Feature

The New Human Revolution Concludes

After 25 years in the making, SGI President Ikeda completes his monumental work at age 90.


By any measure, it was a towering feat. On Aug. 6, 2018, at the Nagano Training Center in Karuizawa, Japan, SGI President Ikeda penned the final installment1 of The New Human Revolution, the 30- volume novelized history of the Soka Gakkai and the SGI following his inauguration as the third Soka Gakkai president in 1960.

He had begun writing the novel in Karuizawa 25 years earlier to the day.

Karuizawa holds special significance as the place where, on Aug. 14, 1957, Daisaku Ikeda, at 29, affirmed his resolve to write its predecessor, The Human Revolution, a written record that conveyed the truth about his mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, and underscored his enduring accomplishments for humanity.2 It was President Ikeda’s determination as his disciple “to make certain that his life and spirit were correctly transmitted to later ages” (The Human Revolution, p. vii).

In total, The New Human Revolution comprises a staggering 6,469 installments, setting a record for the longest running series in a Japanese newspaper. The manuscript contains 15,000 pages (20,000 with The Human Revolution).

The underlying theme of both novels is: “A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind” (The Human Revolution, p. viii).

“Peace is the most basic starting point for the advancement of humankind.”

The New Human Revolution opens on Oct. 2, 1960, the day when Soka Gakkai President Daisaku Ikeda, at 32, embarked on his first overseas journey— to the U.S., Canada and Brazil—to spread the tenets of Nichiren Buddhism beyond the borders of Japan, commencing with the lines:

Nothing is more precious than peace.
Nothing brings more happiness.
Peace is the most basic starting point for the advancement of humankind.
(vol. 1, p. 1)

In the “Introduction” of volume 1, President Ikeda wrote of his plan for the novel to extend to 30 volumes: “It will certainly be a supreme challenge to finish writing it within my lifetime. Nevertheless, only by fulfilling our mission in this life do we truly live” (p. xi).

To be sure, President Ikeda waged a fierce “battle of the pen” for over half a century to complete both novels amid his intense schedule, which included traveling around the world, encouraging members, having dialogues with leading thinkers and world leaders, and writing numerous peace proposals—all while often battling health challenges.

Based on his vow as a disciple, President Ikeda spared not a single moment in working on the novels and fulfilling his promise to his mentor to “advance toward the ideal of a world in which life is treasured and the very word misery has been erased” (The Human Revolution, p. xi). At times, when he lacked the strength to pick up a pen, his wife, Kaneko Ikeda, transcribed his dictations.

Ultimately, The New Human Revolution serves as a record of the modern development of the Soka Gakkai and the SGI under President Ikeda’s leadership and the efforts of SGI members, while offering practical guidance for how to transform our lives and society with Nichiren Buddhism and further expand our movement for kosen-rufu.

President Ikeda recently wrote of his cherished wish for his young successors as he penned the 30th volume:
Please chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which is “the greatest of all joys” (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 212), as you strive in the sphere of your chosen mission, and continue to show triumphant actual proof of your human revolution. Having now entered the wondrous age of the propagation of the great Law, please create a vast current of happiness and peace throughout the world. Please do so through your unflagging efforts to realize kosenrufu by compassionately sharing Nichiren Buddhism with others and calling forth as many new Bodhisattvas of the Earth as possible. This is my fervent wish and prayer as I work each day on the final, 30th volume of my serialized novel The New Human Revolution. (Oct. 6, 2017, World Tribune, p. 3)

The blueprint for winning in kosen-rufu and in our personal lives.

SGI-USA General Director Adin Strauss has emphasized that The New Human Revolution begins in the U.S. and, in one of the last installments, returns to America. “It contains the limitless expectations and tremendous mission the United States has to lead the world toward peace, regardless of what the current reality may be in our country,” he said. “This is an unshakable, rocksolid belief that Sensei has in all of us.”

In his commentary in the Sept. 8 Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada referred to The Human Revolution and The New Human Revolution as “textbooks of our faith and practice.” He emphasized the importance of not only studying these works but also making them our standard and model to live by. As our “blueprint” in faith, President Ikeda demonstrates through his own actions in both novels how SGI members can win in the realm of kosen-rufu and in their personal lives. This, President Harada said, is what it means for each of us to advance with the spirit that we are also Shin’ichi Yamamoto.3

Through this process, we are opening the “doors to an inner dialogue with our mentor,” President Harada said, adding that this is the way the SGI will continue to triumph and flourish in the future.

As long as there is “even a single true disciple,” we will accomplish kosen-rufu.

In the final installment of volume 30, President Ikeda refers to his message from the Nov. 12, 2001, Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting, in which he recalls President Toda’s guidance to the young men’s training group, Suiko-kai.

Mr. Toda had discussed the renowned Japanese educator and reformer Yoshida Shoin, who, at age 27, established an academy out of a small room from where he educated individuals who would become the driving force of the revolution in Japan known as the Meiji Restoration [Japan’s transition from a closed feudal society to a nation open to the world].

“Similarly, in the Soka Gakkai, as long as there is a core of youth—no, even a single true disciple—we will be able to accomplish kosen-rufu,”4 President Toda said at that time.

Reflecting on his mentor’s words, President Ikeda said:
Who was that single disciple? Who has spread Buddhism throughout the world, with all his being, exactly as President Toda instructed? I am proud and honored to be that single disciple.

As a result, those who follow this genuine disciple are also genuine. I wish to declare this for the sake of future generations.

I urge the youth to carry on the rigorous spirit of mentor and disciple of the first three presidents of the Soka Gakkai. Those who do so will be ultimate victors in life. This is also the fundamental path for the SGI’s ongoing success in the 21st century. (Dec. 21, 2001, World Tribune, p. 3)

The final installments of the “Vow” chapter will be published in an upcoming World Tribune. Stay tuned! Subscribers can also visit worldtribune.org for the latest installments.

NOTES 1. The final installment was published in the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, on Sept. 8, which marks the 61st anniversary of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda delivering his landmark Declaration for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons before some 50,000 youth in Yokohama, Japan. That speech is now considered the starting point of the SGI’s peace movement. 2. The Human Revolution begins on July 3, 1945, when Mr. Toda was released from prison during World War II, and chronicles in 12 volumes the events surrounding President Toda’s efforts to rebuild the Soka Gakkai before his death in 1958. President Ikeda wrote that first novel in serialized installments in the Seikyo Shimbun between 1964 and 1992. 3. Shin’ichi Yamamoto is SGI President Ikeda’s character in The Human Revolution and The New Human Revolution. 4. Dec. 21, 2001, World Tribune, p. 3.

“Only by Fulfilling Our Mission in This Life Do We Truly Live.”

The following is an excerpt from the “Introduction” of volume 1 of The New Human Revolution, in which SGI President Ikeda outlined his plans for the novel.

I expect The New Human Revolution to comprise 30 volumes by the time it is completed. It will certainly be a supreme challenge to finish writing it within my lifetime.

Nevertheless, only by fulfilling our mission in this life do we truly live. Goethe, Hugo and Tolstoy were all still working vigorously in their 80s, continuing to pen their convictions. I am 65 and still young.

I have taken writing The New Human Revolution as my life’s work. In it, I am determined to continue to record, to the limits of my ability, the diamondlike, genuine path of mentor and disciple, and depict the grand portrait of glory created by the precious children of the Buddha as they have advanced with the dream of worldwide kosen-rufu, just as Nichiren Daishonin taught.

Truth and falsehood, good and evil, winners and losers—all will be rigorously depicted. I cannot help thinking that President Toda is steadfastly watching me. I only ask, from the bottom of my heart, for the warm support of all of you, the readers. (pp. xi)

The final installments of the “Vow” chapter will be published in an upcoming World Tribune. Stay tuned! Subscribers can also visit worldtribune.org for the latest installments.

(pp. 6-7)