SGI Youth Commemorate 50th Anniversary of March 16, 1958 with Activities Around the Globe
During March 2008, SGI youth around the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of March 16, 1958, a significant day in SGI's history when second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, just weeks prior to his death, met with 6,000 Soka Gakkai youth. He bequeathed to them his deeply held mission of creating lasting peace and individual happiness based on the humanistic life philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism.
SGI-Australia members gathered for a commemorative meeting on March 16 at their culture center in Sydney while SGI-New Zealand youth gathered at several venues throughout the country from March 15-20. In Japan, representatives gathered at the Soka Culture Center in Shinanomachi, Tokyo, with Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada. Mr. Harada called on everyone to make a new departure with a vibrant, youthful spirit and to win in all their endeavors.
SGI-Korea hosted a Korea-Japan Youth Friendship Convention on March 16, at the Incheon Samsan World Gymnasium in Incheon City, South Korea. Soka Gakkai youth representatives from Kyushu, Japan, led by Soka Gakkai Vice General Director Takeshi Yamamoto, attended the event with some 8,000 SGI-Korea youth. Participants adopted a declaration which expressed their pledge to work for deepening Korea-Japan friendship and for peace and happiness of the world. During a cultural show, student members sang and the young women's Victoria Marching Band and Arirang Fife-and-Drum Corps performed. The young men presented a dynamic taiko drum performance and flag dance.
On March 15, Singapore Soka Association (SSA) held a youth general meeting at SSA headquarters in Singapore. Nearly 1,300 youth attended, including some 60 representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and India. In his congratulatory message, Singaporean Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong expressed his hopes for the participants to contribute to humanity's peace and harmonious unity and emphasized the importance of fostering capable youth that will build a new era of peace. SSA's Soka New Century Orchestra performed and SSA youth presented lively dances.
SGI members in Panama gathered on March 16 at the SGI-Panama Culture Center. SGI-Panama General Director Gabriel Martínez Garcés spoke about SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's first visit to the country on March 18, 1974, thirty-four years ago. SGI-Panama youth and women representatives performed folk music.
Some 800 youth, including 200 friends, gathered for a commemorative meeting in Mexico. José Manuel Jurado Parres of University of Guadalajara and Dr. Eduardo Torres of Autonomous Metropolitan University attended as guests and spoke about the SGI and Mr. Ikeda's ideals and activities for peace. In Bolivia, some 550 youth met at the SGI-Bolivia Culture Center in Santa Cruz. Participants watched a video about the history of March 16. The meeting concluded with the youth determining to work for the sake of peace in their communities and throughout the world.
[Adapted from several articles in March 2008 issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]