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The beginnings of the Hongwanji International Center

 Formerly known as Shishinji, the Hongwanji International Center, through the generous donations of Mr. Seiichi Hirose, was built at its present-day location in 1973 in commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the birth of Shinran Shonin and the 750th anniversary of the founding of Jodo Shinshu.  Since its establishment, it has become the home of Shishin Kyodo, a temple which is directly affiliated to Honzan (main temple).

In 1942, Shishinji, which was originally built in the Kamigyo (Northern) area of Kyoto, had been serving as a dormitory that included a study group known as the Shishinkai.  Later in 1953, the Shishinji received recognition by Hongwanji as an affiliate temple.

In 1957, when the Buddhist Churches of America sought to establish a study and research facility for aspiring overseas ministerial students in Kyoto, the Shishinji facilities were lent to them free of charge. Three years later, the building and land was donated to the Hongwanji with the intention that it be used for overseas propagation activities, and the name was then changed to Hongwanji Shishin Kyodo. These assets were sold in 1971, and the proceeds were then used as seed funding along with contributions that were made from the overseas districts and Hongwanji for the construction of the Hongwanji International Center we have today.  When the Center was completed in November 1973, the altar adornments of the Shishin Kyodo were installed and the International Department began its operations on the first floor of the building. The section in which the altar is located has since been called the Shinshindo.