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Japanese Buddhist Temple Records


December 4, 2012 by Valerie Elkins

Japanese Buddhist Temple picture taken by: Valerie Elkins

It is common practice for Japanese to be married in a Shinto (religion) wedding and buried as a Buddihist. Kakko-cho or Japanese Buddhist Temple Records are a source of records that can take your family history research back beyond the 1872 beginning of the koseki records.

Frequent fires to Buddhist temples have destroyed many such records, but are worth investigating.   Determining if there are Samurai ancestors can be confirmed in these records, as these records have not had this information deleted as it has from the koseki records.

Problems in Obtaining Kakko-cho:

  • Organized by death or funeral date, rather than by family name
  • Same desire to protect privacy means that same need to document your                                                      right to access records
  • Finding what Buddhist temple your family belonged and their address
  • At death, the deceased is given a new Buddhist name that they are known by

Benefits of Obtaining a Kakko-cho

  • Once you find the temple, gain access, find your ancestor you can go back many                                        more generations
  • Able to locate your family’s ohaka (gravestones) that may be engraved with more genealogical       information.
  • Families rarely changed temples. Usually, the closest one to their registered home of record making the search process a little easier.

Once you have located your family’s temple, contact the priest and find out the requirements for accessing the records. These are valuable records and worth the effort in obtaining. Good Luck!



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