March 16: Kosen-Rufu Day
On March 16, 1958, in the predawn chill at the foot of Mount Fuji, 6,000 youth assembled, unaware they were to make history. There, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda would announce that he was passing the baton of kosen-rufu to the youth.
Japan’s prime minister had originally agreed to attend the ceremony, but bowed out last minute due to political pressure. “No matter who attends or doesn’t attend, we’re going to hold this ceremony for our young people!” President Toda declared (Feb. 28, 2003, World Tribune insert, p. 2).
All that mattered to him was that the young people who would faithfully inherit his legacy were there.
The youthful disciples, who arrived hungry and cold, enjoyed the hot pork soup Mr. Toda had prepared for them out of his great love and concern.
To support their ailing mentor, who was too weak to stand, the young Daisaku Ikeda had a litter built to carry President Toda through the crowd. He summoned every last ounce of strength and resoundingly declared to his youthful disciples: “Today, I want to bequeath this mission to you young people. I entrust the future to all of you. I’m counting on you—counting on you to accomplish kosen-rufu!” (The Human Revolution, p. 1895).
March 16 not only served as the day when President Toda entrusted the youth with the future development of kosen-rufu, but also as a private ceremony between him and his most trusted disciple, Daisaku Ikeda, whom he had emboldened to take the lead.
As the event drew to a close, President Toda gazed intently at Daisaku, calling out to him, “Let’s fight!”
On April 2, 1958, 17 days later, Mr. Toda’s noble life came to an end.
President Ikeda later recalled of that intimate exchange: “This eternal battle cry of my mentor is the very heartbeat of my life. For me, every day is March 16, the day I begin my struggle anew for kosen-rufu” (March 9, 2007, World Tribune, p. 7). WT