NO.6 The Problems of Soka Gakkai Headquarters to Hide Scandals of Top Leaders（June 2002-May 2010）“Soka Gakkai is not for its executives. It is for its members. We must never ever let them suffer. So, when you find a wrong leader, raise your voice and speak out “what you are saying (doing) is opposite to the guidance of Soka Gakkai!”By speaking out your opinions or encouraging earnestly, we should grow a great leader.”(Guidance of Ikeda sensei)
“In order to make Soka Gakkai better, speak out your opinions clearly and
courageously. Then, the persons in upper positions have to listen to them and accept their opinions if they are right.” (Guidance of Ikeda sensei)
Our mentor said
“Soka Gakkai is not for its executives. It is for its members.”
“We must never ever let them suffer.”
If we encountered a leader who treats a member badly or unfairly and suffered the members, raise your voice with courage!
Throw yourself into the challenge of having dialogue with the leader, with courage!
“I know that.”
“I’ll do it when time has come.”
“Nothing will be changed even if only I raise my voice.”
You may find many excuses.
However, we can gain true happiness without courage!
It is courage that gives us the power to overcome difficulties.
It is courage that gives us the power to build the foundation of happiness.
Without courage, we can not create future!
Then, my friends!
Thinking a single person’s happiness is (leads to) the development of Soka Gakkai, the voice of courage will be the mercy to safeguard your fellow members, and the voice of courage also will be justice to create great leaders.
My friends! For your self-happiness and for the creation of “Soka Gaakai for people” as Ikeda sensei hopes for, raise your voice of justice to create a true union between fellow members!
On February 22 2010, Mr. Ibaraki was transferred from Shinano-machi in Tokyo to Hiroshima. He thought he should call on the chief editor to pay his respect before moving to Hiroshima. The chief editor was Iwate vice-president (of Soka Gakkai), the chief of the Audit Committee, and Mr. Ibaraki’s boss, and who was transferred from Soka Gakkai headquarters to Seikyo Newspaper headquarters a half year ago. In the local district, as a result of intentionally careless investigation, the Soka Gakkai members who were slandered and criticized unfairly were labeled as “rabbles” and kept away from other members; they were not informed of meetings on purpose.
We, Kodaira, Takigawa, and Noguchi felt we had to save the members whatever it took. Before leaving the Seikyo Headquarters, Mr. Ibaraki was determined deeply, he would do everything he could. He thought he had to tell Iwade vice-president about the fact that there were members who suffered from the unfair conclusion of the Audit Committee, and he had to plead Iwate vice-president for the re-inquiry.
On April 27 2010, Mr. Ibaraki made an appointment with Iwate vice-president and went to his seat. Mr. Ibaraki brought up the topic of the inquiry of the Audit Committee and said “As one Seikyo Newspaper staff, I have no regret even if I leave here because I have spared no time and effort to work for Soka Gakkai. However, I have one big regret. It is the inquiry conducted by you. I would like you to know there are members who suffers from the unfair inquiry” Mr. Ibaraki continued, “Each member has given all to fighting for Ikeda sensei. Nevertheless, they were made scapegoats, their ranks were taken away, and they are still labeled as the “rebels.” I think that such a thing should never be allowed in Soka Gakkai whatsoever. Could you please possibly conduct re-inquiry?”
Then, Iwate vice-president’s face suddenly grew serious, and started talking in a stern tone of voice. “I have nothing to talk about it! If you want to talk about it, go back to your work!” The conversation would be almost over without talking anything. Mr. Ibaraki pled desperately, saying “Why do you say so? I know you conducted the inquiry.”
Then, Iwate vice-president responded “I did it as the president Harada told me! You should talk to him!” Ibaraki said “I’m afraid that I asked to president Harada again and again. I asked every top leader of the headquarters, but no one has not listened to me.” Then, Iwate vice-president told Mr. Ibaraki “I have nothing to talk about! I’m telling you to ask the president!” Mr. Ibaraki said desperately “the ranks of the earnest member were taken away, and nobody in their local district informs them even of the schedules of meetings at all.” Iwate vice-president raised voice at Mr. Ibaraki, shouting “I won’t listen to you!!” Then, Iwate vice-president turned himself in a opposite direction, which implied there was no longer the place for having a dialogue. Mr. Ibaraki had no choice but to leave the place.
Iwate vice-president had never touched the topic of the inquiry after all, just saying “I did it as the president told me” and then telling “Talk to the president.”just to try to avoid Kodaira.
Although he obeys the direction of a person in an upper position, when Iwate vice-president was called to account, he shifted the responsibility onto the person in a upper position than him. I cannot help feeling how irresponsible the structure of the organization is. Mr. Ibaraki thought there were not only that reason but also the other one why Iwate vice-president raised his tone and refused to talk with Mr. Ibaraki. The reason was Iwate vice-president did not want the scandals of the top leaders of youth men division to come to light again.
The Unfair and Problematic Personnel Shift Hid by the Audit Committee
March 30 2008, we submitted to the Audit Committee a statement consisted of 182 pages. It was the summary of the facts and the process of the unfair and problematic personnel shift: the youth top leaders of the headquarters staff forced those who in lower positions voice opinions against them, to “retire”from the Student division.
July 2002, the personnel shift was conducted and Kodaira was transferred in the name of “graduation” from the student devision to the youth men division just two days after he had been noticed about it. In the background of the sudden transfer, the top leaders, who were in charge of the personnel shift, hated the three regional leaders of Kanagawa, Kodaira, Takigawa, Noguchi.
We the three, used to be typical leaders of Soka Gakkai, and just after retiring from the universities, we were employed by Soka Gakkaia and started working in the headquarters. We prioritized the mottos of the headquarters and keeping the order of the organization. However, as we had applied ourselves to the activities of the students division and worked hard together with the local members, we, the three Soka Gakkai staff realized that as other headquarters staff, we also had a sense of superiority to ordinary members, and had a mindset of ignoring dialogues. Then, we continued to dedicate all our strength into the practice of dialogues, based on the guidance of Ikeda sensei and betting our human revolution: we put trust on others, prayed for them as much as we could, welled courage, and told to each other “Right is right, and wrong is wrong.” There, we and the members were full of vigor: trust between us began to grow, and we pursued the truth together. Then, we exercised ourselves in the day to day Buddhist practice, keeping out of the cozy and dependent relationship with each other and telling our honest opinions to each other. After a thorough dialogue, we gained true understanding. As a result, everyone practiced Buddhism with full of energy and rejoice, and built up the experiences of faith. As a result, Kodaira, Takigawa, Noguch became able to give honest opinions to senior leaders, gradually. Concerned about the fact that the mottos of the student division shifting to a merit and result -based, Kodaira, a main leader of the student division, consulted a top leader of the student division with a honest feeling. The top leader asked “What is the average number of “Shakubuku” in your place?” Kodaira responded “We will be able to achieve the goal of one household in average.” The leader told “You are giving me an opinion even though you have not achieved the goal, are you? You had better come here after making a good result.” He had almost no intention to listen to Kodaira. Then, Kodaira told him desperately “I think it is not right that we are not be allowed to give any opinions until I make it.”
I did not think that we were totally right. However, I think it would be against the guidance of Ikeda sensei, if we allow Soka Gakkai to be a place where we could not give honest opinions to each other. If Soka Gakkai became such a rigid organization, it is ordinary members who will suffer the most. After that, the top leaders started complaining in the back of Kodaira saying “Kodaira judges things right or wrong too clearly.” “Kodaira is more suited to the youth men division than the student division.
In 2002, nine months after Kodaira was appointed to a regional leader of the student division, Kodaira was called to come to see by Mr. Chiba, a top national leader of the student division, and Mr. Shizuoka, a top secretary of the student division. There, Kodaira was told that he was going to “graduate” (retire) from the student division in two days. The next alternate leader, however, was undecided. Also, no time was given to other members in Kawasaki region to take over Kodaira’s duties. By the sudden notice from the two, Kodaira went blank. Then, On a later day, it was announced that another leader of student division would take over the position. The alternate leader was Mr. Nagano, who was a vice-national leader of the student division. Needless to say, Kawasaki region, where Kodaira had been in charge of came in confusion because Kodaira was suddenly retired, and because a new top leader would come to fill in Kodaira’s position. What Kodaira could then was just to explain desperately to the members about his “graduation”(retirement). It seemed that they were desperately trying to accept the truth.
In fact, the personnel shift which Nagano vice-national leader was responsible for was, actually, conducted deliberately. It was the violation of the official process of the personnel shift: Chiba national leader in the student division and Shizuoka national secretary in the student division pulled the strings. (Later on, the period of the time that Nagano vice-national leader held the position of the top leader in Kawasaki region was recorded as “three month blank”, and the Audit Committee admitted that the personnel shift was not officially conducted.)
Moreover, in September 2004, the personnel structure of the student division was changed: Mr. Gifu became a national leader of the student division, and Mr. Aichi became new national secretaries of the student division. The two ignored the confusion of Kawasaki region. They shuffled the personnels in the region, and as a result, 11 out of 19 regional leaders were forced to retire from the student division, simultaneously. In the personnel shift, Takigawa, Noguchi, and Mr. Ibaraki were forced to retire, officially. Noguchi was just 25 years old at that time. The current top leader of youth men division knew his age and talked to Noguchi as follows: “the Soka Youth Personnel Department set up a standard of the age that a member or staff in the student division should move on to the youth men division. It is 27 years old. Noguchi is still 25 years old. There is a lot you can do (in the student division).” It is obvious that the time that Noguchi retired from the student division was too early.
Mr. Ibaraki and Takigawa, who used to be regional leaders, did not just placed their district mottos which the headquarters had created. They thought and discussed the contents in order to make the Buddhist practice more beneficial for each member. Then, they gave opinions actively to the leaders in higher positions. Because they worked on the practice with their own thoughts and views, the top leaders of the student division,who think that members should do what they were told submissively, criticized in the behind, saying “They made an independent nation.” Those who could speak out their opinions with courage became subject to the retirement of the student division. It was the same as the case of the personnel shift which Kodaira had experienced two years before.
After Takigawa, Noguchi, and Ibaraki retired from the student division, Mr.Gifu, a national leader of the student division sent Mr. Wakayama,who is Soka Gakkai staff and lived in another prefecture. Mr. Wakayama was ordered to move to Kawasaki-city, and was appointed to the territorial leader by Mr.Gife. (Later on, Mr. Wakayama testified that Gifu national leader of the student division assigned him the task to reconstruct the organization of Kawasaki region, explaining about the problem of factionalism in Kawasaki region of the student division.)
Moreover, Mr Shiga, who was a regional leader, put off the prepared plan of the personnel shift on the very day just before the interview. He explained the following reason about the sudden change of the plan, which was“because Mr. Shiga had not received the leadership information cards.” The planned personnel shift was canceled, and chapter leaders who came to take interviews, got dumbfounded. (On later days, former regional secretary of the student division commented that the leadership information cards were delivered and ready.)
The unfair personnel change had been repeated over two years. It was difficult for members to accept and take it as “the will of Buddha” or “The position(rank) is conferred by Ikeda sensei.”
“We have to deal with the matter of money and positions correctly with the strict attitude.” (Guidance of Ikeda sensei)
In Soka Gakkai, when members or staff caused scandals involving personnel management, they have been punished strictly as the ones involving money or male-female relationship since the time that Toda was the president of Soka Gakkai. Although I submitted a statement with the detail about the fact, the Audit Committee concluded as follows; “There was nothing wrong with the process of the personnel change.” Needless to say, the reason was not mentioned in it at all.
Then, Chiba national leader of the student division, Shizuoka national secretary of the student division, Gifu national leader of the student division, and Aichi national secretary of the student division, all were involved in the scheme of the unfair personnel change, but they were just given light punishment as verbal warnings. (When the Audit Committee inquired us, Mr. Shizuoka was a national leader of youth men division, Mr. Chiba, the chief of Gajokai. They were the linchpins of Soka Gakkai.) However, the Audit Committee hid again and again, the problem of unfair personnel change by the Soka Gakkai staff.
“Personnel management is the lifeline of Soka Gakkai.”
(Guidance of Ikeda sensei)
Nevertheless, Iwate vice-president, who was the chief of the Audit Committee and conducted the inquiry on us, said “The three, Chiba national leader of the student division, Shizuoka national secretary of the student division, and one territorial leader of the student division, testified it!” “You want to say what they told me was false and wrong, do you?” “What you are saying is false! ”
The Audit Committee judged people from their ranks; they decided which side of their story was trustworthy from their ranks. Their judgement was that the top leaders of the youth men division should not be accused.
The Conclusion of the Headquarters of Soka Gakkai which Resulted in Overturning the right and wrong of the Problem
On the other hand, the innocent members, who raised their voices against the scheme of the unfair personnel change, were judged as follows; “the members made a group within the group (Soka Gakkai), and they rebels against Soka Gakkai.”
Moreover, they considered Mr. Kyoto as the leader of “the group within the group” with prejudice, and concluded that Mr. Kyoto was the one who stirred everyone up. In fact, Mr. Kyoto was the scapegoat of this problem: he was blamed and slandered in a sudden by Wakayama national leader of the student division though Mr. Kyoto had already graduated (retired) from the student division, and had already started participated in the activities in the youth men division. The conclusion of the Audit Committee was too coercive.
(We had already been considered to be as the faction when Mr. Wakayama was sent there.) Mr. Wakayama criticized and slandered repeatedly the leaders of Kawasaki region, such as Kodaira,Takigawa, and Noguchi, saying “The time when they were in charge of the Kawasaki region was a blank period.” By criticizing and slandering, they tried to attract members, and stabilize the organization of Kawasaki region. Moreover, they started aiming to criticize publicly Mr. Kyoto and other members, who were in the youth men division. As a result, the members were looked with prejudice.
The Audit Committee forced us to sign the written pledge and to make an oath to dissolve the group and not to repeat the same thing as making a group in the group (Soka Gakkai). However, the contents of the written pledge itself was vague, and their definition of the movement of making a group in the group (Soka Gakkai) was not clear. So, whether or not it is the act of “making a group in the group” entirely depends on how the executives feel. That is the way of the headquarters how to make up a story that members rebells against Soka Gakkai. Then, they excludes them even if they have raised their voice against the scandals or misbehaving of executives.
In addition, the Audit Committee ordered us to make an oath not to seek for dialogues about the executives, who were engaged in the scheme of the unfair transfer. The aim of the headquarters is to sweep the problem of the executives under the rug, ignoring what we petitioned in our statement about the unfair transfer.
The conclusion of the Audit Committee was to protect the leaders in charge of the scheme of the unfair transfer, instead, by labeling the members, and making them scapegoats. It was the judgement which overturned the right and wrong, and it was totally injustice. We could not turn a blind eye on it.
Turning blind eye on injustice, and letting it past is the act of forgetting the gratitude and treaty against our mentor. Also, we never should not let past even a small evil thing which will be possible to make members suffer. If we do, the small evil will spread in the whole organization, and devastate the sacred world of our bonds in Soka Gakkai. (Guidance of Ikeda sensei)
As the disciples of Ikeda sensei, if we turn a blind eye on the corruption of the headquarters of Soka Gakkai to hide the scandals of the leaders, and sign the pledge, and accept it, we will become the betrayer who forgot the gratitude toward our mentor. We just want to live our lives as Ikeda sensei told us no matter what will confront us. The act of allowing innocent members who have spoken out courageously like “wrong is wrong” to be scapegoats will turn out to lose the meaning of the existence of Soka Gakkai.
We cannot allow it whatsoever.
To Seek for Dialogue with President Harada in Order to Protect the Members Who Were Made Scapegoats Because of the Misjudgment of the Headquarters
On May 4 2010, Mr. Ibaraki left Hiroshima. Takigawa was also transferred from the headquarters to the Yokohama Ikeda auditorium on November 2009. Only left in the headquarters was Yusuke Noguchi.
Noguchi recalled the days of the inquiry, and thought about the comments of Iwate vice-president “I did as president Harada told me. Talk to the president!”
Two months ago, on February 8 2010, To meet Miyagi vice-president, a son of Ikeda sensei, Noguchi visited the First Secretary Department. However, Gumma vice-president, the chief of the department, told Noguchi “Talk to the President!” “Visit President Harada!” “Visit president Harada, whatever!” “Visit president Harada as many times as you can, because you are a youth member!” “Visit president Harada because he is in the responsible position.” The every top leader told Noguchi to do so.
Ikeda sensei told president Harada “Harada has youthfulness. He also has experiences. Not to be high-hand. No. Never ever to be high-hand. Soka Gakkai entered the time of Honmon. I count on President Harada to foster young members to be capable and to devote all their beings for follow members, and to be the leaders for spreading of Mystic Lows”.
I think that is why he was chosen as the president, the most responsible position. He has to report this problem to Ikeda sensei. It is an important task of president Harada to listen and accept the report. He, however, has refused our offers even to make appointments to meet and talk. In fact, he criticized us indirectly in meetings.
I thought over and over; if I were Ikeda sensei, what would I do? What is a right thing to do? I chanted desperately, and recalled various guidance of Ikeda sensei again and again.
“We do not call it dialogue if you stop talking in the middle. The true dialogue should not be interrupted. It should continue up to the mutual understanding.”
(Guidance of Ikeda sensei)
I should not let myself to be defeated by my weak inner self and give up the struggle. Our mentor put trust on president Harada. I have to believe in president Harada, and keep seeking for dialogue. In order to prove the innocence of the members, I think it is the right path for his disciples to seek for dialogue no matter how many times he might refuse.
Thinking of the transfer of Mr. Ibaraki to a regional area, I could not say I did not have worries at all. When I visited top leaders, I always felt cowardliness within my self. I felt I was not brave enough. However, Then It always occurred to me that I became Soka Gakkai staff to champion Soka Gakkai, where Ikeda sensei had established, and to devote myself for fellow members. My mentor is Ikeda sensei!
I want to use my life to prove the justice of the members! I will fulfill the vow with Ikeda sensei whatever it might take!
Noguchi, who was left in the headquarters, was going to visit president Harada, carrying letters to petition for the re-inquiry.