Chapter 98

As Bishop Imamura drove the Takayama family up Bishop Street toward the Fort Street Hongwanji, they did not notice a thin, bat-eared man strutting up a set of fire stairs on the side of the two-story granite Bishop National Bank building. The Rev. Takie Okumura was the formidable 56-year-old descendant of a long line of samurai warriors who had converted to Christianity during his activist days in Tökyö in the 1880s. Hitting each steel step with purpose, Okumura wasn’t looking at the passing cars and missed his chance to see his new adversaries.

Okumura’s baptism had led him to the ministry. Imbued with the zeal of a convert, he chose Hawai‘i for his missionary work and arrived in Honolulu in 1894 to eradicate Buddhism in Hawai‘i with the same zeal as the Boston missionaries who were determined to stamp out Hawaiian paganism a century earlier.

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