Bishop Noriaki Ito
Bishop Noriaki Ito was born as the first son of Rev. Horyu and Kazuko Ito in Kumamoto, Japan in September, 1948. He came to the United States with his family in April, 1955, settling in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles where his father was serving as Rinban (head minister) of the Los Angeles Higashi Honganji Betsuin (regional headquarters temple).
He received his elementary and secondary education in East Los Angeles, graduating from Roosevelt High School in January, 1967. In September of that year, he enrolled at Occidental College in Los Angeles. In June, 1971, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies with a minor in Asian Studies. Following his graduation, he moved to Kyoto, Japan in September, 1971 to enroll at Otani University. In December of that year, he received initial ordination at the Higashi Honganji headquarters. In March of 1975, he completed his studies, receiving a Master of Arts degree in Shin Buddhism.
Concurrently, he completed all of the requirements for full ordination, being given the title of Kyoshi (teaching priest). Leaving Kyoto, Noriaki departed on a three-month tour of India and other parts of Asia, the Middle East and Europe. With his orders from headquarters to serve as an overseas minister (Kaikyoshi), he began his duties as a full-time minister at the Higashi Honganji Los Angeles Buddhist Temple in September, 1975. In November, 1979, he took a leave of absence from the temple to undertake further language study in Tokyo, Japan.
He returned to Los Angeles in November, 1982 to resume his position as minister at the temple. In June, 1988, he was transferred to the West Covina Higashi Honganji to serve as resident minister. In November, 1993, in conjunction with the 90th Anniversary of the Higashi Honganji North America District, he returned to the Los Angeles Betsuin to assume the position of Rinban (head minister of a regional headquarters temple). On December 3, 2006, Rinban Ito was honored for 30 years of continuous service as a Higashi Honganji minister. In January, 2011, Rinban Ito was appointed Bishop of the Higashi Honganji North America District and will concurrently serve as Rinban of the Los Angeles Headquarters Temple.
In addition to his temple responsibilities, he is active in the following community organizations:
Los Angeles Buddhist Church Federation
Nikkei Interfaith Fellowship
Buddhist/Catholic Dialogue of Southern California
LAPD Clergy Forum
Japanese American Cultural and Community Center Board of Directors
Little Tokyo Towers Board of Directors
the Koreisha Chushoku-kai (Nutrition Program for the Elderly) Advisory Council
and as the current chair of the Little Tokyo Community Council
He also serves as the Buddhist advisor at Occidental College. Rev. Ito currently resides in La Crescenta, California. He is married and has three children.
Reverend Kensho Goto arrived in Los Angeles in early October, 2021 to begin service as a staff member of the North America District Office, replacing Rev. Masashi Fujii.
Rev. Goto originates from Japan from a town nearby the city of Nagoya, the 3rd largest city in Japan.
Rev. Goto previously came to the United States as a high school exchange student, spending a year in the state of Texas to study English. Rev. Goto was grateful for that learning experience, then returned to Japan for the following 12 years. Rev. Goto is excited to be in Los Angeles where he can, once again, improve his English & he’s looking forward to the assistance from all to help him improve his English speaking ability.
Rev. Goto graduated from high school in Japan, then attended Rikkyo University in Tokyo. He studied literature, focusing on literary theory and philosophy. Rev. Goto enjoys reading books and listening to music. He also plays the guitar…Rock music, Hard rock, Blues, and other types of music. He feels Los Angeles is the perfect place for him with so many musical options. During his time in Texas, going to the guitar center was a passion & he requested his host family to take him there every weekend.
Rev. Goto also enjoys Kendo, the old Japanese art of fencing. He’s been studying Kendo since the first grade. More recently, he hasn’t been able to take part in the sport since it’s a very aggressive, exhausting & sweaty exercise.
After graduating from Rikkyo University, Rev. Goto started working for a music record company in Tokyo. During that time, the music industry had taken a downturn, so after several years, Rev. Goto left the music industry to begin his work for Higashi Honganji. 2021 is Rev. Goto’s 3rd year & his move to Los Angeles is his first transfer.
Rev. Goto feels everything is quite different in Los Angeles, and it will take time to get used to this new life. Improving his English is an area he’d like to continue to improve in & he’s looking forward to receiving assistance from all of us to help him get used to life in Los Angeles & in improving his English.
Please welcome Rev. Goto & take the opportunity to get to know him.