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Guidance for Leadership

With Conviction, Impart Hope to Humanity!

SGI members at the commemorative meeting held at the new center later the same day, Tamuning, Guam. Photo by Seikyo Press.
Minoru Harada
Soka Gakkai President

The following address was given by Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada at the opening of the SGI Guam Peace and Culture Center in Tamuning, Guam, on Jan. 21, 2023.

Håfa Adai!

Håfa tatatmanu hamyo? (Are you doing well?)

My heartfelt congratulations on the long-awaited dedication of the SGI Guam Ikeda Peace and Culture Center!

I last visited Guam, this exquisite island under an endless expanse of blue, 48 years ago. The privilege of accompanying Ikeda Sensei to witness the SGI’s founding on Jan. 26, 1975, together with representatives from around the world is a golden memory I shall cherish for a lifetime. Nothing brings greater joy to my heart than to see here on beautiful Guam this sublime citadel, standing tall and proud right next to the Guam International Trade Center—the SGI’s birthplace that holds such fond memories for me. And no one is as delighted by the completion of this center as Sensei, who, as he stated in his message today, shares in your joy. 

Ever since the land on which this center is built was acquired some five years ago, local Marianas Region members have continued to support its construction, praying that it will be completed without incident. To all of you who have worked behind the scenes for the resounding success of this gathering, then, let me first extend my warmest congratulations. Saina Ma’åse! (Thank you very much!)

At the SGI Board of Directors Meeting held last November, I informed the SGI leaders who gathered from across the world that a new center would be opening in Guam. Members in 192 countries and territories around the world are equally jubilant, watching over this day as if joining all of you in this renewed departure for kosen-rufu worldwide. Guam surely warrants the attention of the entire world. From this day on, please set a bold example of progress for all of us from this brand new citadel and stage, calling out to your fellow members throughout the world: Look at Guam! Follow the Marianas Region’s lead! Are you with me on this?

Sensei once shared the following:

New culture centers and facilities are being constructed throughout the world. From my time as a youth, I have looked to the future of world kosen-rufu and developed various initiatives, meticulously advancing them one after another, and brought them all to fruition. Always aspire to greater heights! Create a proud and majestic flow of worldwide kosen-rufu! That is the spirit I have embraced.[1]

Needless to say, the bedrock for the future of world kosen-rufu was the establishment of the SGI here in Guam. Sensei has been informed of every step in the construction of this new center that has been completed to accord with his vision. That is why I am confident that a “proud and majestic flow of worldwide kosen-rufu” will surge anew from here without fail.

SGI leaders with local dignitaries unveil the Peace Monument commemorating the SGI’s founding, Tamuning, Guam, Jan. 21, 2023. Photo by Yvonne Ng.

Moreover, Sensei cites the fact that SGI members the world over are employing our centers as nodes of cultural communication open to the public. He shared these thoughts:

“I see that the Soka Gakkai’s understanding of culture runs deep”—Such sentiments can expand a sense of affinity among people. It also inspires friendship and empathy. It’s vital that we persist in driving roots into the community, cooperate with its residents and strive for the community’s flourishment and development. That is the path forward for the Soka Gakkai.[2]

Cherishing culture and the community are aspirations founded on our abiding appreciation for each person as an individual human being. That is the definition of Buddhist humanism. Please exert yourselves more than ever for Guam to flourish, earnestly appreciating the CHamoru people and the rich culture of Guam with an open mind as upstanding citizens of this island. 

Why did Sensei choose Guam as the stage to establish the SGI? As he writes in The New Human Revolution

Shin’ichi resolved to somehow make Guam, a place that had suffered so terribly from the ravages of war, into a beacon for global peace.[3]

Replying to Sensei’s commitment, the members in Guam have engaged in a ceaseless struggle with sincerity and perseverance, securing irrefutable victory after victory to this day. This new center stands as a symbol of their triumph and resolve for peace. 

At the time of the SGI’s establishment, Sensei signed the guestbook, writing “The World” as his nationality. As his disciples, let’s also promote values of peace throughout society and continue making strenuous efforts while aiming  for global peace.  

The Peace Monument commemorating the SGI’s founding, located on the grounds of the new center, contains a solemn declaration by Sensei made 48 years ago: 

I hope that you will dedicate your noble lives to sowing the seeds of peace of the Mystic Law throughout the entire world. I shall do the same.[4]

What will flower after we sow the seeds of peace? In that same speech, Sensei wrote of his dialogue with Arnold J. Toynbee, where they discussed the way to transform a century of war into an ideal society of harmonious coexistence:

Professor Toynbee suggested that first a global government or world federation would have to be established, followed by the spread of a universal religion, until eventually an ideal society could be achieved. But I countered with my belief that the spread of a universal religion would necessarily precede the establishment of an ideal human society with a global government or world federation.[5]

Sensei went on to write that the eminent British scholar had modified his perspective, which he had crafted after years of academic study:

Through that discussion, Toynbee had come to believe that the spread of a universal religion would have an important role to play in uniting humankind on a global scale in the future.[6]

Sensei’s resolute faith in the notion of a “world religion” had changed the view of one of the world’s foremost scholars.

Forty-eight years later, worldwide kosen-rufu has advanced with staggering speed. Or, to be more precise, it was Sensei who triumphantly ushered in this brilliant era of worldwide kosen-rufu through his selfless dedication. 

It is precisely because international affairs are growing ever more uncertain that humanity, through the flourishing of a “world religion,” can truly transition from confrontation to cooperation, from division to unity. If we are to champion this “world religion” as Sensei’s disciples, we must also live out our lives with the same great conviction toward kosen-rufu as he has, tackling each challenge one after another in order to achieve the goals before us.

As Nichiren Daishonin writes, “Although Nichiren and his followers are few, because they are different in body, but united in mind, they will definitely accomplish their great mission of widely propagating the Lotus Sutra” (“Many in Body, One in Mind,” WND-1, 618). The key to achieving victory for kosen-rufu lies in the unity of many in body, one in mind. With this new citadel as the standard for further achievement, I ask you to forge on in beautiful solidarity, in splendid harmony, unseen anywhere else. Beyond such unity lies good fortune and triumph for all our members, and the happiness and flourishing of Guam.

Toward the SGI’s 50th anniversary in 2025, and further toward the centennial of the Soka Gakkai’s founding in 2030, let us set off on a fearless and lively march to impart hope to humanity from here in Guam!

Feb. 10, 2023, World Tribune, pp. 6–7


  1. Tentative translation. From a speech at an executive leaders conference held on Nov. 29, 2009. ↩︎
  2. Tentative translation. From a speech at an executive leaders conference held on Nov. 29, 2009. ↩︎
  3. The New Human Revolution, vol. 21, pp. 6–7. Ikeda Sensei appears in the novel as Shin’ichi Yamamoto. ↩︎
  4. Ibid., p. 33. ↩︎
  5. Ibid., p. 32. ↩︎
  6. Ibid., p. 32. ↩︎

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