The Queen’s May 1901 Visit to Hongwanji Temple is Remembered and Celebrated

Kristen Nemoto Jay
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

This past Nov. 11 marked 100 years since the passing of Hawai‘i’s last reigning monarch, the beloved Queen Lili‘uokalani. The anniversary of her passing and the legacy she left in stories, her music, and in her acts of generosity and acceptance were commemorated on Oct. 29 at the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin Buddhist temple, where hundreds with mostly Japanese faces and surnames turned out to honor the queen.

Many were hearing for the first time the details of her majesty’s visit to Honpa Hongwanji’s early temple on Fort Lane on May 19, 1901, to attend a birthday service for Shinran Shonin, the founder of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Her majesty had been invited by Mary Foster, a Buddhist with ties to Foster Botanical Gardens. The queen’s attendance highlighted her acceptance and understanding of the Buddhist community, quickly blurring the lines of racial and religious segregation in Hawai‘i.

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