. One of the first organizations he reactivated with the aid of Yoshihiko Tanabe was the YBA. A new young adult group, the Sonenkai, was formed in 1947 to interest the returning Nisei back into the Church. Takeo Yoshihara was installed as the first president. Rev. Nishinaga’s residency ended in 1949 when he was transferred to Los Angeles.
On October 4 & 5, 1947, the first postwar Buddhist convention was held in Seattle, co-hosted by the Seattle Lotus and Tacoma YBA’s. The theme used was, “Bussei, Carry On”. This was in remembrance of the 1941 National Convention theme. The convention delegates elected Yoshihiko Tanabe as president of the Northwest Young Buddhist Association.
Rev. Jotetsu Ono arrived in Tacoma in March 1949. He officiated until May 1952. On January 22, 1952, on their first visitation to the United States, Monshu and Lady Kosho Ohtani came to the Tacoma Church to conduct Confirmation Rites. It was a timely visitation since the Church was trying to re-establish its position in the community.
From May 1952 until May 1957, Rev. Hiroshi Futaba served the Temple. He helped to reopen the White River Buddhist Church and conducted bi-weekly services in Auburn and Thomas, and with the assistance of Rev. Pratt, reactivated the White River Sunday School. It was also during his residency that a visitation program to members’ homes in outlying areas was instituted. He encouraged gatherings of families and friends where he could conduct a service and have a fellowship afterwards. The postwar Jr. YBA was again reactivated in October 1952, with Karen Yoshioka elected as president. In May 1957, Rev. Futaba was granted sabbatical leave by the BCA to attend a college in California to further his studies.
In September 1957, Rev. Sadamaro Ouchi, who was a recent arrival from Japan, came to Tacoma. His family from Japan joined him almost a year later. To adequately house Rev. Ouchi and his family, a building fund drive to raise $25,000.00 was launched in May 1958. A 5,000 sq. ft. brick structure was architecturally designed to complement the church building, with family quarters on the Fawcett Avenue level and a daylight basement that could be used for several classrooms. Dedication ceremony for the completed residence was held on October 18, 1959. A Japanese Garden was constructed behind the parsonage in 1961.
On April 27, 1959, a testimonial dinner was held for Rev. Sunya Pratt to honor her for twenty-five years of service, leadership and dedication to Buddhism.
Tacoma Buddhist Church’s affiliated Boy Scout Troop 115 was formed on December 20, 1959. Troop 115 was considered as an outstanding Troop within the Mt. Rainier Council because of the high number of Eagle Scouts in proportion to the number of boys that went through the program. Since 1960 when Rev. Pratt conducted Sangha Classes, more than 28 scouts have been awarded the Sangha Award. In July and August of 1970, twenty scouts toured Japan, visited the Nishi Hongwanji and met the Lord Abbot, visited various Temples, and attended the EXPO held in Osaka. The Troop was disbanded in December of 1979 due to the diminishing number of the church’s scout-age children.
The Sunday School PTA was established in 1960 and still continues to be active in planning and organizing many activities for the Dharma School children. At least once a year, the Tacoma Buddhist Dharma School children and the White River Dharma School children visit each other’s temples for exchange of services and to make new friendships and enjoy fellowship. Field trips, picnics, and other events are also held during the year to encourage participation and interest.
The 50th anniversary of the church was celebrated on November 20 and 21, 1965. As part of the anniversary project, a section housing the shrine was remodeled and a 50th Anniversary Commemorative Book was published. Bishop Hanayama and twelve ministers from the Northwest churches officiated the services. The Fujinkai ladies prepared a lavish banquet, followed by a program of skits and songs.
The church-affiliated postwar Kendo Kai was established sometime in 1967 and their first kendo tournament was held in Tacoma in 1970. In the late 1960′s and early 1970′s, the Boy Scouts of Troop 115 were very fortunate to have kendo teacher, Sensei Rod Omoto, teach them the basics of kendo to enable the scouts to demonstrate at Scout-O-Rama’s. He also emphasized the spiritual aspect of Kendo. The Kendo Kai resigned from church sponsorship in October of 1987.
On March l, 1969, Rev. Sunya Pratt was officially appointed as a minister of the BCA by the Nishi Hongwanji. The impressive ceremony was conducted by Bishop Kenryu Tsuji.
In August of 1969, Rev. Shoki Mohri and his family arrived from Pasadena, California. During his stay in Tacoma, a larger and modern kitchen in the basement and a new conference room above it was constructed with dedication held on September 26, 1971.
In December of 1972, for the first time, ladies were elected as members of the board of directors of the temple: Martha Yoshioka, Hanako Yoshida, Toyoko Nakagawara and Yoshiko Tanabe.
In January of 1974, Martha Yoshioka was elected as the first nisei Fujinkai president. Thus began the transition from the Issei leadership to that of the Nisei.
On November 23, 1975, the 60th Anniversary of the church was observed. Some of the projects to commemorate this event was the installation of rugs in the foyer, hallway and meeting room. Photos of all 13 past ministers who had served the Tacoma Buddhist Church were displayed. Ministers and representatives from Northwest District Temples were invited and 52 Issei Keiro were honored.
In January of 1976, the Sonenkai changed its name to Adult Buddhist Assn. (ABA). The program of the ABA was to encourage participation in church affairs by adult and young Buddhists. The main motive and goal was to stimulate growth, interest and participation of members by offering worthwhile programs such as community service involvement, self-improvement, better communication, and some personal enjoyment, utilizing its own members’ talents as well as outside help. The ABA today spearheads an annual temple grounds cleanup day and has sponsored many family get-together events such as Bingo, softball tournaments, sports events, and various other events such as dinner-dances, and a number of cooking classes of Japanese, American, and foreign cuisine.
Rev. S. Mohri was appointed to become Rinban at the L.A. Hompa Hongwanji Betsuin effective 7-1-76. Rev. S. Shigefuji served as minister of the Tacoma Temple from September of 1976 to March of 1978. Rev. Ron Kobata of the White River Church served as interim minister until 9-23-79 when Rev. T. Imai arrived.
In July of 1980 following Obon cemetery services at Eatonville and Orting, a tragic car accident claimed the lives of church president, Yoshio Kosai, and two long-time advisors, Mr. & Mrs. Seiichi Tamaki. Rev. Imai survived with a broken leg, cuts and bruises.
In February of 1981, the Bukkyo-kai Video Club officially started as an affiliated organization of the Tacoma Buddhist Church. This was a community service to show Japanese movies and programs to the Shin Issei.
In October of 1983, the Board of Directors of the Tacoma church approved the recommendation to change the name of our church to Tacoma Buddhist Temple. At the 12/4/83 general meeting, the proposal was approved and Constitution amended.
In February of 1984, the Tacoma Buddhist Temple hosted the 37th annual Northwest District Buddhist Conference, held at the Executive Inn in Fife, WA. This conference was dedicated to Rev. Sunya Pratt and special recognition was bestowed to her for her 50 years of service to the Tacoma Buddhist Temple and the Pacific Northwest Buddhist Churches. The Tacoma Temple also held a Testomonial Banquet for Rev. Pratt at their April 1984 Hanamatsuri service. It goes without saying that her entry to the Tacoma Buddhist Temple brought many events throughout the years in the growth of the young people; in imparting to the children the teachings of the Buddha as well as the teachings of the Nembutsu in simple English and to form study groups on Buddhism.
The first of the series of the Rev. Pratt Lecture Series was held on October 26, 1984. Rev. Pratt was honored; speaker for this event was Dr. James Doi of the University of Washington. The Rev. Pratt Lecture Series have continued to be conducted annually, sponsored by the Dharma School PTA, with speakers from various temples of the BCA and Canada.
Rev. Sunya Pratt received a medal, the 6th Class of the Sacred Treasure from the Japanese government for her many years of service to the church and community in May of 1985. Her 88th birthday was celebrated in conjunction with the Temple’s New Years service and party in January of 1986. It was a sad day on February 11, 1986 when Rev. Pratt passed away. She was a beloved minister who had dedicated 50 years to our temple from the early 1930′s. The Rev. S. Pratt Memorial Fund was established at the temple. The objective of the fund to be to further the teachings of Rev. Pratt, primarily for the Dharma School students. The Northwest Dharma School Teachers’ Workshop hosted by Tacoma on 9-26-87 was dedicated to Rev. Pratt.
Another change in the ministerial assignment occurred in August of 1986 when Rev. T. Imai and family returned to Japan to take over the family temple in Toyama. During the seven years of service in Tacoma, three daughters were born to the family.
Rev. Kosho Yukawa and family arrived in Tacoma from California late in August 1986. Rev. Yukawa was thrilled to return to his birthplace to serve as resident minister and where his father once served. The present temple was built during the time his father was the resident minister and many elder members of the temple still remembered Rev. K. Yukawa as an infant. The parsonage was refurbished to house the Yukawa family.
An Organ Fund was established by the Temple in November of 1986 to raise funds to replace the existing 30-year-old organ. With the generosity of the members’ contributions, the purchase of a new Rogers Organ was realized in September of 1987.
March of 1987 was the beginning of a “Family Day Program” for the temple members to enhance family togetherness, sponsored by the Buddhist Education Committee. Since March of 1988 the family day program was renamed “Sangha Day” and is held yearly in March. The all-day program features events for the various adult age groups as well as for the children. Cultural presentations, special interest topics, life experiences, as well as religious topics are offered.
The summer of 1987 promulgated a new learning experience for the children of the Northwest area when the ministers organized the Daruma No Gakko program, a summer Dharma School, with the support of the White River Buddhist Temple, Tacoma Buddhist Temple and the Seattle Betsuin. The two primary goals for its students were (l) building of self esteem in being a Jodo Shin Shu Buddhist, and (2) to develop communmication skills. In addition, the students were exposed to a variety of cultural activities including taiko, kendo, calligraphy, Tai-Chi, floral arrangements, mochi and manju making and others. The Daruma No Gakko program continues to be successful and is held for about ten days each summer.
In anticipation of the 75th anniversary in 1990 of the founding of our Temple, a Steering Committee was formed in March of 1987 to discuss projects. A renovation of the parsonage and construction of a garage-storage was adopted and a fund drive was started in February of 1988. The remodeling of the parsonage kitchen, construction of a new garage and deck were completed in June of 1988. A convection oven was installed in the temple kitchen, as well as a walk-in cooler. Other contributions to commemorate the 75th anniversary were: a Model 386SX Computer with color monitor, printer and other equipment from the Fujinkai; a new temple bell (kansho) from Japan; and three stained glass windows in the Hondo. The temple office was refurbished with a new desk, new computer desk and shelves, new carpet, and new wall paint. The old movie projection room was remodeled to house a library which could also be used as a guest lounge. The entire temple interior was refurbished with new paint, additional lightings and carpets. The Dharma School PTA compiled a cookbook in December of 1989 to commemorate the 75th Anniversary, and after selling out the first printing of l,000 copies in about a year, a revised and corrected edition was published and available by November of 1991.
After two years of planning, remodeling, refurbishing, and still continuing to carry on the weekly and monthly religious services and events the memorable day of the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the Tacoma Buddhist Temple was celebrated on November17 and 18, 1990. Commemoration services included “Sarana Affirmation” and Eitaikyo Memorial service. Thirty five members of the temple were honored as “Keiro” (Honoring Elders) and eleven members received special recognition for their dedication and contributions to the progress of the temple.
All former resident ministers and spouses, widows, widowers, ministers and wives, representatives from Northwest District Temples and Bishop Yamaoka were invited. Banquet at the Sheraton Hotel was attended by about 500 persons. The “Glossary of Japanese Buddhist Terms” booklet was placed at each seat at the banquet.
In February of 1991, Rev. Yukawa was honored by the BCA for serving the BCA for 25 years. In April, Rev. Yukawa and 22 Tacoma Buddhist Temple members went to Japan to attend the service at the the Hongwanji Temple in Kyoto, for the 400th Memorial of Kennyo Shonin and the 400th Anniversary of the Establishment of Hongwanji in Kyoto. A sightseeing tour to mainly the Northern Japan seaside was also included in their itinerary.
In August of 1992, the Temple lost a valuable leader and member of the Sangha when Yoshihiko Tanabe was killed in an automobile accident. He was like a pillar making sure our temple always stood strong and firm so that the members could lean and receive support. He was a great mediator, and always behind the scenes making certain everything was taken care of. He was the Temple president from 1978 through 1979.
Tacoma and White River Buddhist Temples hosted the BCA Ministers Assn. Seminar and meeting on August 10-12, 1993. Forty eight ministers from all over mainland USA including two from Hawaii, four from Canada attended.
In September of 1993, the first Dharma Exchange program was instituted by the BEC to give Sensei an opportunity to visit the Dharma School classrooms while the Sangha could discuss among themselves various Buddhist topics that are of interest to the group. The Dharma Exchange program is still offerred one Sunday each month and brings out many members as participants.
On April 24, 1994, the Fujinkai held its 70th Anniversary Commemoration. Past ministers and okusamas, widows, members and friends all celebrated this memorable event with a service, banquet and entertainment. The Fujinkai, since its founding, has seen many changes in its leadership. The transition from the Issei to the Nisei leadership in 1974 has not basically changed the purpose of this organization: to realize the ideals of Jodo Shinshu and to apply its teachings in everyday life; to provide fellowship, to coordinate activities, and to promote welfare of its members. The Fujinkai will always remain the working “heart” of the temple.
At the Obon service on 7-10-94, Mrs. Michi Osaka was presented the Rev. Kyogoku Award for 1993 for over 27 years of dedicated service to the Dharma School program. Tacoma Temple is also proud of two other recipients of the award, Mrs. Linda Takada in 1989, and Mrs. Toyoko Nakagawara in 1992 for over 30 years of service to the Dharma School.
The year of 1995 was most traumatic to the temple and its members when four long-time supporters and activists of the community deceased. Richard Akira Hayashi served as secretary to the Board of Directors and edited the temple newsletter for many years. Ted Masumoto served as president of the temple from 1971 through 1977, had been an advisor to the Board and contributed many items as well as hours of work to the temple. H. Del Tanabe served as president of the temple from 1981 through 1984 and was very active in the temple and community as well. Yoshio Dogen dedicated 35 years to the Temple, serving as a Dharma School Teacher and was the Superintendent for many of those years. He was a Scoutmaster for the Temple’s Boy Scout Troop 115 and instrumental in making this troop the top in the city. He had a long association with the Boy Scouts of America, encompassing 64 years, receiving one of the Boy Scouts’ highest service awards, the Silver Beaver in February of 1969.
TODAY AND THE FUTURE
The Tacoma Buddhist Temple continues to hold two fund-raising events a year, the Sukiyaki Dinner in March and a Bazaar in November. Special services held annually are: New Year’s Day Service, Installation Service, Hoonko, Fujinkai Memorial Service, Spring Higan, Hanamatsuri, Gotan-E, Obon, Fall Higan, Eshinniko Memorial, Muen Hoyo/Eitaikyo, Bodhi Day and Joya-E. The Temple also sponsors retreats, seminars, and lecture series.
In planning for the preservation of our Temple, steps were taken in April of 1995 to add our temple to the Tacoma Register of Historic Places and on December 5, 1995 the Tacoma City Council overwhelmingly confirmed the recommendation of the Landmark Commission to include our Temple in the Tacoma Register of Historic Places. As we plan for the future, one exciting and dramatic change taking place is the planned expansion of the University of Washington Tacoma campus. For when completed, the Temple will reside within the campus of the University.