Our History

Celebrating the Student Division

Peacemakers—SGI members of the UCLA campus clubs hold a "chanting for peace" meeting on June 4, in response to the tragic shootings and campus wide lockdown three days prior. Photo: Maya Ono.

“[Daisaku Ikeda] was certain that his students . . . would likewise bring about the dawning of a new age, an age characterized by respect for life, an age in which the teachings of the Daishonin’s Buddhism would flourish. And he was not mistaken. The young eagles spread their wings and soared high into the skies of a new era” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 6, p. 310).

June 1957 was a significant month for the Soka Gakkai. Members in the coal mining town of Yubari, Hokkaido, were under religious persecution, and the Osaka government had lobbied false charges against then Youth Division Chief-of-Staff Daisaku Ikeda.

It was amid this battle for justice for the sake of ordinary people that the student division was founded on June 30, 1957. It would be the final group that was consecrated under second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda’s leadership before his passing 10 months later.

While Daisaku Ikeda was later cleared of all charges and the Soka Gakkai members in Yubari emerged victorious, it was the spirit to create an age of justice—to protect the dignity of human life regardless of social, economic or academic standing—that has remained the driving force of the student division.

Regarding the group’s founding day, SGI President Ikeda writes:

As many as 500 students had assembled, resolved to commit their lives to the Mystic Law and actively contribute to society as its leaders . . . The students now aligned side by side before [Josei Toda’s] eyes possessed the supreme asset: the belief that the Mystic Law existed within the ordinary mortal flesh of their own lives. None of them could be without a mission. (The Human Revolution, p. 1605)

Fifty-nine years later, the SGI-USA student division today has a vast network of campus clubs, where students introduce the campus community to the humanistic philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism.

Building on its mission to protect the people, the division in August 2011 launched its Our New Clear Future movement, which aims to develop a groundswell of public consensus for nuclear abolition. To ensure the safety of all “the citizens of the world” (see The Human Revolution, p. 486), student division members have hosted numerous exhibitions and panel discussions.

This summer, the student division will hold its training course on Aug. 19–22 at the SGI-USA Florida Nature and Culture Center. For more information, visit www.studentdivision.org or contact your local zone office.