Rev. Masao Kodani was a minister at Senshin Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles from 1968-2013, and was its Head Minister from 1978-2013. He was a founder and longtime member of Kinnara Taiko. He has written extensively about Buddhism, Obon, and bon odori, including many columns in the monthly newsletter sent to members of Senshin Buddhist Temple. A Sansei, he was born in Glendale, California and, as a child, was incarcerated with his family at Poston Relocation Center in Arizona during World War II. He earned a B.A. in East Asian Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara and studied Buddhism at Ryukoku University in Japan.
Rev. Kodani has co-authored two essential books on bon-odori: Gathering of Joy: A History of Bon Odori in Mainland America (1999, Los Angeles: Senshin Buddhist Temple) and Joy, Remembrance, Death: Obon Music for North America (2016, Los Angeles: Southern District Dharma School Teachers League, co-authored with Wynn Kiyama and Nobuko Miyamoto).
He has also written several books on Buddhism, including Traditions of Jodoshinshu Hongwanji-Ha (1984, Senshin Buddhist Temple, co-authored with Russell Hamada), Death: Rites of Passage (1986, Nembutsu Press, co-authored with Arthur Takemoto and Russell Hamada), and Dharma Chatter (1993, Senshin Buddhist Temple).
Rev. Kodani and Nobuko Miyamoto have written six bon-odori songs and choreographies together to date:
- Yuiyo (1984)
- Tampopo (1994/1998)
- Gardener’s Song (1998)
- Mottainai (2011)
- Bam Butsu no Tsunugari (2013)
- Sembazuru (2015).