No.2 The Response of the Soka Gakkai Headquarter to the Soka Gakkai Memberes Who Did Not Sign the Written Pledge. (May 2008-December 2008)

The true seed of the vow will bloom into flower without fail. The important factor is your strong determination of “never give up” and the spirits of keeping pressing forward to win the fight.
(The guidance of Ikeda sensei)

To win is never to give up. The fighting sprits like flame more and more burning against a violent gale will open the way for the triumph.
(The guidance of Ikeda sensei)

The true nature of the headquarter of Soka Gakkai - our report has not reached Ikeda sensei. Never ever should we allow Soka Gakkai to be like that. More than that, knowing the truth of the headquarter of Soka Gakkai. we can’t never allow us to break our vow and give up,

Weak spirits created the current headquarter of Soka Gakkai.
We ourselves created it.
Therefore, we can never be defeated.
We can never ever be defeated.
For the brilliant future of Soka Gakkai.
you have to change ourselves.
Face up. It is you who can transform the current Soka Gakkai into the ideal one as Ikeda sensei describes.
For the justice of Soka Gakkai, the justice of the mentor and disciple.
We will raise our voices as long as we live.

On the spot of the notification of the result of the inquiry conducted by the audit committee (which is established with the purpose to deal with the problems happening within the community of Soka Gakkai not within the corporation), the five including three of us, denied signing up for the written pledge. Mr. Iwate, the central person of the committee, is close to President Harada. He worked on our bosses to persuade us to sign the pledge. However, actually, it is the problem which happened in a local community of Soka Gakkai, not the problem which happened within the corporation . So, it was not relevant to the colleagues of us. We were ready for any punishment, but it was heart-aching that our bosses, for who we were indebted, persuaded us to sign the written pledge. Mr. Akita was the one of the five who did not sign the written pledge. He used to be determined not to do it at first. However, with one after another persuading him, he gave in to sign after all. We ( Kodaira, Takigawa and Noguchi) had resisted oppression by the headquarter to sign the pledge, which became stronger and stronger.

On July 22 2008, at the meeting where all Soka Gakkai staff (employees) at headquarter attended except Ikeda sensei, President Harada warned every staff as follows.“These days, there are Soka Gakkai staff who have not followed the guidance of the central person of Soka Gakkai in a district, neither followed the advice from their bosses in their working place. Far from it, they have claimed their justice. Plus, they have disobeyed the rules of “adhering to the guidance of Soka Gakkai and maintaining the organizational order”. What they are doing is totally unacceptable as Soka Gakkai staff. To make matters worse, they have quoted the guidance of Ikeda sensei to make it work to their advantage and justify their movement. I will tell you they are just taking advantage of Ikeda sensei.”

After the meeting, Takigawa was stopped by his boss. He denounced Takigawa as follows; “President Harada was talking about you, the three.” The days after the meeting, Takigawa was called by his boss (common bosses of Takigawa) to come to a single room. In the room, there were not only his boss but also the leader of the local district of Soka Gakkai where Takigawa belonged. On the next day of the meeting, July 23rd, Takigawa had been persuaded to sign the written pledge since the morning. Six hours had passed with no lunch time given to Takigawa. Takigawa said to them “I can’t sign the written pledge, because I don’t think it was right. “ His boss replied “It doesn’t matter whether or not it is right. The problem is you do not sign the written pledge which President Harada imposed on you.” Takigawa said “if the audit committee heard our story and then judged, we could understand and would sign. However, the inquiry was far from it. Then, I asked for re-inquiry. I am sorry but I can not sign the pledge.” His boss told him “Anyway, if you do not sign by tomorrow, bring your resignation!”

Without chanting daimoku, we could not go to work. We wondered “Ikeda sensei would be glad if we signed up for the written pledge.” “I don’t think so, because no matter how much we tried to explain, our bosses insisted that the important thing is not the fact or the process of the problem, but whether or not we obey what the headquarter decided.”

The next day, July 24th, Takigawa was called to come when he had just started working. His boss said” “it is certain that we can’t keep you here any longer. It’s impossible to have you in Shinano-machi and even in Kanagawa.”The only way left is to work for Hokkaido Nihon Tosho.which is an affiliate of Soka Gakkai, whose job is mainly to deliver newspaper. Although we can’t fire you now, we can do to this extent (transfer) lawfully. It has already been decided that you can’t stay here.
Moreover, he added “ if you can’t follow what I am telling you, you should quit this job. Don’t say childish things.” “If you can’t follow what I and the president of this office are telling you, you must quit this job. We, too, are very strict.”

The same day, Kodaira, who worked in the same office as Takigawa, was also called by his boss. He told Kodaira “Sign the written pledge,or you should bring resignation and quit this job upon your decision. Their bosses kept persuading Takigawa and Kodaira. It was not something we could call “persuasion”. However, In the time of severer difficulties, Ikeda sansei’s messages or guidance appeared in Seikyo Newspaper, which were really encouraging and heart-warming.

“Life is all struggle. The righter lives you live, the more obstacles will confronts you, and you will have to fight continuously. Point is whether or not you can stick to your faith and carry on your missionary fight until the end. Here is a battle as a human.
(The guidance of Ikeda sensei)

Tears welled up in my eyes. “How happy I am” I said to myself “Sensei, sensei” again and again. “My heart is not strong enough. However, I am a disciple of Ikeda sensei. Then, I can’t be defeated.”

Mr. Fukushima was Komeito staff (an employee) and did not sign the written pledge. As they did to us, Mr. Fukushima’s boss continued to persuade him to sign. Tapping his shoulder, his boss called him to come to a single room one day and another. There, his boss told him “We were scolded by the Soka Gakkai” “We will make you sign the written pledge.” “If not, I will by force” In November 28 2008, His boss had persuaded Mr. Fukushima even for an hour and half. However, didn’t sign. Then, his boss took him to his parents’s home without appointment. His boss told his parents “I came here to do “Shakubuku” to ask you to persuade your son to sign the written pledge. Let’s do it together for your son.” It was new to his parents that even the president Harada knew this matter. His mother was shocked and screamed, and his mother became unable to breathe. Mr. Fukushima was looking at his mother. Then, his boss said “ I will do this until you sign.”In the end, he gave in to sign.
You can choose to sign. Of course, you can choose not to sign.

It should depend on our will whether or not we sign. However, What the audit committee gave us was only one choice- to sign the written pledge.

Finally, after two weeks, in December 15 2008, the Staff Disciplinary Committee (Syokuin Kiritsu Iinkai) was set in motion to make a decision on whether or not they would punish us as Soka Gakkai staff (employees).
The person who took the initiative was Aomori vice-president. He claimed what we had done would infringe Soka Gakkai staff rules.
As a result of their warning, we had to submit a statement about the reasons why we had not signed up for the written pledge. The chairman of the Staff Disciplinary Committee was Hasegawa vice-administrator (the current Soka Gakkai administrator), who was a contact person to Ikeda sensei.

We had already made up our mind. “We will do what we believe is right, and behave sincerely and devote ourselves whole-heartedly. Then, even if we would be punished, we will be willing to accept any punishment.”



No.1 The True Nature of the Headquarter of Soka Gakkai, Where Report Does Not Reach Ikeda Sensei. (June 2002-October 2012)

Now, there are Soka Gakkai members who struggle desperately and raise their voices to champion the spirits of “mentor and disciple”. The response of the headquarter of Soka Gakkai to the movement was as following:“We have not permitted the movement of Soka Gakkai members holding meetings against the Security Bills.”and “We feel extremely regrettable that they use the name of Soka Gakkai and the symbol of Soka Gakkai, the three colors.” We think,however,that it is ordinary Soka Gakkai members who fought with Ikeda sensei in heart that supported and made it possible that the current Komei lawmakers were to be elected.

Soka Gakkai members are raising their voices with courage. It is totally heartless to ignore them. It seemed that the spirits of Ikeda sensei was gone far away. It’s not true, I believe. Ikeda sensei is watching us, now, and also in the future. He is watching how we do justice, and the way we struggle, eternally. I will fight, fight to fulfill the vow with Ikeda sensei.

The most serious problem was that we could not reach Ikeda sensei (we were not be able to report the truth of the scandal to Ikeda sensei). In June 26 2002, Ikeda sensi provided all Soka Gakkai staff with guidance: “Please let me know if there is a corrupted staff.” Also he mentioned that now work in Soka Gakkai became mechanical and routine. Another guidance of his was “Female youth devision members should say critical opinions.” “Send me letters, which is based on truth. If I found the report something false, I don’t trust it.” In addition, in regard to corruptions of Soka Gakkai staff, he told us “If there was something wrong, please visit the vice-administrator, Mr. Hasegawa. Then, he will report the matter to me. I will look into the problem. However, if I found the report false, I have to punish you severely, because, otherwise, it is not fair.” Then, we saw Mr. Hasegawa on the stage, who was assigned the important task, rising to his feet and saying “Yes!” Ikeda sensei worried about its organizational management structure, where, the executives might hide important information or reports from him.Because of this, Ikeda sensei told every staff to report him if a scandal unfolded or a problem occurred.(In reality, as Ikeda sensei was anxious, the flaw of the organizational management structure came out when an executive in the headquarter caused a scandal and was dismissed owing to the relationship with a woman.) Then, Ikeda sensei created a post to report an internal problem or scandal to him. However, as Ikeda sensei warned us, reporting a scandal or internal problem to Mr. Hasegawa was something we could not do without giving our lives for it.
We came across a serious internal problem of Soka Gakkai, on which we could not turn blind eyes. Reporting to Ikeda sensei was dogged by sleepless internal struggle to make decision to report the matter to Mr. Hasegawa. We were almost overwhelmed by the pressure. Nevertheless, we thought that if we turned blind eyes on the issue, it meant that we broke the vow of disciples with Ikeda sensei. We chanted Daimoku earnestly and like endlessly. Then, we came to the decision to tell the truth to Mr. Hasegawa. We, with tremulous feet, visited Mr. Hasegawa. However, what he told us was“Don’t take advantage of Ikeda sensei” “What if somebody saw me and you talking?” “Now, I can have a chat like this with you because Mr. B vise-president and the president are not here. However, if they were here, I could not talk even like this.” He just tried to protect his position, and turned down the report. Giving up means we go for death. Then, we took actions to report the scandal of executives and the internal problem of Soka Gakkai to Ikeda sensei. However, the audit committee of Soka Gakkai regarded the movement of reporting to Ikeda sensei as the reasons to dismiss us.

 The Contents of the Report to Ikeda Sensei Which We Had Attempted to Make.

What we attempted to report to Ikeda sensei was the true nature of the disciplinary inquiry which we had came to know, by the audit committee (Kansa Iinkai) of Soka Gakkai which the president Harada was in charge of.(The audit committee is supposed to deal with the problems happening within the community of Soka Gakkai not within the corporation of Soka Gakkai.)The inquiries took place in April 29 2008 (the day for inquiring) and May 22-24 2008(The days for the notification of the result of the inquiry.)

The committee inquired us about the core problem of Soka Gakkai which was revealed by the scandal of the youth executives in the community of our district. After the daily work, we worked with our computers until the midnight to make documents to submit to the audit committee. Then, they scheduled the day for the inquiry, and we thought the purpose of the inquiry is to hear our story based on the document we handed in. We expected that they listened to our story fairly without any bias and, we brought into the inquiry. They called us to come to the inquiry room one by one, and in my case, four executives, including a vice-president, took seats, facing to me. I was treated as if I were a criminal. Each inquiry began with our greetings. I squeezed out trembling voices. However, when I started to explain the issue in details, one of the executives interrupted and said” Here is not the place where we hear your story!” He added “We have just fired a central person who caused another scandal” Obviously, he threatened dismissal.
On the inquiry of another Soka Gakkai member, five enquirers, including even a vice president and a lawyer, faced to the Soka Gakkai member, and confirmed if he had connection with Ikeda sensei. As soon as they knew he did not, they accused him “It’s you that caused a problem, right?” He and we were shocked by the inquiry, which was conducted with bias and pre-determined conclusion.

On the day of the notification of the result of the disciplinary inquiry, Kodaira attempted to explain for their accurate understanding and right judgement, one of the inquirers said “We don’t hear any excuse.” “We are just asking if you have a will to sign. This is what the headquarter have concluded. “You don’t obey and sign, don’t you?” “That’s it. We judged that you don’t obey our conclusion””We understand” Also, they told us “Take it seriously” “We, the audit committee, have such authority. Understand?” “ If you deny our guidance, we have to impose sufficient punishment on you.” “ Get out of here”

To Takigawa they told “The notification of the result of inquiry means that it just depends on whether or not you accept the judgement we reached.” “To who you are complaining?” “what do you mean “please listen to our story”?” “Admit, in the first place!” “Here is not the place to hear your story” “We are just notifying you the result of the inquiry” Additionally, they said to Takigawa “If you keep going, you will make a faction and rebel against Soka Gakkai.”Takigawa answered “We will never do!” They told “You are rebelling right now” “We aren’t rebelling!” told Takigawa. “Understand. Then, just sign the written pledge.” Lastly, they concluded “If you don’t accept our guidance, you can’t be the members of Soka Gakkai, also. Considering it, then make up your last decision.”

The judgement of the audit committee was that we must sign and submit the letter of a written pledge which was approved by the president and other executives. The content of the letter of a written pledge was we must not bring up the problem again. We thought that the problem would be hidden forever, and it meant we would betray Ikeda sensei. Of course, we had an internal struggle to reach the decision not to obey the judgement of the official organization which the headquarter of Soka Gakkai belong to. Also, we knew if we did not sign, we would be punished or excommunicated from Soka Gakkai. Only anxieties we had.
It was toughest decision for each of us to make, and it required us for the strong determination to give our lives for our belief. Honestly, it was easy for us to sign. We felt like being released from the overwhelming pressure and being easy. However, the more we chant, the stronger our determination became not to turn a blind eye on the true nature of the inquiry: They slandered and threatened us severe disciplines and excommunication from Soka Gakkai, and forced us to sign the written pledge, with the core problem unresolved.

The core problem which the headquarter of Soka Gakkai had to solve has not been resolved yet, and has effects on our and the members’local districts as well. The inquiry was just superficial and I can say it took place with pre-determined judgement: They attempted to solve the problem merely by forcing us to sign and submit the written pledge of us” Signing up the written pledge means “ escape” from the problem we had encountered.

There is a Japanese saying "Seidaku Awase Nomu". (Sei means "good or holly" and daku means "evill or poison". Awase means "both". Nomu means "drink") The meaning of this saying is that we should be tolerant enough to accept (drink) both good and evil"
However, Ikeda sensei told us that this saying is not applicable in this faith we practice. We must not accept evil like injustice or corruption. If we do, our faith will be corrupted. (The guidance of Ikeda sensei)

Even though we were excommunicated from Soka Gakkai, fooled, and laughed at, we didn’t want to lie to ourselves and to Ikeda sensei. With inner struggle, we made up our mind not to sign the written pledge no matter how severe punishment we might receive.

There were 10 members who did not sign the written pledge on the spot of the notification.
After that, by the oppression to our community of the Soka Gakkai district, our family, and our working place, we were forced and signed the written pledge one by one.



~ Introduction ~

We, the former staff of SGI, started this blog with the purpose to let people, especially SGI members to know and think about its core problems and challenges Soka Gakkai Japan has faced. This story is based on the experiences which we have had over 18 years.

These days, it is broadcasted and caught public attention that Soka Gakkai Japan, whose goal is to pursue peace, took the stance to support New Komeito, which decided to advocate the Security Bill currently.

(New Komeito is formerly called Komeito and a political party in Japan founded by members of the Nichiren Buddhist-based new religious movement Soka Gakkai*. The Security Bills are Japan’s defense policy that would make it easier for its troops to fight in overseas conflicts*1.)

It was controversial matter, and the the stance of New Komeito toward the Security Bills was discussed among Soka Gakkai staff and members. In the last autumn, Taketoyo town lawmaker of New Komeito Party, a Soka Gakkai member, left Komei Party with the view that the acceptance of the application of Collective Defense Force is unconstitutional. Also, in August this year, about 100 Soka Gakkai members gathered and held study meetings, inviting scholars of the Constitution who think that the Security Bills are unconstitutional. Additionally, some professors of Soka University started a campaign to collect signatures and rallied against the stance of New Komeito toward the Security Bills. Such movement gained strength. However, the desperate entreaty of the Soka Gakkai members was not taken seriously by the Soka Gakkai. Then, the Security Bills were enacted without sufficient discussion and the agreement of people, and the Soka headquarters approved of Abe administration and the Security Policy. We think that the executives of Soka Gakkai had turned blind eye on the spirits of the three presidents of SGI, “Against War”,which they had championed over the decades.
Knowing the fact that New Komeito had approved of the bill, Mr. Clements, who has had close relationship with Ikeda sensei over years, made a statement that the advocation of the Security Bills is disloyal to Mr. Makiguchi and Mr. Toda, who had fought for peace and with the faith of anti-nuclear weapons. Also, he pointed out that it is totally unacceptable to support the reinterpretation of the Article 9 with silence.

Basically, on the interview by Sankei Newspaper on September 1991, Ikeda sensei expressed his opinion about the Article 9 that he was concerned about the direction of Japan toward Nationalism over the constitution and Collective Defense Force.
Also, on another interview by Sankei Newspaper, Ikeda sensei made a strong statement that we should never change the Article 9 of Japanese Constitution. From this, it is obvious that Soka Gakkai has to take the stance of resisting on the tide of nationalism such as the amendment or reinterpretation of Japanese Constitution and acceptance of enforcement of Collective Defense Force. However, the headquarters of Soka Gakkai have kept silent and have not made any statement or clear explanation to Soka Gakkai members and the society about this mattar.
In the current Soka Gakkai Japan, where its members are suppressed from saying right is rights, if an ordinary member point out a problem of Soka Gakkai, it is likely that such an action will be considered as rebellion against Soka Gakkai, and the headquarters will turn a blind eye on the problem. Actually, when firing us, the main reason of the punishment, they cited, was our attempts to report to Ikeda sensei about the expulsion problem of innocent members, which triggered by the offensive languages.

We were fired from Soka Gakkai, because we tried to report a problem which a senior Soka Gakkai staff had caused. However, at the meeting where all Soka Gakkai staff took part in, in case that Soka Gakkai staff caused a trouble, Ikeda sensei appointed an management executive of the headquarters, Mr. Hasegawa, who has been the secretory of Ikeda sensei for ages, as the contact person to Ikeda sensei. As Ikeda sensei told us, we visited Mr.Hasegawa. However, what we did was used for the justification to fire us. It is certain that the executives of Soka Gakkai headquarters ignored even the strict order from Ikeda sensei. Still, the problem that we reported has been hidden and gone unreported. We can not help feeling that a Soka Gakkai’s principle, “human’s happiness” is disregarded.

We are determined that we will raise our voice as the persons who have experienced and known about the core problem of Soka Gakkai, in order to correct and realize the principles of SGI, “the happiness of one single person”, “peace”. Even though we were in the positions where we were fired and excommunicated from Soka Gakkai, we can not give up raising our voice and saying that wrong is wrong. It is not right to make scapegoats the innocent SGI members who raised their voice.” Also, we have a conviction that if Ikeda sensei know this mattar, he will not let it past.

We would be gratified if this blog is read by the SGI members who are willing to make SGI better, and safeguard the sprits of “mentor and disciple.” Thank you for reading this to the end.

Reference
Justin McCurry (2014), Japan PM to overturn pacifist defense policy, The Guardian,
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/30/japan-pm-overturn-pacifist-defence-policy-shinzo-abe

Profile

The Three Former Soka Gakkai Staff

Author:The Three Former Soka Gakkai Staff
Shuichi Kodaira; graduated from Soka high school in March 1995
graduated from Soka University in March 1999
started working for Soka Gakkai in April 1999
dismissed by Soka Gakkai in October 2012
excommunicated from Soka Gakkai in June 2014

Kiyoshi Takigawa; graduated from Soka University in March 2000
started working for Soka Gakkai in April 2000
dismissed by Soka Gakkai in October 2012
excommunicated from Soka Gakkai in June 2014

Yusuke Noguch; graduated from Tokai University in March 2002
started working for Soka Gakkai in April 2002
dismissed by Soka Gakkai in October 2012
excommunicated from Soka Gakkai in June 2014

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Notes

For privacy reasons, we wrote this blog under pseudonym except for the Soka Gakkai president, and the Soka Gakkai administrator. The names of places in Japan such as provinces are used for pseudonym.

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