Founded in February 1903 by the Reverend Ryoun Kan, Zenshuji is one of the first Soto Zen Temples in Hawaii. It started off as a one room building received from the plantation company in Wahiawa, Kauai. The Soto Mission Japanese School was also founded and it was later renamed Jutoku Japanese School.
In 1911, a new building for the school and minister’s residence was constructed.
In 1921, the Jutoku Japanese School had to be closed with the passing of the Territorial bill to control Japanese language schools. The school building was demolished and a hall was built. It later became the Zenshuji Hall.
In 1974, the 75 years of history of the McBryde Sugar Plantation came to a close and a new temple had to be built. In 1977, with the leadership of Rev. Kogaku Miyoshi, a new temple was built in Hanapepe.
Zenshuji overcame many hardships throughout its history such as the internment of their minister during the Second World War, damages from hurricanes that hit Kauai, and the fact that many of the younger members had to leave the island to find better work opportunities.
The members of the temple continue to keep Zenshuji active and hold bi-monthly services and a grand Bon Festival in the summer.
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