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FBWA’s Video Debuts With BCA Performers at WBWC in Kyoto

In 2021, there was much uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, BCA Buddhist Women’s Association chapters were thinking ahead to the next World Buddhist Women’s Conference (WBWC) in 2023 in Japan after successfully hosting the event in San Francisco in 2019.


As part of the program, each world district or Kyodan prepares a presentation for the entertainment portion of the banquet.


In October 2021, the BCA FBWA passed a resolution submitted by the Northwest District to grant the BCA Music Committee a sponsorship donation for a new composition and gatha video production to present at the WBW conference.


The proposal also included sponsorship funding for gatha video productions of the BWA gatha “Asoka no Sono” and “Asoka Garden,” the English translation by the Hawaii Music Committee.


The recordings and videos produced by the Cherry Blossomz singers Lisa Horikawa Orpilla, Miko Shudo, Emily Yoshihara Imazumi were prepared in time to share at the BCA FBWA conference in October 2022, and are posted on the BCA Music YouTube channel.


A third recording in English only of “Asoka Garden” was completed in January 2023 by Naho Umitani and also added for public access.


The FBWA Music Project Task Group is now thrilled to share on the BCA Music YouTube channel the gatha video “With Gassho from the Heart,” which was presented in Kyoto on May 11.


In addition, the full FBWA Music Project repository on the BCA FBWA webpage is now accessible to everyone, worldwide. (https://www.buddhistchurchesofamerica.org/fbwa)

The repository contains a detailed description of the FBWA Music Project along with the teaching video prepared to present “With Gassho from the Heart” for our BCA FBWA members to learn. Sign language instruction provided by Lois Saito from Idaho-Oregon Buddhist Temple is included.


Imagine if you could have joined the 273 registrants from BCA at the WBWC in Kyoto. BCA FBWA President Janice Doi (San Jose Betsuin) introduced the presentation as the performers representing all eight BCA districts took the stage.


The video, which was produced by Marissa M. Wong from Seattle, was shown that included photographs collected from BCA BWA chapters across the country and the entire song lyrics in Japanese and Portuguese for members of the host Kyodan and the visiting South America Kyodan in attendance along with registrants from Hawaii and Canada.


With gratitude to composer Donna Sasaki (Tacoma Buddhist Temple) and lead lyricist (Rene Maruyama) with inspiration from the poem by Lady Takeko Kujo, “Gassho from the Heart,” the group effort was accomplished.


We thank Rev. Dr. Mutsumi Wondra (Orange County Buddhist Church) and Rev. Cyndi Yasaki (White River Buddhist Temple) for ministerial guidance and Japanese translation.

Vocalists on the audio recording are Alice Fukushima (Palo Alto Buddhist Temple), Karen Mukai (Fowler Buddhist Temple), Elaine Jones (San Jose Betsuin), and Naomi Takemura (Seattle Betsuin), with flutist Annette Inouye (Vista Buddhist Temple), and pianist Donna Sasaki.


Stage performers at the World Buddhist Women’s conference gatha video presentation are as follows:


Kay Freeman (Buddhist Church of Stockton)

Elaine Jones (San Jose Betsuin)

Gertrude Kihara (New York Buddhist Church)

Christine Kubo (Cortez Howakai)

Andrea Mano (Seattle Betsuin), sign language

Elaine Marume (Vista Buddhist Temple)

Pam Matsuoka (Berkeley Buddhist Temple, BCA staff)

Reiko Mitsunaga (Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple), sign language

Kemi Nakabayashi (Seattle Betsuin)

Terri Omori (Vista Buddhist Temple)

Peggy Okabayashi (Buddhist Church of Florin)

Amy Peterson (Oregon Buddhist Temple)

Janet Sakahara (Orange County Buddhist Church)

Ann Shintani (Oregon Buddhist Temple)

Karen Suyama (Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church)

Hisako Tao (San Jose Betsuin)

Janet Umezu (Buddhist Church of Oakland)

Toshiko Uyehara (Mountain View Buddhist Temple)

Rev. Dr. Mutsumi Wondra (Orange County Buddhist Church)

Marissa M. Wong (Seattle Betsuin), sign language

Janette Wong-Sing (Buddhist Church of Parlier)


With Gassho from the Heart, Namo Amida Butsu.


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