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Ikeda Sensei

Human Flowers Blooming Undefeated by the Trials of Winter (Part 2)

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The following essay was translated from the Feb. 21, 2022, issue of the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun. For part 1, see the March 18, 2022, World Tribune, pp. 2–3.

The energy of the February Campaign[1] also inspired the development of our organization in Kansai, which grew into a great people’s movement heralding the dawn of the effort to realize Nichiren Daishonin’s vision of building a better society. 

There was a book that my fellow Kansai members and I cherished as an unforgettable treasure. It was second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda’s novel Human Revolution—written under the pen name Myo Goku. He personally presented me with a copy on July 3, 1957, amid the Osaka Incident,[2]five years after the February Campaign. 

I had been staunchly fighting in Hokkaido to protect the religious freedom of Soka Gakkai members in the Yubari Coal Miners Union Incident.[3] Once victory was secured, I had to fly immediately to Osaka to appear for questioning at the Osaka Prefectural Police Headquarters. 

Mr. Toda came to see me at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, where I changed planes, and urged me to “Go and fight!” As we said farewell, he handed me a copy of his book, which had just been published that day to commemorate his release from prison on July 3, 1945. 

I read the book in the plane on my way to Osaka. It roused my courage tremendously and ignited in me a resolve to strive with the same powerful fighting spirit as my mentor. With this, I boldly stepped out to face the hardship of being imprisoned on a charge of which I was completely innocent.

I later wrote on the book’s flyleaf “Received from my mentor Josei Toda on July 3, 1957.” On the inside of the back cover, I inscribed a poem by the poet Seigan Yanagawa (1789–1858), about the 12th century Japanese general Minamoto no Yoshitsune and set in Kansai:

Snow accumulates on her reed hat
the wind whips at her robe’s hem.
What is the babe feeling
as he cries so vigorously for his mother’s breast?
Years later, atop the perilous cliff on Mount Tekkai,
he rallies his forces
with the same vigorous cry.[4]

The poem tells the story of Lady Tokiwa, Yoshitsune’s mother, fleeing the opposing Heike forces, with her three young children, snow piling up on her reed hat and the wind tearing at her robe. It asks what her infant child, Yoshitsune, must be feeling as he cries to be fed. 

It goes on to tell of how, many years later, Yoshitsune becomes the general leading the Minamoto forces against the Heike clan. At the Battle of Ichinotani, he defeats the enemy by leading a surprise attack from Hiyodorigoe Cliff on Mount Tekkai. The voice in which he issues the order to attack is the voice of the babe he was long ago, cradled by his mother in the snow. 

This poem expressed my determination to transform the situation and emerge triumphant. 

How many decent, good-hearted people had been made to suffer by the devilish nature of tyrannical authority? But I would right those wrongs! I would empower young people dedicated to truth and justice who knew the suffering of ordinary men and women, build a network of courageous lions undaunted by any difficulty and make a victory song of the people resound far and wide!

Kansai members took my determination as their own and built the invincible, golden citadel of Ever-Victorious Kansai.

How many decent, good-hearted people had been made to suffer by the devilish nature of tyrannical authority? But I would right those wrongs! 

Members around the world celebrate the February Campaign by reaching out to others in dialogue, both as individuals and with their fellow members. 

In India, each February, members engage in what they call the “Kamata Campaign,” making great strides in developing their movement for kosen-rufu. 

Thirty years ago, on Feb. 11, 1992, Mr. Toda’s birthday, I delivered a lecture in the Indian capital of New Delhi about the nonviolent people’s movement initiated by Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948).[5]

Gandhi was serving his final prison sentence in India at the end of World War II at the same time that my mentor was incarcerated for resisting the demands of Japan’s militarist government. 

Gandhi believed that prayer is the struggle to conquer oneself and the key to courageously overcoming inner negativity and despair.[6]

Today, members in India, the birthplace of Buddhism, and all around the globe are praying for the happiness of humanity based on our vow for kosen-rufu.

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the hearts of the members of the Soka family are connected. 

At the recent headquarters leaders meeting (held on Feb. 6 in Kobe), the Hyogo Prefecture women’s division Sunflower Chorus gave an uplifting performance of a favorite Soka Gakkai song of our members in Brazil, who have deep ties to Hyogo and Kansai. It brought them great joy. 

Representatives of the Hyogo future division and youth division also moved the audience with their wonderful singing of “Dainanko” (The Great Hero Kusunoki).[7]

I fervently sang this song brimming with the spirit of truth and justice before my mentor many times in my youth. I was deeply gratified and reassured by this performance by our young successors embodying the principle “from the indigo, an even deeper blue” (see “Offerings in the Snow,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 2, p. 809). 

United by the supreme bond of mentor and disciple and the spirit of “many in body, one in mind,” let us actualize each of our prayers for our own lives and for kosen-rufu and transform the poison of the great difficulties facing society and the world into medicine.

Both first Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Mr. Toda treasured and underlined this passage from Nichiren’s writings: “Three things are required—a good teacher, a good believer, and a good teaching—before prayers can be effective and disasters banished from the land” (“Those Initially Aspiring to the Way,” WND-1, 880). 

United by the supreme bond of mentor and disciple and the spirit of “many in body, one in mind,” let us actualize each of our prayers for our own lives and for kosen-rufu and transform the poison of the great difficulties facing society and the world into medicine. Carrying on Mr. Toda’s wish to eliminate misery from our planet, let us open the way to realizing a truly peaceful and prosperous world based on the life-affirming principles of Nichiren Buddhism.

Thinking people everywhere have expressed profound trust and hopes for our young global citizens of Soka.

I call on you to break through the thick walls of ice in people’s hearts and in society and, with warm solidarity and life force, realize a springtime of peace and dignity for all. Blooming as beautiful, resilient “human flowers,” make ever greater dynamic progress!


  1. February Campaign: In February 1952, Ikeda Sensei, then an advisor to Tokyo’s Kamata Chapter, initiated a dynamic propagation campaign. Together with the Kamata members, he broke through the previous monthly record of some 100 new member households by introducing Nichiren Buddhism to 201 new member households. ↩︎
  2. Osaka Incident on July 3, 1957: Daisaku Ikeda, then-Soka Gakkai youth division chief of staff, was arrested and imprisoned by the Osaka Prefectural Police on false charges of violating election laws. At the end of the court case, which continued for more than four years, he was fully exonerated on Jan. 25, 1962. ↩︎
  3. Yubari Coal Miners Incident: A case of blatant religious discrimination in which miners in Yubari, Hokkaido, were threatened with losing their jobs due to their Soka Gakkai membership. ↩︎
  4. Translated from Japanese. Nobu Ito, Yanagawa Seigan-ou (Gifu: Yanagawa Seigan-ou Itoku-kensho-kai, 1925), p. 93. ↩︎
  5. 5. At the invitation of the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (Gandhi Memorial Hall), Sensei delivered a lecture titled “Toward a World Without War—Gandhism and the Modern World.” ↩︎
  6. See Mahatma Gandhi, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (New Delhi: The Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1970), vol. 38, pp. 247–48. ↩︎
  7. “Dainanko” (The Great Hero Kusunoki): The song describes the poignant leave-taking between the brilliant 14th century military tactician Kusunoki Masashige (d. 1336) and his son Masatsura. As the father departs for battle, his young son declares that he will accompany him, ready to die at his side. But his father asks his son to stay behind and live to carry on his aspirations. “Dainanko” is often sung in the Soka Gakkai as an expression of the spirit of oneness of mentor and disciple. ↩︎

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