The first Buddhist missionary, The Reverend Hojun Kunisaki arrived on Maui in 1898 and made his residence at Kula. Because of many inconveniences, he moved to Wailuku but continued to serve the Kula, Wailuku, and East Maui area. After his death, he was followed by Reverend Funakura.

In 1903 a church was opened at Hamakuapoko.

In 1907, Reverend Ryukie Uehara came to Maui from Japan and the Paia Hongwanji Mission was officially opened in Lower Paia. The construction of a new church began in November 1908 and was completed in February 1909. An altar arrived from Japan in July 1911 and a dedication ceremony took place.
A growing population led to the decision to construct a new church in Upper Paia. Construction began in April 1917 and was completed in October 1917. A larger altar was dedicated in April 1934 and in 1936 a nokostudo was constructed and the minister’s residence enlarged.

Upon the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Makawao Hongwanji Mission in 2007,  Reverend Chikai Yosemori wrote a detailed report of the closing of the Paia Hongwanji Mission and the move to Makawao where after four grueling years, a groundbreaking ceremony took place on October 20, 1968. The dedication of the new church took place on September 11 and 12, 1971.

Makawao Hongwanji Mission’s (MHM) existence was the result of the closing of the plantation camp era. Several other Shin Buddhist temples besides those in the Paia area closed and were placed under the jurisdiction of MHM.

Pauwela Hongwanji Mission
Pauwela Hongwanji Mission began with the arrival of Rev. Shoi Yamada in April 1914 and the construction of a church in December of the same year. In 1954 the Pauwela membership purchased the property from the East Maui Irrigation Company. The merging of Pauwela with Makawao Hongwanji was officially completed on January 1, 1974. 

Hana Hongwanji Mission
Rev. Ryogen Teramasa arrived in Hana in 1907 and a church was built in 1910. The dedication ceremony occurred on February 11, 1911. Rev. Matsui was sent to an internment camp and after his return there were only about a dozen members left. After his departure, Hana Hongwanji became part of Makawao Hongwanji. The land on which the church still stands belongs to Hana Ranch. 

Kula Hongwanji 
During Rev. Shoten Matsubayashi’s long tenure (September 1939 to August 1964) as the Paia Hongwanji minister, Kula Hongwanji members attended services at Paia. Rev. Matsubayashi and his wife provided activities at the Kula church on Saturdays. 


2012 Makawao Hongwanji celebrated the 105th Anniversary
Our 105th anniversary project included the renovation and expansion of our temple office, new driveway for our adjacent lot, and a new chainlink fence across the lot.


Rev. Ryukei Uehara                           July, 1907 (H’poko) to January, 1914 (Paia) 
Rev. Tassho Shima                            February, 1914 to December, 1914 
Rev. Gengi Tatsutani                         November, 1914 to October, 1924 
Rev. Ryugen Matsuda                       June, 1925 to July, 1927 
Rev. Tetsuei Kiyohara                       September, 1927 to August, 1931 
Rev. Zenko Saigusa                           August, 1931 to March, 1934 (1936) 
Rev. Unji Hirayama                             May, 1936 to August, 1939 
Rev. Shoten Matsubayashi               September, 1939 to August, 1964 
Rev. Chikai Yosemori                        October, 1964 to August, 1981 
Rev. Kosho Soga                              September, 1981 to March, 1989 
Rev. Munemi Terushima                   June, 1989 to October, 1992 
Rev. Akinori Morii                              November, 1992 to June, 1996 
Rev. Thom T. Nakanishi                   June, 1996 to January, 2000 
Rev. Shigeaki Fujitani                       February, 2000 to August, 2000 
Rev. Ronald Kobata                         July, 2001 to January, 2005 
Rev. Toshiyuki Umitani                    March, 2005 to June, 2011
Rev. Sol Kalu                                     July, 2012 to June, 2015
Rev. Will Masuda                               February, 2016 to February, 2018
Rev.  Kerry Kiyohara                         June, 2018   to


                    KYODAN PRESIDENTS 

    Kiichi Shoda 
    Toshio Ihara 
    Risuke Takasugi 
    Niehi Ueki 
    Hiroshi Matsumoto 
    Yasunari Hamai 
    Hisayoshi Takahashi 

             MAKAWAO HONGWANJI: 
Hisayoshi Takahashi    1971 - 1973 
Waichi Kunimitsu    1974 -1975 
Lester M. Hamai    1975 - 1986 
Masaaki Doi    1986 - 1987
Florence Sakae    1987 - 1988 
Yoshio Kijima    1989 - 1993 
Clifford Tokumaru    1994 - 1995
Yoshio Kijima    1995 - 1996
Glenn Hamai    1996 - 1998 
Michael Nakagawa    1999 - 2000 
Clifford Tokumaru    2001-2002 
Floyd Nagoshi    2003-2005 
Glenn Hamai    2006 - 2007
Michael Nakagawa    2008 - 2015
Floyd Nagoshi    2016 - 2020
Clyde Hamai   2021 - 



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