by Seigen Yamaoka
Tuesday, August 18, 2009, 7:36 am
At the August 7 meeting, the Institute of Buddhist Studies’ Board of Trustees approved changing the Hongwanji Professorial Chair to the H.E. Kosho Ohtani Monshu Emeritus Professorial Chair for Shin Buddhist Studies.
The Hongwanji Chair was established in 1985 for the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) with a gift from the H.E. Koshin Ohtani, head of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, Japan.
The IBS, wishing to honor the Ohtani family for their support, petitioned the Hongwanji to change the generic name of the chair to the Koshin Ohtani Chair. This was granted on July 9, 2009.
The IBS wished to honor the late Kosho Ohtani for his support of the school.
Though he was retired, the Monshu Emeritus, help the IBS to establish the GTU/IBS Foundation Japan Committee in 1986. This committee was established to meet with the regulations of the Japan Foundation. This committee was necessary to receive designated gifts from Japan. The committee members assembled for IBS were: Masakazu Ito, Counselor for C. Itoh Trading Company; Honorable Zentaro Kosaka, member of the Diet and former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Yoshishige Ashihara, Honorary Chairman of the Board of Kansai Electric Power Company; Jusha Tsumura, Chairman of the Board of Tsumura Juntendo a pharmaceutical company; and Hajime Hayashi, Senior Managing Director of Matsushita Electric Trading Company. Mr. Echigo was named the chair of the committee. The committee was dissolved in 1990.
n 1981, the Monshu Emeritus conducted the Tokudo (first ordination ceremony) for five IBS students at the San Francisco Buddhist Temple. This was the first ordination ceremony conducted outside of Japan by a member of the Ohtani family.
“Because of the strong support received by the Monshu Emeritus, the IBS would like to perpetuate his generous support by establishing a professorial program which will enhance the IBS as an academic institution with a strong focus on Shin Buddhist Studies,” said Dr. Richard Payne, IBS Dean.