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The Brilliant Path of Worldwide Kosen-rufu

Volume 21: Chapter Two—People’s Diplomacy

Chapter Summary

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

After returning to Japan on January 28, 1975, Shin’ichi Yamamoto engaged in discussions with a wide range of leading figures from Japan and abroad, including former Japanese Prime Minister and recent Nobel Prize laureate Eisaku Sato.

Shin’ichi had been hard at work on autobiographical sketches for a major national daily newspaper, which began running every day under the title “My Recollections” from February 1 through early March. He also wrote a book about his impressions of recent travels to the Soviet Union that was published on February 10.

Early that March, he met with the author Yasushi Inoue as well as Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda. And on March 16, he welcomed a delegation of Chinese youth to the Seikyo Shimbun Building. He also attended a ceremony at Soka University to welcome its first foreign exchange students from China following the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China.

He made his third trip to China on April 14 where he visited Peking University and met with Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping. After negotiations had stalled in concluding a bilateral peace and friendship treaty between Japan and China, Shin’ichi sought to confirm the vice premier’s thinking on the matter.

On April 17, news broke that the civil war in Cambodia had ended with the National United Front of Kampuchea’s capture of Phnom Penh. The next day in Beijing, Shin’ichi met with Prince Norodom Sihanouk, head of the Royal Government of the National Union of Kampuchea, a government-in-exile in Beijing. At this critical juncture in Cambodia’s history, Shin’ichi poured his energy into creating peace through citizen diplomacy.

On April 19, he attended a ceremony presenting three thousand books to Wuhan University. The idea originated from the friendship between a Soka University student who visited the university as part of a youth delegation and Wu Yue’e, a Japanese-language instructor at the university. Their friendship led to an exchange between the two schools.

On April 21, Shin’ichi traveled to Fudan University in Shanghai, where he vowed to endeavor for Japan-China friendship based on sincerity and dedication.

Unforgettable Scene

Illustration courtesy of Seikyo Press.

Reaffirming Our Shared Humanity

In February 1975, Shin’ichi Yamamoto passionately engaged political and intellectual leaders in dialogue to build deep bonds of friendship. At an informal discussion, youth leaders asked Shin’ichi about his efforts in civil diplomacy.

One of [the youth leaders] asked: “The people you’ve conducted dialogues with in recent years are from various fields and from countries around the world. Ideologically speaking, they include leaders of both socialist and democratic nations, as well as adherents of many different religions.

“Moreover, after these encounters, they all express their profound respect and trust in you. What kind of attitude do we need in order to win this kind of sympathy and goodwill among people of such differing ideologies and values?”

With a smile, Shin’ichi Yamamoto replied: “Differences among people are a given. This is what makes each person unique. … That is why we must not only recognize that people are different, but also respect and learn from one another. That should be our basic perspective. Accordingly, regardless of creed, we must always respect others as human beings first.” …

Shin’ichi was impassioned whenever he spoke with young people. Knowing that it was young people who would firmly reinforce the bridges he had built and widen the trails he had blazed into broad pathways of peace, he spoke with emphasis: “People are different in many, many ways. They are diverse. But they have certain things in common that transcend those differences.

“First, we are all human beings living on this Earth. Second, we are all living our lives as best we can, facing the realities of birth, aging, sickness and death, and wishing for happiness and peace. By keeping these commonalities in mind, we should be able to recognize ideals that we all share—respect for the dignity of life, which is the inviolable right to life for all humanity and the right to happiness. As such, war is absolutely unacceptable.

“This belief in the sanctity of life is sup- ported by Nichiren Daishonin’s philosophy that all living beings are inherently Buddhas. … ”

Shin’ichi’s purpose in engaging in dialogue was to confirm these common elements with whomever he spoke and to create an affinity for peace. His aim was to build alliances for protecting the sanctity of life with people of all nationalities. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 21, pp. 99–100)

Key Passage

The seedlings of friendship will not grow tall and strong if they are neglected after a single encounter. Just as seedlings need water, fertilizer and patient care to grow, friendship is fostered through abiding sincerity. (NHR-21, 134)

Volume 21: Chapter One—SGI

Volume 21: Chapter Three—Resonance