Mission Ministers

Reverend Hogen Yujiri (1908-1917)Originally from Yamaguchi-ken, Japan, he served as a volunteer missionary to establish places of worship, first at Aiea, Oahu, then at Lahaina and Kula, Maui, and then at Waiakea, Hawaii.

On April 20 1908, he established the first Hooganji temple on Kainele Stree.  It is believed that this first temple was named in his honor (Hogen), but through the years Hoogenji became Hooganji.  Her returned to Japan in 1917 and passed away on March 20,1966.

Reverend Ko-o Komeyama (1917-1920) From Hiroshima-ken, Japan, he arrived in Hilo to replace Reverend Yugiri.  Rev. Komeyama was transferred to Honolulu, to head the Shingonshu Betsuin in 1920.  He later returned to Japan and became the head minister at Koyasan (Shingon Headquarters).  He passed away on February 3, 1976.

Reverend Koten Suetomi (1920 - 1937)                            Arrived in May 1920, from Yanai-shi, Yamaguchi-ken, Japan. During Reverend Suetomi's term of ministry, all former debts of Hooganji were cleared and the parsonage in the rear of the temple was constructed. He greatly expanded his missionary work here, so much credit goes to him for the growth in membership and activities of Hooganji. He left for Honolulu Betsuin and subsequently returned to Japan at the outbreak for World War II.

Reverend Shimyo Abeshima (1937 - 1939)

Originally from Nara, Japan, he arrived in Hilo after serving as minister on the island of Kauai.  Reverend Abeshima passed away on March 15, 1939 due to illness.  His term of service was less than two years.

Reverend Myoshu Sasai (1939-1986)

From Hyogo-ken, Japan, Reverend Sasai served briefly at Kaiwiki, Hilo before arriving at Hilo Hooganji on May 12, 1939.  He and his family spent four years at an internment camp on the mainland during World War II.  During Reverend Sasai's term of ministry the existing temple on Manono Street was built through the contributions of the members and friends of Hilo Hooganji Mission.

Bishop Sohko Kuki (1986-present)

Born in Tottori-ken, Japan, Reverend Kuki came to Hawaii in 1978.  He was the resident minister of Kona Koyasan Daishiji in Holualoa and Kohala Koboji in Kapaau from May 1978 to May 1986.  During his tenure, Reverend Kuki oversaw the construction of a new columbarium, kitchen and pavilion and refurbishment of the altar and temple.  As the current minister, Reverend Kuki has kept the dreams and aspirations of previous ministers alive while keeping the Shingon-shu and integral part of our community.  He continues to serve the community by utilizing a light-hearted approach to his teachings and sharing the way of Shingon-shu.  Reverend Kuki was honored with the title of Bishop of the Koyasan Shingon Mission of Hawaii on July 4, 2012.