Soka Gakkai

Soka Gakkai

Soka Gakkai emblem

Gakkai International is a Buddhist organization that’s spread all
around the world. Many celebrities are affiliated with this
organization and are very active in promoting their faith.

Among these celebrities, we have Tina Turner, Roberto Baggio, Orlando Bloom,
Dallas’ Patrick Duffy, Kate Bosworth, journalist Mariane Pearl,
Grammy Award winners Herbie Hancock  model Miranda Kerr,
actors  John Astin,and Vanessa Shaw, former MLB
player Orlando Cepeda and politician Hank Johnson.

Some facts

Soka Gakkai ???? means “Value-Creation Society”

It’s present in 192 countries and territories.

It’s international membership counts around 12 million members.

It was involved, in Japan, in the fondation of a political party
called Komeito, who’s successor, the New Komeito was part of the ruling
coalition up to 2009. The present New Komeito was formed as a result of
a merger between the Komeito and the New Peace Party on November 7,

As of the 2009 election, it holds 21 seats out of 480 and got 1.11% of the popular vote.

edit: in the summer of 2010, for the vote in the upper-house, they gained two seats, which put them in the third rank.

 It is a lay organization based on the teachings of Nichiren, (a 13th century Buddhist Monk in
Japan). The Soka Gakkai was officially ex-communicated on November 28, 1991 from Nichiren
(Literally, “Nichiren Correct school”). Nichiren Shoshu is also known as the “Fuji
School”. At that time, the High Priest, Nikken Abe, claimed that the Soka Gakkai President,
Daisaku Ikeda, continually deviated from the doctrines set forth by Nichiren Shoshu and was
conspiring to create his own Nichiren Sect and eliminate the priesthood. The Soka Gakkai
claims that the organization did everything possible to appease the concerns of the Priesthood
to no avail. Soka Gakkai also claimed that the Priesthood continued practicing what they
deemed as authoritarian rituals that made members servile to the Priests.
According to the SG,
Nichiren abhorred this behavior and that his writings (referred to as the Gosho) validate this as
fact. According the priesthood, the Gosho says that believers must pay homage to the High
Priest as part of their faith. Both sides continue to remain at odds with each other over ideology.

Mr. Daisaku Ikeda taken from

The Soka Gakkai has been labeled a cult both by news journalists and former members who
had a bad experience. In particular, Daisaku Ikeda had been compared to other cult leaders.
Both The SG and Ikeda dismiss these accusations as false and misleading and that they were
based on the tabloid mentality of the Japanese press and other publications around the world
intended to destroy the organization. Many of the members have come out in strong defense of
these ccusations saying that they have never been forced to practice and that anyone is free to
leave if they choose to

Soka Gakkai has a university, Soka Daigaku, in Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan.



What is Soka Gakkai?

Soka Gakkai is a large Buddhist organization originating in Japan. Soka Gakkai International
claims world wide membership estimated to be roughly 12,000,000 to 15,000,000 members.
Soka Gakkai International (SGI) claims to have members in 192 countries around the world.

How it all began.

Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, founder of Soka GakkaiIn 1930, founder Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944) wrote a book called Soka kyoiku gaku
taikei (The Theory of Value-Creating Pedagogy) in order to bring more humanity in the
education of students. The first volume was published on November 18, 1930 and this was also
considered the date he established the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai which later became the Soka
Gakkai. Since he had joined Nichiren Shoshu a couple of years prior to his publication, he used
Nichiren Buddhist techniques and values not only to promote the reform of education, but also
Japanese society. During that time, Japan was in a full-fledged military mode and the population
was seen as mere bees, working for the greater good of the country and worshiping the
emperor (Hirohito) as a deity. Education was seen as a means to create effective workers and
not as a tool to promote critical thinking and a value centered society.
This is exactly what Makiguchi strived to do promoting education as a way of creating values.
This approach put him at odds with the military controlled government. Japanese authorities
demanded that he instruct members of his organization to accept a Shinto talisman that would
have also made them worship the Emperor. Mr. Makiguchi refused. They labeled him a
subversive and he was put in prison in 1943, like many other religious leaders. He died of
malnutrition while in prison, in November 1944, at the age of 73.

Josei Toda, second leader of SGIHis close disciple, Josei Toda (1900-1958), was also imprisoned with Mr. Makiguchi. He too
had converted to Nichiren Buddhism at the same time as Mr. Makiguchi. Upon his release in
1945, he sought to rebuild the organization and became the new leader. He began spreading
the Nichiren Buddhist philosophy of hope against suffering in post-war Japan. On May 3, 1951
he created the Soka Gakkai (Value Creation society). He succeeded in increasing the
membership from 3,000 families in 1951 to about 750,000 families before he passed away on
April 2, 1958. It was fast becoming one of the largest lay organizations in Japan.


Daisaku Ikeda became Toda’s closest disciple. He attended one of Toda’s lectures at the age
of 19 and became so inspired that he converted to Nichiren Buddhism immediately. Ikeda
looked up to Toda as a father figure. Toda trained him in every aspect as a leader of the future
and quickly moved up the ranks.

However, Ikeda was also met with controversy in the 1950’s.
He was arrested in 1957 due to a few Gakkai members violating election law in Osaka. The
police determined him to be the leader in these violations. However, the charges were
groundless and he was released 2 weeks later. On May 3, 1960, two years after Josei Toda
had passed away, Daisaku Ikeda became the third president of the Soka Gakkai. From that
point on, despite numerous controversies and accusations from various factions, newspapers
and members, he was unrelenting in building the Soka Gakkai into one of the largest Buddhist organizations in the world.


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