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Brimming With Courage Toward a Century of Life

Clicker Babu / Unsplash.

The following is a report on the 1st Soka Headquarters Leaders Meeting Toward Our Centennial Marking the Fresh Departure for a Youthful Soka Gakkai Worldwide, held on Jan. 7, 2024. It was adapted from the Jan. 8, 2024, issue of the Soka Gakkai’s daily newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun.

The Year of Fresh Departure for a Youthful Soka Gakkai Worldwide is well under way. With a vow to triumph toward the Soka Gakkai’s centennial, representative leaders from around the world gathered at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo, Tokyo, on Jan. 7, 2024, holding the First Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting of Fresh Departure for a Youthful Soka Gakkai Worldwide Toward Our Centennial. Titling the event as the “first” headquarters leaders meeting signifies the fresh departure.

Those in attendance included 86 representatives visiting from 11 countries on a training course. When they were introduced, all stood with determination, and the hall broke into thunderous applause.

The advancement of the people is always accompanied by a cheerful melody. At the meeting, the Music Corps’ Shinano Chorus and women’s division’s Fuji Shinano Chorus sang the “Song of Worldwide Kosen-rufu.” Accompanying them was the Music Corps’ Soka Renaissance Vanguard, who waved the tricolor flag with vigor. This year, the Music Corps will celebrate its 70th anniversary.

This year also marks 70 years since Sensei was appointed youth division chief of staff. He assumed this role at 26 years old, taking responsibility for the entirety of the Soka Gakkai’s planning and operations. While in this position, he also accomplished monumental propagation achievements throughout Japan, such as in the Sapporo Summer Campaign, the Osaka Campaign and the Yamaguchi Campaign.

The youth of Soka, full of passion and strength, have been entrusted with the baton of the new era to continue this struggle of our mentor.

Eternal spirit—(Clockwise) “Heart of Peace” and “To the World, To the New Century,” a calligraphy pair composed by Ikeda Sensei toward the September 1984 Kanagawa Youth Peace Music Festival. “Century of Life,” a calligraphy he composed for the monument installed at the Kansai Culture Center in Osaka in 1983. They were presented at the headquarters leaders meeting held in Tokyo, Jan. 7, 2024.

A Vision for the 21st Century

At the meeting, Soka Gakkai Senior Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda presented three calligraphies composed by Sensei. He started with the calligraphy pair: “Heart of Peace” and “To the World, To the New Century” (see p. 9).

This phrase was the theme of the Kanagawa Youth Peace Music Festival held in Yokohama in September 1984. The United Nations had designated 1985 “International Youth Year,” so the festival served as a pledge for the youth to inherit second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda’s Declaration for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, given in the same city 27 years earlier.

Mr. Ikeda stated that Sensei and SGI members have worked to spread the heart of peace around the world and into the new century through the Soka movement to promote peace, culture and education. And, he said, this movement continues in support of the youth activities in March.

Mr. Ikeda then presented the third calligraphy: “Century of Life” (see p. 9).

In May 1997, two years after the Great Hanshin Earthquake, Sensei visited Kansai, still recovering from the disaster, where he expressed his far-reaching vision for advancing kosen-rufu. At the time, Sensei said that in the first half of the 21st century, we would ring the second set of seven bells as we build the foundation for world peace, and that in the latter half of the 21st century, a Century of Life, a philosophy of respect for the dignity of life would become the spirit of the age and the world.

Sensei’s vision to make the 21st century a Century of Life, Mr. Ikeda said, is the very ideal youthful Soka Gakkai members worldwide aspire to realize.

Mr. Ikeda called upon all members to grasp the significance of these calligraphies and courageously open a Century of Life, spreading dialogues with the heart of peace to society and the world.

Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada took the rostrum, calling on the men’s and women’s divisions—as members of the youthful Soka Gakkai worldwide—to learn the sensibilities and wisdom of younger generations and to further develop the organization as one in which young people can gather with joy and courage. (See p. 9 for President Harada’s address.)

The meeting concluded with the singing of “Youth With a Noble Vow,” all in attendance joining their voices in a grand chorus.

February 2, 2024, World Tribune, pp. 8-9

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