Reverend Kakei Nakagawa, Rinban
The head minister of the Betsuin (the direct branch of mother temple) who is representing the lord Bishop Ohtani Koshin of Nishi-Honganji in Kyoto Japan.
Nakagawa Sensei was born in July of 1953 at the Zenshō-ji Buddhist Temple in Tera-machi (temple town), the city of Hiroshima, one of the twelve founding temples in Hiroshima prefecture, Japan where the Jōdo Shinshū (Mainstream Mahāyāna Buddhism) tradition continues to thrive.
He graduated from Ryūkoku University with a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Buddhist History, and received a Master of Arts in Indian Madhyamaka Buddhism from Ryūkoku Graduate School. He participate various archaeological surveys in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and former Soviet Union. He has an expertise in Mahāyāna Buddhism of Ancient India and Medieval China.
Aside from his diverse scholastic career, he spent most of his life as a priest at his family temple among the famous Aqui Monto, the devout Jōdo Shinshū followers who live in the Aqui (original name of Hiroshima prefecture) district. Sensei always says that he is lucky to succeed in such a unique Jōdo Shinshū tradition. Sensei is now earnestly trying to transplant the true and real Jōdo Shinshū Dharma to American soil.
Nakagawa Sensei was first assigned to the Fresno Buddhist Church from 1992 to 1994, and later as resident minister of the Oxnard Buddhist Temple and supervising minister of the Buddhist Church of Santa Barbara from 1994 to 2001, as resident minister of the White River Buddhist Temple from 2001 to 2012. Since March of 2012, he has been the Rinban of the Honpa-Honganji Betsuin, Fresno Buddhist Temple.
Rev. Kaz Nakata, PhD Candidate, M.A., M.B.A., has been a Kaikyoshi minister at Central California Nishi Hongwanji and provide his ministry at Fresno Buddhist Temple, Visalia Buddhist Temple, Hanford Buddhist Church, Buddhist Church of Fowler, Reedley Buddhist Church, Buddhist Church of Parlier, and Kingsburg Buddhist Church since August 2019. He joined Myoganji Temple in Hyogo Japan for his ministerial training in 2000. He received both Tokudo Ordination and Kyoshi Certification in 2001, and completed Kaikyoshi Overseas Minister Training Program at Kyoto Hongwanji International Department in August of 2001. Late 1990s, he studied Jodo Shinshu Buddhism mainly under Dr. Risho Ohta Kangaku, Dr. Ryusei Takeda and Prof. Naoki Nabeshima at Ryukoku University in Kyoto Japan.
In the U.S., he attended Sacramento City College for his English proficiency training under Prof. Barbara Toupadakis, and he completed a Chaplain training (Pastoral Counseling and Intervention) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He also received a Chaplaincy training by FEMA, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and Joint Force Headquarters. In June of 2014, he acquired his M.B.A. under Prof. Melinda L. Swigart, focused on Management Strategies for a Religious Institution at Strayer University, Graduate School of Business with 4.0 GPA. In May of 2016, he completed the Master of Arts in Religious Studies, Concentration in Buddhist Studies at University of the West under Prof. Miroj Shakya, and received M.A. He developed the language skill of Sanskrit, and researched Sukhavativyuha (Sanskrit Pureland Sutra). In June of 2016, he was admitted to the doctorate program in Buddhist Studies as a PhD student at the University of the West under Prof. Darui Long, and he continues his research on the Pure Land Sutras in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Uygur. His additional research topics are Tanakh, The Holy Bible, Quran, Phenomenology, Pragmatism, and Analytical Philosophy. In 2019, he completed the PhD coursework and passed the PhD Qualifying Examination to become a PhD candidate and to write his dissertation.
In 2021, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer appointed Rev. Kaz to his Interfaith Friendship Cabinet. As the cabinet member, Rev. Kaz meets Mayor periodically at the City Hall.
Previously he served Buddhist Church of Sacramento, Ekoji Buddhist Temple, and Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple as BCA Kaikyoshi Minister and also he was endorsed by BCA to work as a Campus Chaplain at George Mason University, a Community Chaplain at Fairfax County Department of Emergency Management, and an interim hospital chaplain at Inova Hospital. In 2009, at the request of Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Rev. Kaz spoke at the Interfaith Hearing About Universal Healthcare at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington D.C. providing the Buddhist viewpoint on behalf of the Buddhist community. In June of 2014, he was invited as a special panelist to the Thai Buddhist Monk conference with his royal highness, King Bhumibol of Thailand. As his honor, he was nominated for a first Buddhist Chaplain at National Institute of Health in 2012.