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100,000 Youth to Gather in Cities Across America in 2028!

Toward the youth gatherings celebrating Ikeda Sensei’s 100th birthday, the national youth leaders declare, “We the youth will open the path forward in the next five years.”

Vow—SGI-USA representatives in front of the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu during the SGI Youth Training Course in Tokyo, September 2023. Photo by Dane Niemczura.

In the final day of August, eight SGI-USA representative youth leaders traveled with great anticipation to Japan to attend the first youth training course since the start of the pandemic.

In the closing session, SGI Senior Vice President Yoshiki Tanigawa relayed to youth representatives from 44 countries the guidance Ikeda Sensei had given him when he was a youth.

It was 1990, and Mr. Tanigawa had just been appointed the Soka Gakkai young men’s leader, when Sensei said to him, in essence: If youth fail to wage a life-or-death struggle to advance kosen-rufu, their spirit will be lost.

Deeply moved by this episode, Amelia Gonzalez and Shota Okajima made a powerful determination of their own toward the Soka Gakkai’s centennial—one they introduced at the Central Executive Committee and Executive Council Conference, held on Sept. 16 at the SGI-USA Headquarters in Santa Monica, California.

They declared on behalf of the SGI-USA youth that they would greatly widen the path of kosen-rufu in America in the next five years, culminating in 2028 by gathering 100,000 youth in cities and towns across the country to commemorate Sensei’s 100th birthday.

“What greater joy can we bring to our mentor than expanding the ranks of youthful Bodhisattvas of the Earth dedicated to kosen-rufu in America?” said Ms. Gonzalez, the national young women’s leader. “We are ready to wage a struggle to expand our dialogues and foster youth like never before.”

During the training course, held from Aug. 31–Sept. 5, the SGI-USA youth representatives received encouragement from Soka Gakkai leaders, visited Soka Gakkai centers and attended various activities, including a World Youth Summit, a gongyo meeting at the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu and the 15th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting Toward Our Centennial. In the process, they received invaluable guidance on how to blaze a path forward.

Advance Kosen-rufu by Cultivating Genuine Friendships 

SGI Youth Leader Mitsuo Nishikata gave his own experience of sharing Buddhism with his friend, who received the Gohonzon this Aug. 24, underscoring the fundamental spirit of all our kosen-rufu activities is shakubuku.

For Mr. Nishikata, the essence of his efforts lay in developing deep care for his friend’s life and chanting with him to achieve all of his goals.

He then offered four points on sharing Buddhism with others: 

1) Pray for the happiness of our friends.
2) Make strong connections with the people in our environment and treat them with utmost respect.
3) Convey the experiences you have had based on Buddhist practice.
4) Do shakubuku with younger members. 

Along these same lines, the SGI-USA plans to hold Youth Peace Festivals in March at the chapter through zone levels, based on location. These festivals will serve as gatherings where youth can bring their friends, with the aim of bringing peace to their immediate surroundings and joy to their neighbors.

Their motto toward these peace festivals is “Advance With 10 Friends” based on Sensei’s guidance, “If each of you can cultivate 10 genuine friendships, then kosen-rufu will surely advance!” (Feb. 18, 2022, World Tribune, p. 8). (More information is forthcoming.) 

Raising Youth Through Serving Others

On Sept. 3, the training course participants were surprised to learn that they would be greeting the Kansai members entering the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu.

The gongyo sessions at the Hall, suspended during the pandemic, recommenced for members in Japan in July. On Nov. 1, the Hall will open to SGI members throughout the world.

Before each shift, the youth who serve behind the scenes at the Hall study from the “Vigilant Safeguarding” chapter of volume 24 of The New Human Revolution.

Hiroyuki Saguchi, the Soka Gakkai Gajokai leader, said that as members who support behind the scenes, they strive with the conviction that all their efforts fill their lives and the lives of others with hope. “We endeavor to realize Sensei’s wish that we rise and greet the members from afar, showing them the same respect we would a Buddha,”[1] he said.

Although they were drenched in sweat and their voices hoarse from welcoming the members, the training course participants said they experienced great joy from living the spirit to treasure the person in front of them. “I left with confidence that it is through our behind-the-scenes training groups that we will raise the next generation of leaders in America,” Ms. Gonzalez said.

‘Become the Youth Chiefs of Staff of the New Era!’

March 2024 marks the 70th anniversary of Sensei becoming youth chief of staff at 26. In his 15th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting message, Sensei wrote of that time: 

In March 1954, my mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, established a youth office for our organization and appointed me as its chief of staff. At that time, he entrusted me with this guidance: The youth of Soka, upholding the life philosophy of the oneness of our lives and the universe—the recognition that the sun, moon and stars exist within us—should strive to greatly expand their life states and become the driving force for planning and carrying out every aspect of kosen-rufu. …

Next year will mark the 70th anniversary of that youthful appointment. I now call on all of you, my beloved young disciples throughout Japan and the world: My young friends, become the youth chiefs of staff of the new era! (Sept. 15, 2023, World Tribune, p. 3)

At the training course, the youth of the world were called on to fight together toward March 2024, to generate a fresh wave of propagation in each country, each young person standing up with the spirit of a youth chief of staff.

Living The New Human Revolution

At the World Youth Exchange Meeting, SGI Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda spoke about the profound significance of The New Human Revolution, which Sensei wrote as the history and blueprint on how to advance kosen-rufu. Studying The New Human Revolution, he said, is Sensei leading kosen-rufu throughout eternity. Mr. Ikeda asked each participant to continue writing their own histories.

He also encouraged the youth to read even one volume and challenge to live it, saying that doing so is the same as if they had read the entirety of the 30-volume series.

The very first and last lines of The New Human Revolution, vol. 30, “Vow” chapter, convey Sensei’s expectations for Soka youth around the world.[2]

Mr. Ikeda reminded the participants that the members of the Soka Gakkai are taking action based on studying The New Human Revolution to change the destiny of the human family. Each individual has a noble mission to succeed in this undertaking with Sensei. 

‘For a campaign to be genuine, you need to take full responsibility to achieve it.’

Also during the Q&A session with Mr. Tanigawa, he talked about when he was appointed the Soka Gakkai young men’s leader, and he heard that Sensei was envisioning a gathering of many young men to make a powerful fresh start for the future.

Based on this, in front of a large audience, Mr. Tanigawa declared his determination to achieve “Sensei’s goal” of gathering 2 million youth across Japan.

Sensei interjected by saying that a true struggle isn’t genuine if someone else tells you to do it: “It is not a true battle if you’re doing something because someone else told you to. A true battle is one that you ‘own,’ in which you yourself decide on a goal and take full responsibility to achieve it through your own diligent efforts.” Mr. Tanigawa replied that it was the youth division’s goal and determination to gather 2 million youth. 

Sensei responded: “Are you sure you can accomplish it?”

And he went on to say: “Every single thing I said to my mentor, Toda Sensei, I accomplished.” Mr. Tanigawa replied that they would definitely do it. He felt that Sensei was imparting to him the true spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple. 

“We want to bring joy to our mentor and assure him that the youth of America will achieve kosen-rufu in the 21st century,” said Shota Okajima, the national young men’s leader. “We the youth will open the path forward in the next five years.”

October 6, 2023, World Tribune, pp. 6–7


  1. See The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, p. 192. ↩︎
  2. See The New Human Revolution, vol. 30, “Vow” chapter, p. 599 and p. 825. ↩︎

Ultimate Victory

‘I’m Counting on All Soka Youth’