Seminarreflectionpaperoct 21

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Japantown, TacomaJapanese immigrants from the 1880s through the 1940s created Japantown in Tacoma. The community stretched from 17th Street to 11th Street and from Market Street to Pacific Avenue west. The first Japanese generation in Japantown made up Tacoma’s thriving Japantown through businesses.  The Japanese operated businesses, and the community was characterized by hotels, restaurants, vendor shops, import shops, barbershops, laundries, dry cleaners, Japanese newspaper offices, Japanese -language schools, temples, and churches (Nimura, 2016). These contributed to the growth of Japantown. Among the important events in Japantown that shaped Tacoma’s Japantown is the Tacoma Hongwanji Buddhist Church.Tacoma Hongwanji Buddhist Church has existed for more than one hundred years at 1717 S Fawcett Avenue in Tacoma downtown (Nimura & Wadland, 2018). The church was established in 1915 and served the function of accommodating the growing number of Japanese immigrants moving into Tacoma. It carries important ties to Japantown’s history as an institution and physical building. Tacoma Hongwanji Buddhist Church has long functioned as an important center for religious community, cultural heritage, social life, and Japanese American history (Nimura & Wadland, 2018). Many of the main sites for gathering the Japanese community in Tacoma by 1970 were destroyed, but Tacoma Hongwanji Buddhist Church continues to stand till to date. The founding of the Tacoma Hongwanji Buddhist Church was as a result of the growing Japanese immigrant community in Tacoma (Tacoma Buddhist Temple, n.d.). In the beginning, the Japanese religious community gathers in various homes to hold occasional services. In the beginning, the worship took place in Soroku Kuramoto’s house and later at his general store (Tacoma Buddhist Temple., n.d.). The congregation began small and with time, grew quickly, making it clear that a new bigger facility was needed for worship. In 1915, the Japanese religion community rented a room at Tacoma’s Hiroshimaya Hotel for worship and registered the church as Tacoma Hongwanji Buddhist Church, but as the congregation grew, the room proved to be too small (Tacoma Buddhist Temple., n.d.). In 1918, the community raised funds to construct a big and permanent building that became the permanent Tacoma Hongwanji Buddhist Church. Tacoma Hongwanji Buddhist Church was part of Buddhism’s Jodo Shinshu, and like any other Jodo Shinshu sanghas, the church had a regular schedule of Sunday services and an assigned minister (Nimura & Wadland, 2018). The church, as a religious center for the Japanese immigrant community, served important social and cultural functions that shaped the worship and gathering structure. The Sunday service and service practices reflected both pragmatism and acculturation process as these practices demonstrated the interplay between Japanese and American cultures (Nimura & Wadland, 2018). The Sunday service has maintained consistent format since the start, more than 100 years ago.The church’s ethnic makeup began with only Japanese immigrants, but this has changed over the years. However, the main ethnic group in this church is Japanese Americans (80 percent), and 20 percent comprises of other ethnic groups (Nimura & Wadland, 2018). The Japanese religious community continues to grow as reflected by the growing congregation at Tacoma Hongwanji Buddhist Church. This reflects the community’s openness to change while honoring its historic Japanese roots. In conclusion, Tacoma Hongwanji Buddhist Church is an important event in Tacoma’s Japantown. ReferencesNimura, T. (2016). Tacoma Neighborhoods: Japantown (Nihonmachi) — Thumbnail History. Retrieved from, T., & Wadland, J. (2018).  Tacoma Buddhist Temple. Retrived from Buddhist Temple. (n.d.). Temple History. Retrived from