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Seeking Spirit

The New Human Revolution, “Seeking Spirit” Chapter, Installment 27

Volume 27, Chapter 4

By Daisaku Ikeda

As Josei Toda climbed the stone steps of the Aoba Castle ruins, his breathing became labored and his pace began to falter. Shin’ichi quickly took his arm and supported him.

Leaning on his disciple, Toda continued heading cheerfully for the castle’s main enclosure.

The open space featured a concrete statue of the famous Japanese warlord Date Masamune (1567–1636) in informal dress. Previously, there had been a bronze equestrian statue of Masamune, which had been erected in 1935 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of his death. It had been removed during World War II, however, under Japan’s Metal Collection Order, enacted to procure metal for the military.

The concrete statue was erected in 1953, the year before Toda and Shin’ichi visited the castle ruins. Because some thought the previous statue—Masamune on horseback, donning armor, helmet and sword—was too aggressive, the new figure represented him in informal dress.

Looking up at it, Toda said: “Masamune without his helmet and armor … it’s not the usual image. A master of the military arts, he was also a man of great wisdom, with a mind open to the world and deeply interested in culture. In that sense, this statue is also a fair depiction.”

Later, in 1964, in response to requests from local residents, a replica of the original equestrian statue was installed.

From the main enclosure, Toda and Shin’ichi took in the view of Sendai City through the morning mist and could see the Hirose River below bordered by greenery. Toda pointed to the city and said: “Though castles were usually built in the city center, when Masamune laid out Sendai, he centered the town on merchant families. He lined the main road running north and south with their shops and residences and granted them special privileges for conducting business. He was keenly aware of the need to stimulate commerce to enrich the domain.

“But then great adversity struck in the form of an earthquake and tsunami. And this happened more than once. Not all details are known, but the Date clan must have suffered significant damage.

“I think that Date Masamune’s greatness lies in how he courageously faced all those challenges.”

Adversity tests and strengthens us.

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