You may remember Reverend Hojo and Reverend Tokunaga, who both served the Betsuin for many years, but do you know many years ago our temple established the Hojo Tokunaga Chair at the Institute of Buddhist Studies? We did this to recognize the work of two ministers and to support the education of ministers. Reverend Ejitsu Hojo and Reverend Kyoshiro Tokunaga were two remarkable kaikyoshi (Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha ministers serving outside of Japan) who are an important part of our temple’s history. They served in a critical time as we transitioned from a temple into a Betsuin.
When the Hojo Tokunaga Chair was established $1 million would have provided for a professor, support staff and necessary resources. Today that amount has increased to $3 million. We hope that everyone will appreciate the work of Hojo sensei and Tokunaga sensei and contribute to fully funding the Chair. You can make a donation through the Buddhist Churches of America’s Dharma Forward campaign. This is a BCA wide effort to cultivate and grow Jodo Shinshu in America. Please visit: Dharma Forward | BCA. There you can download a pledge form, check the IBS box then designate that your gift is for the Hojo Tokunaga Chair. This will assure that your gift will go to the Chair.
The San Jose Buddhist Temple was accorded the designation of Betsuin in 1966. It was a busy time for the temple. Only twenty years had passed since the Hondo had been reopened following the war and the return from concentration camps. Reverend Tokunaga was one of the first people to be incarcerated. He was considered an enemy alien so he was sent to Lordsburg Camp and then to Crystal City Camp where he faced indignities and hardship. Following the war, despite the prejudice, the Sangha reestablished itself in the community. Reverend Tokunaga arrived in 1951, from the Senshin Buddhist Temple, to serve as the executive secretary of the temple. He was assigned as a minister of the temple in 1959. In that same year Reverend Ejitsu Hojo was assigned to the temple. The previous year, on October 25, 1958 the Annex building was completed. In 1964 the second story of the Education Building was completed. There are stories of Reverend Hojo’s many visits to homes of Nikkei (Japanese Americans) to encourage them to come to the temple. Hojo sensei often went to two homes in an evening encouraging people to join the activities of the Sangha.
In 1966 when our Temple received the designation of Betsuin, Reverend Hojo became our first Rinban. Ten years later when Hojo sensei retired, Reverend Kyoshiro Tokunaga became our second Rinban. The Hojo Tokunaga Professorial Chair was established to honor their dedication and leadership. Please consider supporting the effort to complete the funding for this Professional Chair recognizing the work of Reverend Ejitsu Hojo and Reverend Kyoshiro Tokunaga.