The Meeting in Nagoya
In April 24 2017, with no clouds in the sky, we held a meeting full of determination to transform the Soka Gakkai, in Nagoya in Chubu region. In the lobby of the Aichi youth center on the first floor, one hour before the meeting started, fellow members gathered gradually. We could see the blossoms of conversation here and there. “Long time no see! Thank you for coming to Chubu!” We were able to see again with Mr. And Mrs. A. They had come to the meeting held in Yokohama all the way, and had helped us to look for the place for this meeting. Other members from Kansai region came to us and said cheerfully “In Kanasai, there were less than five or six fellow members of mine. Let’s expand the circle of our comradeship and have a meeting in Kansai, too!” In this meeting in Chubu, 37 members gathered from Australia, Aichi, Mie, Gifu, Nagano, Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Shizuoka, Tokyo, and Kanagawa. Each member had struggled in their hometown.
In the first half of the meeting, Tsuyoshi Motomura, who was a town councilor in Taketoyo town, spoke. He was a former New Komeito Party lawmaker, but because he had raised his voice against the security policy, which could lead Japan to the wars, he had been forced to leave the party. He declared sternly “Even the government in old days said they were not going to abuse the Maintenance of Public Order Law. Also they said they oppressed the social movements. In fact, they sent more than 70 thousand cases to prosecutors office, including those who have new religions and liberalists. Makiguchi sensei and Toda sensei was in the same boat.” He added “It was the Maintenance of Public Order Law that men of influence (the authority) depended on, who tortured the two presidents of the Soka Gakkai.”Mr. Motomura told with strong anger against persecution against Makiguchi sensei and Toda sensei. Lastly, he told “I say we do not need to create Conspiracy Law, which put the lives of citizens in danger. And we should scrap the law!”
The next person who spoke was Ms.B. She spoke about her own experience as it was. Ms. B joined a silent protest alone held in front of the Soka Gakkai headquarters in Tokyo in January 9 2016. Then, she told us earnestly “Let’s unite!” We think such singleminded voice of her realized the meetings around Japan. According to her, her friend did shakubuku to her (asked her to start this faith.) When she chanted daimoku, she felt things were going well. One day, she read a book for the explanation of a subject of Gosyo on a bus. Then, she was so amazed that she could not stop tears, and her nose did not stop running. Then, she looked down to hide her face. She had a sense of reverence for Shakuson, who preached such a guidance. Then, she thought “Wait. The person who wrote this book was Daisaku Ikeda. So, what is Nammyo-Horengekyo? To know about this more, I have to join the Soka Gakkai.” In this way, she made a determination, and joined the Soka Gakkai in 2001. Nevertheless, the Soka Gakkai was in the midst of sect problems. And on the Seikyo Newspaper, she saw critical and strong language against other sects, so she was very shocked. Also, she was disappointed with meetings, where members hardly share their own ideas. It was different from what she had imagined. Since then, she ceased to join meetings. One day, her daughter told critically to Ms. B “What the New Komeito have done is wrong!” What she said was right and consistent. So Ms. B decided to go to see the demonstration in front of the Diet Building. There, she saw a flag with the three colors. The person who held the flag high was Tatsushi Amano. Quite many members were in the demonstration, and she was very inspired that she saw a brilliant light “Here is the true Soka Gakkai!”
Since that day, she found a new her self, who thinks based on her actions and experiences, and has a freedom in her mind. She felt as if she was reborn day by day. However, in spite of her struggle, the security bills were passed with the approval of the New Komeito. She thought “This is dangerous!” “We must not break the solidarity. What should I do?” Then, she came to know about the silent protest conducted by the three former Soka Gakkai staff. She thought “I should join such bravery movement!” On the very day of a silent protest, in the early morning, she left her home for the Soka Gakkai headquarters in Tokyo, and stood in front of the headquarters with 16 fellow members. She was so impressed that she thought that movement was what she was looking for, and it was the ideal of Ikeda sensei. In the protest, she told other fellow members “It is important to unite. Now is the time to make more horizontal relationships. Let’s expand the solidarity!” In the end of her speech in the meeting in Kansai, Mr. B, who takes actions when coming up with something for the Soka Gakkai and Ikeda sensei, spoke about her determination “What I would like to say is to put into practice what you think is right. Why don’t we do a silent protest with 10000 fellow members around Japan in front of the headquarters in Tokyo? Let’s make solidarity, which even evils can not come close and hinder!” Her sincere and inspiring speech got a big hand from the audience.
The next person, who spoke, was Mitsuko Takigawa, who is the mother of Kiyoshi Takigawa. This was the five times for her to take the rostrum in meetings. She accepted the offer willingly. On this year, she became 70 years old, and her determination also became stronger and stronger. She spoke about her experience to write letters to President Harada to have dialogue in person. To realize the dialogue, she thought over and over what she should write, and her fingers were full of callouses. In the end of her speech her voice was full of spirit. She declared “I will live until I transform the Soka Gakkai to the one, which Ikeda sensei envisioned. Her heart had been never swayed by the symptoms of the cancer, and continued to struggle. Hearing her determination to continue to fight to transform the Soka Gakkai, the fellow members were so moved and inspired that the thunderous applause did not die down for some time.
When the first part of the meeting was over, we had a short break. After a while, Takigawa called out “We will have the second part of the meeting which everyone is looking forward to! Let’s talk frankly!” Beaming smiles of the members were here and there, and their eyes were sparkling, “We are looking forward to having this!”
In the beginning, Mr. C, who was a chapter leader of a district and who participated in this meeting the first time, started talking; “Hearing this kind of a meeting was held, I came here to meet fellow members. I am inspired and appreciated it for giving me such an occasion. I would like to ask a couple of things. I think it is very rough and hard for members to be excommunicated from the Soka Gakkai. Do they make the causes of the excommunication clear when excommunicating? In Chubu or Nagoya, members who have been excommunicated are the ones who we could expect to be. Hearing your stories, it seems that excommunication is something easily done by the authoritarians. And If this happens in other prefectures, this is a big problem.” It is a natural question. Then, Mr. A, who helped us to look for this venue, started talking “There are six members including me, whose positions and titles were removed because of problems not relating to the ones involving the three former Soka Gakkai staff. Because the one of the members said “I would not like to end the relationship with the fellow members who were excommunicated”, the positions and titles of the member was removed. There are such cases of many. If we have a friend who is excommunicated, they will say “End the relationship with them. If you cannot, your positions and titles will be removed.” It is totally unacceptable. Do they want to say “the friends of the criminals are also criminals?” This is an insane logic.
An elderly member who came from Tokaido region (Shizuoka, Kanagawa, etc.) seemed that he could not understand, and asked “What were the reasons?” Mr. A answered “The true reason was because they have not ended the relationship with the excommunicated members. But, when they came to notify me of the excommunication, I was told “You said something inappropriate as a leader. So your positions and titles will be removed.” Then, I asked “I thought the Soka Gakkai’s guidance should not be like this. The Soka Gakkai guidance should be like when I said something inappropriate, they should say “It is wrong.” Mr. D remarked with a doubtful look “That’s all? What did you mention, actually?” Mr. A answered when I said “What is that(something inappropriate) ?”, they said “ I cannot tell you about it.” Ittook Mr. D by surprise. “What?” Mr. D said.
Then, Mr. A started to talk seriously. “Since I was in the student division, I have said “Rightis right, and wrong is wrong.” But, why did the leaders tell me suddenly “Your remarks are inappropriate” when I became a vice zone leader?” “Actually , leaders inquired me when my positions and titles were removed. They said “Come to the center”, and It was conversation between me and two leaders. At that time, they did not say I did something appropriate as a vise-zone leader. They asked me “You have done barbecue with your friends and gone to eat out, haven’t you?” Then, I answered “Yes, I have.” What they asked me were such things.” The attendants said “Really??” with big sighs. Mr. A kept on talking earnestly. “To sum up, they regarded the actions of connecting with those who are excommunicated as a problem. But when I said “I cannot end the relationship. Why should I cut off the friendship?” Then, they just said “I got it. You mean you cannot.” Everyone was surprised to know members became subject to being excommunicated so easily. Mr. A talked with conviction in attempt to encourage everyone. When my positions were removed, I asked “I will be excommunicated from the Soka Gakkai someday?” “Being excommunicated, will I get benefit when I have Gohonzon in my house and chant dimoku regarding Nichiren as the Gohonzon in Mappo (Age of the Final Dharma) and thinking Ikeda sensei as the eternal mentor?” Then, a top prefectural leader said “Yes, you will.” So, I thought it is nothing different even if I am excommunicated.”“For me, the benefit which we can get from Gohonzon is nothing different even if we are excommunicated.” “So, now I think it is ok for me to be excommunicated. It is not big deal. Sorry to say one word too much.”
Of course, nobody doesn’t want to be excommunicated. Everyone wants to live their lives just as Ikeda sensei said. The principle of the Soka Gakkai is the spirit of the relationship between the mentors and their disciples of the three founders, forever.
Hearing the strong determination of Mr. A, Noguchi strengthened his determination to transform the Soka Gakkai without never giving up, together with his fellow members, who carry through justice. Noguchi said “Without saying, it is not ok to be excommunicated. I think, like this meeting, we should expand the comradeship between fellow members and transform the Soka Gakkai. And we should take on the struggle together, declaring “Repeal the unfair excommunication!” In the Soka Gakkai, where Ikeda sensei was seen in public, the top leaders could not punish members easily. However, now if members do not obey the organization, such members are treated as evils and rebels. The organization excludes members who say their opinions earnestly. Originally, in the Soka Gakkai members mingled each other and say different opinions with each other, struggling to figure out an answers. After talking, everyone understood. However, now, the Soka Gakkai is the place, where everyone cannot share their opinions, and the place gives us a cooped-up feeling and oppressed us with force. The current Soka Gakkai is the world where Ikeda sensei dislikes the most.”
Mr. E, who was listening to everyone carefully and came from Kansai region, raised his hand and said “Speaking of which, my thought is different from you. the comradeship, for me, this is the third times to participate in meetings (which the three former Soka Gakkai staff hold.)” According to him, he was opposed to the Security Policy, basically. He had stuck on his thought that the New Komeito needed to keep the coalition with the Liberal Democratic Party. Then, he exerted himself in supporting the New Komeito. Plus, he made monetary contribution, the total sum of which amounted to the money with which he could buy a house. However, there was a turning point for him. One of his friend was excommunicated. Mr. E was talking, suppressing his anger. “I wrote letters to an executive in the headquarters. It said “The excommunication is not right.” Since then, I had not made any critical comments, but a senior leader came to my house, and told me “What did you do?” Then, the senior leader said “Since Edo era, it is decided that if you make a direct appeal, you will be beheaded.” So, I said “It is Heisei Era now.” A pair of sibling, who joined a meeting for the first time, looked at each other and said, inclining their heads “It was as if a feudal era.” Then, Mr. E said “I’ve never done something to bother the organization. However, my organizational positions were all removed. Some senior leaders added “You must not go to cultural centers” “You must not meet with members" “You must not join the Soka Gakkai activities.” A participant said angrily “It was the same as being excommunicated!” Mr. E answered, laughing bitterly “But I was allowed to make a monetary contribution.” Another participant said indignantly “It’s much worse!” Everyone was shocked and sighed. Mr. E continued “But I was told “You should not do other than that.” “Even if you met with a member, you must not greet nor talk.” “If you break the rule, you will be excommunicated.” It is the truth. That is what the current Soka is like.”
According to Mr. E, he just wrote a letter to one staff in the headquarters to safeguard his friend. In spite, they threatened him, saying “You will be excommunicated”, and his organizational positions were removed. It was ruthless story that we could not believe. They punished Mr. E without dialogue. Was the main principle of thee Soka Gakkai “dialogue”, wasn’t it? Why did the top leaders tries to obey members? What on earth are they afraid of?
Then, Mr.C, who worked hard at the forefront as a chapter leader, started talking, “I think dialogue is very important. So, I tried to share my ideas with those whose organizational positions were higher. For example, I told about the Security Policy or the political affairs.I asked “What do you think about it?” I talked with them personally, and tries to understand each other. Dialogue is so important, but in the current Soka Gakkai, we hardly have dialogue with each other. I think that when we talk about problems, we can find something we can empathize. So I have carried through having dialogue.”
Next, Mr. A shared his thoughts. “When we were young, we were told “You should think on your own and put it into practice.” However, since Ikeda sensei was not seen publicly, things changed. Leaders tell “You should not think on your own. What you are instructed is everything. Don’t think other than that. The faith means that you do as you were told.” Also, some leaders say “President Harada is something.” Then, when I asked how much he is special, they answered “President Harada is the greatest disciple.” Then, one participant said “when the president comes, it always rains.”
If we do not think by ourselves and just do what we have been told submissively, for what does the faith exist? The faith is something which makes us wiser and happier, doesn’t it?
After that, Mrs. B from Tokyo took out her mobile phone and shared message. It said “These days, probably because I joined silent protests, two prefectural leaders came to my working place, and talked with my boss to stop me to participate in silent protests, In another case, a prefectural leader contacted with my friend and his sister and her husband and persuaded, saying “Don’t make a contact with us.” Such an evil function is something as written in Gosho. So, I made my conviction on the faith stronger. Top leaders in the headquarters appealed to such a a dirty way. Also, they said mercilessly as following. “Even if you are fired, it cannot be helped because you do not obey.” Now we are engaged in the struggle which will go down in the history of Kosenrufu (the propagation of the Mythic Law). So we have to be very cautious, and let’s foster the solidarity. Please say regards to everyone.” It erupted in thunderous applause. The sender of this message was a person who we knew well. Since the Iraq war, he thought the New Komeito was wrong. So, he, who was a chapter leader then, studied hard, and created a video in which the problems of Security policy were summarized for members of women division in his district. Moreover, he set up opportunities of political study many times. In this way, he worked perseveringly, so members in his district changed their awareness, gradually. However, as they became busier and busier because of one instruction and another from senior leaders, their awareness got back to what it used to be. No leaders took him seriously. The days of suffering continued. He struggled and pondered “Is it right to keep being as a chapter leader?” So, it occurred to him that he should give back the position with his will. However, he came the decision that he should not neglect the divisional organization which Ikeda sensei entrusted to him. So he continued to fight persistently and patiently, welling up courage not to give in. It was then that he joined the silent protest. Knowing it, the headquarters decided to remove the position of his, and as the message said, the two leaders started putting pressure on his boss in his working place. In spite of the bitter situation, he flamed his undaunted spirit more and more, and made a strong resolve to transform the Soka Gakkai.
The silent protest held by the comrades started influencing the headquarters. It is reasonable that headwind becomes stronger when you keep going without giving up.
The courageous way of living, “not giving up for one’s faith” brightens the one. As a leader who has a mission, stand up now with the determination “I will take all responsibility for Kosen-rufu”
(Thee guidance of Ikeda sensei)
When Takigawa looked at his watch, the meeting was almost over. Takigawa would like Mr. J to share his ideas a little and asked him. Then, Mr. J started talking “With two leaders in my district, I talked about the book of the three former Soka Gakkai staff before. Until now, I have let four people to read the book, all of who have showed sympathy.” Hearing that, everyone gave claps to him and said “Great!”
Then, Mr. J’s wife, who sat next to Mr. J, asked us “I can’t believe that although the wife of Ikeda sensei was still fine, the Soka Gakkai went wrong. Have you ever written to her?” Takigawa answered “Yes, we have.” When we were the staff, in order to prove the innocence and justice of our comrades and also to tell Ikeda sensei our determination to improve the inner and structural problems of the Soka Gakkai and to make the ideal Soka Gakkai, we wrote a letter and sent to Ikeda sensei and his wife, respectively. However, leaders in the headquarters prevented it. We knew the fact on a later day. During the trial in court for repealing our dismissal, the headquarters submitted to the court our letters addressed to Ikeda sensei and his wife, insisting “They interfered the business of the Soka Gakkai, heavily.” Knowing the cruel act of the headquarters, we felt angry, and tears welled up. However, what we angered the most was that there were only top leaders hid their true intentions, wearing iron masks and did not report truth to Ikeda sensei for their self-protection.
Then, an elderly man said “Have his wife announced anything about the current state of the Soka Gakkai?” Kodaira answered “No, she hasn’t for now. But I think this is the will and decision of hers.” Our thought was that his wife continues an important struggle to safeguard Ikeda sensei. That could be the struggle, which only his wife could takes on. Then, Mr. D asked “How about the sons of Ikeda sensei?” Noguchi responded “When I was staff, I went to hand a letter to Hiromasa Ikeda directly, his oldest son. Then, he received it willingly, saying “I see.” However, I had had no response, so about ten days later, we asked to Hiromasa, “Have you handed my letter to Ikeda sensei, cir?” He answered “I can’t hand it to Ikeda sensei directly, so I did to the first secretary division.” “We were very disappointed to know the fact. We handed the letter to Hiromasa with the feeling of the last chance, because anyone didn’t answer to our request. One person said “That’s why the faith is not related to blood!” Kodaira said “I think so. If you prioritize the relationship of blood, it will be not fair and equal.
Then, Mr. A mentioned “Sorry to interrupt. I don’t intend to defend Hiromasa. But if Hiromasa read aloud the letter to Ikeda sansei or talked about the letter to other top leaders, he will be fired. Because of his organizational position, he can’t do it.” Hearing that, Mr. H said “It will be ok only if Ikeda sensei knows it, right?” Mr. A said “But if the fact is known, he will be fired. So Considering the health of Ikeda sensei, Hiromasa can’t do it.” “The thing is that Ikeda would call such a person a disciple, does he?” said Mr. H. Mr. G from Kawasaki shared his idea “In the Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra”, in short, Ikeda sensei mentioned that the thing is that it depends on how much we get negative information to improve thee organization. So, his guidance is that we have to report negative information. The idea that we cannot do it because of positions or titles is wrong. But if we need to consider positions, they have to listen to our side of the story. At least, they have to spare time to listen and know what has happened. This is because the Soka Gakkai became very huge, so they have to take an better way considering the condition. That’s the way a true disciple does.” Noguchi added “I went to hand a letter to Takahiro, the third son of Ikeda sensei. He said “You are regarded as a rebel because you are doing like this!” But actually, he had never listened to me. So I think the relationship of blood is not related to the depth of the faith. I would like them to fulfill their jobs as top leaders regardless of the relationship of blood. Kodaira mentioned “Ikeda sensei also wanted it.” Then, Mr. G said “I think there are different ideas, which is ok. The thing is that the Soka Gakkai has to be like this. Everyone shares their own ideas. So let’s do this!” However, If we do this, we will be considered like “You are not following the guidance of The Soka Gakkai. Then, we will be not allowed to join the organization. The current Soka Gakkai is like “Follow in silent.” So sharing ideas freely itself will be a problem.” It is not because of the Soka Gakkai but Mr. Harada. “That’s right!” Everyone agreed and said laughingly. The difference of ideas comes down to Ikeda sensei. As long as we keep the Soka Gakkai full of the spirit of Ikeda sensei, we can trust each other and have dialogue with each other vigorously. So, as Ikeda sensei says, dialogue is the lifeline.
Few time has left. Mrs. K, who came from Tokaido region, started talking, “It’s not me who wants to talk. Today, there is a member who joins a meeting for the first time.” Then, she introduced a female member next to her, Mrs. L. Mrs. L said “Mrs. K introduced me the book of the three former Soka Gakkai staff, and I came to know the reality of the current Soka Gakkai. In fact, around 1979, when Ikeda sensei resigned the president, I felt instinctively that the Soka Gakkai had changed badly. Since then it turned out worse. The New Komeito participated in power, and the top leaders changed badly. But hearing the experience of the lady from Tokyo and that of Mitsuko Takigawa, it felt me like the old days of the Soka Gakkai. I think that in the current Soka Gakkai, we can’t feel something like this. When leaders changed badly, the experiences of the faith also changed, after all. So, I think bad things came to surface because the Soka Gakkai have derailed from the path of the guidance of Ikeda sensei.” Everyone listened to the story of Mrs. L carefully, which got to the point. She concluded “Now, not only we but also leaders have to think in accordance with Gosho, “What is the true goal?” “What is Kosen-rufe (the propagation of the Mythic Law)” The world is facing a major turning point. Now is the time that we appeal to as many people as possible what is true peace. Anyway, what we can do is to realize each mission of Bodhisattva and fulfill it in accidence with Gosho. I have to study. And other members also have to learn what Ikeda sensei pursues in accordance with Gosho, which is important.”
Hearing the strong determination of the female member for the good future and the world peace, the eyes of everyone was sparkling, and they gave her a great ovation. I could not help feeling that the future of the Soka Gakkai, the world peace, and the happiness of the human being depend on the determination and action of each member.
Lastly, one member said “Let’s make shout of victory as we did in the meeting in Okayama!” Then, everyone got to their feet with beaming smile. Takigawa clenched his fist, and cried out “Everyone, let’s our heart unite! Let’s get the Soka Gakkai back to the one of Ikeda sensei!” “Yeah!” The voices rang out to the clear sky with no clouds. The meeting in Nagoya was closed with great success and victory. The meeting was vigorous and full of energy. After the meeting, everyone started talking as if they did not want to separate with each other. The determination “Get back to the Soka Gakkai of Ikeda sensei” united members and creates driving force to make solidarity and to advance even in difficulty and hardship!