Channel 7 KGO-TV ABC: Internment Survivor Builds Berkeley Center

Jodo Shinshu Center, Berkeley, California
channel7kgo_williemonroeBy Willie Monroe

Feb. 19 – KGO – On this day in 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, and sent 120,000 Japanese Americans to internment camps. A man born in one of those camps celebrates his dream of a lifetime.
Sady Hayashida is one of the handful of architects who designed the new Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley. It’s a combination training center for the ministry, a residence and office for one of the largest, but least known sects of Buddhism.


2140 Durant.earlierThe historic landmark at the corner of Durant and Fulton was first built in 1930 as a Buick dealership. The architects had to preserve the art deco exterior. The Jodo Shinshu Center was dedicated last October, and looks nothing like a place to sell cars.

Sady Hayashida: “It’s a dream that has come true for me, because of that similar project that I did back in 1966.”

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The 35,000 square foot facility is very similar to a design Sady Hayashida conceived as an architectural student at the University of California more than 40-years ago. He still has the drawings for his senior project at U.C. Berkeley.

Sady Hayashida: “I selected this, because of what I wanted to see happen with the future of Jodo Shinshu and Buddhist church of America here in the U.S..”
ABC7’s Willie Monroe: “What’d you get on it?”
Sady Hayashida: “I don’t remember, but I passed, and I got my license.”

It was a long way from less happy times at the internment camp where he was born in Topaz, Utah.

Sady Hayashida has little recollection of the actual internment. He does remember abuse when he came home.

Sady Hayashida: “I remember being spat upon when I was in kindergarten here in Berkeley.”

His parents never wanted to talk about the internment. He admires their survival, and credits their faith.

sady_bcaSady Hayashida: “You accept things as they come. You do what you can to make things better. It’s more of a faith of the fact that this is how things are, and that everything is impermanent, and things change.”

Like the car dealership that changed into a center for celebrating Buddhism. But accepting change does not mean forgetting what happened in 1942.

Sady Hayashida: “This country tends to forget about things like that, so I think reminders are extremely important.”
ABC7’s Willie Monroe: “Are you reminded?”
Sady Hayashida: “I’m reminded. I look in the mirror every day, and I’m reminded.”

Copyright 2007, ABC7/KGO-TV/DT.