Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Women’s Association

History

The Seattle Buddhist Women’s Association was organized in 1908 by Rev. Hoshin Fujii with nine members and is the oldest surviving organization within our temple. By 1911, the membership of 15 relied mainly on donations because annual dues were 25 cents. Activities included religious services, homemaking classes, sewing circles, food bazaars, outings and visitations to homes and hospitals.

In 1930 Mrs. Zendo Aoki, wife of the temple minister, became the first official Seattle Buddhist Women’s Association president. Membership at this time had grown to 133. The organization remained active until relocation in 1942. It was reactivated in 1946 with its first meeting held at Rev. Ichikawa’s residence with a membership of 146.

In 1952, Seattle joined the newly formed National Women’s Federation. In 1963, the Northwest District Fujinkai hosted the 7th National SWA Conference in Seattle with 819 delegates. National conferences were again held here in 1972 with nearly 1000 delegates and in 1995 with 900 delegates.

With a membership of 368, Fujinkai’s 75th anniversary was observed in 1983 with a memorial service and banquet. For its 85th anniversary, an anniversary book was published. Presently our group consists of not only our honored Issei but also Nisei, Sansei and Caucasian members who work tirelessly behind the scenes for the welfare of the temple and its membership. Activities include cleaning, food preparation including ohagi for Ohigan, various classes, fund raising, hospital and retirement home visitations and monetary as well as gift donations to ministers and temple organizations.

A Fujinkai Memorial service is held yearly where over 500 deceased members are honored by the reading of their names at the service. We feel that their contribution to our organization and the Betsuin is priceless and it is our way of remembering them with gratitude and affection.

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