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Nothing Is Greater Than a Smile

Kaneko's Story

The following text was adapted from the book Kaneko’s Story: A Conversation With Kaneko Ikeda.

“My wife is my life companion, and, at times, my nurse, my secretary, my mother, daughter or younger sister. But most of all, she is my comrade-in-arms.

“If I were to give my wife a certificate of appreciation, it would have to be in the form of a Smile Award. In many ways, this sums up my feelings” (Kaneko’s Story, p. 121).

Mrs. Ikeda’s smile has a special meaning for her husband, Ikeda Sensei, and their family. When they were first married, besides advising Mrs. Ikeda on the importance of keeping a household accounts ledger, their mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, gave her this clear instruction: “However badly you may feel, wear a smile on your face when your husband leaves for work in the morning and when he returns in the evening.”

Ever since their wedding, according to Sensei, Mrs. Ikeda has faithfully kept the promises she had made to Mr. Toda.

“A wife’s or a mother’s smile also extinguishes any discord in the family,” Sensei says. “Nothing is greater than this. It is more powerful than words. Without a wife’s smile, the family cannot become a tranquil oasis” (p. 111).