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The New Human Revolution

The New Human Revolution, Volume 28

Installments of Chapter 1—Songs of Kosen-rufu

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Installment 1

“A song of victory resounds in my heart. / The power of spring rises in my soul,”[1] wrote the Ukrainian poet Lesya Ukrainka (1871–1913).

Shin’ichi Yamamoto’s heart resounded with a song of youth astride noble steeds galloping across the open plains of the 21st century.

On the afternoon of June 28, 1978, Shin’ichi began composing lyrics for a new student division song in the Mentor-Disciple Hall at the Soka Gakkai Headquarters in Shinanomachi, Tokyo.

Half an hour earlier, after a divisional representatives meeting at the Kosen-rufu Hall of the Soka Gakkai Culture Center, student division leaders had asked him to review the lyrics for their new song.

“We’re planning to present the song at the leaders meeting marking the student division’s 21st anniversary on June 30. We were hoping you could edit the draft for us.”

Shin’ichi accepted the lyric sheet and went to the Mentor-Disciple Hall. There, he placed it in front of the Soka Gakkai Joju Gohonzon,[2] which bore the inscription “For the Fulfillment of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu through the Compassionate Propagation of the Great Law.” He chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and then set to work.

The student division’s inaugural meeting had taken place on June 30, 1957, with second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda in attendance. At the time, the Soka Gakkai was facing growing harassment from established powers that feared the rise of an influential new people’s movement.

In Hokkaido, the Yubari Coal Miners’ Union had unjustly barred Soka Gakkai members from its ranks, falsely claiming they had disrupted the union’s solidarity. Shin’ichi, then Soka Gakkai youth division chief of staff, had rushed to the area to defend the members’ religious freedom against this blatant discrimination. While dealing with the union, he visited members at home to talk with and encourage them, igniting a flame of courage in their hearts.

The coal miners’ union was an intimidating force that wielded tremendous power, but Shin’ichi would not allow its abusive behavior to continue.

Then, on July 3, a few days after the student division’s founding, Osaka prefectural police arrested Shin’ichi on trumped-up charges of election law violations.[3]

Amid these intense struggles against the devilish nature of power, the student division was born, underscoring its destiny to be a gathering of wise and courageous leaders with a mission to support and protect the people.

Learning must always be used for the good of the people.

Installment 2

Looking at the proposed lyrics, Shin’ichi thought: “The student division is making a fresh start toward the 21st century with new leadership. It’s time for a new struggle of mentor and disciple and for me to pass them the baton of kosen-rufu. I should write them a song to celebrate this occasion and express my high hopes.”

Shin’ichi asked that the leaders who had given him the lyrics join him at the Mentor-Disciple Hall.

“Because the student division is so important,” he said, “I’d like to write the song for you. I want to create a student division song that will endure through the ages. Let’s produce a song now that will be sung for generations to come. I’d like to finish the music today as well.

“I’m prepared to give my all for you. The future can be entrusted only to you, my young friends. “Okay, then, I’ll dictate, so please write.”

Shin’ichi gazed into the distance, as if toward the future. He was silent for a while, and then began to compose the song line by line.

“‘We stand upon the vast open plains.’ By using both ‘vast’ and ‘open,’ I wish to convey a sense of majesty to emphasize that the student division members’ future is bright, and their stage, boundless. I want you to spread your wings and soar out into the wide world.

“Next, let’s say, ‘ready to journey ten thousand miles astride gallant steeds.’ This conveys the feeling of a spirited start and my wish that you will make your way to all corners of the globe.

“‘Now it’s time to venture forth as champions of the age.’ ‘Venture forth’ suggests embarking on a brave endeavor to triumph over hardships and accomplish one’s aims. ‘Champions of the age’ means outstanding leaders of the 21st century.”

Words flowed from Shin’ichi’s heart like a fountain.

A fervent wish to encourage others gives birth to words of courage, hope and conviction.

Installment 3

It was already past 4:30. Shin’ichi and his wife, Mineko, were scheduled to attend an informal gathering with women’s division leaders at the Shinjuku Culture Center at 5:30. He decided to work on the lyrics until the last minute.

“Now, the fourth line, which in Japanese poetry is considered the stanza’s all-important conclusion. Let’s go with ‘You and I, my friends, let’s dash onward to kosen-rufu!’ Ours is not a solitary struggle. We move forward with fellow members, acting as allies to the suffering and building strong friendships. ‘Dash onward’ conveys a sense of vigorous action. Young people must not just sit around absorbed in idle contemplation.

“To ‘dash onward to kosen-rufu,’ we first need to decide to live for the sake of kosen-rufu. Then, each moment, as best we can, we must strive for that cause. We don’t walk toward kosen-rufu. We dash at full speed. Nikko Shonin, Nichiren Daishonin’s disciple and successor, said, ‘Until kosen-rufu is achieved, propagate the Law to the full extent of your ability without begrudging your life.’[4] That’s our spirit.

“In addition, it’s important that we remain true throughout our lives to the vow we made in our youth. The Daishonin writes: ‘Be diligent in developing your faith until the last moment of your life. Otherwise you will have regrets’ (“Letter to Niike,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1027). Our victory depends on continuing in faith.

“In the years ahead, you will start your working lives and possibly get married. You will face many changes. You may experience opposition to your faith from your boss or coworkers, or even your family and relatives. You may fall ill, or the company you work for may go bankrupt. When something like that happens, say to yourself, ‘My faith is being tested. I won’t be defeated!’ and grit your teeth and carry on. No matter how hard it is, I hope you will forge ahead on the great path of kosen-rufu to the very end as torchbearers with a great mission for truth and justice. To spur you on, I’m trying to create a song for the spirit, a rousing song of mentor and disciple.”

Shin’ichi continued working on the lyrics, drawing forth words from the depths of his being.

Installment 4

The energy and speed with which Shin’ichi composed the lyrics awed the student division leaders.

He continued: “Since the image in the first verse is vast open plains, let’s use the morning sun in the second. I want you to always advance toward the sun. Let’s start with ‘Eyes bright with resolve in the morning sun.’”

For the third verse, he said: “The image of a mighty river would be good here. I hope student division members will become captain and crew of the ship Soka Gakkai, protecting the people and opening an age in which the mighty river of kosen-rufu flows freely.

“All right, please take this down, ‘Now, on this mighty river surging powerfully, / let’s converse with all our hearts, across the silver waves, / this ship sure to make history … ’”

The mission of youth is not to be content with the past but to create something new.

After about 30 or 40 minutes, the lyrics were almost done. Reviewing them, Shin’ichi said: “Let’s make the fourth line in all three verses ‘You and I, my friends, let’s dash onward to kosen-rufu!’

“I want our student division members to develop themselves with the awareness that they are all capable individuals, that they are all students with a mission and that their activities serve as training to grow into leaders of the age. I would like these to be their guidelines.

“I’m going to another meeting now, but afterward I will work some more on the lyrics and music. I’ll let you know when I get back to it.”

Shin’ichi then left the Mentor-Disciple Hall.

He returned home at 9 p.m. and made some further revisions. Then he contacted the student division leaders and asked a men’s division member, a music teacher, to join them to help compose the music.

When they arrived, he said: “Let’s make the tempo upbeat, like a magnificent steed galloping ten thousand miles. If any of you have comments or suggestions, please feel free to speak up.”

Shin’ichi sang the lyrics, and the music teacher transcribed the melody. The tune came together bit by bit, Shin’ichi seeking the leaders’ input as he went.

Installment 5

Soon, the song was finished and given the title “Dash Onward to Kosen-rufu.” A group of student division chorus members who were at the Soka Gakkai Headquarters immediately recorded it.

The tape was delivered to Shin’ichi, and he and his wife, Mineko, listened to it. He asked her what she thought.

“It’s a song filled with hope, with the vibrant spirit of youth. I’m sure everyone will be delighted. I think not only the students but members of the young men’s and young women’s divisions, and even the men and women will want to sing it.”

“Really? Then let’s give others the option of changing ‘our pride as students’ in the second verse to ‘our pride as Bodhisattvas of the Earth.’ Problem solved!

“Actually, I’m thinking of composing songs not just for the student division, but for the young men’s and young women’s divisions and all the other divisions, too. And not only for each division, but also for regions, prefectures and wards, and, if possible, chapters throughout Japan. New progress calls for new songs.”

“I wonder if you’ll have the time? You’re scheduled to travel nationwide this year, and you’ll be making your fourth visit to China in September.”

“I’m prepared to give this my all. Unjust attacks on the Soka Gakkai continue at Nichiren Shoshu temples, distressing many of our members. I want to encourage everyone. This is precisely the time to create fresh momentum for kosen-rufu.

“I’ll write one song after another. Now is a crucial moment. I’ll give it everything I’ve got. After all, Nichiren Daishonin says: ‘Life is limited; we must not begrudge it. What we should ultimately aspire to is the Buddha land’ (“Aspiration for the Buddha Land,” WND-1, 214).

“The important thing is to foster people of true courage who remain dedicated to the mission of kosen-rufu no matter what may happen. To do that, I wish to create stirring songs to inspire everyone. The Soka Gakkai will always advance with a bright, cheerful spirit, its members singing songs of joy and hope together.”

Voices raised in song resonate in people’s hearts.

Installment 6

June 30, the date of the student division anniversary leaders meeting, arrived. An article titled “Basic Issues Regarding Doctrinal Study” appeared on page four of that morning’s Seikyo Shimbun. It presented the Soka Gakkai’s position on the study of Nichiren Buddhism.

On June 19, the Soka Gakkai had received a list of more than 30 doctrinal-related questions from the priesthood. It had been compiled from questions raised by priests who had been accusing the Soka Gakkai of deviating from the school’s teachings.

The priests had scoured the Seikyo Shimbun, the Daibyakurenge monthly study journal, and other Soka Gakkai publications, and even regional newsletters published by volunteers. They questioned not only Shin’ichi’s speeches and lectures on the Daishonin’s writings but also statements of top Soka Gakkai leaders, youth division leaders and others.

For example, in one of his lectures on “The True Aspect of All Phenomena” [in 1977], Shin’ichi referred to the passage “At first only Nichiren chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, but then two, three, and a hundred followed, chanting and teaching others” (WND-1, 385). Explaining that it describes the principle by which the Mystic Law spreads, he went on to discuss it from the general and specific viewpoints[5]: “Needless to say, in specific terms, ‘only’ refers to the Daishonin himself in his lifetime. But this applies not just to his lifetime, as he indicates when he says: ‘Propagation will unfold this way in the future as well’ (WND-1, 385).

“The Soka Gakkai began when founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi stood up alone and started chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Then two, three and many others joined in ‘chanting and teaching others,’ until eventually there were about three thousand members. After World War II, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda rose up amid the burned-out ruins of Tokyo and alone began to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, again followed by two, three and then a hundred who also started ‘chanting and teaching others.’ This has led to the more than 10 million members we have today.”

Regarding this, the priesthood said: “Nichiren Daishonin alone was the one to start chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Isn’t it presumptuous, then, to say that the first and second presidents were the ones to start chanting it?”

Shin’ichi had simply described the undeniable history of how the Soka Gakkai had spread Nichiren Buddhism throughout Japan and the world.

Installment 7

The solitary initiative of first and second Soka Gakkai Presidents Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda had set in motion a fresh groundswell for kosen-rufu in modern times. In light of this, Shin’ichi had stressed in his lecture on “The True Aspect of All Phenomena” the lionhearted spirit needed to realize the compassionate spread of the Mystic Law.

Yet the priesthood had nevertheless sent this question alleging, based on their distorted reasoning, that the Soka Gakkai regarded Presidents Makiguchi and Toda as equal to Nichiren Daishonin.

Another question took up Shin’ichi’s statement on how Mr. Toda, while chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in his prison cell, had “read the Lotus Sutra with his life and awakened to his identity as the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.” The priesthood asked: “Of course, the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth is Bodhisattva Superior Practices. Did President Toda awaken to being Bodhisattva Superior Practices and engage in that bodhisattva’s practice? If that were the case, there would be no need for the Daishonin, would there?”

What Shin’ichi meant by calling Mr. Toda “the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth” was that he was “the lay leader of propagation.” It was also well-known that Mr. Toda had often referred to himself as “the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.” With this self-awareness, Toda stood up alone after the war to work for kosen-rufu and took the lead in spreading Nichiren Buddhism to 750,000 households.

High Priest Nichijun Horigome (1898–1959) had praised Mr. Toda’s achievement, saying: “It seems to me that the Soka Gakkai is a gathering of these bodhisattvas called forth in the Latter Day by President Toda, their leader. In other words, I believe President Toda called them forth in the number of 750,000 member households as embodiments of the five or seven characters[6] of Myoho-renge-kyo.”[7]

“These bodhisattvas” referred back to the “great bodhisattvas as numerous as the sands of sixty thousand Ganges Rivers”—in other words, the Bodhisattvas of the Earth—that High Priest Nichijun had mentioned earlier in his remarks. Shin’ichi had, therefore, called Mr. Toda “the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth” based on this and the fact that he had led the unprecedented effort to spread the Mystic Law in Japan’s turbulent postwar period, which resulted in achieving a Soka Gakkai membership of 750,000 households.

In the present age, who are the Bodhisattvas of the Earth other than those who face opposition for the sake of the Law, striving with selfless dedication to advance kosen-rufu? And who is their leader if not the person who guides them? Where else do we find the emergence of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth?

Installment 8

The priesthood also took issue with the Soka Gakkai referring to President Makiguchi as senshi, literally, “late teacher or mentor.” They pointed out that the “Twenty-Six Admonitions of Nikko” had used this term for Nichiren Daishonin and asked if the Soka Gakkai were equating Mr. Makiguchi with Nichiren Daishonin.

The Soka Gakkai used the term in its generic meaning of predecessor, merely to distinguish Mr. Makiguchi from Mr. Toda, for whom it used the term onshi, literally, “teacher or mentor.”

Behind such questions were the priesthood’s misconceptions and false suspicions that the Soka Gakkai was promoting the idea that “the president is the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law.”

In response, the Soka Gakkai reaffirmed that Nichiren Daishonin alone is the Buddha of the Latter Day and that this is “a fundamental principle unchanging throughout the ten thousand years and more of the Latter Day of the Law.” The organization’s arduous struggle of the past half century, it stressed, was dedicated to “showing the world through its propagation efforts that Nichiren Daishonin is the Buddha who appeared in the Latter Day.” It further stated:

In our daily practice for ourselves and others, we have always regarded Nichiren Daishonin as the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. We have made the Gohonzon, which embodies his spirit, the fundamental object of our faith, and made the widespread propagation of Nichiren Buddhism the great goal of our practice. This is the essence of the Soka Gakkai spirit. Therefore, the Soka Gakkai has never taken the view that its president is the Buddha of the Latter Day.

Not understanding the importance of the “time” of the Latter Day of the Law, Japanese Buddhism contented itself solely with worshipping statues of Shakyamuni and other Buddhas. Now, however, through the efforts of Soka mentors and disciples—starting with Presidents Makiguchi and Toda—unprecedented numbers of people had come to regard Nichiren Daishonin as the Buddha of the Latter Day and were working for kosen-rufu based on faith in the Gohonzon.

This alone made it clear that the priesthood’s claim that the Soka Gakkai viewed its president as the Buddha of the Latter Day had no grounding in reality and was just a pretext manufactured to attack the lay organization.

The ancient Greek poet Hesiod wrote, “The bad man will harm the superior one, speaking with crooked discourses, and he will swear an oath upon them.”[8] The methods used by the ill-intentioned to discredit the just and good are still the same today.

Installment 9

Another question referred to an article by a young men’s division ward leader that contained the phrase “the Soka Gakkai, which is directly connected to Nichiren Daishonin.” The priesthood asked what “directly connected” meant, implying that the Soka Gakkai was rejecting the high priest’s role.

The phrase had been used in the context of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with deep faith and fusing our lives with the Gohonzon [which embodies Nichiren Daishonin’s enlightened life state]. There had been no intent to negate the role of the high priest. The priests had deliberately sought out remarks they could use as ammunition to support their claims that the organization was deviating from the school’s teachings.

Referring to Shin’ichi’s use of the term “Soka Buddhism,” they asked what that meant and whether it was something different from Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism.

Shin’ichi had used the term in relation to the Soka Gakkai’s efforts to spread the Daishonin’s teachings in society and to convey its commitment to practice-oriented Buddhist study. Moreover, soka, or value creation, essentially means the creation of happiness. He had, therefore, used the term “Soka Buddhism” in the sense of “Buddhism for creating happiness.”

The priesthood also took issue with a Soka Gakkai study department leader’s reference to “the life philosophy of Nichiren Daishonin,” insisting “the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin” was more appropriate.

Introducing Buddhist principles in terms of life philosophy enables a wider audience to gain an understanding of Nichiren Buddhism. For Buddhism to spread on a broader scale, it is essential to explain its teachings in an accessible way, staying relevant to the times and taking into account contemporary ideas and scientific insights.

Finding ways to articulate the Buddhist teachings that accord with the times is a matter of crucial importance for advancing kosen-rufu. The road to kosen-rufu will close if we neglect such responsibility and effort. That is why the Soka Gakkai has consistently devoted great energy to this endeavor. Because of this, Nichiren Buddhism has come to be recognized and appreciated by many leaders and thinkers around the world, and has developed into a global religion.

Installment 10

The Soka Gakkai considered the priesthood’s questions carefully, organizing them and formulating its response with utmost sincerity. The priesthood had said that if it was satisfied with the Soka Gakkai’s answers, it could stop the attacks on the organization at its temples.

The Soka Gakkai leadership’s main priority was to quickly end this abnormal situation and protect the members. As they answered the questions, they confirmed the organization’s basic stance, ready to accept any points made by the priesthood regarding expressions that could be misunderstood. Their sincere response reflected the Soka Gakkai’s earnest wish for harmonious relations with the priesthood.

A short time later, the organization received a message from High Priest Nittatsu saying that he accepted the answers they had submitted.

The Soka Gakkai published its response under the title “Basic Issues Regarding Doctrinal Study” on page four of the June 30 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun and in the August edition of the Daibyakurenge study journal, to ensure that the entire membership was informed.

That should have ended the unjustified criticisms of the Soka Gakkai at Nichiren Shoshu temples. But once again, false accusations circulated, inciting further attacks. Behind this were the machinations of one treacherous individual who sought to manipulate the priesthood for his personal gain.

Many priests seized on the Soka Gakkai’s sincere response as a clear admission of error, using the article to double down on their negative campaign.

Far from subsiding, the attacks intensified. Using the weight of their clerical authority, the priests busied themselves pressuring members to quit the organization and affiliate directly with their own temples as danto members. Their tactics included threats that they would be unable to attain Buddhahood if they stayed with the Soka Gakkai.

When Shin’ichi thought of the distress this was causing the members, the children of the Buddha, he vowed to himself to protect them at all costs. He keenly felt it was vital to foster genuine champions of Soka who would never be swayed by plots to destroy the movement for kosen-rufu.

Installment 11

On the evening of June 30, the day “Basic Issues Regarding Doctrinal Study” ran in the Seikyo Shimbun, the student division’s 21st anniversary leaders meeting took place at the Arakawa Culture Center in Tokyo.

Quite a few of those attending had been born in 1957, the year of the student division’s establishment. All thought it deeply significant that the group had been formed at a time when their mentor, Shin’ichi Yamamoto, was engaged in an intense struggle against the devilish nature of authority.

The path of kosen-rufu is an epic and eternal struggle against any authoritarianism that aims to oppress and subjugate human beings. The student division members burned with determination to inherit Shin’ichi’s spirit, to protect the people and to fulfill their mission as the vanguard of kosen-rufu.

The emcee’s opening remarks were met with thunderous applause.

Kazuhito Oshiyama, the student division secretary, and Yuko Machino, the young women’s student bureau leader, spoke, and then student division leader Shigeo Asada took the podium.

Asada told the audience that Shin’ichi had put his heart and soul into composing the new student division song, “Dash Onward to Kosen-rufu.” He described the process leading to its completion: “After we announced the decision to compose a new student division song at the June student division leaders meeting [on May 24], ideas for the lyrics poured in from around the country. We even had a suggestion from a 66-year-old women’s division member! With such enthusiasm and warm support from everyone, the songwriting committee put their heads together and came up with a draft. But there was still much work to be done.

“When we showed it to President Yamamoto two days ago, he offered to write the song for us, saying he wanted to create a student division song that would last through the ages, and he immediately set to work. He revised it many times and, despite his busy schedule, even composed the music!”

Installment 12

Asada introduced the lyrics:

We stand upon the vast open plains
ready to journey ten thousand miles astride gallant steeds.
Now it’s time to venture forth as champions of the age.
You and I, my friends, let’s dash onward to kosen-rufu!

Eyes bright with resolve in the morning sun,
compassion and principle our pride as students.
O how our revolutionary wisdom shines!
You and I, my friends, let’s dash onward to kosen-rufu!

Now, on this mighty river surging powerfully,
let’s converse with all our hearts, across the silver waves,
this ship sure to make history.
You and I, my friends, let’s dash onward to kosen-rufu!

The venue erupted in loud, sustained applause.

Asada then share the three guidelines Shin’ichi had presented to the student division while working on the lyrics, including that they should strive with the awareness that they are all capable individuals.

“Let’s take deeply to heart our new song and the guidelines from President Yamamoto! Joyfully singing ‘Dash Onward to Kosen-rufu,’ let’s impart hope and courage to our troubled friends and strive with all our might to fulfill our mission as the forerunners of kosen-rufu!”

Everyone then joined the chorus and orchestra in a stirring rendition of the song. These students of “compassion and principle” powerfully sang of their vow “to journey ten thousand miles” for kosen-rufu.

Next came words from a Soka Gakkai vice president and an awards presentation for past student division leaders and others who had made pioneering contributions to the group. At last, it was time for Shin’ichi to speak.

He was happy to see so many outstanding young people of intellect and courage emerging in the Soka Gakkai, a gathering of ordinary people.

The most important requisite for the educated is to know the thoughts and feelings of the marginalized. They must have a philosophy and creed that prioritize safeguarding the people.

Installment 13

Congratulating the student division on its 21st anniversary, Shin’ichi began his speech recalling how his father, who had run a seaweed processing business, had stressed to him that it would be increasingly important to acquire learning from now on. Shin’ichi added that in every field, learning is indispensable to respond to and navigate the changing times, and that capable people with knowledge and wisdom will play a significant role in advancing kosen-rufu.

Looking to the Soka Gakkai’s future, he emphasized: “The most important period for us will be the 21st century. That is when you will take center stage. Please do not forget that your current studies, training and Buddhist practice are all to enable you to take your place on that grand stage. Therefore, no matter how tough it may be, please persevere, work hard and continue to improve yourself.

“How many outstanding leaders we produce in the 21st century will determine the course of the 22nd and 23rd centuries. In that sense, I wish to declare that the 21st century will be decisive for us.”

Youth are the protagonists of the future.

The German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956) wrote, “If we wish to achieve it [change] quickly, / we will need you and your support.”[9]

Shin’ichi never forgot the guidance of his mentor, Josei Toda, to set his sights 200 years hence. To do that, he first focused on the coming decades and poured his heart into winning day by day, month by month and year by year.

Realizing a far-distant vision starts by winning right now. We must devote all our energies to each task, take up challenges and proudly raise a banner of victory. Today’s struggles become tomorrow’s hopes and future crowns of brilliant achievement. Now is the time to create a precious history of earnest struggle that will adorn our lives.

Installment 14

Shin’ichi’s voice grew more impassioned.

“All of you possess great qualities and talents. But you must never lose sight of one thing, faith, and never give up your Buddhist practice.

“Fundamental issues of human destiny, happiness and life and death cannot be resolved solely through science, politics or economics. Only Nichiren Buddhism, which explains the ultimate Law of the universe, enables us to resolve them and achieve lives of indestructible happiness.

“Please engrave these words of the Daishonin in your hearts and follow the great path of kosen-rufu until the very end: ‘Whether tempted by good or threatened by evil, if one casts aside the Lotus Sutra, one destines oneself for [a life-state of] hell’ (“The Opening of the Eyes,” WND-1, 280).

“What does this mean in practical terms? Naturally, it’s important that you strive to become indispensable in your own fields, but you also need to take on some sort of responsibility within the Soka Gakkai, the organization for kosen-rufu and work hard to make each of your activities a success.

“The prayers of those who wish for everyone’s happiness, shoulder responsibility for kosen-rufu and do their best in organizational activities are truly powerful. Such people have abundant life force. In addition, by dedicating yourselves to the happiness of members and the people in your community, you can align your lives with the rhythm of the Mystic Law. This is Buddhist practice for accruing boundless good fortune. I want you to know that this is the way to do your human revolution and speed up the process of changing your karma.

“Once you enter society, your circumstances may sometimes prevent you from participating in Soka Gakkai activities as often as you’d like. But such times are crucial. That’s when you need to resolve that now is the decisive moment, have mutually encouraging encounters with fellow members and try to participate as much as you can. I hope you will stay closely connected to the organization and grow into fine leaders of the Soka Gakkai.”

Kosen-rufu can’t be realized without the Soka Gakkai, the organization carrying out the Buddha’s intent. If you become separated from it, you’ll stray from the correct path of faith dedicated to the happiness of oneself and others.

Installment 15

Shin’ichi wanted all the student division members to become victors in life and lead lives of supreme happiness and fulfillment.

He spoke powerfully: “Some of you may be agonizing over various problems. You may long to someday enjoy a perfect life free of suffering, utterly different from your life now.

“But life is a constant struggle with problems. They’ll always be there. What matters is whether you let them defeat you or not. Happiness rests on you becoming a person whom nothing can defeat. However painful the hardships that assail you, you just have to keep chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and pressing forward until you overcome them. That is the key to finding genuine fulfillment, joy and happiness. That is the real power of our faith and practice. Youth is the time to forge a strong inner core so that you can face such difficulties. The only way to do that is to actively strive to develop your capability in the Soka Gakkai and polish and strengthen your life.

“As young people with the mission to become great leaders of the 21st century, please reach out to those around you who may be struggling, thoroughly encourage them and speak with them about Buddhism. In doing so, you can cultivate the leadership and character that will inspire others while also deepening your conviction in Nichiren Buddhism.

“With the highest expectations, Mr. Toda always told the youth: ‘I entrust the Soka Gakkai’s future to you.’ I have lived up to that trust.

“Now it is your turn. With all my heart, I entrust the 21st century to you.

“As the world’s foremost gathering of students upholding the Mystic Law, as the successors in whom our warmhearted Soka family places its highest hopes, please work together harmoniously to create a new era, dedicating your lives to the happiness of the people.

“With my boundless hopes for what you will achieve with your intellect and passion, I wish to close by saying once again: ‘I entrust the 21st century to you!’”

Installment 16

The students responded to Shin’ichi’s heartfelt call with thunderous applause that went on and on.

The chorus then sang “Dash Onward to Kosen-rufu” again. Their powerful, vibrant voices rang through the hall. It was an ode to these heroic champions of wisdom and intellect about to venture on a long journey for peace.

When they finished, Shin’ichi said: “Excellent! Please sing it again!”

The song echoed through the hall once more. Everyone applauded for another encore.

“All right, one more time.”

They sang again and again.

“One last time, with everyone!” Shin’ichi said.

At this, a young man in the audience called out: “Sensei! How about we sing arm in arm?”

“What do you say?” Shin’ichi asked the participants. “I think it’s a wonderful idea, very fitting for students.”

Applause signaled their approval.

“Then let’s have the person who spoke out lead us.”

We stand upon the vast open plains
ready to journey ten thousand miles astride gallant steeds . . . .

With their arms over each other’s shoulders, the passionate young people swayed side to side to the music like a great wave. It evoked the powerful rising tide of a new age. Shin’ichi clapped in time energetically and gazed at the participants as if to engrave their faces in his memory.

The students made a vow: They would boldly challenge themselves upon the vast open plains of their mission. They would eagerly take their place on the stage of a new era as champions of the age. They would be students of compassion and principle, who shone with revolutionary wisdom. And they would foster dialogue for truth and justice, creating a history of lasting peace for all humanity.

A new song can inspire a new generation and be the force to open a new era.

Installment 17

Let us sing!
Songs of the heart, burning crimson!
Let us loudly sing songs of joy!
Let us proudly sing odes to the triumph of justice!
Let us brightly sing anthems to the people!

Since the Soka Gakkai’s early days, songs had always accompanied the members’ inspiring human dramas. The development of kosen-rufu had gained momentum as the people sang with uplifting voices.

Songs are thunderbolts of courage that vanquish the dark night, fanfares of hope that make the magnificent morning sun rise in our hearts.

Soon, not only student division members but members throughout Japan were singing “Dash Onward to Kosen-rufu” that Shin’ichi had written and composed.

On July 1, the day after its debut, the song was enthusiastically sung at meetings across the country, including a headquarters leaders meeting in Tokaido, a chapter leaders meeting in Tokyo, a general meeting in Oita Prefecture and a women’s division training group meeting.

After “Dash Onward to Kosen-rufu,” Shin’ichi immediately started on the words and music to a new young men’s division song.

The division had adopted “Leap Forward, Courageous Champions of Kosen-rufu!” as its slogan for July, which marked the group’s 27th anniversary, and was planning prefecture general meetings and other events. Shin’ichi wanted to give the group a new song to encourage their fresh dynamic progress.

He was concerned about the growing number of young people who, amid the rapidly changing times, were unable to forge a solid sense of self and were uninterested in participating in society.

More and more, members of the younger generation sought to “drop out,” growing apathetic, indifferent and unwilling to assume adult responsibilities.

To resolve this, people must come to know the fundamental meaning of their existence. The Lotus Sutra provides a clear answer.

That is, we are all Bodhisattvas of the Earth who have voluntarily appeared in the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law with the mission of spreading the Mystic Law to eliminate misery from our world and build peace and happiness for all.

Installment 18

Youth have a mission to be leaders of tomorrow’s society, tomorrow’s world, and to realize happiness and peace for all.

If young people close themselves up in their own shell, society will lose hope. If young people abandon their ideals, the future will be bleak.

With a fervent prayer that the youth of Soka be leaders of the next generation, Shin’ichi composed the new young men’s division song.

Brave young Bodhisattvas of the Earth,
like eagles, soar into the vast skies,
with wings of justice, protect the people.
Boldly, bravely, stand up, my friends!

Behold the rainbow in the distance!
Go fearlessly on the path you’ve chosen,
charging forth like lions, champions of the earth.
In the rising and setting sun, stand up, my friends!

Devoted to the grand adventure of kosen-rufu,
strike the Seven Bells and let them ring,
usher in a glorious age of victory.
Amid spring flowers or winter blizzards, stand up, my friends! 

He titled the song “Stand Up, My Friends.”

The July 3 Seikyo Shimbun carried the music and lyrics.

July 3 is the day [in 1945] that Shin’ichi’s mentor, Josei Toda, was released after two years in prison for his opposition to Japan’s militarist authorities and the day [in 1957] that Shin’ichi was arrested on baseless charges of election law violations. The day, therefore, symbolizes the Soka Gakkai’s vow to vanquish the devilish nature of authority and build an age of the people’s victory.

Shin’ichi had worked hard to complete the song so that it could be published in the July 3 issue.

Even after it was published, he asked many people for their input and made some revisions. The final lyrics and music appeared in the July 6 Seikyo Shimbun.

“Stand Up, My Friends” was a heroic and powerful song expressing the vow of young champions dedicated to “the grand adventure of kosen-rufu.”

Soka youth are those who live this adventure.

Installment 19

The July 6 issue also featured the music and lyrics of “The Stars Shine,” which Shin’ichi had composed for the young women’s division’s Byakuren Group. He wrote it to celebrate Byakuren Group Day on July 8 and the group’s new start.

Byakuren Group members served as reception and coordinating staff for meetings at the Soka Gakkai Headquarters and culture and community centers around the country. Their cheerful, uplifting, and dignified demeanor was the hope and pride of Soka Gakkai members.

Shin’ichi was resolved to protect the pure-spirited Byakuren members, treasures of the Soka Gakkai. He wrote the lyrics to praise and encourage them.

Donning the color of wisteria, eyes clear,
with beautiful hearts, you welcome fellow Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
Warm and confident, from person to person—
butterflies fluttering in a sincere dance.

White lilies in your hearts, your presence vibrant,
as you brightly greet weary friends.
The stars shine, the moon converses.
Ah, your faces glowing from effort.

White lotus [byakuren] blossoms, the fragrance of happiness,
gently perfume our castles.
Princesses who bring joy to the tearful,
who send people off refreshed.

On July 8, the Byakuren Group held a general meeting at the Arakawa Culture Center in Tokyo to commemorate their anniversary. Wearing their lilac uniforms, they sang “The Stars Shine” with beaming smiles and reflected on the noble mission of Byakuren members and Shin’ichi’s hopes for them. They vowed in their hearts to send, with their fresh voices, a revitalizing breeze to the weary and tearful.

Installment 20

The music and lyrics of “Life’s Journey,” a new song for the men’s division, also ran in the July 8 Seikyo Shimbun. Shin’ichi wrote it with high hopes for the men’s valiant efforts as they prepared for Men’s Division Day on August 24.

So many peaks, so many hills—
Ah, untold mountains and rivers crossed with partners and family,
seeking the light, through struggles and joys.
The time will surely come when we behold the dawn.

So many winds, so many snows—
Ah, how far we’ve come!
Now our lives unshakable.
Ah, the bell tolls in the bastion of happiness.

So many people, so many friends—
Ah, millions gather in the morning sun.
The flame of time without beginning still burns.
Let us celebrate in song our noble departure.

Men are traditionally the mainstays of their families, the golden pillars of society. When men with rich life experience who have won society’s trust stand up to contribute to their local communities, kosen-rufu gathers momentum.

In Nichiren Daishonin’s time, disciples such as Toki Jonin, Ota Jomyo, and Soya Kyoshin played central roles in spreading the Mystic Law in their communities.

When men set an example in advancing kosen-rufu, the Soka Gakkai will be able to demonstrate its full, rich potential and develop a movement firmly rooted in society. If, for example, five outstanding men’s division members appear in each block—the front line of the organization—and unite their efforts, they will serve as solid new pillars for their community. With many such pillars, we can expand a network of creativity and encouragement in our communities that will pave the way to a brighter future.

Installment 21

Shin’ichi looked to the 21st century.

Life expectancy in Japan was increasing year by year. So eventually, men in the Soka Gakkai would spend more time in the men’s division than in the young men’s division, perhaps even 40 or 50 years. In other words, a growing number would spend more than half their lives as men’s division members. For many after retirement, the local community would be the focus of their activities.

Shin’ichi believed that kosen-rufu at the local level would be realized when men’s division members became actively involved in their communities.

From the organization’s early days, women’s division members had been the main driving force behind neighborhood activities. In addition to the demands of housework and child-rearing, they gave their all to Soka Gakkai activities, showed concern for and maintained friendly relations with their neighbors and built a foundation of trust in their communities.

The 21st century, however, would be an age when men play a more active role in the local community. They would help establish a solid foundation for the Soka Gakkai, find solutions to the many challenges their communities faced, and turn their local areas into citadels of human harmony.

In the past, people saw retirement years as a time of rest, of slowing down. But now we must see this period as a time to apply the strengths one has cultivated over the years to inspire and invigorate others.

Buddhism is manifested in society, and kosen-rufu in the community is realized by contributing to the community. By thinking about what we can do for our community and for other people, and boldly doing our part, we can spread happiness and promote kosen-rufu.

Nichiren Daishonin states, “The varied sufferings that all living beings undergo—all these are Nichiren’s own sufferings” (The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 138). Buddhist practitioners regard the suffering of others as their own and strive to find solutions. Our communities will develop, flourish and succeed when men awaken to that mission and become the central force and impetus for bettering them.

Installment 22

On the evening of July 8, Shin’ichi Yamamoto met informally with more than a dozen people, including chapter and ward men’s and women’s division leaders and others from the Kitamachi area in Nerima Ward, Tokyo.

He gazed warmly at each of them and began to speak.

“My resolve and commitment is to sincerely praise and encourage above all those who have suffered the most. Buddhism teaches that those who have struggled the most, who have wept the bitterest tears, can attain the greatest happiness. I have always watched over our Kitamachi members in that spirit.”

Three or four years earlier, a group of leaders who had begun to doubt the Gohonzon and criticize the Soka Gakkai disrupted the unity of the Kitamachi organization. Influenced by them, several members had left the Soka Gakkai. Others had encouraged one another and overcome the ordeal together. In January 1978, with the implementation of the new chapter system for the second phase of kosen-rufu, they had made a fresh start full of great hope.

“Kitamachi members bravely weathered the storm, surmounted all obstacles and have taken a giant leap forward. I understand that you have also made unprecedented strides in propagation. This has been a wonderful case of changing poison into medicine, and I am sure the heavenly deities and Buddhas throughout the universe are singing your praises.

“To commend your success, I have composed a song for the chapters in Kitamachi titled ‘Kitamachi Kosen-rufu.’ It’s the only song I’ve written for any chapter in Japan.”

Everyone’s face lit up, and they all applauded.

A cassette deck then played the uplifting music.

This greenery, this wonderful area,
you and I walk the path,
bathed in the morning sun of good fortune.
Let’s talk in this open space together.

Shin’ichi had hoped to compose a catchy, upbeat tune so that everyone from children to the elderly would naturally want to sing or hum along.

Installment 23

“The first verse talks about the hope-filled morning,” Shin’ichi explained. “The second is about the daytime, and the third, the night.”

This person, that person,
breezes of happiness beneath blue skies,
smiling faces, dancing butterflies.
Let’s study Buddhism together.

This house, that house,
under the stars, united in song,
praising this idyllic haven.
Let’s build Kitamachi kosen-rufu together.

Everyone clapped enthusiastically when the song ended.

Shin’ichi smiled and said: “There are four chapters in Kitamachi, and they all have wonderful chapter songs, so please keep singing them. If you like this song, too, feel free to sing it as the shared song of all four Kitamachi chapters.

“If chapters in other areas want to sing it, they can just replace ‘Kitamachi’ with the name of their chapter or area.

“Kosen-rufu also means to make one’s local community and society flourish. Our mission as Buddhists is to put the principles of Nichiren Buddhism into practice in the real world and raise the victory banner of ‘establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land’ in society.

“This is probably the only chapter song in Japan or even the world I will write. What matters, therefore, is how you respond. If it inspires you to make your chapter foremost in Japan and the world, to make a fresh vow to surmount every challenge and come out victorious, then it will be profoundly meaningful. But if you just say it’s a song I composed and that’s the end of it, then no value will be created. Your determination and actions are what will give it meaning.”

Installment 24

The soka of Soka Gakkai means “value creation,” a foundation for building happiness. It means finding the deeper significance of everything that happens in our lives, deriving gratitude and joy from it, strengthening our spirit and creating happiness.

Nichiren Buddhism opens our eyes to value creation. If we view things deeply from the perspective of Buddhism, we will discover infinitely profound meaning that will propel us toward happiness and find an inexhaustible source of spiritual richness.

For example, Nichiren Daishonin describes the rice a follower offered him as “white rice grown with bone-breaking labor by the people” (“Reply to Matsuno,” WND-2, 752). In this way, he recognizes the toil and effort, and most important the sincerity, of those who grew the rice, and expresses his utmost gratitude.

In another letter, he writes, “Polished rice is not polished rice; it is life itself” (“The Gift of Rice,” WND-1, 1126). Food supports and nourishes our lives, so making an offering of life-sustaining rice is equal to offering one’s life itself, he says, greatly praising the sincerity of the giver.

Elsewhere, speaking of the persecution raining down on his followers, he declares: “When great evil occurs, great good follows” (“Great Evil and Great Good,” WND-1, 1119), pointing out that the great slander prevailing throughout the land means that “the great correct Law would spread without fail” (WND-1, 1119).

Further, regarding his own harsh persecutions, the Daishonin says, “My actions in defending the Law in this present life are calling forth retributions for the grave offenses of my past” (“The Opening of the Eyes,” WND-1, 282). He also declares, “Without tribulation there would be no votary of the Lotus Sutra” (“The Postscript to “On Establishing the Correct,” WND-1, 33), and shares his supreme joy that the hardships befalling him prove that he is the votary of the Lotus Sutra.

To view every problem in light of Nichiren’s teachings—drawing profound meaning from it and transforming it into the energy for growth and development—is the way of life of practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism and the path of value creation.

Installment 25

After asking for an update on each of the Kitamachi chapters, Shin’ichi talked about the ideal attitude and behavior of chapter men’s and women’s leaders, giving specific examples.

“It’s important to embrace with an open heart those who have stopped practicing and left the Soka Gakkai. Rather than severing ties with them, I hope you will have the generosity to say, ‘We’re still friends, so if you have any problems, I’m always here for you.’

“Even if others leave, focus on patiently fostering each person who remains into a capable, outstanding individual. When they develop five times or ten times the strength they have now, the chapter will grow tremendously.

“To that end, I hope you, our chapter men’s and women’s leaders, will meet each of your members and keep them firmly in your hearts. Chant with the resolve to foster each one, without exception, to be a champion for kosen-rufu and to help them become happy without fail. To the extent you do so, the heavenly deities are sure to protect you.

“As leaders, please make serving the members the purpose of your activities. That’s what I’ve always done.

“Even though you practice Nichiren Buddhism, I’m sure you all have problems and difficulties. On top of that, you’ve taken on organizational responsibilities, which means you are sharing in your members’ struggles and hardships. It may feel like you are climbing a steep hill while shouldering a burden of worries several times your weight. But by regarding the members’ sufferings as your own, you can vastly expand your state of life. It is by striving tirelessly for kosen-rufu through the most challenging circumstances that you will gather great fortune and enjoy wonderful benefits. Please never forget the Buddhist law of cause and effect.”

The Bodhisattvas of the Earth, who appear in the Latter Day of the Law, turn their thoughts and concern to helping and encouraging others out of a wish for the happiness of all people. They do this while grappling with their own karma and suffering. As a result, their lives shine with noble humanity, with the light of Buddhist humanism.

Installment 26

Encouraging the leaders to prepare for any challenges, Shin’ichi continued: “Storms always lie ahead on the Soka Gakkai’s path. That’s because it is the path of truth and justice. Some in the mass media will continue to slander and defame us. The powers that be, fearing the emergence of a new force of awakened people seeking reform, will target the Soka Gakkai and plot against us.

“But if our chapter men’s and women’s leaders have formed strong bonds of trust among the members, the Soka Gakkai will remain solid. It all comes down to our connections with one another. No malicious rumor can sever genuine human ties. If you gain the full trust of your chapter members and friends, everything will be fine. In other words, the Soka Gakkai exists in you. Live with the conviction that the circle of trust you create is itself the development of kosen-rufu.”

At the meeting, some members expressed their wish to designate July 8 Kitamachi Kosen-rufu Day.

Shin’ichi was happy that they wanted to set that day as a starting point and use it to mark a new milestone of growth each year.

“I completely agree! Please keep the vow you made today, July 8, forever in your hearts and turn each chapter in Kitamachi into one of the best in Japan. So much so that when anyone thinks of a model chapter, they think of Kitamachi.

“I ended the song with the line ‘Let’s build Kitamachi kosen-rufu together.’ It expresses my spirit to be with you always. I will never forget you. I will continue chanting for you. We are united as mentor and disciples. We are fighting together as mentor and disciples. I hope that you, too, will always move forward one in heart with me.

“‘Let’s build together’ also implies the unity of members. Please build the friendliest, most joyful and most united chapter anywhere.”

Shin’ichi gave the members of Kitamachi not just a chapter song. He imparted to them the eternal, indestructible fighting spirit of Soka.

Installment 27

That same day, July 8, Shin’ichi Yamamoto was already working on another song—a song for Kansai.

The history of kosen-rufu in Kansai was marked by raging storms and glorious triumphs.

In May 1956, Shin’ichi had led Osaka Chapter in achieving the indelible record of 11,111 households joining the Soka Gakkai.

Then in July, under his leadership, a Soka Gakkai-backed candidate in the Osaka electoral district won a seat in the national House of Councilors (Upper House) election, overturning widespread expectations that winning was impossible. In fact, a major newspaper announced the outcome with the headline “The ‘Impossible’ Has Been Achieved!”

The following April, however, a Soka Gakkai-backed candidate unfortunately failed to gain a seat in an Upper House by-election in the Osaka electoral district. Some overly eager Soka Gakkai members, not fully aware of the nation’s election laws, had violated them. On July 3, Shin’ichi, who bore overall responsibility for the campaign, voluntarily presented himself for questioning at the request of the Osaka Prefectural Police and was arrested on false charges of election law violations.

His detainment lasted 15 days. Harsh interrogations ensued, with the prosecutor even resorting to threats. Shin’ichi was told that if he didn’t plead guilty, President Toda would be arrested. July 1957 was just nine months before Toda’s death. Already extremely frail, an arrest would surely kill him. Shin’ichi decided to take the blame for the time being and then prove his innocence in court.

The authorities feared the rise of a new people’s movement and, wielding their oppressive power, they fiercely attacked the Soka Gakkai. But justice would prevail. Justice had to prevail.

Shin’ichi was released from the Osaka Detention Center shortly after noon on July 17. That evening, the Osaka Rally, with President Toda attending, took place at the city’s central public hall in Nakanoshima to protest the actions of the Osaka Prefectural Police Headquarters and the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office. The building housing the prosecutors’ office was visible across the river.

As if expressing the outrage and sorrow of the heavenly deities, lightning ripped through the clouds, thunder crashed and rain poured.

Installment 28

Members also packed the area outside, where they listened, many without umbrellas in the sudden downpour, over loudspeakers set up for the occasion.

Applause erupted in the hall when Shin’ichi Yamamoto took the microphone.

“My friends, it’s been a while since I saw you last,” he began, his voice dignified and powerful.

Shin’ichi, whom Kansai members loved like a brother, now stood hale and hearty before them after more than two weeks of harsh interrogation. They couldn’t suppress tears of joy. In that moment, they became acutely aware that the path of kosen-rufu was a relentless battle against the devilish nature of authority and, filled with indignation, they vowed to triumph in every endeavor.

“Let us rise to this challenge with the conviction that final victory belongs to those who strive tenaciously in faith, to those who steadfastly embrace the Gohonzon and to the correct teaching of Nichiren Buddhism!”

Profoundly moved by Shin’ichi’s lion’s roar, everyone applauded vigorously.

Kansai members engraved this moment deep in their lives. They resolved to never be defeated and to win in their struggle no matter what. This marked the brilliant start of invincible Kansai.

Shin’ichi’s court battle lasted four and a half years until he was exonerated of all charges on January 25, 1962. The prosecutors did not appeal, and the acquittal was confirmed. The Kansai members, who fought alongside him throughout the emotional ordeal, rejoiced as if it were their own victory, their joy propelling them on an unstoppable, ever-victorious advance.

In 1978, 22 years after the Osaka Campaign’s immortal achievement, just 22 years remained to the start of the 21st century. At that halfway point, Shin’ichi wanted them to build an eternal, indestructible, ever-victorious bastion.

That’s why he thought the courageous successors of Kansai needed a song that would inspire them to carry on the Kansai spirit forever and make fresh strides forward.

Installment 29

It was early July when Shin’ichi had proposed writing a song for Kansai.

Delighted, the Kansai region leaders immediately started on the project, with the youth division taking the lead. Ryoji Nishibuchi, the Kansai region leader, and others revised the resulting draft and then delivered it to Shin’ichi on the morning of July 8, the day he met with the representatives from Nerima’s Kitamachi area.

The song was titled “Dancing with Friends.” Shin’ichi appreciated their efforts, but he felt it lacked originality and a Kansai flavor. Kansai leaders were not completely satisfied either.

Shin’ichi therefore decided to compose the song himself and set to work that afternoon. He dictated the feelings that surged from his heart, and his wife, Mineko, wrote them down.

“Now again forming our ranks . … ” He felt it had to start with those words.

“In Kansai, countless ordinary people united with me to write a new page of history, creating a brilliant record of achievement in our kosen-rufu movement. In Kansai, sharing my spirit, and outraged by the tyranny of authoritarianism, members wiped away bitter tears, rose to the challenge and built a great ever-victorious citadel. Kansai has a proud, golden starting point. They should always return to that starting point and stand up with fresh resolve each day. My bond with the Kansai members is not accidental or a matter of this lifetime alone. As Bodhisattvas of the Earth who leaped forth with a vow for kosen-rufu, we are linked by a mission from the distant past.”

The moment these thoughts came to Shin’ichi’s mind, the lyrics “you and I, from the distant past, / comrades sharing a vow, / a song of spring” flowed from his lips.

Mineko said with a sparkle in her eye: “‘A song of spring.’ That’s very inspiring. It captures everything: happiness, joy, dynamism, and victory.”

At about 7 p.m., after spending some time talking with the Kitamachi members, Shin’ichi took his leave. When he finished making further revisions to the song, he telephoned Koichi Towada, the Kansai region general leader.


  1. Translated from Japanese. Lines from the lyrical cycle Melodiyi (Melodies). ↩︎
  2. In addition to the words “For the Fulfillment of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu through the Compassionate Propagation of the Great Law,” this Gohonzon also bears the inscription “To Be Permanently Enshrined in the Soka Gakkai” (Jpn Soka Gakkai Joju). As a result, it is commonly called the Soka Gakkai Joju Gohonzon. This Gohonzon, which was formerly enshrined in the Mentor-Disciple Hall, is now enshrined in the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu in Shinanomachi, Tokyo. It is also referred to as the Soka Gakkai Kosen-rufu Gohonzon. ↩︎
  3. In what became known as the Osaka Incident, President Ikeda, then Soka Gakkai youth division chief of staff, was arrested and wrongfully charged with election law violations in a House of Councilors by-election in Osaka in 1957. At the end of the court case, which continued for more than four years, he was fully exonerated of all charges on January 25, 1962. ↩︎
  4. Article 13 of “The Twenty-Six Admonitions of Nikko” (Gosho zenshu, new ed., p. 2196) ↩︎
  5. General and specific viewpoints: A set of criteria for interpreting Buddhist teachings. “General” refers to an overall or surface view of a particular teaching or doctrine, and “specific,” to a more sharply delineated and profound view. ↩︎
  6. Myoho-renge-kyo is written with five Chinese characters, while Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is written with seven (nam, or namu, being comprised of two characters). The Daishonin often uses Myoho-renge-kyo synonymously with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in his writings. ↩︎
  7. Translated from Japanese. Nichijun Horigome, Nichijun Shonin zenshu (Collected Writings and Speeches of High Priest Nichijun), vol. 1 (Tokyo: Nichiren Shoshu Bussho Kanko-kai, 1982), p. 357. ↩︎
  8. Hesiod, Works and Days, in Theogony, Works and Days, Testimonia, edited and translated by Glenn W. Most (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2006), p. 103. ↩︎
  9. Translated from German. Bertolt Brecht, “Solidaritätslied” (Solidarity Song), Brecht-Liederbuch (Brecht Songbook), edited by Fritz Hennenberg (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1984), p. 205. ↩︎

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