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From May 21–31, a group of 20 Soka Gakkai youth members from Japan visited China for a friendship exchange hosted by the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF), continuing a tradition of exchange that began in 1979. The visit commemorated the 40th anniversary of SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s first visit to China in May 1974.
The exchange was also part of the youth-led SOKA Global Action peace initiative launched in January 2014, one of the aims of which is to develop ties of friendship within Asia.
The delegation was led by Soka Gakkai youth division leader Taro Hashimoto and young women’s leader Yuki Yoshii. It included representatives from the youth division’s international group, doctors’ and nurses’ groups, arts group and academic division. During the visit, an agreement was signed as a commitment to a further ten years of friendship exchanges between Soka Gakkai youth from Japan and the ACYF.
This year the group visited the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Guangzhou as well as Hong Kong. In Beijing, on May 25, the youth laid flowers in remembrance of the war dead at the Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and reconfirmed their determination to work toward peace.
On May 26, the youth attended a ceremony at the Chinese Culture Promotion Society (CCPS) where the title Honorary International Chairperson was awarded to SGI President Ikeda in recognition of his efforts to promote friendship and understanding through cultural exchange. CCPS Chairman Gao Zhanxiang was present at the ceremony. In 2012, Mr. Gao and Mr. Ikeda published a dialogue titled Chikyu o Musubu Bunka-ryoku (The Unifying Power of Culture).
At the Great Hall of the People, the youth delegation met with Cao Weizhou, Deputy Secretary of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee and Vice Chairperson of the NPC Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr. Ikeda and Mr. Cao met in Tokyo in April 1999 when Mr. Cao led an ACYF delegation of youth from China on a similar exchange.
related article Friendship Exchanges between Youth from Taiwan Soka Association and Peking University On May 29, a delegation of 25 students and faculty from China's Peking University (PKU) visited Taiwan Soka Association (TSA)'s Zhi Shan Culture Center in Taipei for a friendship exchange with TSA student group members. Mr. Cao presented the Soka Gakkai youth delegation with two Chinese poems for Mr. Ikeda in which he expressed his desire that the friendship between the youth of ACYF and Soka Gakkai Japan continue to deepen. He commented that the ongoing exchanges are similar to repeatedly dying something in indigo and thereby producing a blue even richer and deeper than the indigo plant itself.
On May 27, the youth visited Nankai University in Tianjin and held a forum with its Zhou Enlai and Daisaku Ikeda Research Group on the importance of exchanges between the peoples of China and Japan. The forum marked the upcoming 40th anniversary of the SGI President’s meeting with former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai on December 5, 1974, during his second visit to China.
In Guangzhou, on May 29, the youth delegation joined another forum with some 30 scholars from Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences at which they discussed the 40-year history of Mr. Ikeda’s promotion of programs of cultural and educational exchange as a means of furthering mutual understanding and peace between China and Japan.
On May 30, the delegation visited Hong Kong and held exchange meetings with SGI-Hong Kong (HKSGI) and SGI-Macau youth members, where participants expressed their determination to take action toward world peace together with youth around the world.
[Adapted from a report from SGI Office of Public Information (SGI-OPI) and articles in the May 27, 29 and June 4, 2014, issues of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun and SGI-OPI]
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