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Constructing the New Era

The Journey of Mentor and Disciple—Advancing Toward Victory

By Daisaku Ikeda

Soka University’s track and field team put in an inspiring performance at this year’s annual Hakone Ekiden men’s relay marathon (on January 2–3). As the university’s founder, I am delighted by their achievement. [Soka University finished in the top 10 for the first time ever to secure automatic qualification for next year’s race.]

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all the runners, coaches, staff, and everyone else who supported the team throughout, and to all those who cheered them on. Thank you so much!


Members around Japan and the world have started the New Year, leading toward the Soka Gakkai’s 90th anniversary (on November 18), with united prayer.

As Nichiren Daishonin declares, the united spirit of “many in body but one in mind” is the basis for the “universal transmission of the ultimate Law of life and death” and the means for fulfilling the “great desire for widespread propagation [i.e., kosen-rufu]” (“The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol 1, p. 217).

I am endlessly grateful for the noble efforts of the members of our behind-the-scenes groups—including those of the Soka Group, Gajokai, Byakuren Group—and everyone dedicated to ensuring our activities take place safely and without any accidents.

I have received detailed reports on the New Year’s gongyo meetings that took place throughout Japan—from Hokkaido in the north, where members built snowmen to welcome the participants, to Okinawa in the south, where cherry blossoms are already in bloom. Our members living in areas still recovering from natural disasters also gathered undefeated.

I was delighted to hear that many new members joined our ranks at the New Year’s gongyo meetings, and family members, friends, and leading thinkers were also present at the gatherings.

One of my dear friends, Harvard Divinity School professor emeritus Harvey Cox, attended a New Year’s gongyo meeting held in Boston. He warmly applauded an experience shared by a young women’s division member and a performance by the Future Division.

In our dialogue, Dr. Cox praised the Soka Gakkai spirit of supporting ordinary people by reaching out to those who are suffering and imparting hope to them. He commented that this spirit evident since the organization’s pioneering days lives on in the SGI movement, which is now spreading across the globe.

This year again, let’s help many people savor the great joy of human revolution!


Building a network of global citizens dedicated to peace starts here and now.

Congratulations on the young women’s division small-group general meetings [that will be held in Japan from January 13 to February 2].

In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, Nichiren Daishonin says: “The blessings and wisdom of the objective and subjective worlds [that is, life and its environment] are immeasurable. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo has these two elements of blessings and wisdom” (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 218).

The vibrant presence of young women who embrace the Mystic Law opens the gateway to “blessings and wisdom” for their families, societies, and the future.

“Thanks to your being here,” “Thanks to your words”—Dialogue filled with friendship and words of encouragement can empower and uplift people.

I hope everyone, especially the women’s division, will support the young women so that they can shine freely in their own way like the evening star.

My wife, Kaneko, and I will continue sending daimoku so that all our beloved fellow members of the Soka family can advance each day in good health and youthful spirits.

The journey of mentor and disciple—
advancing toward victory
with my friends.

(Translated from the January 8, 2020, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai daily newspaper)


The Hakone Ekiden is a two-day race held on January 2–3 each year. It is run from Tokyo to Lake Ashi in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, in two stages. On the first day, runners make their way to Hakone, and on the second, they return to Tokyo. The 218-kilometer (135-mile) distance is broken up into 10 stations, with the hardest being the challenging climb up to Lake Ashi through the Hakone mountains.

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