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Bunkado: Gifts and Music


Buddhist ceremonial items

The Tsukada family were practicing Buddhists. Before Irene’s father moved to the U.S. he belonged to the Koyasan temple in Nagano, Japan. Ironically and beffitingly, when Tokio and Suye opened there store, there was a Koyasan temple just around the corner. Irene explains that while her family maintained a Buddhist shrine in their home, she rarely went to temple as a child. Irene attended a catholic school, (it was a common practice at the time among the Little Tokyo community to send their children to nearby catholic schools), but the conflicting religious messages (from home and school) coupled with her rebellious nature at that age were enough to truncate her relationship with Buddhism. Regardless, Irene’s customers see her as an authority, even guide to navigating Buddhist traditions and practices. She feels obliged and honored to help her clients select the appropriate Buddhist sacred items for funerals and celebrations. As a result Irene keeps Bunkado stocked with a full spectrum of religious sacred items and Buddhist panoply.

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