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Soka Gakkai

Sōka Gakkai
Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
Soka Gakkai International flag with logo
Formation Template:If empty
Founders Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, Jōsei Toda
Type Religious movement
Headquarters Shinanomachi 32, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-8583, Japan
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over 12 million (by own account)
President (SGI)
Daisaku Ikeda
Honorary President (SG)
Daisaku Ikeda
President (SG)
Minoru Harada
Parent organization
Nichiren Shōshū (until 1991)
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Website Soka Gakkai International
Formerly called
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Soka Gakkai (Japanese: 創価学会 Hepburn: Sōka Gakkai?) is a Japanese new religious movement based on Nichiren Buddhism and the teachings of the organization's first three consecutive presidents Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, Jōsei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda. It is one of the larger Japanese new religions. Originally a lay group within the Nichiren Shōshū Buddhist sect, the Gakkai reveres the Lotus Sutra and places chanting "Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō" at the center of devotional practice. The movement is publicly involved in peace activism, education and politics. It has also been at the center of controversies.

The movement was founded by educators Makiguchi and Toda in 1930, but not formally inaugurated until 1937.[1] After a temporary disbandment during World War II when much of the leadership was imprisoned on charges of lèse-majesté, the membership base was expanded through controversial and aggressive recruitment methods to a claimed figure of 750,000 households by 1958, compared to 3,000 before the end of the war.[2][3][4] Further expansion of the movement was led by its third president Daisaku Ikeda. According to its own account, it has 12 million members in 192 countries and territories around the world. While Ikeda has been successful in moving the group towards mainstream acceptance in some areas, it is still widely viewed with suspicion in Japan.[5][6] The organization has been the subject of substantial criticism over the years, often finding itself embroiled in public controversies[7] especially in the first three decades following World War II.[2][8][9][10][11]

According to James R. Lewis, although the Soka Gakkai has matured into a responsible member of society, it grapples with the stereotype of a brainwashing cult.[12] Other scholars who utilize the Bryan R. Wilson typology of new religious movements reject the cult appellation, preferring to describe it as "gnostic-manipulationist," a category of teachings holding that the world can improve as people master the right means and techniques to overcome their problems.[13][14][15][16] The movement has also been characterized as being centered on a cult of personality around Ikeda.[17][18][19]



Makiguchi: 1930-1944

File:Tsunesaburo Makiguchi.jpg
Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, First President of the Sōka Gakkai


In 1928, educators Tsunesaburō Makiguchi and Jōsei Toda, converted to Nichiren Buddhism. The Soka Gakkai officially traces its foundation to November 1930, when Makiguchi and Toda published the first volume of Makiguchi's magnum opus on educational reform, Sōka Kyōikugaku Taikei (創価教育学体系, The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy).[20][21]:49 The first general meeting of the organisation, then under the name Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai (創価教育学会, lit. "Value Creating Educational Society"), did not take place until 1937.[22]

The group was a hokkekō (lay organization) affiliated with the Nichiren Shōshū, by that time a small and obscure Nichiren Buddhist sect. Makiguchi, who had turned to religion in mid-life, found much in Nichiren's teachings that lent support to his educational theories, though it has been argued that the sect's doctrines and rituals went against the grain of Makiguchi's modernist spirit.[3][23]:21–32 From the very first meeting, however, the main activity of the group seems to have been missionary work for Nichiren Shōshū, rather than propagating educational reform.[3] The membership eventually came to change from teachers interested in educational reform to people from all walks of life, drawn by the religious elements of Makiguchi's beliefs in Nichiren Buddhism.[24]:14

Repression during the war

The organization soon attracted the attention of the authorities. Makiguchi, as did Nichiren, interpreted the political troubles Japan was experiencing as a result of the propagation of false religious doctrines. His religious beliefs motivated him to take a stand against the government, earning him a reputation as a political dissident.[24]:14–15 His main motivation was religious, not political; he had no tolerance for non-Nichiren doctrines.[25]

In 1942, a monthly magazine published by Makiguchi called Kachi Sozo (価値創造, "Creating values") was shut down by the government, after only nine issues had gone to press. In 1943, the group was instrumental in making the Nichiren Shōshū refuse to merge with the Nichiren Shū, per the Religious Organizations Law which had been established in 1939.[3] Later the same year, one zealous Tokyo member told a non-member that his daughter had died as punishment for not converting to Nichiren Shōshū. "The neighbor complained to the police, who arrested Jinno and a director of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai named Arimura "[26] The government believed that because Soka Gakkai members insulted the religious beliefs of others and destroyed religious implements, the group posed a threat to Japan's policy of religious freedom.[27]

Makiguchi, Toda, and 19 other leaders of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai were arrested on July 6, 1943, on charges of breaking the Peace Preservation Law and lèse-majesté: for "denying the Emperor's divinity" and "slandering" the Ise Grand Shrine. The government had issued that a talisman from the Shinto shrine should be placed in every home and temple. While the Nichiren Shōshū priesthood had been prepared to accept the placing of a talisman inside its head temple, Makiguchi and the Gakkai leadership had openly refused.[3] Makiguchi gave the following reason for refusing the talisman: "The Sun Goddess is the venerable ancestress of our Imperial Family, her divine virtue having been transmitted to each successive emperor who ascended the throne up to and including the present emperor. Thus has her virtue been transformed into the August Virtue of His Majesty which, shining down on the people, brings them happiness. ... In light of this, who is there, apart from His Majesty, the Emperor himself, to whom we should reverently pray?"[28]

With its leadership decimated, the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai disbanded.[26][29] During interrogation, Makiguchi had insisted that "The emperor is an ordinary man ... the emperor makes mistakes like anyone else".[23]:40–41 The treatment in prison was harsh, and within a year, all but Makiguchi, Toda, and one more director had recanted and been released.[26] On November 18, 1944, Makiguchi died in prison of malnutrition, at the age of 73.

Toda: 1945-1958

File:Josei Toda.jpg
Jōsei Toda, second President of the Sōka Gakkai
Main article: Jōsei Toda

The reconstruction of the organization

Jōsei Toda was released from prison in 1945 and immediately set out to rebuild what had been lost during the war.[30]

The years after the war and the granting of religious freedom as a constitutional right became the "rush hour of the gods" according to McFarland. The Soka Gakkai was one of many new religious movements that appeared and, from an organization of approximately 500 families in 1951, the Soka Gakkai expanded rapidly in a decade's time and gained widespread public recognition.[31] The unprecedented growth of the Soka Gakkai stands out from the other new religions, due to both Toda's skill as an organizer and the social dislocation of the time.[32]

The groundwork for this accomplishment can be found in Toda's work during the years between his release from prison (1945) and his inauguration (1951). He officially re-established the organization, now under the shortened moniker Sōka Gakkai (lit. "Value-creation society"), integrated his prison awakenings into the doctrine of the Soka Gakkai, began locating members who had been dispersed during the war, started a series of lectures on the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren's letters, undertook business ventures (largely unsuccessful) to provide a stream of revenue for the organization, provided personal encouragement to many members, launched a monthly study magazine Daibyaku Renge (大白蓮華?), and the newspaper Seikyo Shimbun, launched propagation efforts, and involved the active participation of youth including Daisaku Ikeda who was to become his right-hand man and successor.[33][34]

The Gakkai's teachings at this point became more restrictive, and lower-ranking members were no longer allowed access to more difficult books.[35] Gakkai members were taught in "graded classes";[23]:142 they were awarded titles like "assistant lecturer" and "associate professor" depending on their achievements in learning Gakkai doctrine.[36]:208

"The Great Shakubuku March"

During his acceptance speech, Toda placed a formidable challenge to the approximately 1500 congregated members: to convert 750,000 families before his death. He added: "If this goal is not realized while I am still alive, do not hold a funeral for me. Simply dump my remains in the bay at Shinagawa."[37]:285–286 He adopted a method of proselytizing based on Nichiren teachings on shakubuku (折伏), often translated character for character as "break and subdue (attachments to) inferior teachings"[38] or else as "forced conversion";[39] at least one scholar, however, disputes that it is "forced conversion", writing that "When Charlemagne told the Saxons to be baptized or die, that was forced conversion. Sokagakkai members are said to warn potential converts of dire consequences if they fail to join up, but they do not have the power of life or death."[40] Shakubuku, essentially, is the more assertive of two different methods of proselytizing traditionally employed by Nichiren adherents, in which the proselytizer directly confronts a non-adherent about the falsity of their beliefs.

The approach to propagation appealed strongly to segments of the population that had been marginalized or dislocated after the war.[41]

File:Ikebukuro jozaiji.jpg
The Jozaiji temple.
In October 1954, Toda made a speech to over 10,000 Gakkai members while mounted on a white horse, proclaiming: "We must consider all religions our enemies, and we must destroy them."[3][37] The Sōka Gakkai first entered into politics in 1955.[42] Toda's view was that according to the teachings of Nichiren, the day was soon to come when the true teachings of the Gakkai would become the law of the State and when Sōka Gakkai became the ruling government, a "national altar" would be built at Mount Fuji.[35]

Toda's brand of shakubuku was of an unusually aggressive nature and would come to give Soka Gakkai a reputation of militancy and widespread criticism in the popular press and by other Buddhist sects.[4][9][43] A 1952 investigation by the Department of Justice resulted in a demand that Toda write a statement to the special investigations bureau that Soka Gakkai members would refrain from the illegal use of violence or threats in their proselytizing.[44]:217 A 1955 report describes a typical shakubuku session. Three or four young members called on the house of a young woman for several days in succession, each time warning her that she had one week to join the Gakkai, or some terrible calamity would befall her home. On the last day they threatened to not move until she gave in - at two o'clock in the morning, she finally allowed them to sign her name.[9]:104 In eyewitness reports of a similar session in 1964, Gakkai members surrounded a home, yelled and made noise for hours until the residents relented and agreed to join.[45]:82 Threats of divine vengeance and bodily harm were frequent, and a child's illness or death could be attributed to not having already joined the Gakkai.[36]:199[45]:82 Local leadership would often destroy the household Shinto altars of new members.[3]

There are reports of isolated incidents of violence conducted by Soka Gakkai members but also directed toward them; they were sometimes chased away from the houses they surrounded.[37]:287[45]:49 The use of violence and intimidation as a part of the shakubuku campaign during The Great Propagation March has been dismissed by the Gakkai as "excessive zeal on the part of uneducated members," but evidence shows that much of it before 1967 was actually organized by its high-ranking leaders.[46]:74

Anne Mette Fisker-Nielsen has questioned whether forced activities alone could result in the continuous actions needed to sustain a campaign.[47] Members attributed success to Toda's charisma and ability to inspire them personally.[48]

While shakubuku was a controversial practice, it was certainly successful: during Toda's presidency, the Gakkai's official ledgers count an increase from 3,000 households to the 750,000 that Toda had demanded at the outset of his presidency - thereby smoothly avoiding the need to meet Toda's request that his body should be dumped in Shinagawa bay.[37]:285–286 The accuracy of this figure was never confirmed by outside sources.[36]:199 Whether or not the 750,000 number was strictly true, the Gakkai's membership had certainly grown. Many of the new recruits had been found among the "downtrodden classes" in the larger urban areas who had sometimes been excluded from the benefits of the "upward swing" during the postwar reconstruction boom.[42]

Raccoon dog incident

The relationship with the parent organisation Nichiren Shōshū went through highs and lows during Toda's presidency. One controversial event that occurred at the end of the first year of Toda's presidency was the "Tanuki (raccoon dog) festival incident." The festivities marked the 700th anniversary of Nichiren’s first proclamation of Nam(u)-Myoho-Renge-Kyo took place on April 28, 1952. A total of about 4,000 Gakkai members joined the occasion at Taiseki-ji, the Nichiren Shōshū head temple. Among them was a group of 47 men belonging to the Gakkai's youth division who confronted a priest named Ogasawara who had allegedly cooperated with the authorities during the war.[49] The group was led by President Toda and Daisaku Ikeda (who would eventually become the organization's third president). When Ogasawara initially refused to apologize, the men mobbed him, tore off his vestments and tagged him with a placard reading "raccoon dog monk".[50] He was forcibly carried to Makiguchi's grave, where he was made to sign a written apology.[51]:96–97[52]:698–711 Murata reports that Toda told him in an interview that he hit Ogasawara twice during the ordeal.[53] Toda was temporarily banned from entering the temple.[51]:96–97[54] Though no legal action was taken, this incident helped establish the organization's reputation as a violent cult.[52]:705–711:705–711

Death and legacy

Toda died on April 2, 1958. The funeral was held at his home, but the coffin was afterwards carried past weeping, chanting crowds to the Ikebukuro temple Jozaiji, where he was buried.[23]:84 The then prime minister Nobusuke Kishi attended the funeral - something that scandalized "quite a few Japanese" but was a testament to how the Gakkai had grown to a force to be reckoned with under Toda.[51]:116[55]

Murata claims that for two years after Toda's death, there was a leadership vacuum and the Gakkai had no president, as it was unclear if anyone was able to replace him.[51]:118 Other scholars disagree, claiming Ikeda became the de facto leader of the Soka Gakkai right away. Three months after Toda's death Ikeda, at age 30, was appointed the organization's General Administrator, in 1959 he became the head of its board of directors, and, on May 3, 1960, its third president.[56][57]

Ikeda: 1960-

File:Daisaku Ikeda 1961.jpg
Daisaku Ikeda, third President of the Soka Gakkai, 1961
File:Международная Леонардо-премия 3.1.jpg
Daisaku Ikeda Receiving "Leonardo Prize" in 2009 from Alexander Yakovlev

Jōsei Toda was succeeded as president in 1960 by the 32-year-old Daisaku Ikeda. Ikeda had been "Toda's point man" in the aggressive shakubuku campaigns of the 1950s and one of the leaders of the violent "raccoon dog festival" in 1952, but he would nonetheless come to be a moderating and secularizing force.[23]:77[51] Ikeda formally committed the organisation to the principles of free speech and freedom of religion and urged, from 1964, for a gentler approach to proselytizing.[58][59] Under Ikeda's leadership, the organization expanded rapidly, both inside and outside Japan during the 1960s, as well as its stated objectives.

Whereas during Toda's presidency the Soka Gakkai grew from 3000 individuals to 750,000 households, within the first 16 months of Ikeda's presendency the organization grew from 1,300,000 to 2,110,000 members.[60] In 1968 over 8,000,000 people contributed to the construction of the Sho-Hondo. By 1967 it grew to 6,240,000 families according to its own reporting.[61] Between 1961 and 1968 the organization's Study Department (members who sit for graded examinations on doctrinal matters) grew from 40,000 to 1,447,000.[62] By 1968, under Ikeda's leadership, the daily Seikyo Shimbun newspaper attained a circulation of 3,580,000.[63]

International growth

In October 1960, five months after his inauguration, Ikeda and a small group of staff members visited the United States, Canada (Toronto),[64] and Brazil.[65] Ikeda and his team visited countries in Europe and Southeast Asia in 1961 and the Near and Middle East in 1962.[66]

During Ikeda's October 1960 trip to Honolulu, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles he met with members, the vast majority Japanese war brides, at discussion and guidance meetings, setting up local organizations appointing leaders to take responsibility. He encouraged attendees to become good American citizens, learn English, and get driving lessons.[67] The Gakkai's first overseas mission, called "Nichiren Shoshu of America" (NSA), grew at "a remarkable rate" and claimed some 200,000 American adherents by 1970.[68] The "Soka Gakkai International" (SGI) was formally founded in 1975, on Guam.[69]

By 1967 Ikeda had completed 13 trips abroad to strengthen the overseas organizations.[70] Parallel to these efforts Ikeda attempted to find the universal aspects of Nichiren Buddhism stripped away from Japanese context.[71]

Ikeda also expanded the scope and pattern of the Gakkai's activities. In 1961, at the one-year anniversary of his inauguration, Ikeda created an arm of the organization, the Culture Bureau, to accommodate nonreligious activities. It had departments for the study and discussion of Economics, Politics, Education, Speech, and, later in the year, the Arts.[72] Ikeda founded Soka Junior and Senior High Schools in 1968 and Soka University in 1971.[73]

Foundation of the Komeitō

Main article: Komeito

In 1961 Soka Gakkai formed the "Komei Political League." In 1962 Ikeda stated that the Soka Gakkai would become a "third force" in the political world. Seven of its candidates were elected to the House of Councillors. In 1964 the Komeito (Clean Government Party) was formed by Ikeda. Over the course of several elections it became the third largest political party amassing approximately 10-15% of the vote.[74] The New Komeito Party was founded in 1998, and has been allied with the LDP since 1999. The New Komeito has generally supported the policy agenda of the LDP, including reinterpretation of the pacifist Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, proposed in 2014 by LDP Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to allow "collective defense".[75]

1969: Crisis and transformation

In 1969, a prominent university professor named Fujiwara Hirotatsu authored the book I Denounce Soka Gakkai (Soka Gakkai o kiru)[76] in which he severely criticized the Gakkai. The Gakkai and Kōmeitō attempted to use their political power to suppress its publication. When Fujiwara went public with the attempted suppression, the Gakkai was harshly criticized in the Japanese media.[77]

After this incident, both Kōmeitō and the Gakkai were heavily critiqued by sections of Japanese society and their years of constant growth came to an end.[37]:295 In response, Ikeda made major shifts to the Gakkai's message.[78] He committed the organization to the rights of free speech and freedom of religion. Admitting that the organization had been intolerant and overly sensitive in the past, Ikeda called for moderating conversion activities, openness to other religious practices, and a democratization of the organization.[79]

On May 3, 1970 Ikeda issued a speech at the Soka Gakkai's 33rd general meeting which radically shifted the direction of the organization. He stated that Nichiren's message could be understood as absolute pacifism, the sanctity of human life, and respect for human dignity. The Soka Gakkai's role, transcending proselytizing, was to create a foundation of humanism in all aspects of society.[80]

In the 1970s Ikeda helped transition the Soka Gakkai from an internally-focused organization centered on its own membership growth to one adopting a focus on a motto of "Peace, Culture, and Education." On Oct. 12, 1972, at the official opening of the Shohondo at Taisekiji Ikeda announced the start of the Soka Gakkai's "Phase Two" which would shift direction from aggressive expansion to a movement for international peace through friendship and exchange.[81]

In the speech Ikeda also announced that "Kōmeitō members of national and local assemblies would be removed from Soka Gakkai administrative posts."[82] Ikeda renounced any plans to create a "national ordination platform."[83]

As late as the 1980s, Soka Gakkai was accused of wiretapping the home of Kenji Miyamoto, leader of the JCP. The illegal operation had been headed by Masatomo Yamazaki, then legal advisor and vice chairman of the Gakkai.[84]

"Citizen diplomacy" by Ikeda

Ikeda has promoted his own conversations with prominent figures through the theme of "citizen diplomacy." In 1970 he held a dialogue with Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi centered on East-West issues and future directions the world could take.[85] Ikeda conducted ten days of dialogue with Arnold J. Toynbee between 1972 and 1974 which resulted in the publicaton of the book "Choose Life."[86] In 1974 he conducted a dialogue with Andre Malraux.[87]

In 1974 Ikeda visited China, then the Soviet Union, and once again to China when he met with Zhou Enlai. In 1975 Ikeda met with then Secretary-General of the United Nations Kurt Waldheim and United States Secretary of State Henry Kissenger.[85] Ikeda presented Waldheim with a petition, organized by Soka Gakkai youth, calling for nuclear abolition and signed by 10,000,000 people.[88]

Relationship with Nichiren Shoshu in the 1970s

The Shōhondō hall of the Taiseki-ji temple. Constructed in 1972, demolished in 1998.

In 1965, Ikeda announced plans to build a Shōhondō (正本堂, True Main Hall), at Taiseki-ji, the head temple of Shōshū, to house the dai-gohonzon (大御本尊), the Nichiren mandala from which all other gohonzon are said to derive their power. Soka Gakkai's fundraising for the building was extremely successful - eight million contributors donated more than 35.5 billion yen in a timespan of only four days in October 1965, perhaps making it the largest private fundraising project in Japan's history.[37]:289–293

Ikeda and Soka Gakkai represented the Shōhondō as a "virtual" honmon no kaidan (本門の戒壇, roughly great ordination platform), one of the "three great treasures" whose construction would mark the completion of the entire nation's conversion to Nichiren's teachings. This led some Shōshū lay groups to object that the building should not be constructed until after all of Japan had actually been converted to Nichiren Buddhism.[37]:289–293 When the Shōhondō was completed in 1972, the controversy about the timeliness of its construction heated up, with some lay groups denouncing the Gakkai. Ikeda worked to improve the Gakkai's relationship with the priesthood, and when a Shōshū lay group called Myōshinkō protested against the Gakkai in 1974, they were expelled by Shōshū.[89] In 1976 the Nichiren Shōshū administration modified its liturgy to include a prayer for the success of the Soka Gakkai.[90]

From 1977, Ikeda openly raised interpretations of Nichiren Buddhism that differed from Nichiren Shōshū doctrine. On January 17, 1977, Ikeda gave a speech called "Speaking on Views of Buddhist History" in which he stated that the Soka Gakkai’s neighborhood community centers served as the temples of the present era and that the Soka Gakkai had assumed the true priestly authority of this age.[91] In another essay titled "Lecture on the Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life" (Shōji ichidaiji ketsumyakushō kōgi), Ikeda disputed Nichiren Shōshū claims to an exclusive lineage going back to the founder Nichiren. Instead, he claimed, individuals experience the same heritage of the Law through their Buddhist practice. Millions of copies of this essay were printed.[92]

Conflict with the Shōshū priesthood

In the 1970s, Soka Gakkai had donated numerous buildings to Nichiren Shoshu including the Shohondo. In 1975 and 1977, there was some conflict between Soka Gakkai administration and Nichiren Shōshū, and Ikeda twice ordered Gakkai members to stop visiting Taiseki-ji. The source of this conflict was not publicly explained at the time and remains a matter of dispute between the Gakkai and Shōshū.[93]

In 1979, the prayer for the success of the Soka Gakkai was removed from Nichiren Shōshū liturgy. Ikeda resigned from Soka Gakkai on April 24, 1979, retaining only an honorary title but maintaining presidency of Soka Gakkai International. It seems likely the conflict with the Nichiren priesthood was behind Ikeda's departure, and it has been suggested that the Nichiren priesthood demanded Ikeda's resignation.[89]

In July 1979, the head abbot of Shōshū, Nittatsu Hosoi, died. A controversy arose among Shōshū lay groups over the legitimacy of his successor, Nikken Abe. 200 monastic opponents of Abe and of Soka Gakkai eventually formed a group, Shōshinkai, which was soon expelled from the Shōshū.[94] Soka Gakkai supported Abe at this time.

As now honorary president of the Soka Gakkai, Ikeda functioned in a low profile for the second half of 1979. In 1980 he began to travel extensively as president of the Soka Gakkai International. In 1984 he was reappointed as chief lay representative on Nichiren Shoshu. Yet the reconciliation was still stormy under the surface. The Soka Gakkai had become deeply international in its perspective and the removal of Ikeda as president did not make the members docile.[95]

Separation from Shōshū

In 1991, Nichiren Shōshū administration published a list of points where they perceived Soka Gakkai to have deviated from Shōshū doctrine. The priesthood also condemned Ikeda for abandoning the aggressive propagation style (shakubuku) that led to some social criticism of the lay group, though not the priesthood.[96] Soka Gakkai was no longer considered a lay group, or hokkekō, of Shōshū, and its leaders, including Ikeda, were expelled.[97][98]

The doctrinal dispute centered on interpretations of the meaning of the Three Jewels of Buddhism, in particular the "treasure of the Sangha", which according to Nichiren Shōshū refers to the Priesthood, while - according to the Soka Gakkai - anyone who practices true Buddhism is a member of the Sangha.[90] This dispute related to the concept of religious authority: "The priesthood claims that it is the sole custodian of religious authority and dogma, while the Soka Gakkai leadership argues that the sacred writings of Nichiren, not the priesthood, represent the ultimate source of authority, and that any individual with deep faith in Nichiren's teachings can reach enlightenment without the assistance of a priest".[99]

One of the deviations the priesthood objected to was Ikeda allowing members to sing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" at meetings because it mentions God. Shōshū, believing that Nichiren's authority was absolute, did not permit such Christian music.[100][101] Another problem was the concern of some priests that the Soka Gakkai was building community centers rather than temples.[102]

Some Japanese members of the Gakkai left at this time, "disenchanted" with its "increasingly Ikeda-centered ethos"[37]:302 or disillusioned with the "Ikeda personality-cult tendency".[103] Others left the organization out of concerns that they would no longer be able to enter Shōshū temples and have traditional pilgrimages and funerals. Most members stayed with the Soka Gakkai and what they perceived as Ikeda's modernization of Buddhist ideas.[104]

In response to members leaving the movement in order to remain parishioners affiliated with Shōshū Hokkekō, the Soka Gakkai initiated a "movement for leaving the confraternity" (脱講運動), aimed at drawing former members back to the movement from the Hokkekō. The Soka Gakkai encouraged members to chant for the self-destruction of "Nikken-shū" ("the Nikken sect", a name the movement applied to Nichiren Shōshū after the split) and began distributing the names of Shōshū temples across the country, holding regular prayer sessions to beseech the object of worship for aid in overthrowing (打倒 datō) Soka Gakkai's enemy.[37]:301–302

Households were allowed to belong to both organizations until 1997, when Shōshū requested that all its members leave Soka Gakkai. In that year, Shōshū demolished the ¥35 billion Shōhondō building at Taiseki-ji. High Priest Nikken alleged that the reason for the demolition was corrosion caused by sea salt, but the architect of the Sho Hondo has said this had "no basis in fact", and the soundness of the building had been verified many times.[105]

There is evidence that Soka Gakkai was involved in fabricating evidence that the Shōshū administration had engaged in illicit conduct,[106] and in December 1999, Soka Gakkai was found guilty of libel against Shōshū. The Gakkai's official newspaper, the Seikyō Shinbun, had printed a doctored photo of Abe's 70th birthday party, claiming that it showed him cavorting with geisha.[107] Following the guilty verdict, the Seikyō Shinbun reported that it had been found innocent of all charges.[108][109] In July 2000, the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform disclosed that a private investigator hired by Soka Gakkai had illegally stolen National Crime Information Center records pertaining to Abe. The committee expressed concern that no arrests were made.[110]

Religious scholars have mixed opinions about the split. According to M. Bumann, Seager, Dobbeleare, Metraux, Hurst and others, the cause of the split was the friction between hierarchical tradition and democratic modernity: "A spirit of openness, egalitarianism, and democratization pervaded the SG, embodying and giving new life to the idea of self-empowerment. In 1991, these liberalizing developments led to the split between the Japan-oriented, priestly Nichiren Shōshū and the lay-based, globalized SGI."[111] In an analysis of books studying the expansion of SGI after the split, Jane Hurst viewed the split as the result of: "lay members seeking religious support for their lives, priests seeking perpetuation of hierarchical institutions".[112] Ian Reader, on the other hand, saw "corrupt and scandalous behavior on both sides."[106]

Beliefs and practices

Further information: Nichiren Buddhism and Buddhist liturgy

Until the 1991 split with the Nichiren Shōshū, Sōka Gakkai existed within the Shōshū framework as a hokkeko, a form of lay organization. The split was to a degree caused by disagreements over the interpretation of Nichiren teachings.[113] From the time of its first president the Soka Gakkai was more interested in religion providing "personal gain" for adherents; but "personal advantage as defined by Makiguchi, however, is not a narrow self-interest, but rather something that might be called enlightened self-interest. It is never in conflict with the public good.".[114]

While the two movements still share most of their canon, the Soka Gakkai did change some practices to "reflect the changes of the late twentieth century",[115] and their own approach to kosen-rufu, or widespread propagation.[116] The Sōka Gakkai leadership, specifically Ikeda, has produced certain writings which have acquired a canonical status within Sōka Gakkai, such as Ikeda's book "Human Revolution", which in some ways sets it apart from its former parent organization,[117] which in turn sets itself apart from the Soka Gakkai by maintaining that only a priest can be a "Bodhisattva of the Earth".[118]

The Soka Gakkai teaches all life has dignity and has infinite potential, and practices Buddhism as taught by Nichiren (1222-1281) as the means to actualize these beliefs in the mundane world.[119] The Soka Gakkai practices Nichiren’s teachings as adapted and applied by its three founding presidents: Makiguchi,Toda and Ikeda.[120] Nichiren’s basic practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (called "daimoku") to a mandala Nichiren inscribed called "Gohonzon" is shared by other Nichiren sects, including one with which the Soka Gakkai was once affiliated, Nichiren Shoshu; but in the Soka Gakkai, the expectations and goals of the practice are unique.[121] For the Soka Gakkai, practice affords "a ritual response" to one's desire to improve one's life and circumstances; but chanting is "not an empty ritual, but a means of focusing one's attention on one's own contribution to problem areas in one's life, and thereby a means of realizing potential responses." [122][123] These beliefs arise, first, from Makiguchi’s theory of value creation, and secondly from Toda’s insights that "Buddha is life (or life force)" and "we are bodhisattvas entrusted with worldwide propagation of the Mystic Law".[124] Ikeda developed the organization so that it could take hold in countries outside of Japan, and developed its social agenda.[125]

Faith, practice and study

The primary practice of the Soka Gakkai, like that of most Nichiren sects, is chanting Nam-myo-ho-renge-kyo, which is the title of the Lotus Sutra, and simultaneously considered the Buddha nature inherent in life.[126] and the ultimate reality of existence[127] The supplemental practice is the daily recitation of parts of the 2nd and 16th chapters of the Lotus Sutra. While other Nichiren sects preach that this practice leads to enlightenment in one's present lifetime, the Soka Gakkai stresses that practicing for this enlightenment entails actual "engagement in the realities of daily life", while including the happiness of others in one's own practice.[128]

In addition, the Soka Gakkai publishes study materials, including the writings of Nichiren and the Lotus Sutra, and has a program of study.[129] As a New Religion, Soka Gakkai practices Nichiren Buddhism as it has been expounded by its three founding presidents, and so also studies their speeches and writings, especially those of 3rd President Daisaku Ikeda. His novelized histories of the movement, The Human Revolution (and its sequel The New Human Revolution) have been said to have "canonical status" as it "functions as a source of inspiration and guidance for members".[117]

The Soka Gakkai practice also includes activities beyond the ritualistic, such as meetings, social engagement, and improving one's circumstances; these also have significance as religious activities in the Soka Gakkai.[130][131][132]

The practices to improve oneself while helping others others, and the study of Buddhism, combine with "faith" in what the Soka Gakkai considers "the three basic aspects of Nichiren Buddhism".[133] Faith, as explained in a booklet given by SGI-USA to prospective new members, is an expectation that deepens with experience as one practices in the Soka Gakkai.[134]

Five "Eternal Guidelines" of Faith

In late 1957, then Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda proclaimed 3 "Eternal Guidelines of Faith" in order to impress on the growing membership that the purpose of their faith was to effect change in their lives. In 2003, Ikeda added two more guidelines. The Five Guidelines of Faith are:

  • Faith for a harmonious family;
  • Faith for each person to become happy;
  • Faith for surmounting obstacles;
  • Faith for health and long life; and
  • Faith for absolute victory.[135]

The Discussion Meeting

Main article: Zadankai

The "formal liturgy" of the Soka Gakkai, according to Seager, is the discussion meeting.[136] McLaughlin says they are among the most important activities of the Soka Gakkai.[137]

At discussion meetings, participants are encouraged to take responsibility “for their own lives and for wider social and global concerns.”[138] The format is an example of how the Soka Gakkai is able to “dispense with much of the apparatus of conventional church organization”.[139]

Life force

While imprisoned, Josei Toda studied a passage for the Immeasurable meanings sutra (considered the introduction to the Lotus Sutra) that describes Buddhahood by means of 34 negations – for example, that it is "neither being nor non-being, this nor that, square nor round". From this, he concluded that "Buddha" is life, or life force.[140][141]

The "philosophy of life" restates principles formulated by Nichiren:[142] "three thousand conditions in a single moment" (ichinen sanzen), and "observing one's own mind" (kanjin)[143]

The concept of life force is central to the Soka Gakkai's conception of the role of religion and the application of Nichiren's teachings. "Our health, courage, wisdom, joy, desire to improve, self-discipline, and so on, could all be said to depend on our life force," Ikeda says.[144]

Toda considered that the concept of "Buddha as life (force) means that Buddhism entails transforming society.[145] According to religious historian Susumu Shimazono, Ikeda says "Faith is firm belief in the universe and the life force. Only a person of firm faith can lead a good and vigorous life. . . Buddhist doctrine is a philosophy that has human life as its ultimate object, and our Human Revolution movement is an act of reform aimed at opening up the inner universe, the creative life force within each individual, and leading to human freedom."[146]

Soka Gakkai teaches that this "self-induced change in each individual" – which it refers to as "human revolution"—is what leads to happiness and peace[147] While older schools taught the attainment of Buddhahood in this life through the Gohonzon, they did not tie this to social engagement. Toda's conception of life force and human revolution means that one attain Buddhahood "through engagement in the realities of daily life, through attaining benefits and happiness that involve all of life, and through extending this happiness to others."[148]

Lotus Sutra

Main article: Lotus Sutra

The Lotus Sutra is one of the most popular and influential Mahāyāna sutras, of uncertain authorship. The sutra presents itself as a discourse delivered by Gautama Buddha toward the end of his life. The oldest parts of its text were probably written down between 100 BC and 100 AD: most of the text had appeared by 200 AD.[149] While most Mahāyāna denominations regard the Lotus Sutra as important, a characteristic of Nichiren Buddhism is the elevation of the Lotus Sutra to the only true revelation of Buddhism. The sutra is the basis for the two central focuses in Nichiren Buddhist practice: the daimoku and the gohonzon.[68][117]

Nichiren taught that practicing the Lotus Sutra "address both the purification of the mind the purification of society", and that "only adherence to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra would prevent adversity".[150]

The Soka Gakkai veneration of the Lotus Sutra has been explained by Daisaku Ikeda: "The ideal of Mahayana Buddhism is the realization of happiness for oneself and for others. Nowhere is this more completely set out than in the Lotus Sutra, which recognizes the Buddha-nature in all people—women and men, those with formal education and those without…..the Lotus Sutra doesn't deny the value of worldly benefit. By allowing people to start to practice in expectation of such benefit, the teachings of the Lotus Sutra establish a way of life based on faith, and through this faith…we enter the path of wisdom. By believing in this sutra that teaches universal enlightenment and by purifying our mind, we are then able to bring our daily actions into harmony with the core spirit of Buddhism."[151]

The Soka Gakkai believes that Nichiren taught that the prosperity of society is linked to its regard for the Lotus Sutra, and that in modern terms this means its respect for the dignity of life.[152] One is considered to be practicing the Lotus Sutra when chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon.[153][154]


File:SGI Gohonzon.jpg
Sōka Gakkai gohonzon

The Gohonzon Soka Gakkai members enshrine in their homes and centers is a transcription by the 18th century high priest Nichikan.[37] The characters down the middle of the scroll say "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" and "Nichiren". Immediately to the right and left are the names of Shakyamuni and Many Treasures (Taho) Buddha. On the corners are the names of protective deities from Buddhist mythology, and the remaining characters are names representing the various conditions of life.[155]

The Soka Gakkai teaches that by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon one fuses one's life with the ultimate reality of all things.[156] It is the member's faith and practice that causes the scroll to become a "happiness machine"[37]:289 that allows one to examine one's life, gain benefit and ultimately attain Buddhahood.[157]

Ikeda has written: "...the treasure tower is the great metaphor of the Lotus Sutra that represents the infinite potential for happiness within each individual's life, coextensive with the infinite cosmos. The treasure tower is synonymous with the Mystic Law, or the Gohonzon, or the Buddha nature inherent within each of us."[158] He also wrote: "In the Daishonin's Buddhism, the powers of the Buddha and the Law indicate those of the Gohonzon, since it embodies both the person and the Law. Only the powers of faith and practice can bring forth the powers of the Buddha and the Law, the limitless power of the Gohonzon."[159]

Josei Toda also taught that one must pray with the belief "that there is no distinction among the Gohonzon, Nichiren and you yourself."[160]

The Soka Gakkai has always believed that the efficacy of one's practice to the Gohonzon was free of dependence on clerical ritual, but refrained from expressing this while still connected to Nichiren Shōshū. Since 1991, however, the organization has taught openly that the Gohonzon is a reflection of the practitioner's own faith and practice.[161]

Chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, called "the daimoku" literally means "devotion – mystic law (or ultimate reality) – lotus flower-teaching". In another sense, "myoho-renge" means "the mystic law of cause and effect".[162]

Soka Gakkai members chant the Daimoku to change their lives, including the environments in which they live.[163] The goal is to produce an inner change that becomes the motivator for social change. The Soka Gakkai teaches that chanting cannot be divorced from action.[164]

Soka Gakkai members believe that chanting releases the power of the universal life force inherent in life.[165] For some Soka Gakkai members, chanting for worldly benefits is a "first step" toward realizing the ultimate goal of Buddhahood. There is no separation between life on the world and the universal life of Buddhahood, chanting daimoku is meant to lead to effects in daily life[166] Thus, Buddhahood is experienced as the process of transforming, and as the actual transformation of, daily life.[167] Therefore chanting daimoku is not approached as a passive exercise, as Soka Gakkai literature urges practitioners to have "conviction", tenacity and perseverance and to challenge problems.[168][169]


At one time, the Soka Gakkai's expansion methods were controversial, as it employed a Buddhist method called shakubuku, translated as "break and subdue (attachments to inferior teachings".[170] It is not "forced conversion", as some have alleged. “Although all critics of Sokagakkai express aversion of shakubuku, the method is not very different from that used in the West by Mormons, Jehovah`s Witnesses, ‘Born-again’ Christians, ‘Moonies’ and others. Most Japanese sects practice aggressive proselytising, but not as successfully as Sokagakkai.”.[171]

In 1970 Ikeda prescribed a more moderate approach, "urging its members to adopt an attitude of openness to others"; the method Soka Gakkai prefers since then is called shoju - "dialogue or conversation designed to persuade people rather than convert them", though this is often referred to still as "shakubuku spirit".[172] In 2014 the Soka Gakkai changed the "Religious Tenets" section of its Rules and Regulations as regards propagation. Formerly, the Tenets said the Soka Gakkai "would seek to realize its ultimate goal - the widespread propagation of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism throughout Jambudvipa (the world), thus fulfilling the Daishonin's mandate". The new version says "it shall strive, through each individual achieving their human revolution,to realize as its ultimate goal the worldwide propagation of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, thus fulfilling the Daishonin's mandate."[173] According to Soka Gakkai President Harada, "worldwide propagation" is a function of individuals undergoing positive change in their lives.[174]

Oneness of mentor and disciple

Chilson reports that "as Soka Gakkai's long-time leader, Ikeda is revered by Gakkai members."[175] The relationship between members and their mentors is referred to as "the oneness of mentor and disciple." Soka Gakkai members both in and outside Japan perceive Ikeda as their mentor and openly discuss this relationship. The mentor is to lead and thereby improve the lives of his disciples. The mentor's actions is seen as giving disciples confidence in their own unrealized potential. The role of disciples is seen as supporting their mentor and realizing his vision using their unique abilities and circumstances. The relationship is seen as non-hierarchical and mutually weighted. Disciples are encouraged to be active creators rather than passive followers.[176] Seager writes: "The oneness of the mentor-disciple relationship is described not in terms of demands and duties as many critics imagine it to be, but in terms of choice, freedom and responsibility. It is the disciple's choice and decision to follow the mentor's vision for their common goal. In response, it is the mentor's wish to raise and foster the disciple to become greater than the mentor.[23]:63

A predominant theme in Ikeda's writings is his relationship with Toda, thereby modeling for his followers the oneness of mentor and disciple. Chilson states, "There is no part of his life that he talks about more, or with more enthusiasm, than the years he spent with Toda."[177] Ikeda's published diary portrays him as an imperfect person who is completely dedicated to serving Toda as a disciple, creating an image of Ikeda for members who wish to become his disciple.[178]

Since the mid-1990s, the issue of the oneness of mentor and disciple has received more prominence in the Soka Gakkai. There is a strong emphasis on "cultivating all members... in discipleship" through forging "affective one-to-one relationships with Ikeda".[179]:70

As is often the case, an evaluation of Ikeda's role in the mentor and disciple relationship is complicated by the Soka Gakkai's involvement in Japanese politics. Junya Yano, longtime secretary-general of Soka Gakkai's political arm Kōmeitō, has claimed that the Gakkai has become a "cult of personality" centered on Ikeda.[180] Similarly, Levi McLaughlin notes "a decisive transformation from an organization run by Ikeda to a group dedicated to Ikeda".[179]:69 According to Jane Hurst, Ikeda has not exploited his position in the Gakkai's international organization, instead taking initiative to democratize and decentralize it.[181]

Views on priesthood

The Soka Gakkai teaches that it is possible to attain enlightenment without the assistance of traditional temples and without a system of priesthood, for any person with deep faith in Nichiren's teachings.[182]

Peace activities

File:Tower Rio50.jpg
Gymnastic formation by the Brazil SGI team at Rio de Janeiro, on October 30, 2011. Performance art is one of Soka Gakkai's peace activities.

The group's peace activities can however be traced back to the Toda era - at an athletic meeting in 1957, Toda called for a complete ban on nuclear weapons. A 1975 petition drive against nuclear weapons by the Gakkai's youth division garnered 10 million signatures, and was handed over to the United Nations.[183][184]:84

Soka Gakkai considers dance and other performance art to be a major aspect of its peace activities. The members in Singapore also participate in the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics Opening Ceremony[185] and the 2015 Southeast Asian Games Opening Ceremony.[186] The members also participate in the national day parade in Singapore[187] and Malaysia.[188]

Culture of peace

The Soka Gakkai was included in a collective Buddhist response to UNESCO's "Declaration on the Role of Religion in the Promotion of a Culture of Peace," established in Barcelona in December 1994. The Soka Gakkai's contribution to building a culture of peace is summarized by person-to-person diplomacy, the promotion of small community discussion meetings with egalitarian mores reflecting the Lotus tradition, the promotion of the values of compassion, wisdom, and courage to promote action to nurture world citizenship, and participation in cultural events to foster the culture of peace.[189] Peace and human rights activists such as Dr. Lawrence Carter of Morehouse College and Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who partnered with the Soka Gakkai in various exhibits and presentations, praise the organization's efforts.[190]

Each year, Ikeda publishes a peace proposal which examines global challenges in the light of Buddhist teachings and suggests specific actions to further peace and human security. The proposals are specific and wide-ranging, covering topics as constructing a culture of peace, promoting the development of the United Nations, nuclear disarmament, the prohibition of child soldiers, the empowerment of women, the promotion of educational initiatives in schools such as human rights and sustainable development education, and calls to reawaken the human spirit and individual empowerment.[191] The complete texts of recent proposals are available at the SGI website.[192] Olivier Urbain, Director of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, has published a compilation of topical excerpts from past proposals, with a focus on the role of the United Nations.[193]

Establishment of institutions

The Soka Gakkai has established multiple institutions and research facilities to promote its values of peace. The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (founded in 1962), among other goals, clarifies the essence of Buddhism to peace studies. The Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning and Dialogue (founded in 1993 as the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century), promotes dialogue between scholars and activists to prevent war and promote respect for life.[194] The Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research (founded in 1996) conducts peace-oriented international policy research through international conferences and frequent publications.[195][196]

Criticisms of the Soka Gakkai's promotion of pacifism

Soka Gakkai's pacifist stand has however been questioned for the group's support to the non-pacifist political party Komeito, without denying that the group is very active in "trying to establish the basis for world peace".[184]:84 In Japan, there is a widespread negative perception of SGI's pacifist movement, which is considered to be mere public relations for the group.[6] Scholar Brian Victoria characterizes Soka Gakkai's pacifist activism as a "recruiting tactic", noting in particular Komeito's support for revising the Constitution of Japan.[25]

Praise of the Soka Gakkai's promotion of pacifism

Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling has praised Daisaku Ikeda specifically for his work to foster a lasting worldwide peace.[197]

Dr. Lawrence Carter, the chaplain at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, considers the Soka Gakkai an important ally in getting the message of civil rights and non-violence to cultures beyond those that are Christian. He has said that Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai, with activities such as Victory Over Violence, have helped in his work to "revive the King legacy."[198]

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish rights organization, has also worked with the Soka Gakkai. Rabbi Abraham Cooper headed its efforts in the Pacific Rim, and in co-operation with the Soka Gakkai opened a Japanese version of the Center's Holocaust exhibit. Cooper said the organization's involvement actually improved the exhibit, and that through the Soka Gakkai, the Wiesenthal Center has found more partners in Japan.[199]


File:Soka gakkai honbu.jpg
Soka Gakkai's Tokyo headquarters

Soka Gakkai was originally a lay organization of Nichiren Shōshū, meaning it was necessary to belong to Shōshū to be a member of the Gakkai and was stripped of its status as a lay organization of Nichiren Shōshū. There are several other lay organizations within Shōshū as well as members of Shōshū who belong to no organization.

Formally, the Soka Gakkai International is the umbrella organization for all national organizations, while Soka Gakkai by itself refers to the Japanese arm. Soka Gakkai International maintains an international political presence as a registered non-governmental organization with the United Nations.[37]:273

SGI has been in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 1983. As an NGO working with the United Nations, SGI has been active in public education with a focus mainly on peace and nuclear weapons disarmament, human rights and sustainable development.[200]

Though a lay organization, there are a handful of temples and ordained priests affiliated with the Gakkai: the Kenbutsuji in Kyoto, the Kōryūji in Yūbari, Hokkaido, the Jōenji in Oyama, Tochigi, for example. These temples were previously affiliated with the Nichiren Shōshū but voluntarily left after the split.[37]:301

In recent decades it has become quite difficult for academics and other outsiders to get access to reliable information about the Soka Gakkai's inner workings. As a result, there is a paucity of independent in-depth studies of the organization.[201]


Soka Gakkai has, together with its international offshoot Soka Gakkai International (SGI) been described as "the world's largest Buddhist lay group and America's most diverse".[202] Soka Gakkai International claims a total of over 12 million adherents.[203] The majority of these belong to the Japanese organization, whose official membership count is 8.27 million households.[204] According to statistics from the Agency for Cultural Affairs (a body of the Japanese Ministry of Education), the Japanese organization had 5.42 million individual members in 2000.[205] Even that number, however, has been questioned by some authors.[206][207]


The election or nomination of so-called "leaders" is typically not decided by SGI's adherents but by a Board of directors.[208] Leadership below national staff, however, has been liberalized; in the U.S., for instance, the nomination and approval of leaders includes both members and leaders.[209] Dobbelaere notes the election of the presidents,[210] as well as a process of "nomination, review and approval that involves both peers and leaders" in choosing other leaders.[211]

List of Presidents

List of Presidents of Soka Gakkai

  1. Tsunesaburō Makiguchi (18 November 1930 – 2 May 1944)
  2. Jōsei Toda (3 May 1951 – 2 May 1960)
  3. Daisaku Ikeda (3 May 1960 – 24 April 1979)
  4. Hiroshi Hōjō (北条浩) (24 April 1979 – 18 July 1981)
  5. Einosuke Akiya (18 July 1981 – 9 November 2006)[212]
  6. Minoru Harada (9 November 2006 – present)[212]

Honorary President of Soka Gakkai

  1. Daisaku Ikeda (24 April 1979 – present)

President of Soka Gakkai International (SGI)

  1. Daisaku Ikeda (26 January 1975 – present)

Japanese politics

See also: Komeito

Soka Gakkai's first attempt to influence the political process in Japan ended with the arrest of a group of Young Men's Division members on n April 23, 1957. They had been campaigning for a Gakkai candidate in an Osaka Upper House by-election, and were arrested for "distributing money, cigarettes, and caramels at supporters' residences, in violation of elections law". On July 3 of the same year, Ikeda Daisaku was arrested and taken into custody in Osaka "for overseeing activities that constituted violations of elections law". That event has been memorialized as the "Osaka Incident", and saw Ikeda spend two weeks in jail and make 48 court appearances before eventually being cleared of all charges several years later in 1962.[213]

While the political party New Komeito is nominally separated from the Soka Gakkai and has been so since 1970, some critics have alleged that the party is in effect controlled by the Gakkai as almost all party members are also members of the religious group and that their voluntary activities during election campaigns equal a de facto endorsement of the party.[214][215] Article 20 of the Japanese Constitution demands the strict separation of politics and religion.[179]:57 While Kōmeitō claim that they fulfill and comply with those legal and constitutional demands,[216] all of New Kōmeitō's past and current presidents have held executive positions in Soka Gakkai.[217] In addition, branch offices of Komeito are almost always located inside a Gakkai "place of worship", allowing the political organization to avoid property taxes.[218]

In the 1980s Shimbun Akahata discovered that many Soka Gakkai members were rewarding acquaintances with presents in return for Kōmeitō votes, and that Okinawa residents had changed their addresses to elect Kōmeitō politicians.[219] As a result, Soka Gakkai was harshly criticized by the Ryūkyū Shimpō and Okinawa Times.[220] In 1999, a columnist for the weekly Bungei Shunjū repeated the charge, alleging that Soka Gakkai distributed fliers to local branches describing how to change voters' registered residences in order to "stack the deck" in favor of Kōmeitō-endorsed candidates.[221]

In terms of policies, the Kōmeitō has traditionally supported the social safety net and policies that benefit lower-income voters. The party's political opponents have criticized this stance as "pandering", and described the Kōmeitō as a "political machine" designed to deliver "indiscriminate handouts" such as shopping vouchers, tax cuts, child allowances, and free medical services for infants.[221]

Although the Soka Gakkai is politically active within Japan, it does not allow any of its foreign chapters to become involved in political action of any kind."[222]

Power and wealth

SGI's president, Daisaku Ikeda, has been referred to as "the most powerful man in Japan".[223] The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that Ikeda cultivates the image of a "charismatic leader", although he has displayed a "violent temper" in private.[224] Former Mainichi Shimbun reporter Toshiaki Furukawa has alleged that the acquisition of personal awards and honors for Ikeda has been budgeted by the Gakkai as "charity services".[225] Ikeda's personal residence in Ashiya, Hyōgo is considered a religious institution for tax purposes.[226]

In the 1990s, a Japanese parliamentarian alleged the Soka Gakkai had amassed wealth up towards $100 billion, though the organization denied this. Journalists writing for Forbes estimated the organization brings in at least $1.5 billion per year, while an Asiaweek article published in 1994 reported on a $2 billion figure from donations alone.[227][228] Religion scholar Hiroshi Shimada has estimated the wealth of the Japanese arm at ¥500 billion.[217] In 2004, Soka Gakkai as a religious organization alone was Japan's 170th largest corporation, and its earnings were over 100 times larger than any other religious organization.[229]:34

The Gakkai now owns most of the land around Shinanomachi Station in Shinjuku, Tokyo, and most of the businesses in that area advertise their Gakkai affiliation.[229]:41–44

In 1989, a Soka Gakkai-controlled museum auctioned two Renoir paintings for 3.6 billion yen (over $35 million), but only paid the seller 2.125 billion yen (roughly $20 million). An investigation discovered how most of the money had been apportioned, but roughly $3 million is still missing.[229]:51

Soka Gakkai fully owns the Seikyo Shimbun, which has a readership base of 5.5 million, making it Japan's third most widely circulated newspaper.[230] The newspaper does not own its own printing equipment, instead paying the other major newspaper publishers to print the newspapers throughout the country - a strategy which has been criticized as an attempt to dissuade them from giving negative coverage to the organization.[217] Seikyo Shinbun regularly reports on President Ikeda's activities, making evident "the cult surrounding his figure".[3] Soka Gakkai also owns the popular literary journal Ushio.[36]:218

Educational institutions

[231] [232]


Elementary schools

  • Tokyo Soka Elementary School - Kodaira, Tokyo, Japan, founded in 1978
  • Kansai Soka Elementary School - Hirakata, Osaka, Japan, founded in 1982
  • Brazil Soka School - São Paulo, Brazil, founded in 2003.[238]

Junior and senior high schools

Junior colleges


Soka University
Main article: Sōka University

Soka University is a private university located in Hachiōji, Tokyo, Japan founded in 1969. The school was opened to undergraduate students in 1971, while a graduate school was opened in 1975.

Soka University of America

The Soka University of America is a private university founded in 1987, located in Aliso Viejo, California, with $1,457,298,476 on assets in the year 2014 and 412 undergraduate students.[240] While the university claims to be secular and independent of Soka Gakkai, it is largely funded by Soka Gakkai .[241] Currently it is reported that "the school maintains no religious affiliation." [242]

Humanitarian work

The Soka Gakkai also conducts humanitarian aid projects in disaster stricken regions. As an organization it is not only dedicated to personal spiritual development but also to engaged community service. After the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Soka Gakkai facilities became shelters for the displaced and storage centers for food and supplies for the victims. The relief effort also included community support by youth groups, global fundraising for the victims, and spiritual support.[243] SGI-Chile members collected supplies to deliver to a relief center after the country's 2014 earthquake.[244]

Public perception and criticism

There is a "fractured view" of the Soka Gakkai in Japan. On the one hand it is seen as a politically and socially engaged movement;[245][246] on the other, it is still widely viewed with suspicion by Japanese.[6][247] James R. Lewis claims the Soka Gakkai still grapples with a stereotype of being a brainwashing cult, even though the group has matured into a responsible member of society.[12] Other scholars reject the cult label.[248][249] Some scholars who utilize the Bryan R. Wilson typology of newly emerging denominations categorize it as "gnostic-manipulationist", a category of teachings holding that the world can improve as people master the right means and techniques to overcome their problems.[13][14][15][16]

Mainstream coverage in Japan

According to Anne Mette Fisker-Nielsen, "Soka Gakkai's relentless, but highly successful, proselytising in the 1950s stirred up fear in wider society. Soka Gakkai was portrayed by the mass media as aggressive and some members were reported to have resorted to violence to remove objects of other religious worship from the home of new adherents, although it is difficult to find evidence....The organisation was widely portrayed as a 'conglomeration of lower social elements' (quoted in White 1970: 6), by that presumably meaning that most members were poor."[250]

Today, Soka Gakkai is rarely criticized in mainstream news media. Ikeda occasionally contributes editorials to major newspapers, which also print reports on Gakkai business. According to former Diet member Hirano Sadao as well as the tabloid Shukan Shincho, the Seikyo Shimbun, possessing a circulation of five million, has contracted its printing operations out to major newspaper publishers, putting heavy pressure on them to avoid printing information critical of the Gakkai in newspapers or television subsidiaries.[251][252]

Tabloid coverage in Japan

Soka Gakkai has long been a subject of criticism in the Japanese weekly newsmagazine press. Scholars have linked political motivations to reports in the press that associated the Soka Gakkai with Aum Shinrikyo.[253][254][255][256] In addition, press criticism of the Soka Gakkai should be seen against the backdrop of negative press coverage of new religious movements in general.[257]

Media criticism of the Soka Gakkai, or at least the New Komeito Party, has abated since it became a coalition partner to the LPD.[258]

Overseas perception

In the year 1998 the final paper of the Select committee of the German Parliament on so-called Cults came to the conclusion that, due to its connection to its mother-organisation (SGI), being conflict-laden in other parts of the world, the German branch (SGI-D) remains problematic.[259]

Academic research

There is a varied body of scholarly examination of the Soka Gakkai, representing approaches from a number of academic disciplines. Clarke's bibliography on Japanese new religious movement contains the most exhaustive collection of academic research about the Soka Gakkai.[260] A sampling of the studies is described below.

See also


  1. ^ Jacqueline I. Stone , Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism (Studies in East Asian Buddhism), University of Hawaii Press 2003,ISBN 978-0824827717, page 454.
  2. ^ a b Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin, eds. (2010). Religions of the world : a comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. pp. 2656–2659. ISBN 978-1598842036. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Kisala, Robert (2004). "Soka Gakkai: Searching for the Mainstream". In Lewis, James R.; Aagaard Petersen, Jesper. Controversial New Religions. Oxford University Press. pp. 139–152. 
  4. ^ a b Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael, eds. (2006). Introduction to new and alternative religions in America. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-275-98712-4. 
  5. ^ Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek, "Soka Gakkai International" in J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann (eds.), Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, 2010, p. 2658. "Daisaku Ikeda (b. 1928), Soka Gakkai's charismatic third president, led the international growth of the movement. Although Ikeda and his successor, Einosuke Akiya, have gone to great lengths to improve the movement's public image, suspicion remains. Soka Gakkai's political involvement through the organ of the Komeito, a political party founded by the Soka Gakkai, and the near godlike reverence that members have for President Ikeda have tended to perpetuate public distrust. Although it has been subjected to a generalized suspicion toward Eastern religious movements in the United States, Europe, and South America, the movement's history outside of Japan has been tranquil by comparison to its Japanese history."
  6. ^ a b c Wellman, Jr., James K.; Lombardi, Clark B. (eds.). Religion and human security : a global perspective. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 272. ISBN 978-0199827756.  "When I conducted a survey of 235 Doshisha University students a few years ago asking their opinions about the Gakkai and how much they knew about its peace education programs, over 80 percent responded that they had a negative image of the movement and about 60 percent thought that its "peace movement" is little more than promotional propaganda. The few respondents with a positive image were either Soka Gakkai members, were related members, or were friends of members."
  7. ^ Seagar, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. University of California Press. p. xii. ISBN 978-0-52024577-8. Since its founding in the 1930s, the SG has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies, some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan, others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view. Over the course of its history, however, it has also grown into a large, politically active, and very well-established network of institutions, whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population. One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan. On one hand, it is seen as a highly articulated, politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace. On the other, it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination. 
  8. ^ Beasley, W.G., ed. (1977). Modern Japan: aspects of history, literature, and society. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 190–196. ISBN 0-520-03495-3. 
  9. ^ a b c Brannen, Noah (1968). Sōka Gakkai: Japan's militant Buddhists. John Knox Press. pp. 80, 101. 
  10. ^ Hunt, Arnold D. (1975). Japan's militant Buddhism: a survey of the Soka Gakkai movement. Salisbury East, S. Aust.: Salisbury College of Advanced Education. pp. 1–13. ISBN 0909383065. 
  11. ^ Kitagawa, Joseph M. (1990). Religion in Japanese history ([Reprint]. ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 329–330. ISBN 978-0231028387. 
  12. ^ a b Lewis, James R. (2003). Scholarship and the Delegitimation of Religion in Legitimating new religions ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. pp. 217–218. ISBN 978-0813533247.  ""For over half a century, one of the most controversial new religions in Japan has been Soka Gakkai. Although this group has matured into a responsible member of society, its ongoing connection with reformist political activity served to keep it in the public eye. Until relatively recently, it also had a high profile as the result of sensationalist and often irresponsible media coverage. Apparently as a direct consequence of the social consensus against this religion, some scholars have felt free to pen harsh critiques of Soka Gakkai--critiques in which the goal of promoting understanding has been eclipsed by efforts to delegitimate Soka Gakkai by portraying it as deluded, wrong, and/or socially dangerous....Soka Gakkai also spread to the United States and Europe, where it aroused controversy as a result of its intense proselytizing activities. Although it was never as controversial as groups like the Hare Krishna Movement or the Unification Church, Sokka Gakkai—which in the United States went under the name Nichiren Shoshu of America after Soka Gakkai broke with Nichiren Shōshū—was not infrequently stereotyped as a brainwashing cult, particularly by anti-cult authors."
  13. ^ a b Bryan Wilson, Religion in Secular Society. Penguin, 1969
  14. ^ a b Bryan Wilson, Magic and the Millennium, Heinemann, London, 1973, pp. 18-30
  15. ^ a b Wallis, Roy (1976). The road to total freedom: a sociological analysis of Scientology. London: Heinemann Educational. p. 156. ISBN 0-435-82916-5. 
  16. ^ a b Glock, Charles Y.; Bellah, Robert N., eds. (1976). The New religious consciousness. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 200. ISBN 0-520-03083-4. 
  17. ^ Maria Immacolata Macioti, The Buddha within Ourselves, translated by Richard M. Capozzi. University Press of America, 2002. Originally printed as Il Buddha che e in noi: Germogli del Sutra Loto, Edizioni Seam, 1996. "President Ikeda is very much loved - -and according to a few authoritative studies, too much loved so much so, in fact, that he risks a personality cult. At leaders' meetings, and at district and chapter meetings too, one often refers to a phrase from his writings, or his guidance." p. 115
  18. ^ Furukawa, Toshiaki (2000). Karuto to shite no Sōka Gakkai = Ikeda Daisaku (Shohan, pp 45-51. ed.). Tōkyō: Daisan Shokan. ISBN 978-4807400171. 
  19. ^ Yanatori, Mitsuyoshi (1977). Sōka Gakkai (in Japanese). Tokyo: Kokusho Kankōkai. pp. 52–4. 
  20. ^ Clarke, Peter, ed. (2008). Encyclopedia of new religious movements (1. publ. ed.). London: Routledge. p. 594. ISBN 978-0415453837. 
  21. ^ Bethel, Dayle M. (1994). Makiguchi the value creator: revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai (1st pbk. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. ISBN 0-8348-0318-6. 
  22. ^ Levi McLaughlin, Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions, Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion, ISBN 978 90 04 23435 2, page 282
  23. ^ a b c d e f Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. Berkeley [u.a.]: Univ. of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. 
  24. ^ a b Hammond, Phillip E.; Machacek, David W. (1999). Soka Gakkai in America: accommodation and conversion (Reprinted. ed.). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198293897. 
  25. ^ a b Victoria, Brian (2014). "Sōka Gakkai Founder, Makiguchi Tsunesaburō, A Man of Peace?". Asia-Pacific Journal 12 (37). 
  26. ^ a b c Robert L. Ramseyer. "The Soka Gakkai". In Beardsley, Richard K., editor, Studies in Japanese culture I. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1965. p. 156
  27. ^ Thomas, Jolyon Baraka (2014). Japan's Preoccupation with Religious Freedom (Ph.D.). Princeton University. p. 281. 
  28. ^ Victoria, Brian (2001). "Engaged Buddhism: A Skeleton in the Closet?". Journal of Global Buddhism 2. ISSN 1527-6457. 
  29. ^ Laderman, Gary; León, Luis, eds. (2003). Religion and American cultures. Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.]: ABC- CLIO. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-57607-238-7. 
  30. ^ Murata, Kiyoaki (1969). Japan's New Buddhism: An Objective Account of Soka Gakkai. New York & Tokyo: Walker/Weatherhill. p. 89. ISBN 0834800403. Toda 'was burning with a desire for vengeance--not against the militarist government of Japan but against an invisible enemy who had caused his own suffering of more than two years as well as his teacher's death in jail and agony to tens of millions of his fellow countrymen.' 
  31. ^ Bethel, Dayle M. (1994). Makiguchi the value creator : revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai (1st pbk. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. pp. 104–5. ISBN 0834803186. 
  32. ^ Bethel, Dayle M. (1994). Makiguchi the value creator : revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai (1st pbk. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. pp. 108–9. ISBN 0834803186. 
  33. ^ Bethel, Dayle M. (1994). Makiguchi the value creator : revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai (1st pbk. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. pp. 91–3. ISBN 0834803186. 
  34. ^ Offner, Clark B. (1963). Modern Japanese Religions: With Special Emphasis Upon Their Doctrines of Healing. New York: Twayne Publishers. pp. 101–102. 
  35. ^ a b Brannen, Noah (September 1962). "The Teachings of Sōka Gakkai". Contemporary Religions in Japan 3: 248–249. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  36. ^ a b c d McFarland, H. Neill (1967). Rush Hour of the Gods. New York: Macmillan. 
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Soka Gakkai in Japan". Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions. Brill. ISBN 9004234365. 
  38. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Soka Gakkai in Japan". In Prohl, Inken; Nelson, John. Handbook of contemporary Japanese religions. Leiden: Brill. p. 272. ISBN 9789004234352. 
  39. ^ Moos, Felix (March 1963). "Religion and Politics in Japan: The Case of the Soka Gakkai" (PDF). Asian Survey. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  40. ^ Montgomery, Daniel (1991). Fire In The Lotus. Mandala, an imprint of Grafton Books. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-85274-091-7. 
  41. ^ McLaughlin (2012):278-279. "Sõka Gakki was driven forward by adherents who came to the group from the fringes of modern Japanese society. They were attracted to the Gakkai in part because it addressed them in an educational idiom, promising access to legitimate and legitimizing practices associated with a pedagogical framework. This was crucial in Japan of the mid—twentieth century, a society obsessed by standards imposed by educational systems, whose members were quick to judge one another based on perceived levels of cultural sophistication. The Value Creation Study Association appealed to the people postwar Japan as a forum for the socially disenfranchised to study, to learn, to prove themselves within meritocratic institutions modeled on the mainstream schools and other educational establishments in which they otherwise had few chances to participate. Soka Gakkai's academic idiom that appealed to so many in postwar Japan speaks not only to members' desire to realize legitimacy through educational pursuits; the group also appeals to members' aspirations to join Japan's social elite....Soka Gakkai is proof that the socially disenfranchised need not sit idle; they are aware of what they lack, and, when organized en masse and inspired by the possibilities of upward social mobility, they themselves create the institutions that grant social mobility— political parties, newspapers, study circles, schools, museums, organizations for the performing arts, and opportunities for musical training. They create alternative means of reaching for the social legitimacy that remains out of their reach in mainstream society, of securing recognition ordinarily granted by the central institutions of the modern nation; they create groups like Soka Gakkai."
  42. ^ a b Aruga, Hiroshi. "Sōka Gakkai and Japanese Politics," in Machacek, David and Bryan Wilson, eds, Global Citizens: The Sōka Gakkai Buddhist Movement in the World, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 104-114
  43. ^ Doherty, Jr., Herbert J. (Winter 1963). "Soka Gakkai: Religions and Politics in Japan". The Massachusetts Review 4 (2). JSTOR 25079014. 
  44. ^ Heine, Steven, ed. (2003). Buddhism in the modern world : adaptations of an ancient tradition ([Reprint.]. ed.). New York [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 0-19-514697-2. 
  45. ^ a b c White, James W. (1970). The Sōkagakkai and mass society. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804707282. 
  46. ^ Naylor, Christina (March 1991). "Nichiren, Imperialism, and the Peace Movement". Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 18 (1). 
  47. ^ Fisker-Nielsen, Anne Mette (2012). Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito. London: Routledge. (Japan Anthropology Workshop Series), p. 23
  48. ^ Maria Immacolata, Macioti; Capozi (translator), Richard M. (2002). The Buddha within ourselves : blossoms of the Lotus Sutra. Lanham: University Press of America. p. 113. ISBN 0761821899. 
  49. ^ Daniel B. Montgomery: Fire in the Lotus, Mandala 1991, S. 186-187 In April 1952 Taiseki-ji and other Nichiren temples throughout the land were celebrating the 700th anniversary of the founder’s first proclamation of the Daimoku, Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. ... At Taiseki-ji four gala days were planned. The first two were to be managed by the sect’s official laymen’s association, called Hokkeko. The last two days were for Sokagakkai. ... The Hokkeko was bringing 2,500 members, and he [Toda] would muster 4,000 from his one-year-old society. He also saw an opportunity to avenge his two years of imprisonment during the war ... Forty-seven leaders of the Youth Division, one of whom was Daisaku Ikeda, worked out a systematic plan to locate Ogasawara and bring him to judgement. … The young men immediately challenged him to debate his views. … What happened next is not clear. According to Ikeda, Toda reasoned calmly with Ogasawara, demanding an apology, while the old man ‘drolled out of the mouth’ and ‘howled like a rabid dog’. But Murata claims that Toda told him in an interview that he struck the priest ‘twice’ (96). In any case, Ogasawara would not be intimidated, and would admit to nothing. … They carried him out into the temple grounds, shouting through megaphones, ‘This is Jimon Ogasawara, a parasite in the lion’s body, gnawing at Nichiren Shoshu … They tagged him with a placard reading. ‘Racoon Monk’, and bore him to the grave of Makiguchi.
  50. ^ In Japanese folklore, the tanuki or Japanese raccoon dog is regarded as a sly and deceptive being with shapeshifting powers. The word is still used in contemporary Japanese to refer to slyness and deception. See the definition of tanuki in Kōjien (2nd ed.): 他人を欺くこと。また、そのひと。
  51. ^ a b c d e Murata, Kiyoaki (1969). Japan's new Buddhism: an objective account of Soka Gakkai ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. ISBN 978-0834800403. 
  52. ^ a b Shimada, Hiromi (2008). Sōkagakkai (Kindle) (in Japanese). Tōkyō: Shinchōsha. ISBN 978-4106100727. 
  53. ^ Murata, Kiyoaki (1969). Japan's new Buddhism: an objective account of Soka Gakkai ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. ISBN 978-0834800403, Page 96-97 Ogasawara was taken to Makiguchis’s grave, where he was forced to sign a statement of apology. Recalling this incident in an interview with the author in July 1956, Toda admitted hitting the priest “twice” and said that this was the cause of the extremely unfavorable press his organization then received- which labeled Soka Gakkai as … atone and apologize with the conversion of the entire nation. It goes without saying that members of the Youth Division follow me in this regard.” In a pamphlet issued in May 1955, Ogasawara similarly “repented” his “indiscretion having had the unfortunate conflict with Soka Gakkai.” Ikeda, who led the four thousand … young men to mob Ogasawara, says now that the incident was an act of kindness because the old priest, made to realize his apostasy, was grateful to Toda and Soka Gakkai and died a happy man. On May 12, 1951, Toda made a formal appeal to High Priest … [1] [2] [3]
  54. ^ Brannen, Noah (September 1964). "False Religions, Forced Conversions, Iconoclasm". Contemporary Religions in Japan V (3). Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. 
  55. ^ Orient/West 7 (7–11). 1962. 
  56. ^ McLaughlin (2012), p. 292
  57. ^ White (1970), p. 44
  58. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0520245778. 
  59. ^ Kiong, Tong Chee (2007). Rationalizing religion : religious conversion, revivalism, and competition in Singapore society ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Leiden: Brill. p. 141. ISBN 9789004156944. [Ikeda] turned down the idea of shakubuku or aggressive proselytization for shoju a more gentle and persuasive conversion. 
  60. ^ Offner, Clark B.; Straelen, H. Van (1963). Modern Japanese Religions: With Special Emphasis Upon Their Doctrines of Healing. New York: Twayne Publ. p. 102. 
  61. ^ Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's new Buddhism : an objective account of Soka Gakkai. ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. p. 124,127. ISBN 978-0834800403. 
  62. ^ Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's new Buddhism : an objective account of Soka Gakkai. ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. p. 144. ISBN 978-0834800403. 
  63. ^ Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's new Buddhism : an objective account of Soka Gakkai. ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. p. 145. ISBN 978-0834800403. 
  64. ^ Morgan, Diane (2004). The Buddhist experience in America (1st publ. ed.). Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press. p. 128. ISBN 9780313324918. 
  65. ^ Hefferan, edited by Tara; Adkins,, Julie; Occhipinti, Laurie (2009). Bridging the gaps : faith-based organizations, neoliberalism, and development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. p. 182. ISBN 9780739132876. 
  66. ^ Dehn, Ulrich (2011). Staemmler, Birgit; Dehn, Ulrich, eds. Establishing the revolutionary : an introduction to new religions in Japan. Berlin: Lit. p. 207. ISBN 9783643901521. 
  67. ^ Morgan, Diane (2004). The Buddhist experience in America (1st publ. ed.). Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press. pp. 128–30. ISBN 9780313324918. 
  68. ^ a b Neusner, Jacob, ed. (2003). World religions in America: an introduction (3. ed.). Louisville, Ky. ;London: Westminster John Knox. p. 166. ISBN 978-0664224752. 
  69. ^ Marshall, Katherine (2013). Global institutions of religion ancient movers, modern shakers. London: Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 9781136673443. 
  70. ^ Urbain, Olivier (2013). Daisaku Ikeda and dialogue for peace. London: I.B. Tauris. pp. 22–3. ISBN 9780857722690. 
  71. ^ Strand, Clark. "Interview: Faith in Revolution". Tricycle. Retrieved Jan 2, 2015. I have felt a powerful responsibility to universalize and ensure the long-term flourishing of the teachings. Just weeks before he died in April 1958, Mr. Toda called me to his side and told me that he had dreamed of going to Mexico, that there were people there waiting to learn about Buddhism. In terms of the teachings, I have tried to separate out those elements in the traditional interpretation of Nichiren Buddhism that are more reflective of Japanese cultural and historical contingencies than they are of the underlying message. To this end I have continued to engage in dialogue with a wide range of people around the world in order to refine and universalize the expression of my ideas. Because I am convinced that all cultures and religions are expressions of deep human truths, I have regularly referenced philosophical traditions other than Buddhism, bringing in the ideas and insights of literature, art, science, and medicine, and sharing the inspiring words and insights of thinkers from a wide range of cultural and religious backgrounds with people, including the membership of the Soka Gakkai. 
  72. ^ Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's new Buddhism : an objective account of Soka Gakkai. ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. p. 125. ISBN 978-0834800403. 
  73. ^ Ikeda, Kiyoaki Murata ; foreword by Daisaku (1969). Japan's new Buddhism : an objective account of Soka Gakkai. ([1st ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. pp. 146–147. ISBN 978-0834800403. 
  74. ^ Carlile, Masumi Junnosuke ; translated by Lonny E. (1995). Contemporary politics in Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 397–8. ISBN 9780520058545. 
  75. ^ "MAJOR SECURITY SHIFT: Local New Komeito officials oppose collective self-defense". Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 2014-07-27. 
  76. ^ Fujiwara, Hirotatsu ; translated by Worth C Grant (1970). What shall we do about this Japan:I denounce Soka Gakkai. Nisshin Hodo Co. ISBN 9110135502. 
  77. ^ Carlile, Masumi Junnosuke ; translated by Lonny E. (1995). Contemporary politics in Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 398. ISBN 9780520058545. 
  78. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 97–8. ISBN 9780520245778. Ikeda took [the free speech issue] seriously and made it the starting point for a process of critical self-examination that resulted in his once again re-creating the Gakkai....The free speech issue gave him a platform from which to make shifts in emphasis of such magnitude that some members recall that it took them a year or more to grasp his intent fully. 
  79. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 97. ISBN 9780520245778. 'We must take the lessons of this incident deeply to heart and must absolutely not make the same mistake again,' he said. 
  80. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma : Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 97–8. ISBN 9780520245778. Ikeda's 1970 speech marked a watershed between the shakubuku-driven activism of the early days and the ore moderate, secularizing style that would become a hallmark of his presidency. It also marked his coming into his own as a teacher at the age of forty-two--still young by Japanese standards--as he began to articulate clearly the basic principles of his emergent globalizing and universalizing Buddhist Humanism. 
  81. ^ "Profile: Soka Gakkai". THE WORLD RELIGIONS AND SPIRITUALITY PROJECT (WRSP). Virginia Commonwealth University. On October 12, 1972, during ceremonies marking the opening of the completed Shōhondō at Taisekiji, Ikeda delivered a speech announcing the start of Sōka Gakkai's "Phase Two," describing a turn away from aggressive expansion toward envisioning the Gakkai as an international movement promoting peace through friendship and cultural exchange. 
  82. ^ Nakano, Tsuyoshi. "Religion and State". In: Tamura, Noriyoshi and David Reed, eds. 1996. Religion in Japanese Culture: Where Living Traditions Meet a Changing World. Tokyo: Kodansha International, p. 127.
  83. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Soka Gakkai in Japan". In Prohl, Inken; Nelson, John. Handbook of contemporary Japanese religions. Leiden: Brill. p. 295. ISBN 9789004234352. 
  84. ^ Shimbun Akahata. 宮本顕治委員長(当時)宅電話盗聴事件の判決は?
  85. ^ a b Teranashi, Hirotomo (2013). Urbain, Olivier, ed. Daisaku Ikeda and Dialogue for Peace. I.B. Tauris. ISBN 9780857734136. 
  86. ^ Toynbee, Arnold; Ikeda, Daisaku; Gage, Richard L. (Ed.) (2007). Choose life : a dialogue. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 9781845115951. 
  87. ^ Malraux, Andre and Ikeda, Daisaku. Ningen kakumei to ningen no joken (Changes Within: Human Revolution vs. Human Condition) Tokyo: Ushio Shuppansha Tokyo 1976
  88. ^ Nanda, Ved P. (2009). Krieger, David, ed. The challenge of abolishing nuclear weapons. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers. p. 97. ISBN 9781412815178. 
  89. ^ a b Daniel A. Metraux. "Why Did Ikeda Quit?" Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, vol. 7, no. 1 (March 1980): 55-61.
  90. ^ a b Jane Hurst. "A Buddhist Reformation in the 20th Century: Causes and Implications of the Conflict between the Soka Gakkai and the Nichiren Shoshu Priesthood".
  91. ^ McLaughlin, Levi. "Soka Gakkai in Japan". p. 18. 
  92. ^ "Profile: Soka Gakkai". THE WORLD RELIGIONS AND SPIRITUALITY PROJECT (WRSP). Virginia Commonwealth University. 
  93. ^ Yanatori, Mitsuyoshi (1977). Sōka Gakkai. Tokyo: Kokusho Kankōkai. pp. 115, 120. (115) 『その事実については、「週刊新潮」がすでに七月に、「メッカ大石寺が、創価学会と喧嘩して参詣者ただ今ゼロ」という記事を掲げている。』 (120)『 「二年前にも、池田会長と日達猊下(と呼ぶそうだ)の仲がおかしくなって、登山禁止令が出た」(学会青年部幹部)』 
  94. ^ Fire in The Lotus, Daniel B. Montgomery, Mandala 1991, 1991, p. 200
  95. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Soka Gakkai in Japan". In Prohl, Inken; Nelson, John. Handbook of contemporary Japanese religions. Leiden: Brill. p. 300. ISBN 9789004234352. By and large, Nichiren Shöshü did not see Gakkai members transform into faithful temple parishioners after Ikeda became Honorary President. Instead, (Gakkai adherents continued to organize in the thousands to revere Ikeda as the leader of an increasingly outward-looking movement that was growing rapidly distant from its lay Buddhist roots. By the mid-1980s, the Nichiren Shöshü priesthood found itself the uncomfortable elderly companion of a dynamic international organization led by a globe-trotting public intellectual who was beginning to speak more often about the Enlightenment of European philosophy than the enlightenment promised by Nichiren Buddhist doctrine. 
  96. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel. Soka Gakkai. p. 12. Other criticisms were more fundamental. For example, the president was criticized for having abandoned shakubuku as a method of proselytism in favor of the shoju method. 
  97. ^ Chronology of events according to „Association of Youthful Priests Dedicated to the Reformation of Nichiren Shoshu”. [4]
  98. ^ Chronology of events according to Nichiren Shoshu [5]
  99. ^ The Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1992 - 19/4, The Dispute between Soka Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu D. Metraux, p. 326
  100. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel. Soka Gakkai. p. 11. 
  101. ^ Seagar, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 130. 
  102. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 129. 
  103. ^ Desmond, Edward W.; Kunii, Irene (November 20, 1995). "Fighting Against the Tide". Time. 
  104. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 130. Members who believed priests to be essential to their spirituality stayed with Nichiren Shoshu, but most remained within the Gakkai, their loyalties tied to Ikeda and his modernist Buddhism. 
  105. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 136. 
  106. ^ a b Reader, Ian. "Review of "A Time to Chant" by Wilson and Dobbelaere". Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 22 (1): 223. 
  107. ^ Shimbun Akahata Tokubetsu Shuzaihan (2000). Seikyō ittai: Kōmeitō, Sōka Gakkai seiken sanka o tou 3. Shin-Nihon Shuppansha. pp. 58–9. ISBN 4406027378. 
  108. ^ Seikyo Shinbun, December 7, 1999 『創価学会全面勝訴』
  109. ^ 山田, 直樹 (27 November 2004). "新「創価学会」を斬る【第4回】". 週刊新潮. 
  110. ^ Felonies and Favors: A Friend of the Attorney General Gathers Information from the Justice Department. United States House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, July 27, 2000
  111. ^ "Martin Baumann Book Review of Hugh Seager - JGB Volume 7". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  112. ^ Hurst, Jane. "Book Review". Journal of Global Buddhism V. 3 2002. 
  113. ^ Hurst, Jane (1998). Prebish and Tanaka, ed. "Nichiren Shoshu and the Soka Gakkai in America: The Pioneer Spirit" in The Faces of Buddhism In America. University Press. p. 91. ISBN 978-0520213012. The major causes of the split were conflicting claims to authority between the Soka Gakkai and pristhood leaders, their relative positions of power, disagreements over the interpretation of Nichiren Daishonin's teachings, and certain financial issues. 
  114. ^ Ramseyer, Robert (1965). "The Soka Gakkai: Militant Religion on the March". Studies in Japanese Culture 1: 160. For Makiguchi, the object of worship is not the Lord, the Ruler, to whom absolute loyalty is given, but rather a tool to be used for personal gain. The allegiance which must be given to religion is always a qualified allegiance, qualified because it is contingent on receiving some benefit from the religion. 
  115. ^ Hursy, Jane. A Buddhist Reformation in the Twentieth Century, in Global Citizens. p. 70. Soka Gakksi emerged at a time of great cultural, economic and technological change. The changes they have brought to the practice of Nichiren's Buddhism are a reflection of the changes of the late twentieth century. 
  116. ^ Hurst, Jane. A Buddhist Reformation, in Global Citizens. p. 77. ...the priesthood just did not share Soka Gakkai's vision of how to accomplish kosen-rufu. 
  117. ^ a b c Cornille, C. (1998). "Canon formation in new religious movements: the case of the Japanese New Religions". In van der Kooij, A. Canonization and decanonization : papers presented to the international conference of the Leiden Institute for the Study of Religions (LISOR), held at Leiden 9-10 January 1997. Leiden: Brill. pp. 283–287. ISBN 9004112464. 
  118. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 130. ...laypeople, such as members of the Gakkai, can be followers of the bodhisattvas of earth *sic), but cannot be among the bodhisattvas themselves, because that status is reserved for priests. 
  119. ^ Susumu, Shimazono (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world. Crossroads Publishing. p. 439. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1. Therefore, when you sit before the Gohonzon and believe there is no distinction among the Gohonzon, Nichiren and you yourself, …the great life force of the universe becomes your own life force and gushes forth. 
  120. ^ Tamaru, Noriyoshi (2000). Machacek and Wilson, ed. Soka Gakkai In Historcal Perspective: in Global Citizens. Oxford University Press. pp. 32–34. ISBN 0-19-924039-6. 
  121. ^ Tamaru, Nariyoshi (2000). Macachek and Wilson, ed. Soka Gakkai In Historical Perspective in Global Citizens - the Soka Gakkai Buddhist Movement in the World. Oxford University Press. pp. 28, 30. ISBN 0-19-924039-6. 28: "...this alliance between an essentially clerical organization and a new lay movement has been somewhat precarious from the very beginning." 30: "Thus, the fundamentally intellectual-ideological vein that distinguishes Soka Gakkai from other groups...was nurtured in the process of its formation." 
  122. ^ Machacek and Wilson (2000). Gloobal Citizens: The Soka Gakkai Buddhist Movement In The World. Oxford University Press. p. 5. ISBN 0-19-924039-6. 
  123. ^ Tamaru, Yoriyoshi. "Soka Gakkai In Historical Perspective" in Global Citizens. p. 32. 
  124. ^ Susumu, Shimazono (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world. Crossroads Publishing. p. 437. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1. 
  125. ^ Seagar, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California. pp. 143–144. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. 
  126. ^ Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. They cpuild, in Anaekei's words, 'restore a primeval connection with the eternal Buddha' 
  127. ^ Melton and Baumann (2010). Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices (2nd ed.). p. 2658. ISBN 978-1598842036. By chanting the title of the Lotus Sutra, Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo one forms a connection with the ultimate reality that pervades the universe 
  128. ^ Shimazono, Susumu (1999). "Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism". In Takeuchi, Yoshinori. Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world i. Crossroad Publishing. p. 451. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1. 
  129. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (2003). "Faith and Practice: Bringing Religion, Music and Beethoven to Life in Soka Gakkai". Social Science Japan Journal 6 (2): 19. 
  130. ^ Strand, Clark (2014). Waking the Buddha. Middleway Press. pp. 58–59. ISBN 978-0-9779245-6-1. Middleway Press is a division of SGI-USA 
  131. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel. Soka Gakkai. p. 59. 
  132. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (2003). "Faith and Practice: Bringing Religion, Music and Beethoven to Life in Soka Gakkai". Social Science Japan Journal 6 (2): 6–7. 
  133. ^ Yatomi, Shin (2006). Buddhism In A New Light. World Tribune Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-932911-14-5. World Tribune Press is a division of SDGI-USA 
  134. ^ The Winning Life. World Tribune Press. 1998. p. 12. 
  135. ^ "Buddhist Concepts". Living Buddhism 18 (12): 8. December 2014. 
  136. ^ Seagar, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, The Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. University of California Press. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. 
  137. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (2012). Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions. Brill. p. 272. ISBN 9004234365. 
  138. ^ Fowler, Jeanne and Merv (2009). Chanting In The Hillsides. Brighton and Portland: Sussex Academic Press. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-84519-258-7. 
  139. ^ Wilson, Bryan (2000). "The British Movement and Its Members". In Machacek and Wilson. Global Citizens. Oxford University Press. p. 358. ISBN 0-19-924039-6. Liberated from ecclesiastical restraints, Soka Gakkai is enabled to present itself as a much more informed, relaxed and spontaneous worshipping fellowship. In a period when democratic, popular styles have displaced or largely discredited hierarchic structures, the typical meetings of Soka Gakkai reflect the style and form increasingly favored by the public at large. 
  140. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. 
  141. ^ Tamaru, Noriyoshi. Macachek and Wilson, ed. "The Soka Gakkai In Historical Perspective" in Global Citizens. Oxford University Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-19-924039-6. 
  142. ^ Tamaru, Noriyoshi. Global Citizens. p. 34. 
  143. ^ Shimazono, Susume (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern world i. Crossroad Publishing. p. 438. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1. 
  144. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2014). "Winning In Life With Daimoku". Living Buddhism: 51. 
  145. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 53. 
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  147. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel (1998). Soka Gakkai. Signature Books. pp. 9, 70. ISBN 1-56085-153-8. 
  148. ^ Susumu, Shinazono (1999). Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism in Buddhist Spirituality: Later China, Korea and Japan in the Modern World. Crossroads Publishing. p. 451. ISBN 0-8245-1595-1. 
  149. ^ Williams, Paul (1989). Mahāyāna Buddhism: the doctrinal foundations. Routledge. p. 142. ISBN 9780415356534. 
  150. ^ Green, Paula (2000). Queen, Chritopher, ed. "Walking for Peace" in Engaged Buddhism in the West. Boston: Wisdom Publications. p. 130. ISBN 0-86171-159-9. 
  151. ^ Strand, Clark (2008). "Faith in Revolution". Tricycle (Wunter). Retrieved 2014-09-11. 
  152. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (November 2014). "The Teachings for Victory". Living Buddhism 18 (11): 33. Nichiren points out the one factor that determines the direction of not only each individual but also of the nation and society as a whole: that is, whether people are enemies of the Lotus Sutra or whether they have faith in the Lotus Sutra. If we express this in contemporary terms, it means that everything depends on whether the principles of respect for the dignity of life and respect for human beings taught in the Lotus Sutra become the spirit of the age... 
  153. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2014). "The Significance of the Expedient Means and Life Span Chapters". Living Buddhism 18 (9): 52–53. 
  154. ^ "Upholding Faith In The Lotus Sutra". Soka Dakkai Nichiren Buddhism Library. Retrieved 2014-11-03. This Gohonzon is the essence of the Lotus Sutra and the eye of all the scriptures. 
  155. ^ Bauman, Melton, Martin, Gordon (ed.). Religions of the world : a comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices. p. 2658. ISBN 978-1598842036. 
  156. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel (1998). Soka Gakkai. Signature Books. pp. 21–22. ISBN 1-56085-153-8. 
  157. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel (1998). The Soka Gakkai. Signature Books. p. 13. ISBN 1-56085-153-8. Certainly new members begin their practice in front of a white wall since, according to Nichiren, the Gohonzon truly exists only inside an individual and can be found only through faith. 
  158. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (2003). Unlocking the Mysteries of Birth and Death - and everything in between. Middleway Press. p. 185. ISBN 0-9723267-0-7. 
  159. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (1979). Selected Lectures on the Gosho. Nichiren Shoshu International Center. pp. 61–62. ISBN 4-88872-003-7. 
  160. ^ Susume, Shimazono. Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "The Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality. p. 439. 
  161. ^ Hurst, Jane (2000). Macachek and Wilson, ed. "A Buddhist Reformation in the Twentieth Century" in Global Citizens. Oxford University Press. p. 81. ISBN 0-19-924039-6. To the Soka Gakkai, the split from the priesthood resulted in an incredible sense of freedom. They are free to express what they have always believed - that the power of the Gohonzon is separate from any priestly authority and that the Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon for all people throughout the world... 
  162. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel (1998). The Soka Gakkai. Signature Books. pp. 20–26. ISBN 1-56085-153-8. 
  163. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel. The Soka Gakkai. p. 26. 
  164. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2014). "Change Starts From Prayer". Living Buddhism 18 (9): 56–57. 
  165. ^ Susume, Shimazono. Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "The Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality. p. 437. 
  166. ^ Susume, Shimazono. Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "The Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality. pp. 446–447. 
  167. ^ Susume, Shimazono. Yoshinori, Takeuchi, ed. "The Soka Gakkai and the Modern Reformation of Buddhism" in Buddhist Spirituality. p. 447. 
  168. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (September 2014). "Change Starts From Prayer". Living Buddhism 18 (9): 57–59. 
  169. ^ Ikeda, Daisaku (December 3, 2004). "Prayer". World Tribune: 8. Prayer is the courage to persevere. It is the struggle to overcome our own weakness and lack of confidence in ourselves. 
  170. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (2012). Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions. Brill. p. 277. ISBN 9004234365. 
  171. ^ Daniel B. Montgomery: Fire in the Lotus, Mandala 1991, S. 185-186
  172. ^ Seagar, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. pp. 97,169–170. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. 
  173. ^ Harada, Minoru (December 12, 2014). "Reaffirming the Original Spirit of Nichiren Buddhism". World Tribune: 2. 
  174. ^ Harada, Minoru (December 12, 2014). "Reaffirming the Original Spirit of Nichiren Buddhism". World Tribune: 5. 
  175. ^ Chilson, Clark (2014). "Cultivating Charisma: Ikeda Daisaku's Self Presentations and Transformational Leadership." Journal of Global Buddhism, Vol. 15., p. 67
  176. ^ Chilson, p. 69
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  178. ^ Chilson, pp. 74-5
  179. ^ a b c McLaughlin, Levi (2012). "Did Aum Change Everything? What Soka Gakkai Before, During, and After the Aum Shinrikyo Affair Tells Us About the Persistent "Otherness" of New Religions in Japan, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies". Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 39 (1): 51–75. Archived from the original on 2013-12-23. 
  180. ^ Yano, Jun'ya (2009). Kuroi techō: Sōka Gakkai "Nihon senryō keikaku" no zenkiroku [Black notebook: Complete record of Sōka Gakkai's "plan to occupy Japan"]. Tokyo: Kōdansha. ISBN 978-4-06-215272-3. 
  181. ^ Hurst, Jane (2000). Machacek and Wilson, ed. "A Buddhist Reformation In The Twentieth Century" in Global Citizens. Oxford University. p. 89. Rather than giving in to the temptation to exploit his power as the leader of a now 12 million member organization, Mr. Ikeda has instead worked to see that the organization has become more democratic.... Power in the SGI has not stayed centered in Japan but has spread throughout the world... 
  182. ^ The Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1992 - 19/4, D. Metraux, p. 326
  183. ^ Richard H. Seager, Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism, University of California Press:2006, p. 83
  184. ^ a b Kisala, Robert (2000). Prophets of peace: Pacifism and cultural identity in Japan's new religions. Honolulu, HI, USA: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 978-0824822675. 
  185. ^ Cultural performances and the youth of Soka Singapore, 26ff
  186. ^ "28th SEA Games Opening Ceremony to Break Records with Spectacular Show". 
  187. ^ "NDP 2014 Show - The show is testimony to how everyday Singaporeans can come together to create something extraordinary...". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  188. ^ "SGM Participates in 57th National Day Celebrations". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  189. ^ David W. Chappell, "Introduction," in David W. Chappell (ed.), Buddhist Peacework: Creating Cultures of Peace, Wisdom Publications: 1999, pp. 22-23
  190. ^ Seager. Encountering the DSharma. pp. 175–181. 
  191. ^ Anwarul K. Chowdhury, "Introduction," Olivier Urbain (ed), A Forum for Peace: Daisaku Ikeda's Proposals to the UN. IB Tauris, 2013, ISBN 978-1780768403, pp. xi-xiv
  192. ^ "Proposals". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  193. ^ Olivier Urbain (ed), A Forum for Peace: Daisaku Ikeda's Proposals to the UN. IB Tauris, 2013, ISBN 978-1780768403
  194. ^ Karel Dobbelaere, "Toward a Pillar Organization?" in Global Citizens, Machacek and Wilson (eds.), pp. 243, 250
  195. ^ "Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  196. ^ Seager, p. 107
  197. ^ Pauling, Linus. A Lifelong Quest For Peace. Jones and Bartllett. p. ix. ISBN 978-0867202786. For decades Daisaku Ikeda has "been working to achieve the goals of disarmament, world understanding, and universal peace. 
  198. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. pp. 176–177. 
  199. ^ Seager. Encountering the Dharma. pp. 180–181. 
  200. ^ UNODA, update (18 March 2014). "UN Office for Disarmament Affairs Meets Youth Representatives of Soka Gakkai Japan and of SGI-USA Engaged in Disarmament Issues". Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  201. ^ Ehrhardt, George (14 March 2008). "Review: Jiminto – Soka Gakkai – Komeito: Kokumin Fuzai no Renritsu Seikken – Hishi; Komeito – Soka Gakkai no Shinjitsu; Soka Gakkai to ha Nanika". Politics and Religion 1 (1). doi:10.1017/S1755048308000072. 
  202. ^ Strand, Clark (2008). "Faith in Revolution". Tricycle Magazine 4. 
  203. ^ Soka Gakkai International. "What is SGI?". Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  204. ^ "概要". SOKAnet 創価学会公式サイト. Soka Gakkai. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  205. ^ "わが国における主な宗教団体名". 文化庁. 1995-12-31. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  206. ^ Murakami, Shigeyoshi (2007). Shinshūkyō : sono kōdō to shisō. Tōkyō: Iwanami Shoten. ISBN 978-4006001704. 
  207. ^ Shimada, Hiromi (2007). Nihon no 10-dai shinshūkyō. Tōkyō: Gentōsha. ISBN 978-4344980600. 
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  209. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel (1998). Soka Gakkai. Signat. 
  210. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel. Soka Gakkai. p. 9. "H. Hojo. . . was electred president. Ikeda became honorary president. . . At the death of Hojo in 1981, E. Akiya was elected president. . ." . . 
  211. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel. Soka Gakkai. p. 78. 
  212. ^ a b "Minoru Harada appointed as Soka Gakkai President". Soka Gakkai International. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  213. ^ McLaughlin, Levi (1 December 2013). "Sōka Gakkai Timeline". The World Religions & Spirituality Project. Retrieved 2014-10-01. 
  214. ^ Rethinking the Komeito Voter, George Ehrhardt, Appalachian State University, Japanese Journal of Political Science 10 (1) 1–20
  215. ^ Lecture by Levi McLaughlin at Princeton University on SGI
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  217. ^ a b c Matsutani, Minoru (2 December 2008). "Soka Gakkai keeps religious, political machine humming". The Japan Times. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  218. ^ Shinbun Akahata Henshūbu (2000). Seikyō ittai kōmeitō sōka gakkai seiken sanka o tō 2. p. 112. ISBN 4406027327. 
  219. ^ Yōichi, Kira (1986). Sōka Gakkai nanatsu no daizai : jitsuroku (Shohan. ed.). Tokyo: Shin Nihon Shuppansha. ISBN 4406013881. 
  220. ^ 沖縄タイムス1981年7月27日付 社会面, 琉球新報1981年7月27日付 4面
  221. ^ a b The column was excerpted in English in the Japan Echo. Endou, Kôichi (August 1999). "The Kômeitô: A Virus Infecting the Body Politic". Japan Echo. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  222. ^ Metraux, Daniel (2009). "The Soka Gakkai and Human Security". Virginia Review of Asian Studies: 56. Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
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  224. ^ Magee, Michelle (December 27, 1995). "Japan Fears Another Religious Sect". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  225. ^ Furukawa, Toshiaki. Shisutemu to shite no soka gakkai. Tokyo: Daisan Shokan. p. 236. ISBN 978-4807499229. 池田大作が海外で表彰、名誉博士号等を受けるにはそれなりのコストがかか池田大作がゴルバチヨフと面会するための工作費は数十億円社会福祉団体から「福祉功労賞」を授与されれいる。 
  226. ^ Shinbun Akahata Henshūbu (2000). Seikyō ittai kōmeitō sōka gakkai seiken sanka o tō 2. p. 113. ISBN 4406027327. 兵庫県芦屋市にある「関西戸田記念館」も非課税対象の「教内地」「礼拝所」 ... 創価学会・公明党幹部はこれを「芦屋の池田名誉会長宅」(矢野絢也委員長、月刊『文藝春秋』九三年十月号)と呼んでいます。 
  227. ^ Benjamin Fulford; David Whelan (9 June 2006). "Sensei's World". Forbes. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  228. ^ "The Komeito Factor. Fears Over the Rapid Rise of a Buddhist-Backed Party Soka Gakkai: Aggressive proselytizing, extensive networks - and big money". Asiaweek (Asiaweek Limited) 20 (14–26): 198–199. 
  229. ^ a b c Weekly Diamond. 『創価学会の経済力』. August 7, 2004.
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  232. ^ "An Educational Legacy - Daisaku Ikeda Website". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  233. ^ "sapporo soka kindergarten". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  234. ^ "Hong Kong Soka Kindergarten : HKSGI". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  235. ^ "Soka Kindergarten". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  236. ^ "Tadika Seri Soka". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  237. ^ "Soka Happiness Kindergarten Opens in South Korea - Daisaku Ikeda Website". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  238. ^ "Brazil Soka School's First Entrance Ceremony - SGI Quarterly". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  239. ^ "Soka Ikeda College of Arts and Science - Chennai". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
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  241. ^ Pyle, Amy (17 November 1991). "Various Soka Groups Appear Linked". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  242. ^ "Best Colleges - U.S. News Ranking". U.S. News and World report Education. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  243. ^ "My Take: Japanese new religions' big role in disaster response". Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  244. ^ "Yes, Religion Can Still Be A Force For Good In The World. Here Are 100 Examples How". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  245. ^ Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. University of California Press. p. xii. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. Since its founding in the 1930s, the Soka Gakkai has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies, some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan, others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view. Over the course of its history, however, it has also grown into a large, politically active, and very well-established network of institutions, whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population. One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan. On one hand, it is seen as a highly articulated, politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace. On the other, it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination. 
  246. ^ Takesato Watanabe, "The Movement and the Japanese Media" in David Machacek and Bryan Wilson (eds.), Global Citizens, Oxford University Press, 2000. "The Soka Gakkai is exceptional in that no other large Japanese religious organization engages in both social and political issues—from the promotion of human rights to the protection of the environment and abolition of nuclear weapons—as actively as it does." (p. 217)
  247. ^ Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek, "Soka Gakkai International" in J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann (eds.), Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, 2010, p. 2658. "Daisaku Ikeda (b. 1928), Soka Gakkai's charismatic third president, led the international growth of the movement. Although Ikeda and his successor, Einosuke Akiya, have gone to great lengths to improve the movement's public image, suspicion remains. Soka Gakkai's political involvement through the organ of the Komeito, a political party founded by the Soka Gakkai, and the near godlike reverence that members have for President Ikeda have tended to perpetuate public distrust. Although it has been subjected to a generalized suspicion toward Eastern religious movements in the United States, Europe, and South America, the movement's history outside of Japan has been tranquil by comparison to its Japanese history."
  248. ^ Macioti, p. 124. "It should be clear to all by now that Soka Gakkai is not a "sect." It is not a small, two-faced cult, characterized by obscure and hidden agendas. Rather it is a movement that has given life to varied associations, all of which are engaged in promoting culture, and raising interest around the theme of values—and a movement that demands to be examined more closely by using scientific methodologies and instruments of evaluation."
  249. ^ O'Brien, Barbara. "Soka Gakkai International: Past, Present, Future". About Religion. You can find diverse definitions of "cult," including some that say "any religion other than mine is a cult." You can find people who argue all of Buddhism is a cult. A checklist created by Marcia Rudin, M.A., a founding director of the International Cult Education Program, seems more objective. I have no personal experience with SGI, but over the years I've met many SGI members. They don't seem to me to fit the Rudin checklist. For example, SGI members are not isolated from the non-SGI world. They are not anti-woman, anti-child, or anti-family. They are not waiting for the Apocalypse. I do not believe they use deceptive tactics to recruit new members. Claims that SGI is bent on world domination are, I suspect, a tad exaggerated. 
  250. ^ Mette Fisker-Nielsen, Anne (2012)"Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito," Routledge, p. 52.
  251. ^ Sadao, Hirano (2005). Kōmeitō sōka gakkai to nippon. Tōkyō: Kōdansha. pp. 300–301. ISBN 4062130106. 聖教新聞の印刷を通じて、多くの新聞社が、創価学会から経済的な支援を受けているという真実がある。・・・日本のテレビやラジオなど放送業務は、ほとんど新聞社の資本系列で展開されている。・・・事実、最近の新聞記事やテレビの論争で、公明党や創価学会の批判は見かけない。 
  252. ^ 山田, 直樹 (13 November 2004). "新「創価学会」を斬る【第2回】". 週刊新潮. 大手紙も聖教新聞などの印刷を請け負う「賃刷り」を求め、″社運″をかけてその争奪戦に突入しているのは周知の事実だ。 
  253. ^ LoBreglio (1977)
  254. ^ Kisala (1997)
  255. ^ Yuki (1997)
  256. ^ Mette Fisker-Nielsen, Anne (2012)"Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito," Routledge, pp. 8-9
  257. ^ Mette Fisker-Nielsen, Anne (2012)"Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito," Routledge, pp. 7-9
  258. ^ Mette Fisker-Nielsen, pp. 65-66.
  259. ^ Endbericht der Enquete-Kommission Sogenannte Sekten und Psychogruppen, Page.105 (PDF; 6,5 MB)
  260. ^ Clarke, Peter (2013). "Bibliography of Japanese New Religious Movements." Routledge.


  • Sōka Gakkai in America: Accommodation and Conversion By Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek. London: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-829389-5
  • "The Sōka Gakkai: Buddhism and the Creation of a Harmonious and Peaceful Society" by Daniel A. Metraux in Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia. Christopher S. Queen and Sallie B. King, eds. SUNY Press, 1996.
  • The New Believers: A survey of sects, cults and alternative religions. David V Barrett. Octopus Publishing Group, 2003
  • The Lotus and the Maple Leaf: The Sōka Gakkai in Canada by Daniel A. Metraux (University Press of America, 1996)
  • Fundamentals of Buddhism (second edition) by Yasuji Kirimura (Nichiren Shōshū International Center [now SGI], 1984). ISBN 4-88872-016-9
  • Sōka Gakkai kaibō ("Dissecting Sōka Gakkai") by the editors of Aera (Asahi Shimbun, 2000). ISBN 4-02-261286-X (Japanese)
  • A Public Betrayed: An Inside Look at Japanese Media Atrocities and Their Warnings to the West. Adam Gamble & Takesato Watanabe. Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2004. ISBN 0-89526-046-8
  • (SERA) Southeast Review of Asian Studies 29 (2007). "Religion, Politics, and Constitutional Reform in Japan," by Daniel Metraux, 157-72.
  • Westward Dharma: Buddhism beyond Asia. Charles S. Prebish and Martin Baumann, eds. 2002.
  • Igami, Minobu. 1995. Tonari no Sōka Gakkai [The Sōka Gakkai Next Door], Tokyo: Takarajima.
  • Proselytizing and the Limits of Religious Pluralism in Contemporary Asia. By Juliana Finucane, R. Michael Feener, Page 103-122.

Further reading


  • Strand, Clark: Waking the Buddha - how the most dynamic and empowering buddhist movement in history is changing our concept of religion. Strand examines how the Soka Gakkai, based on the insight that "Buddha is life", has evolved a model in which religion serves the needs of its practitioners, rather than the practitioners adhering to dogma and traditions for their own sake. Middleway Press, 2014. ISBN 978-0-9779245-6-1
  • Editors of AERA: Sōkagakkai kaibai (創価学会解剖: "Dissecting Sōkagakkai"). Asahi Shimbun-sha, October 1995. ISBN 978-4-02-261286-1. AERA is a weekly investigative news magazine published by one of Japan's leading news organizations; this book attempts to present a dry, fair assessment of Sōkagakkai and Daisaku Ikeda and contains several interviews with Gakkai leaders.
  • Shimada, Hiroki: Sōkagakkai no jitsuryoku (創価学会の実力: "The true extent of Sōkagakkai's power"). Shinchosha, August 2006. ISBN 4-02-330372-0. Argues that the Sōka Gakkai is not (or is no longer) as powerful as many of its opponents fear, and that it is losing ground internally as all but the most dedicated are turned off by the leadership and fewer members need the organization for social bonding. Also notes that it is becoming more like a civic rather than a religious organization, and that inactive members don't resign because they want to avoid the ostracism and harassment that can result.
  • Shimada, Hiroki: Kōmeitō vs. Sōkagakkai (公明党vs.創価学会: "The Kōmeitō and the Sōka Gakkai"). Asahi Shinsho, June 2007. ISBN 978-4-02-273153-1. Describes the relationship between Kōmeitō and Sōka Gakkai and the development of their history. Touches on the Sōka Gakkai–Nichiren Shōshū split, describing it as the result of a power struggle and financial constraints, as well as on the organized harassment of opponents by Sōka Gakkai members, the organization's use of its media vehicles to vilify opponents, and Ikeda's demand for unquestioning loyalty.
  • Taisekiji: Shoshū Hashaku Guide (Jp: 諸宗破折ガイド: "Guide to refuting [erroneous teachings of] other schools"). 2003 (no ISBN); pp. 160–164. Published by the Buddhist school formerly associated with Sōka Gakkai and presents details of Sōka Gakkai's gradual distortion of the school's teachings and reasons for its severing of ties.
  • Tamano, Kazushi: Sōkagakkai no Kenkyū (創価学会の研究: "Research on the Sōkagakkai"). Kodansha Gendai Shinsho, 2008. ISBN 978-4-06-287965-1. This book is an attempt to review scholarly studies of Sōka Gakkai from the 1950s to the 1970s and shifts in perceptions of the organization as journalists took over from scholars. Tamano takes the perspective of a social scientist and describes Sōka Gakkai as a socio-political phenomenon. He is also somewhat critical of some views Shimada expressed in the latter's recent publications.
  • Yamada, Naoki: Sōkagakkai towa nanika (創価学会とは何か: "Explaining Sōkagakkai"). Shinchosha, April 2004. ISBN 4-10-467301-3
  • Yano, Jun'ya: Kuroi Techō—Sōka Gakkai "Nihon Senryō Keikaku" no Zen Kiroku (黒い手帳 創価学会「日本占領計画」の全記録: "My black notebooks: a complete record of Sōka Gakka's 'Operation Occupy Japan'"). Kodansha, February 2009. ISBN 978-4-06-215272-3. Yano is a former secretary-general of Kōmeitō.
  • Yano, Jun'ya: "Kuroi Techō" Saiban Zen Kiroku (「黒い手帳」裁判全記録: "The whole record of the trials concerning 'My black notebooks'"). Kodansha, 7/2009. ISBN 978-4-06-215637-0.

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