Buddhists give $6.6 million to support Japan studies at USC

Courtesy Shinnyo-en

The Shinnyo-en Buddhist order has donated $6.6 million dollars to USC to support the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture, established in 2011.  The center conducts research on Japanese culture and hosts events and seminars.

Officials at USC said the gift is one of the largest ever given to a center dedicated to the study of Japan in North America.

"We're very appreciative of this gift which is going to help us continue to do all the different projects our center houses and deepen the mutual understanding between the people of Japan and the United States" said Duncan Williams, Chair of USC Dornsife's School of Religion.

Shinso Ito is the leader of a Buddhist order that was founded in the 1930s, called Shinnyo-En. The order has approximately one million followers globally.  

USC is conducting a fundraising campaign that aims to reach $6 billion.

Correction: An earlier version of this post stated Shinnyo-En began in the 1950s. It was started in the 1930s.