Religion and churches

Religion and churches played an important role in the formation and development of West Coast Japanese American communities. While Buddhism is frequently seen as most prominent, Christianity was also influential. Initially focused on helping new male immigrants adjust to life in the United States, churches soon began catering to increasing numbers of families. By the mid-1930s, Japanese Americans' religious affiliations were split fairly evenly between Christianity and Buddhism.

Religion and churches (243)


Use <Ctrl> or (⌘) keys to select multiple terms

243 items
Joseph Norio Uemura Interview Segment 13 (ddr-densho-1014-3-13)
vh Joseph Norio Uemura Interview Segment 13 (ddr-densho-1014-3-13)
Father's reaching out to an African American church group; witnessing their services
Joseph Norio Uemura Interview Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1014-3-6)
vh Joseph Norio Uemura Interview Segment 6 (ddr-densho-1014-3-6)
Father's work as a pastor in Spokane, Washington, and Portland, Oregon
Gordon Hirabayashi Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1012-2-2)
vh Gordon Hirabayashi Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1012-2-2)
Parents' religious background: the "non-church" movement (audio only)

This interview is audio-only. It contains raw footage used by Steven Okazaki in his 1985 film Unfinished Business.

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this …

Mara Mihara Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-194-2)
vh Mara Mihara Interview Segment 2 (ddr-densho-1000-194-2)
Influence of Christianity on Spokane's Japanese immigrants

This interview was conducted as part of a project to capture stories of the Japanese American community of Spokane, Washington. Densho worked in collaboration with the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.

Ryo Imamura Segment 19 (ddr-densho-1000-27-19)
vh Ryo Imamura Segment 19 (ddr-densho-1000-27-19)
Buddhist philosophy of non-attachment to "forms": Buddhist 442nd soldiers' acceptance of a Christian chaplain
Ryo Imamura Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1000-27-8)
vh Ryo Imamura Segment 8 (ddr-densho-1000-27-8)
Similarities and differences between Jodo Shinshu Buddhism and Judeo-Christianity
Ryo Imamura Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1000-27-10)
vh Ryo Imamura Segment 10 (ddr-densho-1000-27-10)
Similarities and differences between Jodo Shinshu Buddhism and Judeo-Christianity; Japanese American Buddhists' values: understated, anonymous service
Ryo Imamura Segment 31 (ddr-densho-1000-27-31)
vh Ryo Imamura Segment 31 (ddr-densho-1000-27-31)
Present day relations between Japanese American Christian community and Japanese American Buddhist community
Ryo Imamura Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-27-15)
vh Ryo Imamura Segment 15 (ddr-densho-1000-27-15)
Reflecting on the need for a broader, more inclusive vision of Buddhism, father's influence
Ryo Imamura Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1000-27-4)
vh Ryo Imamura Segment 4 (ddr-densho-1000-27-4)
Contrasting role of prewar Buddhist churches with those of today
Ryo Imamura Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-27-14)
vh Ryo Imamura Segment 14 (ddr-densho-1000-27-14)
Discussion of increasing Caucasian membership in Buddhist churches
Ryo Imamura Segment 3 (ddr-densho-1000-27-3)
vh Ryo Imamura Segment 3 (ddr-densho-1000-27-3)
Issei values, community service and compassion: grandparents' ministry, caring for the children of Issei farm laborers
Ryo Imamura Segment 28 (ddr-densho-1000-27-28)
vh Ryo Imamura Segment 28 (ddr-densho-1000-27-28)
How Buddhist beliefs impact individual viewpoint and perception of the incarceration experience
Ryo Imamura Segment 12 (ddr-densho-1000-27-12)
vh Ryo Imamura Segment 12 (ddr-densho-1000-27-12)
Evolution and adaptation within the Japanese American Buddhist Church: the challenge of introducing new ideas and practices into existing traditions and rituals
Ryo Imamura Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1000-27-9)
vh Ryo Imamura Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1000-27-9)
Some of the unique characteristics of Japanese American Buddhist churches
Ryo Imamura Segment 30 (ddr-densho-1000-27-30)
vh Ryo Imamura Segment 30 (ddr-densho-1000-27-30)
Discussion of prewar discrimination against Buddhists and social pressures to convert to Christianity