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Our History

Women’s Division Founding

Valery Bocman / Gety Images.

On June 10, 1951, just a month after being inaugurated as second Soka Gakkai president, Josei Toda gathered some 50 women’s leaders at a French restaurant in Shinjuku, Tokyo. They faced tremendous suffering in the wake of Japan’s defeat in World War II. Yet the women strove to spread Nichiren Buddhism widely to help others transform their destinies.

President Toda wanted to provide these women with a celebratory dinner, emphasize the power they possessed and encourage them to strive even harder for kosen-rufu.

He said:

I want you to know that women who uphold the Mystic Law are the most noble and praiseworthy women of all. Please continue to strive together with me so that in the future we can show others what wonderful actual proof we have achieved through practicing the Mystic Law.[1]

This meeting marked the establishment of the women’s division. President Toda gazed at the vases of large-petalled white lilies placed at the center of the restaurant’s tables and composed a poem for the women present: 

A noble gathering
like fragrant 
white lilies, 
for you are 
pure-hearted friends.[2]

With the white lily as their symbol, the women’s division members continue to lead the Soka Gakkai with their efforts in prayer and dialogue, creating what Ikeda Sensei calls “an unparalleled network of women dedicated to paving the way toward a century of respect for the dignity of life and a century of peace and humanity.”[3]

—Prepared by the World Tribune staff


  1. June 17, 2016, World Tribune, p. 2. ↩︎
  2. June 19, 2020, World Tribune, p. 2. ↩︎
  3. June 17, 2016, World Tribune, p. 2. ↩︎

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