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Soka Heritage Hall Opens at University Campus

Foundation—Soka Heritage Hall opens at Soka University of America, honoring the history and founders of Soka education, Aliso Viejo, Calif., October 2022. Photo courtesy of Soka University of America.

Soka Heritage Hall, which chronicles the history of Soka University of America (SUA) and the heritage and founders of Soka education, opened on campus this October.

“Visitors to the hall will embark on a journey of SUA’s heritage and the vision of the founders of Soka education, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Josei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda,” SUA President Edward Feasel said. “It is my hope that everyone who visits Soka Heritage Hall will develop a deeper understanding of SUA’s founding spirit and mission.”

The development of the hall, near the Athenaeum on the southwestern edge of campus, is part of the 20th anniversary project “Soka Global Citizens: Embodying Wisdom, Courage, and Compassion.” The hall was completed thanks to the hard work of SUA’s staff, alumni and precious donors.

A small stone monument near the hall’s entrance is engraved with university founder Daisaku Ikeda’s calligraphy of the Chinese characters for “wisdom,” “courage” and “compassion,” the core principles of global citizenship outlined in his seminal 1996 Columbia University address. In the foyer, SUA’s principles, mottoes and mission statement are featured prominently alongside photos of programs and initiatives that exemplify how the university has put them into practice.

Exhibit rooms branch off the central hallway, highlighting Mr. Ikeda’s multifaceted efforts as an author, educator and citizen diplomat to promote peace, education and intercultural dialogue and exchange alongside SUA students’ and alumni’s global efforts to actualize the ideals and mission. The Dialogue Room features a large world map that illustrates SUA students’ countries of origin and locations where they have studied abroad or traveled during Learning Clusters.

Although Mr. Ikeda has never visited SUA’s campus in Aliso Viejo, California, Soka students have enjoyed warm and meaningful exchanges with the school’s founder since 2001. The Exchanges with the Founder Room highlights these personal exchanges, including the background of the beloved “Founder’s Snacks”; a showcase of sheet music for SUA’s two school songs; small gifts of encouragement; poems and messages to the students and university; and the manuscript of Mr. Ikeda’s dedication message when SUA opened in 2001.

There are also several rooms dedicated to the founding and origins of Soka education, detailing Tsunesaburo Makiguchi’s (1871–1944) and Josei Toda’s (1900–58) courageous commitment to peace, human rights and value-creating education. Mr. Makiguchi, a geographer, author and educator, was an outspoken critic of the indoctrination of children under imperial Japan’s education system. He promoted value-creating education, a philosophy he developed over many years of teaching, enriched by his practice of Nichiren Buddhism. Together with Mr. Toda, his closest disciple, they founded the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (Value-Creating Education Society), the educators society that has since expanded into one of the world’s largest lay Buddhist organizations, the Soka Gakkai.

A display case features a copy of Mr. Toda’s A Deductive Guide to Arithmetic, which sold over a million copies. Toda used the profits from the guide to fund the publication of Mr. Makiguchi’s foundational work The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy on Nov. 18, 1930, the publication of which also dates the foundation of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai.

Soka Heritage Hall is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can register to visit at

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