Strive to Take a Step Forward for Peace
SGI President Ikeda on the Physicist Hideki Yukawa (Part 2 of 2).
Translated from SGI President Ikeda’s encouragement in the Jan. 1, 2015, issue of Boys and Girls Hope News, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly newspaper for the elementary school division. Part one appears in the Aug. 18 World Tribune.
The physicist Hideki Yukawa (1907–81), the first Japanese to win the Nobel Prize, was also devoted to peace. What motivated him was experiencing the tragedy of war, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His younger brother, whom he had been closest to, had been drafted into the army and died in the war. I understand his grief all too well, because I also lost my beloved older brother in the war. The sight of my mother’s quivering shoulders as she tried to suppress her tears after receiving the news of his death was the starting point for my commitment to peace.
Soon after the war, Dr. Yukawa composed the poem “The Atom and Humanity,” and dedicated it to the boys and girls who would shoulder the future.
His poem expressed the spirit that while the progress of science can contribute to human happiness, it can also give birth to weapons that take precious lives. The more science advances, the more people need to grow and develop. He stressed the importance of resolving differences among people in the nuclear age, and called for humanity to elevate and improve itself.
At that time, I was working at the company of my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, as the editor-in-chief of a children’s magazine. I tried to impart hope and dreams to our young readers through articles about science. I wanted to write about Dr. Yukawa, but the magazine stopped publishing before I had a chance—which is why I am so happy to have this opportunity to share about him with you now.
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Dr. Yukawa was the only Japanese to sign the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, a protest by leading scientists calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons. He firmly declared that nuclear weapons are evil. Mr. Toda also spoke out against nuclear weapons, and I, as his disciple, have acted based on that same belief. I have published dialogues with Dr. Linus Pauling (1901–94) and Dr. Joseph Rotblat (1908–2005), both of whom signed the Russell-Einstein Manifesto and were Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
After Dr. Yukawa’s death, his wife, Sumi Yukawa (1910–2006), continued to work for her husband’s dream of world peace. She strongly supported SGI activities and truly praised the activities for peace being carried out by our women’s and young women’s members.
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Creating peace in the coming era is up to each of you. Everything you do is a step forward that will lead to peace—like taking on new challenges and learning from them, exercising and taking good care of your health, and deepening friendships. You are our hope and the future. Dr. Yukawa urged each person to treasure their life, to be wise and work hard in their respective field, without ever losing hope.
I will continue sending you encouragement while praying for your good health and development. Be true to yourself and take on fresh challenges! Together with me!