Back to listJul 23, 2005

"Choose Life--Arnold Toynbee and Daisaku Ikeda" Exhibition Opens in Hiroshima

Dr. Toynbee (2nd from left) on a walk with Mr. Ikeda (right)

On July 22, "Choose Life--Arnold Toynbee and Daisaku Ikeda," an exhibition showcasing the dialogues between the late renowned British historian Dr. Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975) and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, opened at the Soka Gakkai Hiroshima Ikeda Peace Hall in Hiroshima City. Some 200 guests attended the show's opening, which commemorates the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb and the end of World War II.

It is meaningful that the exhibition is being shown in Hiroshima, 60 years after the dropping of the atomic bomb. Dr. Toynbee, an ardent scholar and historian who took up the challenge of recording and analyzing human history, sounded an alarm on the dangers of humanity "thrust[ing] itself recklessly and prematurely into the atomic age." In his view, this invention has caused warfare to escalate from a political scale to civilizational proportions and threatens humanity's very existence. He worried that humankind would not be able to strengthen ethical behavior and achieve self-mastery "in spite of the widespread awareness that the price of failing to respond to the moral challenge of the atomic age may be the self-liquidation of our species."

Mr. Ikeda, in the footsteps of his mentor and second Soka Gakkai president, Josei Toda, who condemned the "demonic" nature of the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances, has continued to appeal for nuclear disarmament. Mr. Ikeda affirms that as a citizen of Japan, the only country in the world to have experienced the tragedy of atomic bombing, and as a pacifist and Buddhist, he bears the mission, responsibility, duty and profound right to work for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Dr. Toynbee and Mr. Ikeda met first in May 1972 and then again one year later in May 1973. Their discussions, covering the entire gamut of human activities, totaled some 40 hours. Originally created in 2003 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Dr. Toynbee's and Mr. Ikeda's encounters, the exhibition introduces Dr. Toynbee's life and achievements; contents of the dialogues between Dr. Toynbee and Mr. Ikeda; and Mr. Ikeda's discussions for peace with over 1,500 of the world's scholars, intellects, and activists--through some 300 panels. Original letters the two exchanged are also displayed. The exhibit has traveled extensively throughout Japan since its August 2003 debut in Miyagi Prefecture.

[The exhibition will run through Sunday, August 7, 2005. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Admission is free.]