May 27, 1933 – February 15, 2022

Bishop Satoru Ryosho Kawai passed away peacefully on February 15, 2022, at the age of 88 in Torrance, Calif. He was born on May 27, 1933, in Osaka-Fu, Ibaraki-shi, Ai, Japan to Takatsu and Kiku Kawai. After attending Ryukoku University, he went to the United States in August of 1952 to serve as a priest for the Hawaii Jodo Mission in Honolulu and to continue his education. He attended the University of Hawaii from 1954 to 1956; transferred in 1956 to attend both Kent State University in Ohio and Ohio State University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1961 and Master of Arts in 1965.

He married Tomiko Kamisato of Hilo, Hawaii at the Jodo Shu Betsuin in Los Angeles, by the late Bishop Reikai Nozaki on August 3, 1957. From 1966 to 1979 he served at the Hawaii Jodo Mission as the Office Manager. In October of 1972, he accompanied a delegation led by the late Archbishop Kishi of Jodoshu Japan as a translator to Los Angeles, where he met with the late Mayor Sam Yorty. He was appointed as Bishop of the North America Buddhist Missions in 1979 and tasked with the job of moving the temple from the Jefferson Boulevard location back to Little Tokyo. In 1988, a groundbreaking ceremony attended by the late Councilman Gilbert Lindsey and the late Mayor Tom Bradley was held off Third Street, which would serve as the future site for Jodo Shu Betsuin, the headquarters for Jodoshu North America Buddhist Missions, and the Bukkyo University, Los Angeles extension. The dedication ceremony was held four years later on June 28, 1992.

He dedicated his life to spreading the teachings of the Buddha and building bridges of understanding within the community, educational institutions, and religious organizations. He served as the treasurer for the Los Angeles Buddhist Church Federation and as its representative to the Board of the Little Tokyo Towers. He was a member and served as the treasurer for the Ryukoku University Alumni Association. After an accomplished and rich career in the Buddhist ministry, Bishop Satoru Ryosho Kawai retired on July 31, 2001.

Due to COVID-19, a private service was held at Fukui Mortuary, “Chapel in the Garden” on March 4, 2022. Reverend Masaru Kent Kawai of Jodo-in was the officiant. He is survived by his son, Masaru Kent, and many family members on the U.S. mainland, in Hawaii, and Japan.

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