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A New Departure Toward 2030

Photo by Nicole Walter.

On June 5, 2022, SGI-USA’s West and Central territories livestreamed kosen-rufu gongyo meetings at the Los Angeles Friendship Center and Chicago Culture Center, respectively, where new territory leadership appointments were announced. Below are summaries of the new leaders’ determinations toward the Soka Gakkai’s centennial in 2030.

James Herrmann
West Territory Leader

Two-and-a-half years have already passed since Ikeda Sensei stated: “The decade from the Soka Gakkai’s 90th anniversary to its centennial in 2030 will be crucial. We must be even more determined to show victorious proof of our own human revolution, to transform all great evil into great good and to effect a powerful change in the destiny of all humankind.”[1]Putting into perspective the challenges we face in the world today, we mustn’t become disillusioned and lose sight of our important mission. The next 7 1/2 years are crucial! Now is our time! 

In January, we will mark the 30th anniversary of Sensei’s poem “The Sun of Jiyu Over a New Land.” Using this poem as my essential prime point with Sensei, I am resolved to repay my debt of gratitude, reawaken my spirit of youth (my current age not withstanding) and fight passionately and courageously to realize his great vision—that West Territory lead the nation and the world in expanding our movement for kosen-rufu!

Toward the 100th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai, it is my deepest prayer and determination that the members of West Territory will be the most prosperous, harmonious, healthiest and, above all, the happiest in the world.

Margaret Kasahara
West Territory Women’s Leader

It is my greatest honor to take the baton and hit the ground running to create a new history with Ikeda Sensei and our West Territory members toward 2030! Thank you, Sensei, for this incredible opportunity!

I am so looking forward to working alongside all of you as we fight to solidify our foundation of Nichiren Buddhism here in America, where it is so desperately needed! 

In Sensei’s message to SUA’s graduating class of 2022, he wrote:

Precisely because you stand today on the cusp of an arduous journey in an era of trial and turmoil, I offer these words on your departure: Summon forth resounding courage and exercise your true worth as global citizens of Soka.

Now more than ever, manifest the true value of Soka’s global citizens, doing so in good cheer with wisdom and resilience, to brighten our world in this century from the stage of your respective mission in life.[2]

With today’s fresh departure toward 2030, I’m determined to renew my vow to Sensei and, while uniting with all of you, change the current trajectory of our country and respond to Sensei’s great expectations of America!

Together let’s transform the land of our great West Territory, always with Sensei in our hearts!

Paul Niihara
Central Territory Leader

Now more than ever, united in daimoku together with all of you, I am determined to raise our precious youth and our amazing future division members with the wonderful mission of kosen-rufu they have together with Ikeda Sensei toward 2030, our 100th anniversary. 

Sensei laid the foundation of Central Territory when he first visited Chicago in 1960. In Lincoln Park, he witnessed a young African American boy flee in painful humiliation after being subjected to racial discrimination. Sensei, right then and there, vowed in his heart: “I promise you that I will build a society truly worthy of your love and pride.”[3]

Since that visit in 1960, Sensei has always been with us in Central Territory every step of the way, visiting New Orleans, Dallas, Indianapolis, Denver and El Paso. And just recently, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Minnesota. This has truly crystalized a new departure for Central Territory with the oneness of mentor and disciple. 

I am determined to do my very best to live by Sensei’s guidance to change myself first, never give up and advance joyfully and courageously. 

And in conjunction with my new leadership responsibility, I am also determined in my personal life to become the best husband, the best father to my three daughters, a better friend and comrade in faith.

Mike Woods
Central Territory Men’s Leader

I’m honored to have the opportunity to support the members of Central Territory. I really feel that, now more than ever—with the ongoing pandemic, the tide of random violence and indifference sweeping the country—we as Bodhisattvas of the Earth have chosen to fight alongside Ikeda Sensei here in Central Territory. We all have to become the happiest people in the world.

To the men of Central, let’s respond to Sensei now more than ever. Let’s unite with the women and the youth. Leading with our Buddhist practice, let’s be examples in our communities as great fathers, partners, friends and professionals. Let’s also resolve together to (please excuse the football reference) be the “offensive line,” the shield wall to protect and support our wonderful youth. And let’s develop an alloy of friendship and trust with our brothers in the young men’s division, supporting them 1,000%. Let’s fight together to determine that this year, in particular, every member of Central Territory wins a tremendous victory no matter what! 


  1. Sept. 18, 2020, World Tribune, p. 3. ↩︎
  2. See Brighten Our World From the Stage of Your Mission ↩︎
  3. The New Human Revolution, vol. 1, revised edition, p. 161. ↩︎

Can my family members become happy even though they don’t practice Buddhism?

Baggio Takes Flight