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On the Cover

SGI-USA Hawaii Culture Center

Photo by Toshi Takahashi.

When Ikeda Sensei first visited Hawaii in October 1960, he established the first overseas district, creating a framework for members to carry out their Buddhist practice centered on the district discussion meeting.

As the membership expanded, the first Hawaii Community Center opened in Honolulu in January 1966, with Sensei in attendance.[1] The address, 2729 Pali Highway, has since been home to kosen-rufu activities in Honolulu for over 50 years.

The current SGI-USA Hawaii Culture Center opened at this location on March 19, 1994, with over 3,000 members present, some traveling from as far away as Guam for the opening.[2] While the first center was a humble house, the present-day structure, clad with imported Finnish balmoral granite, is an expansive three-story building with underground parking.

Sensei has visited Hawaii 19 times, with the center serving as the site of significant peace activities.

The center features a plaque with a poem by Sensei, dedicated to the Cornerstone Group, which refers to all those who “protect the castles of kosen-rufu and culture” around the world. A “Oneness of Mentor and Disciple Hall” at the center showcases photos and memorabilia from Sensei’s visits to Hawaii, many featuring interactions with pioneer members. This includes the desk that Sensei spoke from at the first SGI-USA Executive Conference, held at the Hawaii Center on January 27, 1995.

In a speech given a day before that conference, Ikeda Sensei said:

The citizens of Hawaii are truly at the forefront of humanity in their efforts to harmonize and draw forth unity from diversity, and this will continue to be an issue of singular importance as we move into the future. Your invaluable pioneering endeavors can, I believe, be likened to the ohia tree, which is the first to sink its roots into the barrenness of recent lava flows, sending forth lovely deep-red blossoms.[3]

From the May 2023 Living Buddhism


  1. January 30, 2009, World Tribune, p. 7. ↩︎
  2. March 28, 1994, World Tribune, p. 1. ↩︎
  3. My Dear Friends in America, third edition, pp. 364–65. ↩︎

Hold High the Proud Banner of Soka!

Unity With One’s Mentor Starts Within