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Remarks on the Occasion of the Soka Gakkai Memorial Service

Photo by Seikyo Press.

Following Ikeda Sensei’s passing on Nov. 15, 2023, a Soka Gakkai memorial service honoring his life and unparalleled contributions to kosen-rufu was held on Nov. 23 at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, Tokyo. The service was broadcast live to some 1,000 Soka Gakkai centers across Japan and included remarks by Senior Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda, Soka Gakkai Women’s Leader Kimiko Nagaishi and Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada. Below is a translation of President Harada’s and Ms. Nagaishi’s remarks.

‘We Will Accomplish Worldwide Kosen-rufu Without Fail!’

Minoru Harada
Soka Gakkai President

Together with fellow members around Japan and the world, we have solemnly recited the Lotus Sutra and chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo at this Soka Gakkai Memorial Service—the first since that for second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda—to honor the noble life of our mentor, Daisaku Ikeda, who made phenomenal and unsurpassed contributions to kosen-rufu.

It is only a few days since the sudden news of Ikeda Sensei’s passing, and I am sure that all of you, like me, are attending today with all sorts of emotions—shock, sadness and gratitude.

In accord with the wishes of the Ikeda family, we withheld announcing this sad news [of Sensei’s passing on Nov. 15] until Nov. 18, the day of the Soka Gakkai’s founding. As you know, this day also marks the publication date of founding Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi’s Soka kyoikugaku taikei (The System of Value-Creating Education). Reading the book’s copyright page again, I noticed that next to the Nov. 18 publication date, the printing date is given as Nov. 15.

By the profoundest of coincidences, Sensei brought his noble life to a close on this significant date recorded as the printing day of Soka kyoikugaku taikei, the crystallization of our first two presidents’ collaboration as mentor and disciple. When I contemplate this, I cannot help but be filled once again with deep emotion at the powerful connections linking our three founding presidents.

A flood of condolences has poured in from people in Japan, as well as from  world thinkers, government officials and diplomats who treasure their acquaintance with Sensei. 

These sincere messages from noted figures in diverse fields around the globe eloquently attest that one of Ikeda Sensei’s greatest achievements lies in forging bonds, bringing people together and connecting the inherent goodness in their hearts, transcending race, ideology and religion. With each passing day, this realization is brought home to me with renewed force.

Our world today remains beset by conflict and war. At this very moment, people are living in suffering and misery. It is our mission, as Sensei’s disciples, to continue, come what may, to walk and further expand the great path of peace, culture and education that Sensei blazed through his selfless efforts to change the karma, the destiny, of all humankind. 

It is true that voices demeaning our movement are making baseless predictions that the Soka Gakkai will now lose its momentum. Rising up as an indomitable champion of truth against the devilish power of authoritarianism that led to President Makiguchi’s death in prison, President Toda waged and won his determined struggle to vindicate his mentor. Sensei, too, fought throughout his life in the face of every obstacle and devilish function to realize all of President Toda’s ideals and visions. In this way, he proved to the world the true greatness of his mentor.

Now it is up to us, the disciples of Ikeda Sensei, to become indomitable champions of truth and to show society and the world Sensei’s true greatness through our own victories. 

In an essay he composed for us in October, Sensei mentioned the concept of a seven-year cycle of change, adding: “The mentors and disciples of Soka have also advanced in seven-year cycles—which we have termed the Seven Bells—ringing a new bell every seven years to mark resounding victories for kosen-rufu.”[1] He reaffirmed the importance of the next seven years as we head toward the Soka Gakkai’s centennial [in 2030].

Speaking of seven years, in his final year, President Toda asked: “Daisaku, do you think you can accomplish a membership of 3 million households in the next seven years?” Without a moment’s hesitation, Sensei replied: “Yes, I will do it. I feel even more determined!” 

Shortly after President Toda’s  passing, Sensei presented our members with his vision of the Seven Bells, setting forth a clear direction for the ensuing seven years. 

Let us, therefore, strive to build a magnificent youthful Soka Gakkai worldwide through our united efforts as disciples by the time of the Soka Gakkai’s centennial seven years from now—a goal Sensei entrusted to us. I am confident that this is the best way to repay our debt of gratitude to our mentor and that, as a result, we will blaze a new great path to peace. 

In the epilogue to his novel The Human Revolution, Sensei writes in memory of his mentor: “As I proceed along this lofty and noble path of the Soka Gakkai, President Toda continues to live on in my heart. I can only pray that he will live on forever in the hearts and minds of all our fellow members.”[2]

Sensei will also live on in our hearts as we continue to advance. So let us live our lives each day in a way that would make Sensei happy and proud, always advancing with hope and confidence. 

Sensei! We, your disciples, will also fight on in the spirit of “many in body, one in mind”! We will accomplish worldwide kosen-rufu without fail! Please rest assured. 

I close my speech with the resolute vow to report our victory to Sensei, cherishing Nichiren Daishonin’s assertion: “The sutra’s statement, ‘Those persons who had heard the Law dwelled here and there in various Buddha lands, constantly reborn in company with their teachers,’ cannot be false in any way.”[3]

‘We Vow to Continue Advancing Kosen-rufu, Eternally by Your Side!’

by Kimiko Nagaishi.
Soka Gakkai Women’s Leader 

I received the sudden news of Ikeda Sensei’s passing on Nov. 17. I had just attended the gongyo ceremony at the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu commemorating Nov. 18.

My immediate feelings were of shock and profound grief, and then I received word asking me to participate in the funeral to be held by Sensei’s family members.

Together with Sensei’s wife, Kaneko, and other members of the immediate family, we did gongyo and chanted daimoku, led by Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada. 

After we finished chanting, President Harada faced Sensei and voiced the profound appreciation and determined vow we are all feeling. It was a deeply moving ceremony—solemn and dignified—as our mentor embarked upon his journey to Eagle Peak.

Mrs. Ikeda spoke to me warmly, embracing me with her words. I conveyed to her my limitless appreciation: “Thank you so very much. I will strive to do my utmost to respond to you and Sensei.”

Mrs. Ikeda responded: “I’m counting on you. Please be strong. Do your best.” Her guidance was at once kind and firm. As someone who has single-
mindedly advanced along the path of mentor and disciple, always one in spirit with Sensei, she was entrusting us with Sensei’s heart, and at that moment, I felt my resolve strengthen.

Then, trying to convey to her the sincere feelings of every one of us, I said, “Mrs. Ikeda, we will be earnestly chanting that you lead a long, long life,” to which she replied, “Thank you, I will!”

Before leaving the room, Mrs. Ikeda addressed Sensei, saying: “You really gave it your all, didn’t you?” At that moment, my heart was overcome with the profound appreciation of just how much Sensei and Mrs. Ikeda have prayed and wished for nothing but the happiness of each member and that the Soka Gakkai is everything that it is today because of them.

Sensei! Thanks to you, how many people have been able to transform their karma, how many people have been able to do their human revolution and advance along the greatest path to happiness? It’s simply too many to count! The strong bonds between you and each one of us are eternal; they can never be destroyed.

We, your disciples, will never forget the struggles you have waged to protect your fellow members, boldly advancing through the storms of persecution with the courage of a lion, standing at the forefront, fully prepared to shield us from any attack.

Sensei, you have taught us: “The more that people believe in the inherent goodness of human beings, and the more we base our interactions on mutual respect, the stronger the current of respect for the dignity of life will become, spreading throughout the world. Ultimately, this will enable us to put an end to the cycle of conflict and hatred that seem to have defined the karma of humankind.”

We, your disciples, are determined to fulfill your desire for gardens of peace to expand to every corner of the world.

Forging ahead victoriously and in cheerful solidarity, we vow to continue advancing kosen-rufu, eternally by your side!

Sensei, just watch, watch us please!

December 8, 2023, World Tribune, pp. 10–11


  1. Nov. 10, 2023, World Tribune, p. 2. ↩︎
  2. The Human Revolution, p. 1976. ↩︎
  3. “The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 217. ↩︎

The Eternal Journey of Mentor and Disciple

Significant Dates Toward 2030