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Ikeda Sensei

‘Write an Unparalleled Story That Will Endure Into the Future’

2023 Message to the Women and Young Women From SGI Honorary Women’s Leader Kaneko Ikeda

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With my deepest respect and gratitude, I would like to offer this brief message to all Soka women worldwide.

Supported by your sincere daimoku, my husband celebrated his 95th birthday on Jan. 2 in good health. He remarked how delighted our first and second Soka Gakkai presidents, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, would surely be to see our organizations in Africa and countries around the globe welcoming so many new members, fellow Bodhisattvas of the Earth, at the start of this new year.

Presidents Makiguchi and Toda both began practicing Nichiren Buddhism in 1928, the year my husband was born. In this year of his 95th birthday—which also marks the 95th “faith anniversary” of our first two presidents—my husband continues to carry on their spirit and exert himself bravely and vigorously in accord with Nichiren Daishonin’s words “Strengthen your faith day by day and month after month” (“On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 997).

On Jan. 11, my husband issued a statement calling on people around the world to come together and bring forth the creative power to change history and restore peace.[1]

His greatest pride is that amid the many crises facing the world today, our precious members not only continue to encourage one another and deepen their prayers for peace, but are also rallying the power of growing numbers of people who support our hope-filled philosophy of respect for the dignity of life in the places of their mission. 

In a letter to the Ikegami brothers and their wives, who were battling daunting obstacles, Nichiren Daishonin praises their unity, writing, “Could there ever be a more wonderful story than your own?” (“Letter to the Brothers,” WND-1, 499).

And specifically addressing their wives, he says, “You will follow the path of the dragon king’s daughter and become a model for women attaining Buddhahood in the evil latter age” (“Letter to the Brothers,” WND-1, 502). In the end, their unwavering faith and warm consideration toward their father-in-law, even when he fiercely opposed their practice, helped bring harmony to the family. 

My husband has often cited these words to praise our women’s and young women’s division members, who are united in the spirit of “many in body, one in mind” to overcome every challenge. 

In June 1992, an SGI-Germany general meeting was held at our culture center just outside Frankfurt. While waiting with members for the arrival of guests in front of the center, my husband spotted some lilies of the valley growing nearby. Praising the tireless, untold efforts of our noble European members, he said, “Plants that endure the harsh cold of winter bloom beautifully.”

Resistant to cold, disease and insects, lilies of the valley endure the chill of autumn and winter to adorn spring and summer year after year with their beauty and sweet fragrance. My husband likens these bell-shaped blossoms—which seem to happily sound the victory of life in dignified harmony—to the cheerful unity of our young women. 

Our gathering of Soka truly embodies these golden words of the Daishonin: “Those who believe in the Lotus Sutra are as if in winter, but winter always turns to spring” (“Winter Always Turns to Spring,” WND-1, 536).

Last year, a collection of essays titled Makenai jinsei (An Invincible Life) by Chieko Furukawa, who is the same age as I am,[2] was serialized to great acclaim in the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun

Ms. Furukawa has written numerous books in which she sheds light on and brings to life many great unknown women in history who were pioneers in creating a new age. In this latest essay series, she writes honestly of her own life, of how by following the path of mentor and disciple and steadfastly chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, she has overcome numerous obstacles, from her spouse’s infidelity to several serious health challenges, including malignant lymphoma. 

Her life is an inspiring drama of victory, rivaling the tumultuous lives of the heroic women she writes of. To this day, she continues to encourage those battling illness and to vibrantly engage in Buddhist dialogue with young people, members and nonmembers alike.

It is so important to trust young people and to speak with and encourage them sincerely. 

The other day, a young woman who recently graduated with accolades from Soka University of America sent a wonderful letter to my husband, which he shared with me. She wrote that no matter how great her struggles, the faculty and staff always supported her with abiding love and trust so she could realize her potential. This enabled her to become a confident, compassionate and courageous student. Treasuring my husband’s encouragement as the school’s founder, she affirmed her resolve to continue striving to lead a contributive life.

Precisely in these times when so many people’s hearts have grown cold and numb, let’s write an unparalleled story that will endure into the future—a story in which we engage in human revolution, help others do the same and realize kosen-rufu based on the life philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism, which teaches that “all people … will, without a single exception, attain Buddhahood” (“The Treasure of a Filial Child,” WND-1, 1042). Such a story is sure to warm the hearts and illuminate the lives of all who come after us.  

My husband once composed this poem for Ms. Furukawa:

I am praying—
with all my heart—
for your health
and your happy smiles.

It is in this same spirit that my husband and I are sending daimoku to all the members of our Soka family around the world in this important Year of Youth and Triumph.

Please take care!

Kaneko Ikeda
SGI Honorary Women’s Leader

Feb. 3, 2023, World Tribune, pp. 6–7


  1. See Daisaku Ikeda, “Statement on the Ukraine Crisis and No First Use of Nuclear Weapons,” <> accessed on Jan. 26, 2023. ↩︎
  2. Mrs. Ikeda was born on Feb. 27, 1932. ↩︎

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