Julius A. Goldwater’s career as a Buddhist priest at the Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Temple, 1934–1945, serves as a vehicle for identifying pre-war orthodoxy and tolerance for universalism and measures the LAHH’s shift to ethnic orthodoxy after the Nikkei return from wartime incarceration. The article traces Goldwater’s path to conversion, his service as a priest at LAHH, his wartime stewardship of the temple, and the temple’s lawsuit against him in the resettlement period. The trial also brought out issues of temple leadership, race, doctrinal differences, and finances.
A Jewish Buddhist Priest: The Curious Case of Julius A. Goldwater and the Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in 1930s–1940s Los Angeles
Michihiro Ama is the Karashima Tsukasa Associate Professor of Japanese Language and Culture at the University of Montana, Missoula. He was born and raised in Japan, received his PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures from the University of California-Irvine, and taught as Assistant/Associate Professor of Japanese at the University of Alaska-Anchorage before he joined the University of Montana. His research interests include the trans-Pacific development of Japanese Buddhism, Buddhism in modern Japanese literature and film, and Buddhism and Japanese language. He is the author of Immigrants to the Pure Land: The Modernization, Acculturation, and Globalization of Shin Buddhism, 1898–1941 (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2011) and several subsequent articles regarding the Nikkei Buddhist experience.
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Michihiro Ama; A Jewish Buddhist Priest: The Curious Case of Julius A. Goldwater and the Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in 1930s–1940s Los Angeles. Southern California Quarterly 1 August 2018; 100 (3): 297–323. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/scq.2018.100.3.297
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