Japanese immigrants founded the Konko Church of San Francisco on March 17, 1931. It was the Great Depression – a time when people across America were struggling with poverty and despair. Yet, here in San Francisco, this tiny congregation was full of hope. They were committed to their church and to the future, and was an integral part of their lives. Their continuing faith is one of the pillars upon which this church is built.
The first ministers of the Konko Church of San Francisco were newlyweds from Japan – the Reverends Yoshiaki and Shinko Fukuda. The 34-year-old Reverend Yoshiaki Fukuda was a highly educated (graduate of Tokyo University), earnest, idealistic, and vigorous young man. He felt it was important for the church to serve the entire community, and he engendered in his congregation this same eagerness to serve. Thus the church and all its facilities – the worship hall, the many meeting rooms, the kitchen, and the backyard built by hand by countless volunteers (see Foundations video) – were always open, and always bustling with activity.
For decades the backyard of the Konko church was a central gathering place. Many from the surrounding community found their way to this backyard. This simple slab of concrete bordered by the church in the front, houses on the east and in the back, and Nippon Goldfish on the west, hosted children and teenagers after school and was a favorite gathering spot for a game of basketball and camaraderie. Joy and laughter reigned in the backyard of the church. It was like a second home for many in the community. This backyard was witness to the epic saga of life on this tiny corner of San Francisco…
Historic video footage from the 1930s depicting founding Konko Church of San Francisco’s founding head minister Reverend Yoshiaki Fukuda and believers.
Produced by Mura Productions.