New Human Revolution

Great Mountain

The New Human Revolution Volume 30, Chapter 1, Installments 27–30

SGI President Ikeda’s ongoing novel, The New Human Revolution, which he began writing in 1993, is the history of the Soka Gakkai following his inauguration in 1960 as its third president, and a record of the modern development of the Soka Gakkai and the SGI. It also serves as practical guidance for how to further expand our movement for kosen-rufu. “Great Mountain” is the first chapter of volume 30, the final volume of The New Human Revolution. President Ikeda appears in the novel as Shin’ichi Yamamoto.

Deng Yingchao, widow of the late Chinese premier Zhou Enlai, said emphatically, “You must not retreat a single step!”

Then, a smile returned to her face.

As someone who had struggled ceaselessly for decades in the most perilous of circumstances, with foes on all sides, her words carried great weight. Of course, it would be up to him to decide whether to step down as president, but Shin’ichi Yamamoto was touched by Deng Yingchao’s sincerity and grateful for her words of support.

In response to her heartfelt concern, he renewed his determination to work as long as he lived for enduring friendship between China and Japan, no matter what his position or circumstances, just as  he had vowed he would to Premier Zhou.

To keep his promise to Deng Yingchao and to fulfill his vow to continue working for friendly relations between the two countries, Shin’ichi visited China for a fifth time the following year, in April 1980.

Deng Yingchao invited Shin’ichi and his wife, Mineko, to her residence, the Xihuating (Western Flower Hall), in the Zhongnanhai area of Beijing. She had lived there with Zhou Enlai for many years.

Shin’ichi and his wife, and the others in their group, were shown into the living room, which, they were told, was where Premier Zhou had met many overseas guests before the completion of the Great Hall of the People. Deng Yingchao also showed them the garden of the residence. A crab apple tree was covered with pink buds, and lavender lilac blossoms perfumed the air.

They strolled through the garden as they continued their friendly conversation.

Shin’ichi visited China again in June 1984. On that occasion, Deng Yingchao welcomed him at the Great Hall of the People, in her capacity as the chairperson of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. She spoke of her wish to further expand opportunities for exchange between the young people of China and Japan.

Five years later, on June 4, 1989, the Tiananmen Square incident occurred in China. After that, many Western countries suspended official meetings with Chinese leaders, and Japan froze loans to the Chinese government, moves that isolated China within the international community.

Shin’ichi thought: “Ultimately, ordinary Chinese people are facing difficulties. Now is the time to strive even harder as their friend and open a window of exchange. That, after all, is the true meaning of loyalty and friendship!” Only when we open such windows can dialogue take place.

■  ■  ■

Originally, Shin’ichi was scheduled to visit China in September 1989 and take part in events celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, but because of various circumstances, his visit had to be postponed. Shin’ichi had a representative convey to Deng Yingchao his firm determination to visit in spring the following year. He also sent her a life-size portrait of her and Premier Zhou.

Shin’ichi was firmly determined to prevent China from being isolated within the international community.

Then, in May 1990, the 7th Soka Gakkai Delegation to China and an additional Soka Gakkai friendship exchange delegation—together comprising 281 Japanese Soka Gakkai members— visited China. This served as a stimulus for the reopening of exchange with China, and after this many other groups who had been waiting and watching, hesitating to re-engage with China, followed.

Illustration by: Kenichiro Uchida.

Shin’ichi and Mineko once again visited Deng Yingchao at her residence in Zhongnanhai. She was 86 years old and had been hospitalized at the time, but she discharged herself from the hospital and greeted her guests at the door to her home. Shin’ichi rushed up to her and took her hand. She was already having difficulty walking, and it was obvious that she was quite weak, but her mind remained as sharp as ever. Shin’ichi said with great concern: “Please, as the mother of the people, stay well. When the mother is well, her children are well.”

Deng Yingchao presented Shin’ichi with an ivory paper knife that had belonged to Premier Zhou, as well as a jade pen holder that she had long used, saying that she very much wanted him to have them. Both gifts were tantamount to national treasures. She must have sensed that the end of her life was drawing near. Shin’ichi perceived her state of mind, and his heart ached. He accepted the gifts as symbols of the eternal struggle for peace and friendship.

It would be their last meeting. Deng Yingchao passed away two years later, in July 1992, at age 88. But the ties of friendship and trust she and Premier Zhou had built between China and Japan have lived on as an enduring bridge between the two peoples.

The heart is invisible. But when hearts are firmly joined, genuine friendship emerges.


To be continued in an upcoming issue.


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