60th Anniversary of Seikyo Shimbun Newspaper
On May 9, the unveiling of a bronze statue, “Uncrowned Heroes,” featuring a newspaper delivery woman, took place in the forecourt of the Seikyo Shimbun head office to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the launching of Soka Gakkai’s organ newspaper in 1951.
The bronze statue, “Uncrowned Heroes,” was donated by Mainichi Newspapers--publishers of one of Japan's major newspapers. The ceremony was attended by Mainichi Newspapers President Yutaka Asahina, Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada and Seikyo Shimbun Director General Koji Harada. President Asahina stated, “I would like to express my sincere respect to the deliverers for their unremitting daily efforts to deliver the newspaper every morning, supporting the culture of the printed word.”
President Harada expressed his gratitude, saying, “The statue to honor the delivery people will be a symbol of hope for all the 'Uncrowned Heroes' who deliver the paper throughout the nation."
When the Seikyo Shimbun was founded on April 20, 1951, the 2-page sheet was issued twice a month with a circulation of 5,000. The paper later expanded to 8 pages issued on a daily basis in 1965. The head office building was completed in 1970 when the paper increased to 12 pages in length. Today, the circulation of the newspaper is 5.5 million. Its website http://www.seikyoonline.jp/ was officially launched in 2006.
The history of Seikyo Shimbun goes back to August 24, 1950, when Josei Toda shared his views on the significance of creating an organ newspaper for the Soka Gakkai with the 22-year old Daisaku Ikeda. At the time, Toda's company was facing severe financial difficulties and it was hard to see how this could be realized. The first issue was, however, successfully published on April 20, 1951, in advance of Toda’s inauguration ceremony as second Soka Gakkai President on May 3.
From January 1, 1965, Seikyo Shimbun started the serialization of the novel The Human Revolution, by Daisaku Ikeda. This was the start of a series of more than 6,000 episodes, including The New Human Revolution which is still being carried in the newspaper today. The Seikyo Shimbun has consistently covered the activities of the Soka Gakkai, the SGI and SGI President Ikeda, as well as members' experiences in faith together with regular news coverage and features on topics related to culture and health.
Increasing demands from SGI members in overseas countries to learn about Buddhism in their respective languages led to the launching of the first overseas organ newspaper The World Tribune in the United States in 1964, 14 years after the first issue of Seikyo Shimbun. Today, sister newspapers are issued in 51 countries and territories totaling 80 newspapers and magazines.
[Adapted from articles in the April 21, 23 and May 10, 2011, issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]