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Senshin Buddhist Temple, Los Angeles

Senshin Buddhist Temple, Los Angeles | Japanese-City.com

Location Information

1311 W 37th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90007

Established in 1951 as an independent temple, the Senshin Buddhist Temple belongs to the Jodoshinshu Sect, Hongwanjiha School, of Japanese Mahayana Buddhism and is popularly referred to as Nishihongwanji. Senshin Temple is an affiliate of the Buddhist Churches of America that is made up of some 60 temples in the continental United States with headquarters in San Francisco. An overseas branch of Jodoshinshu Hongwanjiha whose parent temple is in Kyoto, Japan, the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) is one of six overseas Sanghas, the others being Hawaii, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, and Europe.

Senshin Temple began as Senshin Gakuin, a Japanese language school and Sunday School conducted by Rev. and Mrs. Junin Ono from the Los Angeles Honpahongwanji Buddhist Temple (which became the Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Betsuin in 1931). He was succeeded by Rev. Hirofumi Kuwahara in 1932, Rev. Bumpo Kuwatsuki in 1938, and Rev. Jotetsu Ono just prior to the U.S. entering World War II.
With the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into the war, all Japanese and Japanese~Americans on the west coast were interned in prison camps. The new educational complex and altar that was built in 1938 at 1336 W. 36th P1. was boarded up for the duration of the war. Fortunately the new building was completely paid for and placed under the care of Rev. Julius Goldwater, the first Caucasian minister of Jodoshinshu who was assigned to the Los Angeles Betsuin. Rev. Goldwater cared for the belongings of the internees that were stored at the Betsuin while keeping in touch with the internees in the various camps, bringing them what he could.

With the end of the war on August 11, 1945, the Japanese began to return from the camps. Rev. Goldwater requested permission to convert the Gakuin into a hostel for returning families until they could find accommodations elsewhere. The hostel was run by Rev. Goldwater, Rev. & Mrs. Kanmo Imamura, and Rev. Arthur Takemoto (then a student). From 1945 to 1947, the hostel provided temporary housing for many families as they came out of the camps and until they could find temporary housing of their own. Rev. Kyoshiro Tokunaga, then a student from Japan began to teach Japanese language at Senshin and Rev. Kuwatsuki from the Los Angeles Betsuin began religious programs in 1947. It was during these years that the Gakuin flourished in the center of the Japanese~American community known as 'Seinan' or “south-west” Los Angeles.

On May 1, 1951, the Senshin Gakuin became the Senshin Buddhist Church, an independent church with Rev. Bumpo Kuwatsuki of the Betsuin being asked to become the founding minister, assisted by Rev. Koyo Tamanaha.


Phone: (323) 731-4617
Website: Click to Visit
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