Feature

Voice of Courage and Hope

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Celebrating 55 Years of the World Tribune

First issue—The inaugural issue of the World Tribune rolls off the presses on Aug. 15, 1964, as a four-page tabloid-sized newspaper, with three pages in English and the back page in Japanese.

On Saturday, Aug. 15, 1964, the World Tribune printed its first edition—a four-page tabloid-sized newspaper with the first three pages in English and the fourth in Japanese.

With headlines such as “Respect for Job Should Be Same as That Shown Toward the Gohonzon” and “Prayer, Faith, Unity and Study—Keys to Our Own Happiness,” it communicated to the English-speaking world the profundity of Nichiren Buddhism and the significance of the Soka Gakkai’s grassroots movement at a time when Buddhism had yet to transcend the framework of an ethnic Asian religion.

Soka Gakkai President Daisaku Ikeda had given the newspaper its name—and by extension, its mission—in May 1964, while flying from Mumbai to New Delhi in India. He chose world for its resolve to send the light of peace and hope to all humanity and tribune for its role to resolutely protect ordinary people.

On Aug. 15, 2015, as the World Tribune celebrated its 51st birthday with a redesign, SGI President Ikeda gave the SGI-USA newspaper a motto to serve as its touchstone: “Voice of Courage and Hope.”

Fifty-five years since its inception, the World Tribune has become an enduring record of the kosen-rufu movement in America, which members read as their personal letter from President Ikeda. In his message marking the 50th anniversary, President Ikeda expressed his wish that toward its 60th and 70th anniversaries, “the World Tribune will create a history of progress while brightly illuminating the future with the beautiful light of peace and hope” (Sept. 5, 2014, World Tribune, p. 1).

Here are a few significant milestones covered in the World Tribune:

President Ikeda delivers his firstoverseas university address at UCLA. Photo by Seikyo Press.
President Ikeda presents his poem “To My Beloved Young American Friends” while in New York. Photo by Seikyo Press.
President Ikeda visits the U.S. for 17 days, offering guidance to solidify the foundation of faith for the SGI-USA. Photo by Seikyo Press.
President Ikeda delivers first Harvard University speech, “The Age of Soft Power.” Photo by Seikyo Press.
President Ikeda gifts a Chihuly glass sculpture to the youth of America as a symbol of the “shared triumph of mentor and disciple.” Photo by MARC GIANNAVOLA.
President and Mrs. Ikeda attend the opening of the SGI-USA Florida Nature and Culture Center, Weston, Fla. Photo by Seikyo Press.
President Ikeda establishes Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, Calif. Photo by MITSU KIMURA.
Denver University awards President Ikeda his first honorary doctorate from an American university. Photo by Seikyo Press.
SGI President Ikeda dons a World Tribune jacket at a youth training session, Calabasas,
Calif., Feb. 25, 1990. Photo by Seikyo Press.

Birth of the World Tribune

SGI President Ikeda recalls the significance of bestowing the newspaper’s name

Even now, I vividly recall the events leading to the publication of the World Tribune. In May 1964, I was traveling to Australia, Sri Lanka and India. During the flight from India’s Mumbai to New Delhi, the decision was made to begin publishing a newspaper for the sake of American kosen-rufu.

In October 1960, I had initiated my global travels for peace from the land of America. The era for worldwide kosen-rufu had come, as waves of joy from sharing the Mystic Law were spreading throughout the United States. I keenly sensed a need for an English publication that would accord with this new era, one that could correctly convey to those unfamiliar with Nichiren Buddhism—new members, family and friends—its philosophy of respect for the dignity of life, its ideals of humanism, as well as the significance of the Soka Gakkai’s grassroots movement devoted to creating world peace.

I proposed, and the decision was made, to name the newspaper World Tribune. I couldn’t help thinking that the paper being given that name in the skies over India, the birthplace of Buddhism, heralded the great worldwide transmission of Nichiren Buddhism, which so clearly elucidates the essence of the Lotus Sutra.

World, in the paper’s name, embodies the determination to send the light of peace and hope to all humanity. And Tribune, which comes from the ancient Roman guardians of the people, signifies using our voices of justice to resolutely protect ordinary people. (Sept. 5, 2014, World Tribune, p. 1)

Doing the Buddha’s Work

“During Nichiren [Daishonin’s] time, his disciples gathered to read and re-read his letters, and they also relayed the content of those letters to others, encouraging one another as they carried out the Buddha’s work of teaching those around them about Buddhism.

“Today, in the same manner, we study the World Tribune at discussion meetings and on our own, and we freely share with our family and friends the greatness of Buddhism and the inspiration we gain from faith. In so doing, we advance in our efforts to carry out the Buddha’s work
of kosen-rufu.” (SGI President Ikeda, Sept. 5, 2014, World Tribune, p. 1)