Each shrine has its own unique founding history and has undergone its respective vicissitudes. However, the common characteristic linking all of these shrines is their embodiment of the common desire for local, national and universal peace.
Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha, endearingly known as Konpira-san was established in Hawaii to perpetuate Shinto traditions.
In 1920, a Gobunrei (spirit of the deity of the main shrine) from Kotohira-gu in Kagawa-ken, Japan was brought to Hawaii by Rev. Hitoshi Hirota, Yasubei Motoyasu, Bunkichi Tanaka, Kyujiro Taguchi and Gennosuke Okamoto.
A residence at 1256-A North King Street in Kapalama was converted into a shrine where Rev. Hirota performed the traditional rites and rituals embraced by the first generation Isseis. Kotohira-gu, long known as the guardian deity of fishing and commerce, quickly grew in popularity and membership.
On November 3, 1920, the shrine on the corner of Wolter Lane and North King Street was recognized by Kotohira-gu, Japan as a legitimate branch of the famous shrine in Kagawa-ken.
On February 20, 1924, the shrine was acknowledged by the Territorial government as a non-profit church and officially began its religious activities as the first Kotohira-gu on American soil.
Rev. Hirota, the First Guji (Chief Priest) was born in Shikinobu-mura, Hiba-gun, Hiroshima-ken and moved to Hawaii with his wife Kotome and daughter Miyora in 1917 at the age of 34 to serve at Hawaii Izumo Taisha. In 1919, stricken with illness and no longer able to fulfill his duties, Rev. Hirota retired from Hawaii Izumo Taisha. At the insistence of numerous community members, Rev. Hirota established Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha, where he served as Guji until his death in 1925 at the age of 42.
Rev. Sakai from Kato Jinja and Rev. Kawasaki of Hawaii Daijingu assisted with priestly duties until Rev. Donkai Okazaki of Hiroshima became the second Guji in 1925. In 1927, Rev. Okazaki moved to Kauai to serve as Guji of the Nawiliwili Daijingu.
Rev. Misao Isobe from Shirasaki Hachimangu shrine of Yamaguchi-ken became the third Guji in 1928. His brother, Rev. Naohisa Isobe also immigrated to Hawaii to serve as Guji of the Kakaako Kotohira shrine on Koula Street. A Japanese language school was established in the same year on the grounds of the shrine where Rev. Misao Isobe taught Japanese to children in the community.
In 1930, a Gobunrei was received from Shirasaki Hachimangu of Imazu Village, Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi-ken and the Shirasaki Hachimangu Hosan-kai was established by Miyozo Komeya with a membership of over 600 Issei families from Yamaguchi-ken.
In October of 1930, a Gobunrei from Otaki Jinja, guardian deity of Otake City, Hiroshima-ken was authorized for worship in Hawaii and the Otaki Jinja Hosan-kai was established by the first President, Teiichi Sugimoto with a membership of over 120 Issei families from Otake City.
In 1931, the shrine purchased a 57,320 sq. ft parcel of land at 1045 Kama Lane in Kapalama with individual donations from members and the community. On May 10, 1931, members celebrated the shrine's 10th anniversary at the North King Street location. A Jichinsai or groundbreaking ceremony was held at the new Kama Lane location on December 31, 1931.
Through fundraisers like Katsudo-shashin or "movie viewings", the shrine was able to raise funds to build a shrine office and cultural facilities. A torii (gate) was erected in 1934 and in March the same year, a temizusha or absolution water basin was donated by the Fujin-kai. In 1935, a pair of Koma-inu lions and toro lanterns were donated by the congregation. In 1936, a community center, martial arts center, kyudo archery range, outdoor theater, kendo renbujo and sumo ring were built. By 1940, the shrine was home to sumo, kyudo archery, numerous martial arts tournaments and cultural activities for the Japanese community.
By 1941, annual festivals were being celebrated for all three shrines; Kotohira Jinsha, Shirasaki Hachimangu and Otaki Jinja, with an ever-growing membership of over 1,200 families.
However, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 threw the whole nation into turmoil. In the worst abuse of government authority in the history of the U.S., more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were interned in relocation camps. Issei leaders of the community in Hawaii were immediately rounded up and sent to internment camps on Sand Island, Honouliuli, Maui, Kaui, Lanai, Molokai, the Big Island and the Mainland.
Shrine members and neighbors of the Kapalama area gathered at the shrine weekly to volunteer their time to make slippers for patients at Tripler and other hospitals. However, as the war raged on, all religious and cultural activities were terminated as the war continued. All ties with the shrines in Japan - Kotohira-gu, Shirasaki Hachimangu and Otaki Jinja were also severed.
In 1943, the interned Rev. Isobe was deported to Japan, forcing officers to call a special meeting on July 21, 1945 to decide the fate of the shrine. Kotohira Jinsha officially announced the temporary closure of the shrine and its activities on April 6, 1946.
After the war, members enthusiastically restored shrine activities on December 31, 1947, despite the absence of a priest. However, the shrine faced another crisis on June 8, 1948, when its property was seized by the Federal Government. An emergency meeting was called and a special committee formed to initiate measures for the return of the shrine and its property.
June 1, 1948 federal officers raided the shrine under the Trading with the Enemy Act , making arrests and seizing the Kotohira Jinsha property.
On March 4, 1949, an announcement for the sale of the Kotohira Jinsha property appeared on local newspapers. The shrine immediately solicited the services of the law firm, Robertson, Castle & Anthony and filed a suit on March 31, 1949 against United States Attorney General Tom C. Clark, the State of Hawaii and the Federal Alien Land Office for misusing Section 9 of the Trading with the Enemy Act against a civilian organization not under the influence of the Japanese government and also damages for wrongful seizure and detention. .
President Harry Truman appointed Sen. J. Howard McGrath Attorney General of the United States on August 24, 1949. Kotohira Jinsha's lawsuit against the Attorney General's office became known as Kotohira Jinsha vs McGrath.
The trial began and ended on May 17, 1950. On May 18, 1950 Judge McLaughlin ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, Kotohira Jinsha.
Kotohira Jinsha was once again able to continue all activities on their property in Kapalama. Members jubilantly celebrated the Autumn Thanksgiving Festival on Sunday, October 29, 1950, nine long years since the last festival in 1941.
The lawsuit by Kotohira Jinsha was the first ever intiated by a Japanese organization in the history of the United States, paving the way for similar lawsuits by other Japanese organizations.
On July 31, 1965, a stone memorial was erected in honor of shrine members who persisted against overwhelming odds in a lawsuit against discrimination by the Federal Government. It was also meant to serve as a constant reminder of the hardships and indignities suffered at the hands of a nation misguided by wartime hysteria, racial prejudice and fear, which we must not allow to happen again to any group, regardless of race, religion or national origin.
To mark the start of a new beginning, Kotohira Jinsha officially changed its name to Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha and the supporting organization to Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha Kyodan on May 11, 1951. New By-laws were adopted and membership once again flourished as all activities were re-established with the return of Rev. Misao Isobe in 1952.
At the urging of the Honolulu Fukuoka Kenjinkai and its members, a Gobunrei authorized for worship by Dazaifu Tenmangu of Saifu City, Fukuoka-ken was brought to Hawaii on July 24, 1952. The Gobunrei was hand-carried from Dazaifu, Fukuoka to Yokohama by Chief Priest Nobusada Nishitakatsujii and transported by boat to Honolulu by kyodan President and Fukuoka Kenjin member, Yotaro Fujino.
The shrine, in its efforts to promote Japanese culture, sponsored a Japan-Hawaii Goodwill Sumo Tournament in 1956 between the All Japan High School Champions and Hawaii Sumo Champions. In 1957, the State of Hawaii made clear its plans for the Lunalilo Highway and two-thirds of the shrine's property was once again to be taken by the government. Tragedy struck members in April 1958 as they mourned the death of Rev. Misao Isobe.
Rev. Kunisuke Sakai became the fourth Guji on August 15, 1959. Born in Yamaguchi-ken, Rev. Sakai arrived in 1916 to serve as Guji of Lahaina Daijingu on Maui from 1937 until his deportation in 1945. He returned to Hawaii after the war on October 7, 1957.
In the 1960's several Gobunrei from shrines that were not able to resurrect activities after the war were brought to the shrine. On June 9, 1961, a Gobunrei of Inari Jinja was brought to the shrine by Yoshimasa Yonemoto followed by a Gobunrei of Suitengu of Kurume, Fukuoka-ken. At the general membership meeting of January 14, 1962, the Kotohira Jinsha Fujin-kai voted unanimously to change its name to Aloha Fujin-kai in an effort to revitalize the activities under the leadership of Mrs. Fujie Sakai.
In June 1960, Chief Priest Nobusada Nishitakatsuji of Dazaifu Tenmangu, visited the shrine for the first time, after completing graduate studies at Harvard University. Rev. Nishitakatsuji was the 38th descendant of Michizane Sugawara, an eminent scholar and Minister of the Imperial court who was deified upon his death in 903 C.E.and given the posthumous name of Tenjin.
In the Spring of 1962, the State submitted a proposal to relocate the shrine, however, upon much deliberation, the majority of members voted in favor of remaining at Kama Lane. Preparations began on July 30, 1962 for the relocation of the shrine to its present site on the lot.
On May 24, 1962, the building that housed the shrine office and priest's quarters was torn down to make way for a new building. On June 26, 1962, President Kenichi Nakaya finalized the sale of 30,8376 sq. ft. of shrine land to the State for $122,250, heralding a new chapter in the history of the shrine. On September 13, construction of the community hall, shrine office and parsonage was completed. The roof of the Temizusha (absolution basin) was restored on September 25, followed by the repositioning of the Torii gate. A ceremony commemorating the completion of the new shrine buildings was held on September 26, 1962.
On June 4, 1964, Kyukichi Wada completed construction of four shrines for Shirasaki Hachimangu, Dazaifu Tenmangu, Inari Jinja and Suitengu which were consecrated in a ceremony on July 9, 1964.
In 1968, branches were established in Waianae, Aiea, Ewa, Pearl City and Waipahu to better serve the ever-growing membership.
On October 31, 1968, members of the Japan Shinto Religious Goodwill Delegration visited Hawaii for the first time after the war. Rev. Mitsushige Kotooka, Guji of Kotohira-gu was one of the thirteen priests that visited Hawaii to restore relations, that ended abruptly in 1941. The Honolulu Shinto Renmei, comprised of the four shrines in Honolulu, hosted a banquet in honor of the delegates, which officially renewed relationships between shrines in Japan and Hawaii.
The 1970's heralded a new beginning of cultural activities for the shrine. On May 29, 1973, a plaque written by the legendary caliigrapher Kanho Harada was bestowed to the shrine. In celebration of the 15th anniversary of Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu, Rev. Nobusada Nishitakatusji and five priests form Dazaifu Tenmangu, Fukuoka arrived on March 21, 1976 to participate in the festivities. Plans were initiated for the purchase of the Bishop Estate land behind the shrine for the construction of a Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine.
On September 13, 1977, Master Shizuko Ono of the Shrine Music Association staged a production of ancient Kagura dances at the shrine. Master Ono and her students coninued to offer Kagura to the shrines in Hawaii during their bi-annual visits to the islands until 2004. The following year, forty priests from various shrine in Japan visited Hawaii as part of a Goodwill Delegation in attempts to further deepen relations with shrines in Hawaii.
Plans for the purchase of Bishop Estate land behind the shrine was abandoned in July 1976 and plans for construction of a Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine at Kama Lane was brought to the table. Construction permits were issued on May 9, 1981 and a Jichin-sai (ground breaking ceremony) was performed on May 17. The ancient Joto-sai rites followed on November 15, when the ridgepoles were made and set in place on the roof. On April 15, 1982, Rev. and Mrs. Nobusada Nishitakatsuji, 15 priests and a tour group form Dazaifu Tenmangu of Fukuoka arrived in Hawaii to participate in the completion of the first Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine on foreign soil.
Our Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine was devotedly built by members volunteering their time and expertise daily, for a period of twelve months. The completion ceremony was performed on April 16 followed by a recreation of the elegant Kyokusui-no-en (Water Poetry Festival) at Ala Moana Park. The Heian aristocracy expressed their awe of nature through poetry in a gala called Kyokusui-no-en. Members donned ancient costumes and recited poems, re-enacting the elegant traditions of the Heian period.
Rev. Seiji Takai, the Fifth Guji served as Chief Priest form 1971 to 1983, Although never formally ordained as a Shinto priest, he received training at Ishizuchi Jinja in McCully and won the approval of the officers upon the retirement of Rev. Sakai.
In May 1983, a dispute occurred between Rev. Takai and the shrine, dividing the membership into two factions. The legal battle ended with the dismissal of Rev. Takai in 1984, casting a dark shadow on the shrine as supporters of Rev. Takai resigned from the kyodan, unable to reconcile their differences with the opposing faction. An uncertain future awaited the Board of Directors as they embarked on a search for a new priest.
In September 1984, Rev. Shigeo Fujino of Ishizuchi Jinja was installed as the 6th Guji of Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha. Members of Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha and Hawaii Ishizuchi Jinja agreed to cooperate as sister shrines under the leadership of Rev. Fujino. Rev. Shigeo Fujino was born on May 2, 1918 in Honolulu, He moved to Japan upon his father's death and returned to Hawaii in 1935 with his uncle, Rev. Kameo Tahara to serve as a priest at Hawaii Daijingu in Kauai. In 1941, Rev. Fujino was interned at Sand Island and transferred to the Tule Lake Internment Camp with Rev. Kameo Tahara until their deportation in 1945. Upon his return to Hawaii in 1961, Rev. Fujino continued to help part-time at Hawaii Daijingu and Hawaii Ishizuchi Jinja until the death of Rev. Tomijiro Kimura of Hawaii Ishizuchi Jinja in 1980.
At the General Membership Meeting of January 1985, Fujin-kai members were allowed, for the first time in the history of the shrine, to vote in shrine matters. The monthly Tsukinami-sai services were also changed to the third Sunday of each month to accommodate Rev. Fujino's demanding schedule.
On June 18, an Installation celebration officiated by Rev. Nobuyoshi Nishitakatsuji of Dazaifu Tenmangu was performed, marking the official start of Rev. Fujino as Guji. Rev. Yasutsugu Kotooka, then Gon-Negi of Kotohira-gu was in Hawaii during the same period to attend the 100th Aniversary of the Kanyaku Imin. It was decided at a meeting with the two priests from Japan that financial assistance would be extended to the shrine in an attempt to preserve and perpetuate the Shinto traditions in Hawaii.
On November 22, a Jichin-sai or ground breaking ceremony was held, followed by a Joto-sai ceremony on Febraury 2. On November 1, the Senza-sai ceremony was performed with the participation of Chief Priest Mitsushige Kotooka and Chief Priest Nobuyoshi Nishitakatsuji, assisted by 14 priests from Japan. Due to failing health, Rev. Shigeo Fujino submitted his resignation to the shrine Board of Directors on November 1, 1983. On January 13, 1984, Rev. Fujino collapsed while teaching Kyudo at Soto Mission and was rushed to Kuakini Hospital where he passed away at the age of 66.
The shrine was once again without a Guji, Officers approached the two shrines in Japan for their assistance in the search for a new priest. While Japan contemplated the shrine's request, Mrs. Hatsuko Tsuruta assisted in priestly duties from November 1, 1984 to July 31, 1985.
Dazaifu Tenmangu agreed to send priests to Hawaii on a short term basis. Rev. Hatsuki Hiraki of Dazaifu Tenmangu was installed as the 7th Guji on December 17, 1988. On April 26, 1990, Rev. Kiyohiko Mohri became the 8th Guji followed by Rev. Satoshi Goto, 9th Guji on September 27, 1990. Rev. Takemoto Moriyama, the 10th Guji arrived on March 20, 1991 and Rev. Yoshiyuki Ando of Kotohira-gu arrived to serve as the 11th Guji on July 26, 1991. Rev. Masa Takizawa of Nagoya, Japan was installed as the 12th Guji in June 1994 and continues to perpetuate the Shinto traditions of the shrine.
Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha - Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu was established by devout members to transmit the spiritual and cultural needs of the community and continues to exist due to the support of Kotohira-gu and Dazaifu Tenmangu, Japan and the vision and leadership of its priests, officers and members throughout its colorful history.
Gosaijin - Kami worshiped at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha - Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu
Ohmono nushi no kami
Takenouchi sukune no mikoto
Haniyasuhime no mikoto
Kotoshironushi no mikoto
Susamo-o no mikoto
Itsuhashira no hikogami
O-oyamatsumi no kami
Kanayamahiko no mikoto
Watatsumi no kami
Takitsuhime no mikoto
Ukatano mitama no ookami
Kotoshironushi no mikoto
O-oyamatsumi no kami
Kotohira no O-okami
Sumiyoshi no O-okami
Ameno Torifune no O-okami
Minakanushi no kami
Takakura Taira no Chugu
Ni-I no ama
Ukatano mitama no O-okami
Satahiko no O-okami
O-omiyanome no O-okami
Tanaka no O-okami
O-owatatsumi no kami
ハワイ金刀比羅神社・ハワイ太宰府天満宮 Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha - Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu