The Founding of the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Divisions
“Kosen-rufu will definitely be achieved if even one young person is willing to dedicate their entire life to it.”1
—Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda
July is the month of youth for the Soka Gakkai—the month in which the young men’s and young women’s divisions were founded on July 11 and 19, 1951, respectively, and a truly youthful Soka Gakkai was born.
Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda established these divisions with the hope that young people would make their mentor’s heart their own and take personal initiative to open a great path for the future of kosen-rufu.
He shared at the inaugural meeting of the young men’s division’s establishment: “I would like you to be aware that all youth division members have a praiseworthy mission. The Meiji Restoration was promoted by youth, and back in the days of Nichiren Daishonin, his most active disciples were all young. In the annals of history, young people have always held sway over the times and created each new era.”2
Carrying on the torch from his mentor, Ikeda Sensei fought wholeheartedly as one young person to lead the way in spreading Nichiren Buddhism worldwide. His determination as a youth was instrumental in shaping the global SGI network of Bodhisattvas of the Earth we have today.
In the excerpted scene below from the concluding chapter of his serialized novel The New Human Revolution, Sensei calls out to the youth of the world to stand up and fight for the happiness of humanity and open a new age of peace and respect for the dignity of life.
Let’s Set Forth Together!
“I would like you, my young friends of the youth division, to staunchly carry on the solemn spirit of the first three Soka Gakkai presidents, who are eternally linked by the bonds of mentor and disciple. Those who do so will be the ultimate victors. This is also the fundamental path for the Soka Gakkai’s ongoing success in the 21st century. It is the way for us to fulfill the great vow for kosen-rufu and create lasting world peace.
“I’m counting on you, the members of the young men’s division, young women’s division and student division! I’m counting on all Soka youth around the world!” …
In his heart, Shin’ichi called out to the youth: “Let’s set forth together! As long as we live, let’s fight! Let’s advance with confidence and vigor as we vibrantly ring in the second series of Seven Bells!”3
In his mind’s eye, Shin’ichi had an uplifting vision of the youth of Soka as majestic young eagles bathed in the dawning light of the third millennium. He saw them soaring, in an unending stream, into the vast skies of the world. They were the countless multitudes of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, forever dedicated to fulfilling the great vow for kosen-rufu.4