Buddhist Women's Association (Jpn. Fujinkai)

BWA in San Diego

As an affiliated organization of the Buddhist Temple of San Diego, << build from history book >>


The Buddhist Women’s Association (BWA) is a lay organization that can be found at Jodo Shinshu temples around the world, including those in Japan, the United States, Canada, South America, and beyond.

The BWA trace its origins and current global presence to two extraordinary women associated with the Nishi Hongwanji-ha branch of Jodo Shinshu, headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. 

Origins. Lady Takeko Kujo (1887-1928) dedicated much of her adult life to giving a greater voice to Buddhist women, and is credited with co-founding the Fujinkai in Japan with her sister-in-law, Kazuko Otani. Lady Kujo was the daughter of Koson Ohtani, the 21st Monshu. She also founded Asoka Hospital, one of Japan’s first modern medical centers. She died in Tokyo, Japan after contracting an illness during her charitable work in the city’s slums following the Great Kanto Earthquake. (For further details about, please reference this article by Rinban Kenshin Fujimoto Lady Takeko Kujo, or this one by Dr. Alfred Bloom Kujo Takeko). BWA chapters were established in every Jodo Shinshu temple in Japan, and later in the United States and other overseas areas as many Japanese began emigrating in the late 19th century and early 20th century.


Lady Takeko Kujo

After World War II, Lady Yoshiko Ohtani (1918-–2000), spouse of the 23rd Monshu, Kosho Ohtani, revitalized the Buddhist Women’s Association by visiting many temples in Japan and overseas. She was the first to institute Japan-wide and worldwide conferences, so that diverse BWA chapters could better communicate and learn about the various cultural traditions of each region where BWA chapters are active.

Therefore by traditions, today the World Buddhist Women’s Association operates under the honorary leadership of Lady Ruzumi Ohtani, spouse of the 25th Monshu of the Nishi Hongwanji-ha, Kojun Ohtani.

Sources: Locally see <<BTSD>> Coming Full Circle. Discussion of the full history of BWA and its global reach is adapted from the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin website, specifically "Buddhist Women's Association - History," accessed February 2018 (http://sjbetsuin.com/buddhist-womens-association-bwa/history/).