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Memorial Held to Commemorate Buddhist Leader Daisaku Ikeda


On November 23, at 1:30 p.m., an official Soka Gakkai Memorial Service was held at the Toda Memorial Auditorium in Tokyo, for Daisaku Ikeda, Honorary President of the Soka Gakkai and President of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), who passed away on November 15, at the age of 95. The service was live streamed to over 1000 Soka Gakkai centers throughout Japan.

Following recitation of portions of the Lotus Sutra and the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, appreciation was expressed by Senior Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda on behalf of the Ikeda family, and national Women's Leader Kimiko Nagaishi and Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada gave tributes.

Harada stated that the condolence messages received from noted figures around the globe attest to Ikeda's greatest achievement of "forging bonds, bringing people together and connecting the inherent goodness in their hearts, transcending race, ideology, and religion." He emphasized that Soka Gakkai members are determined to continue Ikeda's legacy of paving a path for peace, aiming toward the organization's 100th anniversary in 2030.

In his tribute, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, former UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative, wrote, "He has given humankind hope and direction to face with courage the complexity and challenges of today's world. I pay tribute to his creative energy and his intellectual expanse to elaborate and articulate the dimensions of human values and ideals to bring out the best amongst each one of us."

Daisaku Ikeda was a Buddhist philosopher, peacebuilder, educator, author and poet who dedicated his life to promoting peace through dialogue and spearheaded the Soka Gakkai Buddhist organization's international development. He was born in Tokyo on January 2, 1928, and witnessed the horrors of World War II as a teenager. The death of his eldest brother in action in Myanmar fueled his lifelong hatred of war.

In 1947, Ikeda met Josei Toda, pacifist and leader of the Soka Gakkai who had been imprisoned by the militarist government during the war. Ikeda took Toda as his mentor and helped spread Nichiren Buddhism, which aimed to build a society based on respect for the fundamental dignity and equality of all people. Ikeda also promoted the concept of "human revolution"- inner-directed transformation that sparks societal change.

In May 1960, Ikeda was inaugurated as third president of the Soka Gakkai at 32. He encouraged people struggling amid the harsh realities of life to believe that they possess the ability to transform their destiny.

From the 1970s, Ikeda conducted dialogues across cultures with prominent figures, including British historian Arnold Toynbee and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, to find common solutions to the complex problems facing humanity. Over 80 of these dialogues have been published in book form.

He also promoted people-to-people exchange between China and Japan, believing that constructive engagement with China was fundamental to regional stability. In the mid-1970s, he also engaged in citizen diplomacy between China, the Soviet Union and the USA, to help defuse Cold War tensions.

A passionate advocate of the abolition of nuclear weapons, Ikeda was a firm believer in the central role of the United Nations as a forum for peace. From 1983 to 2022, he authored annual peace proposals offering concrete suggestions toward building a lasting culture of peace.

Read full tribute:

The Soka Gakkai is a global community-based Buddhist organization with 12 million members. Daisaku Ikeda (1928-2023) was President of the Soka Gakkai from 1960-79 and founding President of the SGI from 1975.

Source: Soka Gakkai

Yuki Kawanaka
International Office of Public Information
Soka Gakkai