No.7 The Way of the Response of President Harada, “He Has Never Talked and Listened” and the Reality of the Current Soka Gakkai（July 2008-July 2010）Life is struggle with given limited time. Without fulfilling our mission, we could not find value in our lives. Without carrying through faith, no matter how much you justify yourself, only left in the end are emptiness and regret.
(The Guidance of Ikeda sensei)
There is nothing more certain and unavoidable than death. Then, you should accumulate “the treasure of heart” which you can carry through for three generations. However, the most people procrastinate doing the most important thing in life.
(The Guidance of Ikeda sensei)
Our life span is limited.
No one can avoid death.
It completely depends on us,
whether you live the lives of fulfilling your mission
or you give up doing it and in the end have the feelings of emptiness and regret.
Death reveals everything equally, and clarifies right and wrong.
Also, death gives light to a life, and reflects courage and cowardliness.
Just before the death, we can evade and make excuses to others, but we cannot excuse yourself. Even if you can, you cannot evade from the results of the Myth Law, which is the universal law.
Living a life is struggle whether or not you can carry through your determination which you made once. It is a ceaseless struggle within your inner self.
On May 5 2010, Kodaira, Takigawa, and Ibaraki were transferred to local areas, and Noguchi, left in the Soka Gakkai headquarters alone, made a resolve to talk to President Harada and to ask him for the re-inquiry. He had written three letters to President Harada so far since the next day of the inquiry by the Audit Committee on April 2008. However, he had never listened to Noguchi.
The response of President Harada So Far
The first time Noguchi had written to President Harada was July 2 2008, one month after the Audit Committee made a judgement. In the inquiry, the committee threatened that they would exclude us from Soka Gakkai if we have not signed the written pledge, and pressed us to submit the written pledge, hiding the scandals and the problems of Soka Gakkai staff and making innocent members scapegoats. In our working place, our boss threatened and told us “If you do not bring your written pledge, bring the resignation instead!” Also, Fukui, the top leader in the prefecture, where we used to belong, told us unfair things repeatedly as following: “The Audit Committee is the place like this. When you sign the written pledge, you will be free.”
However, we could not give up. What we just wanted was that President Harada listened to us once, and he gave us an opportunity of a re-inquiry. We had written our honest feelings in a letter, and submitted it to President Harada via Mr. Fukui. Just two days after that, however, it was the Audit Committee that gave us the response from President Harada. It said “We (the headquarters) judged that we did not need to conduct a re-inquiry.”
Then, On July 22 2008, in a general staff meeting, where Ikeda sensei did not attended, President Harada stated “There are ones who have not listened to the order of top leaders, and have not listened to the advice of their bosses.” In his statement, there was a vaguely suggested criticism of us having not signed the written pledge. On July 25, three days after that, the Audit Committee decided to suspend us from being involved in the activity in our local district. According to the Committee, the reason was that Kodaira, Takigawa, and Noguchi had not signed the written pledge, regardless of the reasons.
They considered that the main problem of us was “Kodaira, Takigawa, and Noguchi had not signed the written pledge.” It seems to us that the contents of the written pledge did not matter. The Audit Committee manipulated and shifted the focus on purpose, and members in our local district started seeing us and other innocent members with wrong bias that we (including the innocent members) had caused problems but refused to sign the written pledge.
We just would like President Harada to know the truth. More than that, we would like him to talk in person and listen to us. Also, we would like him to conduct a re-inquiry, judging this matter not by what position they have, but by what they did (the actions).
We had already received the response from President Harada, and it said that they did not accept to conduct a re-inquiry. However, on July 22 2008, in a general staff meeting, President Harada mentioned as following: ”I think that it is very important for us to say opinions freely(without restriction). So, I think that you should not hesitate to say your opinions to me.” When Kodaira heard this message from him, we felt that he were trying to pick up and listen to the voice of young staff.” Also, Kodaira thought; “he might have misunderstanding about us, so he refused to conduct a re-inquiry. In order to clear up his misunderstanding, I should have written the letter in more details.” Then, Kodaira decided to write a letter once again. In the second letter, Kodaira summarized in more details what he thought was wrong and contradictory in these series of events.
Additionally, in the letter, Kodaira wrote about his determination that he would challenge his human revolution if president Harada found something wrong on him and told him the reasons. Then, Kodaira asked President Harada in the letter to talk and listen to Kodaira once.
On September 10 2008, during the lunch time, Kodaira called out to President Harada on the street in front of the headquarters’ building. Kodaira’s voice was quivering because of nervousness. Kodaira said “I’m really sorry for bothering you with the trouble of the organization. I bring a letter today, wondering that you could possibly talk to me, sir”. President Harada said to Kodaira “I got it.”, and received the letter from Kodaira. He was rejoiced and thought President Harada would understand the truth and us when president Harada read it.
Kodaira chanted desperately, waiting for the response from President Harada. However, He had received no response from him for a month. Kodaira knew that President Harada was very busy, but he could not give up because there were members who were suspended from Soka Gakkai activities in their local districts because of the unfair and wrong judgement by the Audit Committee. Kodaira really would like President Harada to listen to him. Kodaira wondered whether or not he should write a letter again. Kodaira thought handing the third letter to him could be impudent. However, it occurred to Kodaira that the priority was to let President Harada know the real situation of the innocent members. So, Kodaira could not give up. He renewed his determination to write a letter to President Harada one more time.
In the third letter, Kodaira wrote as following:
“I do not have any thoughts that I am not willing to sign the written pledge. I have a strong feeling that I would like to apologize sincerely if I did a wrong thing. But the fact was that some staff suffered innocent members with the advantage of their positions, but the judgement was made without listening to them. They mentioned “It is impossible to find the truth”. This is their judgement, and hearing this, I strongly thought I could not sign the written pledge, or made a pledge. I just would like to live an honest and sincere life.”
On October 22 2008, during the lunch time, Takigawa and Mr. Ibaraki visited the seat of President Harada with the third letter. Usually, Soka Gakkai staff do not talk with President Harada, so Kodaira and Mr. Ibaraki were intensely tensed.
Takigawa called out to President Harada, held out the letter to President Harada, and said to President Harada “Could you possibly take a little time to talk and listen to us? President Harada did not stop walking, received the letter while walking, and told Kodaira “You should listen to your seniors without doing like this.” Then, he walked away. Takigawa welled up his courage, called out “Thank you, sir!” to President Harada who were walking away, as vowing.
Although President Harada remonstrated Kodaira, he received Kodaira’s letter. No sooner had Kodaira went home than he started chanting. He chanted desperately every day. Kodaira just would like President Harada to know the truth. Kodaira thought, he had to talk even for a short time and clear the misunderstanding of President Harada.
Nevertheless, November 2, 10 days after that, when we were given another penalty of the extension of the period of the suspension, the top leaders of Soka Gakkai in Kanagawa reproached us for the act of handing a letter to President Harada, showing the actual letter to Kodaira. The fact was that the letters which we handed to President Harada was delivered to the leaders in Kanagawa. Apparently, it was the hidden answer from President Harada. “How could it be?” Kodaira said to himself. It made Kodaira suffered much. Kodaira recalled the message from President Harada in the meeting; “I think that you should not hesitate to say your opinions to me.” Kodaira was trembled with angry.
Noguchi and Takigawa Visit President Harada to Ask Him to Take Time to Talk
On May 2010, a year and a half has passed since the letters which we handed to President Harada were passed to leaders in Kanagawa. During the time, the four members who had not signed the written pledge were punished, and their positions (ranks)in Soka Gakkai were taken away. Then, they were out of the suspension. However, each member were still treated unfairly and unjustly ; they were labeled in their local districts, and the leaders in their districts did not inform them of the schedules of meetings.
Mr. Kyoto was regarded as the central person who led “the group within the group”(faction), and he was considered to be a person who rebelled against President Harada. Additionally, the leaders in his district did not inform him of the schedules of meetings.
Mr. Hyogo was told by his district fellow members “Our senior leaders said that in our district we must not encourage, foster, and even talk if possible. In addition, some leaders worked on members in Mr. Hyogo’s district not to allow Mr. Hyogo to speak in meetings.
Mr.Hidenobu Kimoto were in charge of the Future group in a chapter, and also he delivered Seikyo Newspaper in a local block in substitution for Komei Newspaper workers. Mr. Kimoto also volunteered for the Komeito. However, one day, Mr. Kimoto was suddenly told that he could join meetings only in the condition that he came with a senior-chapter leader. Then, nobody in Men’s division informed him of the schedules of meetings.
Mr. Shimane was the first member who raised his voice against Mr. Wakayama’s act of slandering and criticizing his innocent senior member. However, one of Mr. Shimane’s friend who Mr. Shimane did Shakubuku said to Mr. Shimane “I was told by a senior Soka Gakkai member not to take what you said seriously.” ,and his friend started ignoring Mr. Shimane. Worse, one after the other members in his district began to ignore.
In order to talk and solve this problem, we did everything that we could think of. However, no leaders had not listened to us. Top leaders told us the same thing in a common, “President Harada is the person who is responsible, so you should ask him!” “You should ask far more times.” “You should talk to President Harada.” They said something like that repeatedly. Noguchi, who was the only person among us who was left in Soka Gakkai headquarters, pondered over and over the reason why he keep staying in the headquarters. President Harada had received the letters but refused to talk with us three times so far. So, Noguchi thought that President Harada would not listen to me in all likelihood when I asked him again. He thought over and over which choices is better; the one is he should ask President Harada to talk to him. The other was, before asking, he should be a person who President Harada trust much more especially in terms of working performances. Noguchi thought procrastinating is the choice of running away. Noguchi chanted daimoku desperately.
Then, Noguchi’s comrades, who were unfairly transferred from the headquarters to local areas like Kyushu, Kanagawa, Hiroshima, emailed Noguchi about their current struggle to gain the trust from colleagues in their new working places. Noguchi, who sat in a seat in a cafeteria in the headquarters alone, saw President Harada walking. When Noguchi found it, Noguchi felt very scary. Noguchi realized how important his comrades are for him. Since they started working in the Student Division, Noguchi and his comrades had chanted daimoku together, encouraged each other, and fought for Soka Gakkai with strong bond so far. Noguchi thought “If I do not stand up right now, we would never be able to clear up the misunderstandings and the mistreatment on the innocent members who suffered a lot. I have to be strong and overcome my cowardliness.”
Just one time, just one time, Noguchi would like President Harada to listen to him about the members who fought for Soka Gakkai sincerely and earnestly, but who were treated unfairly and wrongfully. It was painful to be judged by President Harada without listening even once. Noguchi thought, if President Harada misunderstand us, he had to tell the truth and clear up President Harada’s misunderstanding. Then, Noguchi gathered his courage and made a determination to tell to President Harada that the conclusion of the Audit Committee turned out to hide the scandals of headquarters’ staff and make innocent members scapegoats. Noguchi thought to himself “I will fulfill the meaning of being left in the headquarters.”
Noguchi made a determination to write a letter to President Harada. Noguchi wrote about the fact that the headquarters’ staff hid the scandals, and the fact that top leaders had never given us opportunities to talk and listen to us.
On May 6 2010, Noguchi could not sleep at all, and the morning came. Noguchi took a letter with himself, and went to the seat of President Harada before the start of working time. Trying to stop trembling of his legs, Noguchi stood in front of President Harada, and handed the letter to him, saying “I’m sorry to interrupt you, but I have something very important to report.” President Harada’s face got grimed, and told Kodaira “Reflect on what you have done! I cannot receive your letter today!” President Harada turned back on Noguchi. Noguchi said “President Harada, please, sir.”
However, President Harada did not turned around. Noguchi just kept standing. All Noguchi could do was to leave the place. President Harada did not receive our letter after all.
Noguchi could not understand what scene and what deed he should reflect on, though President Harada said Noguchi should do so.
The problem which the Audit Committee dealt with was a series of problems which had began with the wrongful and unfair shuffle of the personnels, and continued for six years. So, Noguchi could not understand the way of President Harada’s response to Noguchi, “Reflect on yourself.” However, Noguchi could not ask to President Harada what his deed President Harada regarded as a problem. Noguchi was angry at himself because of his cowardliness. As soon as coming back home, Noguchi chanted daimoku desperately. The more Noguchi chanted daimoku, the more strongly he felt he should not give up. Noguchi said to himself “I failed to tell and ask to President Harada. I have failed to do anything I had to do so far. If I give up now, I will lose the meaning of staying in the headquarters. So I have to visit President Harada again, and let him receive our letter.” Noguchi made a determination to visit President Harada again.
On May 11, during the lunch break, Noguchi took a latter with him and headed for the desk of President Harada. While chanting in his heart, he walked there. Noguchi bowed to President Harada, and asked “Excuse me, could you possibly have time, sir?” President Harada’s face changed, and yelled at Noguchi, saying “You wrote your apology in paper and have brought it, haven’t you!” Noguchi did not hold back, and said “I did not bring it.” Harada responded “Then, you should go!” Noguchi held out his letter to President Harada, and tried to say “Mr. Iwate told me I should visit President Harada.” Before Noguchi saying it, President Harada interrupted and shouted “What Iwate said does not matter! It’s your faith that the root of the problem is. The other things do not matter at all!” Noguchi did not flinch and said “I’m sorry but, I think that the inquiry was not conducted appropriately, sir.” Harada started shouting as resounding the floor everywhere. President Harada told Noguchi “I’m not talking about the inquiry! I’m telling you about the male division activities you have worked on!” “Go if you do not bring written apology! That’s it! Go!” When Noguchi look around, three executives surrounded Noguchi. About 30 staff was surprised by the big voice of President Harada, and were gazing at the scene. Noguchi looked at the three executives, and had no choice but to leave the place. Regret and anger welled up within Noguchi’s heart. “Why did he refuse just to receive the letter? It is unacceptable not to tell us what we should reflect on?” We were just told that we were not allowed to ask questions until we handed in our written apology. We could not understand it at all.
I read the written pledge many times, but I do not think the contents of written pledge are right and accurate because the written pledge covered up the scandals of Soka Gakkai staff, and made innocent members scapegoats instead.
I can swear by my mentor, Ikeda sensei that the act of signing the written pledge is totally wrong.
My spirit will never be defeated. It is totally unacceptable for Ikeda sensei’s disciples not to raise our voice about what we found is wrong. If we just turn a blind eye on the evil, it is the same thing as accepting the evil. Noguchi chanted desperately. “What do I have to do?” “What action do I have to take to talk with President Harada?” Chanting continuously, then Noguchi made a resolve, “I will go to hand the letter to President Harada again.”
On June 1 2010, during the lunch break, Noguchi went to the desk of President Harada. He did not feel his legs tumbled this time. Noguchi said “I came here for the same purpose as the last time. President Harada pointed at Noguchi, and shouted “If you do not feel sorry for what you did, get out of here!” “Bring your written apology, otherwise I cannot talk to you!” “Have you brought written apology?” Moreover, he added “You have been bothering your seniors! Do you feel sorry for that?” “Tell me! Do you feel sorry for that?” Noguchi did not hold back. Noguchi said “I do not think of what I should reflect on and sorry for. Then, I would like you listen to me, sir.” President Harada responded “You do not know such a thing!” Figure it out by yourself!” “It’s over.” “Go! Back to work! Chant Daimoku more!” It was like “No question asked.” It seemed that President Harada was not in the mood to talk.” Noguchi gave up, and left the place.
Noguchi felt painful because he was told “bothering your seniors” If President Harada gave Noguchi an opportunity to talk and listen to Noguchi, Noguchi did not need to ask his seniors of many for dialogue. Noguchi could not think what President Harada told was unreasonable and inconsistent. Noguchi thought to himself “Why did not President Harada listen to me at all though I asked him many times?” Anger and tears welled up. Noguchi said to himself “I decided and swore by my mentor Ikeda sensei “I will never be defeated.” This is the trial which put my faith and the relationship between me and Ikeda sensei to the test. I will struggle with my whole being against the “Ostrich policy which has taken root the headquarters.”
In the night, hearing from Noguchi about the his exchange with President Harada, Takigawa was not able to contain himself. “Why did not President Harada talk and listen to Noguchi, even less receive our letter?” This letter was the compelling voice of the innocent members, and we wrote it to let President Harada to know how the innocent members had been treated. Takigawa thought that the reason why the members were treated wrongfully was they did not obey the guidance of President Harada. Takigawa thought to himself “If I turn a blind eye on what is going on, I would lose the principle, “We, Soka Gakkai staff, exist, owing to its members.” Takigawa said to himself “I also have to ask President Harada’s favor to talk and listen to me. I have to make sure how President Harada will respond with my own eyes and ears.”
On June 2 2010 Takigawa took a holiday and headed for Soka Gakkai headquarters. Takigawa received the letter from Noguchi, and during the lunch break, Takigawa headed to the desk of President Harada. Then, President Harada was talking to the top leader of the youth male division. After they finished talking, Takigawa stepped to President Harada. Holding out the letter to President Harada, Takigawa said “President Harada, could you possibly receive this letter, sir?” President Harada received it, and headed up, gazing at Takigawa in silence. Then, President Harada looked down to make sure the sender of the letter. In the next moment, President Harada’s face got changed, and whacked the letter hard on the desk, shouting “You have brought your written apology, haven’t you!” The large floor was very busy because of the General meeting which was scheduled to be held the next day. So, elderly members, married female members, and young female and male members from local areas came to Tokyo, where the headquarters was located. All of them looked at the President Harada, who was yelling at Takigawa. Soon after that, Takigawa was surrounded by Mr. Shizuoka, a national leader of male division and Mr. Chiba, a chair person of national Gajyoukai. They took Takigawa out of the floor.
Takigawa experienced physically the way of President Harada to treat him, and felt even if we carried on asking, there will be fewer chances to talk to President Harada. Takigawa pondered over and over, chanting daimoku desperately. Takigawa said to himself “President Harada started shouting at me as soon as I handed the letter to him. So, if I visited him again to submit the letter in this circumstances, I will result in being scolded by President Harada. Plus, it will turn out to make a bad impression on President Harada, and will cause his misunderstanding. It is not what I want. It occurred to Takigawa he should give up.” However, the more Takigawa chanted, the more strongly Takigawa felt he cannot give up because he encountered and got to know the corruption of the headquarters.
Takigawa thought to himself “It is me who can tell it to President Harada since I encountered and experienced the problem. I have to because some members are still suffering a lot. If I ignore this, could I meet Ikeda sensei with confidence? Isn't procrastinating to solve the problem which I encountered the same as deceiving my true feelings and betraying myself? Actually, Doing so is the same as “dead” for me.” Takigawa thought “It means “dead” if I could not live the lives of “the relationship of the mentor and the disciples”. The way of living is not meaningful and wrongful. Then, I have to carry on doing what I believed is right. Once again. Once again, I will visit President Harada.”
On July 8 2010, finishing the work of the day, Takigawa went to the headquarters while chanting in his heart.
When getting to the desk of President Harada, President Harada looked at him. Before Takigawa finished saying “this letter”, president Harada shouted “I have told you I would not receive it! You do not feel sorry, at all! No way! Go, go!” President Harada tried to get Takigawa out of the place.
Takigawa said “Please, please tell me what I should reflect on, sir.”
President Harada responded “Your seniors have given you guidance so far. You had better ask to yourself!” “Go, go, go!” His voice resounded the floor. At the next moment, the secretary of President Harada held Takigawa in a full nelson. Takigawa called out desperately though he was being dragged away by the secretary “President, president, president! Just one thing I would like to ask! Will Ikeda sensei, say you are right though you have never listened to me like this?”
Seeing Takigawa, who was being dragged away by the secretary, President Harada said “Of course, Ikeda sensei will!”
President Harada shouted “Of course, Ikeda sensei will!” However, why could he say “of course” without listening to the staff who was desperately asking President Harada to talk and listen? Instead, President Harada shouted and excluded the staff with force. The behavior of President Harada was totally unacceptable as the president of Soka Gakkai, which is based on the spirits of “dialogue”, Takigawa cannot help feel like that. Then, if Ikeda sensei saw the behavior of President Harada, he will definitely reproach the President Harada, Takigawa cannot help feel like that, too.
Takigawa saw what the current Soka Gakkai was like through the behavior of President Harada, “no question asked”, and Takigawa also saw that Soka Gakkai was falling into authoritarianism and bureaucracy.
“The true dialogue contains compassion, harmonious atmosphere, and empathy. We have to keep in mind that the leader, who forgot the spirits of dialogue, will fall into authoritarianism and bureaucracy.”
(The Guidance of Ikeda sensei)
We had to transform this rigid organizational structure of Soka Gakkai headquarters. In order to solve the problem that some members were unfairly and wrongfully treated, we had to talk to President Harada.
Then, when Takigawa realized the current structure of the headquarters, it occurred to Takigawa that there were other members who were suffered by Soka Gakkai staff all over Japan, and the problem which we encountered was just a tip of the iceberg.
Takigawa could not give up having dialogue with President Harada. If the headquarters became the ones, which were not based on the guidance of Ikeda sensei, it meant that we broke our vow with Ikeda sensei. We must not never let it happen. Takigawa thought to himself “Even if I lose my life, I have to keep the promise with Ikeda sensei.” Takigawa made his determination stronger.