Party to honor longtime Hongwanji bishop
Bishop Thomas R. Okano, who retired Monday after 43 years of service at the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, will be honored at an aloha party today at the Dole Cannery Ballrooms.
The Rev. Eric Tatsuo Matsumoto of Kona has been selected for a four-year term as the new bishop, according to the Hawaii Kyodan or hongwanji headquarters.
During Okano’s past four years of administration, Honpa Hongwanji (which is based on Pure Land Shin Buddhism) took on a more visible role in the community.
Through the temple’s Hawaii Federation of Junior Young Buddhist Association, the state Legislature in 2008 designated Sept. 21 as Peace Day to promote peace programs and improve international relations, Alton Miyamoto, Hawaii Kyodan president, said in a statement.
"In February 2010, the HHMH Legislative Assembly passed a resolution affirming our belief that same-gender couples should have access to equal rights and quality of life as conferred by legally recognized marriage. The resolution is a means to help promote a more peaceful and humane world," Miyamoto said.
Matsumoto, incoming bishop of Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, said, "We must make ‘Hongwanji’ a household word! … Our temples should be a community gathering place offering programs that will help people in the community."
Matsumoto’s official investiture will take place at 4 p.m. April 22 at the mission at 1727 Pali Highway. A banquet will follow at 5:30 p.m. at the Waikiki Sheraton. Call 522-9200 to register to attend.
Beginning in 1967, Okano has served as resident minister at Moiliili Hongwanji Mission, Lihue Hongwanji Mission on Kauai and Wahiawa Hongwanji Mission. He was head minister of Hilo Hongwanji Betsuin on Hawaii island from 1990 to 2000. He was director of the Buddhist Study Center in Honolulu from 2000 to 2007.