BUDDHIST SCOUTS CORPS

In Fun
At 1962 Seattle World’s Fair Opening
At 1962 Seattle World’s Fair Opening

The Seattle Buddhist Church established Boy Scout Troop 252 in 1949. There was one problem – to be a troop leader you needed to possess US citizenship. Muneyuki (Harry) Kurimoto attended classes to become a US citizen, then went on to become the SE district neighborhood commissioner. The first year of the troop had 6 members.  As the troop grew, Min Tsubota approached the Church board and convinced them to add a drum corps. In 1955, the newly found corps was called Buddhist Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. Funding was provided by parents and Church members. Drums, bugles, flags and wooden rifles were purchased. Uniforms were created. Bugles were standard brass Key of G bugles. Drums were wood with cow skin heads.  Several years of parades and awards in Seattle, Washington State and Canada led the corps to compete with other drum corps. They competed in the local circuit from the 70s to early 80s. The Buddhist Scouts guard was well received by the pageantry community. The Guard introduced traditional Japanese aesthetics in costuming, music and equipment in the use of fans. The adaption of Japanese dance helped open cultural influences into the world of color guard. The Buddhist Scouts guard did very well in West Coast competitions and their influence was significant.  The Seattle Buddhist Scouts were invited to ceremonies for the 25th anniversary of Hiroshima. They spent 3 weeks in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Osaka, performed a concert and took place in each city’s civil ceremonies. 

Place(s): Seattle, Japan

– Eric Hall

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant