Congratulations to Temple member, Ellen Kamei, who was sworn in as City of Mountain View’s mayor on Jan. 12, 2021. The Kamei family are no strangers to the Mountain View Buddhist Temple. Ellen’s grandparent’s, Kenzo and Ruth Kamei were very active in the Temple helping with various events, especially Obon. Ruth was very active in the BWA. Ellen’s bigger circle of relatives that are active in the Temple include the Ozawa, Inouye, Nishimoto and Uyehara families.
Ellen was born and raised in Silicon Valley. She grew up in Mountain View and moved to Morgan Hill when the Kamei’s moved their nursery.
Ellen with Grandfather Kenzo in 1987
She was an active member of both the Morgan Hill Buddhist Church and San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, where she participated in Girl Scouts, Jr. YBA, Judo and Suzume No Gakko. She served as a Dharma School assistant during high school and participated in the Padma Program.
Padma Award recipient in 1996
Ellen learned to speak Japanese in college. After finishing her undergraduate studies, she went to the Mie Prefecture of Japan as a Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program Assistant Language Teacher. She taught Kindergarten, Elementary and Middle School for two years.
Kenzo & Ruth Kamei with granddaughter Ellen
at Ellen’s undergraduate graduation from UC Santa Barbara in 2005
When Ellen moved back to California after Graduate School, she moved in with her Grandfather and became a board member of the Japantown Community Congress of San Jose. As a board member, she served as a Coordinator for the Nikkei Community Intern Program, an eight-week summer internship. She is honored and proud to share that her family will provide on-going funding for one participant of the Nikkei Community Internship (NCI) Program in San Jose Japantown. It will be called “The Kamei Family” Scholarship.
Ellen was proposed to in November 2019 by Chris Takeuchi in front of the garden at the Mountain View Buddhist Temple. Ellen and Chris were recently married in the same spot this past October under COVID-19 restrictions. The Temple wishes them well!
Ellen, Chris & their dog, Nori
Wedding at MVBT in October 2020
Ellen is the first known Buddhist serving as Mountain View City Councilmember and Mayor. The Mountain View Buddhist Temple is very proud of Ellen and look forward to her leadership in serving the City of Mountain View this year.
Ellen at Mountain View City Council on January 12, 2021
Additional information about Ellen’s accomplishments can be found by going to the City of Mountain View’s website: