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BWA activities as the pillars of the temple- a gathering place for Japanese Canadians, to be taken on by younger generations


Canada- A century ago, Steveston (Canada) was among the fishing ports where the first Japanese immigrants had immigrated to with hopes to earn a living fishing for salmon. However, during WWII, Japanese Canadians were removed from the West Coast and forced to move inland where they were placed into internment camps. At the conclusion of the war, temple members who had returned to the area worked together to rebuild the temple. In doing so, a temple hall (hondo) that could comfortably fit 300 temple gatherers was completed in 1963 and has since been serving as a spiritual gathering place with weekly services being held every Sunday.
Throughout history, so much has been influenced by the women of the temple, that it could be said that the fujinkai (BWA, Buddhist Women’s Association) serves as the temple’s backbone. Today, the activities of the fujinkai includes attendance of regular weekly services, planning of special services, preparation of meals served following funerals, visitations to nursing homes and elderly living alone, and the organizing of the ever-so-popular bazaar held annually in the spring and fall.
Temple resident minister, Rev. Grant Ikuta, comments “The fujinkai ladies quickly take action to assist someone in need and are very trustworthy. With all that they do, the fujinkai are like the pillars of the temple. In fact recently, when a Nikkei (person of Japanese ancestry) had lost their home to a fire, the fujinkai had contributed the profits from the bazaar toward providing the person with a new home.”

Itoko Akune, a member of the fujinkai, shared “When we were young, the temple was the only place where we could gather on Sundays. Dance parties and beauty contests were held here and we also learned about the Jodo Shinshu teaching from the older youth members. I hope that the younger generations will gradually take over looking after the temple of which we are all proud.”


(Excerpt from Hongwanji Journal, November 10, 2010)