An “Age of Great Voyages” for Peace
“Sensei! I have opened the door of kosen-rufu for the creation of a new world, just as you instructed.”The New Human Revolution, vol. 1, p. 123.
—SGI President Ikeda
A primary landmark in San Francisco, Coit Tower was completed in October 1933 as a tribute to the life of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who, in 1858, at age 15 dropped her books one night to help the understaffed fire department put out a major blaze on Telegraph Hill. Coit is now known as the matron saint of San Francisco firefighters. The tower stands on Telegraph Hill, and, in 1984, was named a San Francisco Designated Landmark.
During his first trip to San Francisco in October 1960, SGI President Ikeda visited Coit Tower, a 210-foot tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood, where, in the foreground, stood a statue of Christopher Columbus.
In volume 1 of The New Human Revolution, President Ikeda recounts this scene (he appears in the novel as Shin’ichi Yamamoto):
More than four centuries had passed since Columbus had set foot in the Americas. His quest had been for gold and land to colonize. But for the indigenous peoples, his arrival marked only the start of an invasion of their lands.
Shin’ichi Yamamoto’s journey, in contrast, was one of peace—a quest to illuminate the world with the golden light of humanism. It marked the beginning of an “age of great voyages” for global kosen-rufu.
After the group had come together for a photo in front of the statue, Shin’ichi looked up at the bronze figure of Columbus and said:
“Like Columbus, we have now taken our first step on American soil. But we are engaged in a far nobler undertaking—for we are striving to create here on earth a new world where indestructible happiness and eternal peace reign supreme. With the passage of time—in twenty, fifty, or a hundred years from now—today will without a doubt be remembered as a day of profound significance in the history of our movement.” Ibid., pp. 122–23