Over at the Tricycle Editors’ Blog, Aaron Lackowski points us to an article in this past Sunday’s Oregonian about a Shin Buddhist temple in Ontario, OR, that “was built in 1946 by a community of Japanese Americans driven from the Pacific coast to this inland town as a result of FDR’s draconian WWII anti-Japanese legislation.” Aaron adds:
- Ontario was not an internment camp but rather one of 18 towns across the U.S. dubbed “free zones,” where Japanese Americans were “free” to move.
As Aaron intimates, all of this is important American Buddhist history. If you want to learn more, I’d recommend the Tricyle article that Aaron linked to, as well as the work of UC-Berkeley’s Duncan Ryukan Williams. Dr. Williams has two forthcoming works on this subject based on a rather incredible amount of research: the manuscript Camp Dharma: Japanese-American Buddhism and the World War Two Incarceration Experience and the edited volume Issei Buddhism in the Americas: The Pioneers of the Japanese-American Buddhist Diaspora. For now, you can read his article “Complex Loyalties: Issei Buddhist Ministers during the Wartime Incarceration” for free online at the Pacific World journal’s official website.
[Image via The Buddhist Channel.]