Bujinkan Moving To Become A Religious Organization in Japan.

Brian R. VanCise

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Okay the Bujinkan under Hatsumi Sensei is or will be applying it appears to become a religious organization in Japan. Now in Budo Taijutsu as in many Japanese systems there has always been and element of Shintoism because of the Kamidana, etc. So from my understanding in order to maintain the Bujinkan as a organization after Hatsumi's passing he is or will be changing it to a religious organization so that the Government does not seize all the assets.

For further details please see: http://www.kutaki.org/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=4353&forum=10 (especially the first post by Shawn)

This is Hatsumi Sensei's organization and as the Soke of it he is attempting to insure it's long term survival. Other systems in Japan like Shorinji Kemp and I believe several Koryu systems like Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu also have Shrines and I belive are or may be also classified as a religious organization. So it is certainly not unheard of in Japan.
 

elder999

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It does bring up some interesting lines of thought in reference to the Bujinkan in the U.S., though. One could seek tax-exempt status for their own dojo in the U.S., but this could be aided by the organization being registered as a religious one in Japan, especially since it appears to be for similar reasons....
 

Kreth

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I don't see it as a huge change. The Bujinkan has always had strong ties to the shrine at Togakushi, due to the history of Togakure ryu. I'm not planning to shave my head anytime soon.
 

Steve

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It does bring up some interesting lines of thought in reference to the Bujinkan in the U.S., though. One could seek tax-exempt status for their own dojo in the U.S., but this could be aided by the organization being registered as a religious one in Japan, especially since it appears to be for similar reasons....
Exactly the kind of thing I was wondering about. With the lines in some schools being blurry between religion and martial art, this sort of thing could further blur the lines. And with less social and more legal ramifications such as tax exempt status, this is an interesting thing. Maybe not. I'm curious to know more, though.
 

arnisador

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Sounds like a classic case of concealment and "hiding in plain sight"! Still, if I was in the org. it would bother me both that I now belonged to a religious org., and that it seems to be being done as a tax dodge.
 

Carol

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There could be a potential impact on U.S. Immigration, if Japanese nationals wanted to come to the U.S. to live on a long-term basis. Clerics/Clergy/Priests are kind of in a class by themselves as far as getting in the door, which would make coming across the border a lot easier.

That also may mean that an immigration doorway is open for nationals of outher countries too.
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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宗教法人" - shuukyou houjinn

Meaning Religious corporation/organization.

I think it is kinda of like Sokka Gakkai. If Hatsumi is doing this just to avoid paying taxes I think it is is illegal to do in Japan.

However Takamatsu was a priest I believe and did have ties to Kukishinden ryu and the Amatsu Tatara teachings which is deeply rooted in Shinto.
 

David Weatherly

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I'm wondering if it would be a draw to new students... Or prove to be a deterrent.


That's going to depend a lot on the area you're living in. I know some Dojos that play down the spiritual aspect of the art so as not to offend those who are strongly christian.

David
 

theletch1

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That's going to depend a lot on the area you're living in. I know some Dojos that play down the spiritual aspect of the art so as not to offend those who are strongly christian.

David
My style of aikido doesn't get into the shinto religion at all and we've had a couple of folks come visit the dojo and express great relief at that fact... from a couple of different faiths.
 

exile

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I don't have any kind of horse in this race at all... but it makes me wonder about how the religious identity that is now about to be formally established for the Bujinkan is going affect things in the post-Hatsumi era.

One of the things that we're always coming to grief on is the set of unintended consequences of our actions, and nowhere is that more true than in the life of institutions. Things that look good on paper, or serve some short-term goal, can have major negatives downstream that noone thought of, simply because they were too wrapped up in trying to deal with the local, short-term problems that faced them. You have to wonder: maybe for now it won't matter that much... but conceivably, doing this will start injecting strongly religious elements into the Bujinkan (for any number of possible reasons; greater involvement of Shinto leaders in the leadership of the organization down the line, to convince the Japanese authorities that this is not merely a matter of religious wallpapering, say). And that in turn may open new points of entry for the Shinto 'establishment' into the Kan. After a few cycles of this sort of thing, the organization may look very different from the way it does now.

This is just one possiblity, it might never happenwho can say, at this point? But it does make you contemplate what doors this move opens up, and to whom... :idunno:
 

MMcGuirk

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Posts 42 and 57 pretty much explains what is going on. Most of the other posts including my own pretty much says the same thing. Nothing is going to change for Bujinkan members. No one is going to be asked to join a religion or give up their own religion.

The whole wording of the post threw a lot of people off. The site of the new Hombu will have a Shinto shrine apparently. This will protect it for future Bujinkan members to have a permanent place to practice as the current location will be torn down in a few years to make room for infrastructure improvement. If this gives it tax free status so what? How many posters on these bulletin boards understand Japanese land laws and tax exemption status? (don't need an answer, just rhetoric on my part)

Let's not make a mountain out of a molehill. The new dojo project has been in planning since 2003. so if you are a Bujinkan member this is what I tell my dojo mates: "The new dojo is for you. Soke and the shihan are doing all the work for your future training location. The least we can do is donate what we can to help out."
 

jarrod

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I'm wondering if it would be a draw to new students... Or prove to be a deterrent.

from what i understand, most japanese have a pretty secular worldview & tend to subscribe to multiple religions simultaneously. at least that is what i have heard people complain about who were doing religious demographic research in japan. so i don't think it will be much of a deterrent over there, though here is another matter.

jf
 

Steve

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Posts 42 and 57 pretty much explains what is going on. Most of the other posts including my own pretty much says the same thing. Nothing is going to change for Bujinkan members. No one is going to be asked to join a religion or give up their own religion.

The whole wording of the post threw a lot of people off. The site of the new Hombu will have a Shinto shrine apparently. This will protect it for future Bujinkan members to have a permanent place to practice as the current location will be torn down in a few years to make room for infrastructure improvement. If this gives it tax free status so what? How many posters on these bulletin boards understand Japanese land laws and tax exemption status? (don't need an answer, just rhetoric on my part)

Let's not make a mountain out of a molehill. The new dojo project has been in planning since 2003. so if you are a Bujinkan member this is what I tell my dojo mates: "The new dojo is for you. Soke and the shihan are doing all the work for your future training location. The least we can do is donate what we can to help out."
Personally, I'm more interested in the implications on martial arts studios and the precedent it might set within the USA. I didn't read through the entire thread over on that other site, but in scanning it, it looked like there were some schools claiming tax exempt status. If so, it seems a little questionable to me.
 

Carol

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from what i understand, most japanese have a pretty secular worldview & tend to subscribe to multiple religions simultaneously. at least that is what i have heard people complain about who were doing religious demographic research in japan. so i don't think it will be much of a deterrent over there, though here is another matter.

jf

The Bujinkan certainly won't be the first Japanese organization to erect a shirne in their building in order for certain legal protections under the law (including the Japanese equivalent of emminant domain), which does not work quite the same way in Japan as the U.S., but its the closest term I could think of. I doubt that this is a move, spiritually or legally, that will raise a lot of eyebrows among the Japanese. I also do not think the classification in and of itself would matter much to Americans (not sure about other Western countries)

However, they do appear to be asking for, or even dependent upon, international donations to complete the work, and I think any potential change is going to depend on how the money trail is followed.

The Honbu being a shrine will have no legal effect on dojos in U.S. if the school owners choose to not take any additional legal steps. I also don't think there would be any impact of substance if an individual practitioner chose to give to the project and expected nothing in return.

Donations that go directly to an overseas project like this are typically not tax-deductible. If someone were to set up a non-profit clearinghouse in order to give American donaters a tax deduction (you give money to the clearinghouse, and take a tax deduction, the clearinghouse sends the money to Japan), that is legal (if set up properly) but may raise some eyebrows if a religious fundamentalist decide to take a close look at the organization. It likely still would not affect the actual training or running of the dojo unless the org was in where religious fundamentalists are particularly vocal.

Where I would see controversy would be if the U.S. dojos choose to NOT run their schools as a private business and instead pursue tax exemption for themselves...meaning, classificaion under IRC 503(c)(3) that would permit them to receive tax-deductible donations and not have a tax burden.

That is essentially stating that the dojo has become a temple. That the dojo is organized exclusively for religious, educational, or scientific purposes, and that the net earnings will not be inured for the benefit of any private individual or stakeholder/shareholder.

Not saying that I think any U.S. dojos will do so, but should they do so, that will likely invite a lot of scrutiny from the IRS which would, in turn, invite more public scrutiny in ways that it hadn't before.
 
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elder999

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Where I would see controversy would be if the U.S. dojos choose to NOT run their schools as a private business and instead pursue tax exemption for themselves...meaning, classificaion under IRC 503(c)(3) that would permit them to receive tax-deductible donations and not have a tax burden.

That is essentially stating that the dojo has become a temple. That the dojo is organized exclusively for religious, educational, or scientific purposes, and that the net earnings will not be inured for the benefit of any private individual or stakeholder/shareholder.

Not saying that I think any U.S. dojos will do so, but should they do so, that will likely invite a lot of scrutiny from the IRS which would, in turn, invite more public scrutiny in ways that it hadn't before.

There are a variety of mechanisms for pursuing tax-exempt status for a dojo. There is a non-profit Bujinkan dojo in Albuquerque. In all cases, though, including religious organizations,the individual running it doesn't receive tax-free income-they receive a salary or stipend, and it is taxed as income. My father was an Episcopal priest-in addition to his duties for the state, he had a parish in Patterson, NY , The income he received from both was taxed by the IRS.
 

mystic warrior

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As a non bujinkan member, I guess all I can say is he is doing what is best for you guys and himself.
So that all of his hard work will not go down the drain.
But what do I know right lol.
 

Carol

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There are a variety of mechanisms for pursuing tax-exempt status for a dojo. There is a non-profit Bujinkan dojo in Albuquerque.

Non-profit is not the same as tax-exempt, and non-profit is not synonymous with charitable. Most startup S-corps are initially organized as non-profits. You can have a corporation offering commercial products or services and it can still be structured as a non-profit organization.

In all cases, though, including religious organizations,the individual running it doesn't receive tax-free income-they receive a salary or stipend, and it is taxed as income. My father was an Episcopal priest-in addition to his duties for the state, he had a parish in Patterson, NY , The income he received from both was taxed by the IRS.

Absolutely. Although that is an apples-and-oranges comparison. IRC 503(c)(3) denotes the profit structure of an organization.

Paying an individual person to do work, that is governed by the Wage and Hour laws of the FLSA. Wages are, by definition, taxable income.

Entrepreneurs tend to be very driven people, that want to get things done for themselves which runs against the caution and care needed for some aspects of business law. That can be a voliatile mix :asian:
 
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