top of page

Butsu Butsu: In Gratitude to Japanese Banks for Helping BCA

The end of a very long and important tradition within the BCA will come to an end with the recently announced sale of MUFG Union Bank.

You may ask, “What does Union Bank (which was originally the Bank of Tokyo of California) have to do with our BCA Sangha?” Since the early years of Issei immigration and the long history of discrimination against Japanese Americans, Japanese banks in California such as Union Bank, Sumitomo, Sanwa, Mitsui, Mitsubishi, etc. have faithfully served the BCA Sangha and the Japanese American community. But soon, Union Bank, the last surviving Japanese bank, will be no more.

I wonder how many BCA members, myself included, were once employed at one of the many Japanese bank branches up and down the West Coast?

These Japanese banks played an important role in assisting our BCA temples throughout the years. Many of our BCA temple facilities were built with loans jointly provided by these Japanese banks and their branch managers were always invited to major events at local temples as honored guests. Many BCA members served on the advisory boards for these banks as well.

Every summer, the banks provided “chochin” paper lanterns, “uchiwa” fans, “tenugui” towels, “maku” cloths and countless donations for our Obon festivals.

They supported temple new year and year-end parties, “kenjinkai” picnics, cultural events, community projects and activities. Who doesn’t remember the beautiful program covers, wall calendars, the printing of countless raffle tickets, matchbooks, key fobs, pens, golf balls and the large clocks with the bank logos that temples always placed in our social halls?

The original founder of the bank where I was employed was ordained as a Buddhist priest at the age of 12 before embarking on his first business venture in 16th century Japan. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising, even 300 years later, that each time a new bank president arrived from Japan to begin his assignment at the bank where I worked, one of his first tasks was to pay his respects and offer incense (“omairi”) at the Buddhist Church of San Francisco. And every time a new branch was opened by my bank, the local BCA minister would be called upon to conduct Buddhist groundbreaking and dedication ceremonies for the new branch office.

Let us extend our heartfelt thanks and gratitude on the long and storied history of these Japanese banks in California and their immense support of the Nembutsu teaching and the Buddha-Dharma in America for more than 100 years. Gassho.


1 Comment

Mikle Jackson
Mikle Jackson
Jul 29, 2022

Hello. I want to advise you a very good website where you will find offshore banks for sale. There you can buy a really good business that is already well established.

bottom of page