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Finding aid for the Buddhist Churches of America Records
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The Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) is a national organization of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha sect in the continental United States. Formerly known as the Buddhist Mission of North America (BMNA), the BCA is the largest Japanese American Buddhist organization and is currently headquartered in San Francisco, California. The collection includes correspondence between headquarters in the United States, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji Headquarters in Kyoto, Japan, and individual temples, as well as meeting minutes and conference materials, education related records, publications, financial records and audiovisual materials in a wide variety of formats.
The Buddhist Churches of America was officially founded in 1899 but its origins date back to the Meiji Restoration and the arrival of Japanese immigrants to the mainland United States. In the 1870s Myonyo Shonin, the 21st Chief Abbot of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, began sending priests overseas to study Western methods of religious education and propagation, ultimately laying the groundwork for the formation of the BCA. During this time there were very few resources for Buddhist immigrants to receive spiritual guidance. A devout Buddhist immigrant living in California requested missionaries in San Francisco to ease this issue in the late 1890s.As a result, Reverends Eryu Honda and Ejun Miyamoto visited San Francisco in 1898 to evaluate the spiritual needs of Buddhists living in America. In July 1898 thirty young men gathered at the home of Dr. Katsugoro Haida and formed a Bukkyo Seinenkai (Young Buddhist Association). This was the Young Men’s Buddhist Association and would eventually become the San Francisco Buddhist Church in 1905. Reverend Honda and Reverend Miyamoto visited also Sacramento, Seattle, and Vancouver before returning to Japan.
330 linear feet
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Collections Management and Access Unit at the Japanese American National Museum (collections@janm.org).
By appointment only. Please contact the Collections Management and Access Unit by email (collections@janm.org) or telephone (213-830-5615). Advanced notice is required.