Soka Gakkai Day Celebrated at Monthly Leaders Meeting
On April 28, Soka Gakkai held its monthly leaders meeting at the Soka Gakkai Kansai Ikeda Memorial Hall in Osaka, Japan, which representative members from the Kansai Region attended. The meeting also celebrated May 3, designated both as Soka Gakkai Day and Soka Gakkai Mother's Day. Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada, General Director Masaaki Masaki and Women's Leader Shinobu Sugimoto also attended.
The meeting was broadcast simultaneously at the Kansai Ikeda Memorial Hall and at the Soka Gakkai Tohoku Culture Center in Sendai City. Members in Kansai have empathized greatly with those in Tohoku, since they also experienced the loss of loved ones and devastation following the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995. Holding the monthly leaders meeting in Kansai imparted great hope to those in Tohoku still struggling in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake.
The Kansai Men's Choir and Kansai Brass Band performed a song about Tohoku written by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, and a song about Kansai.
Daisaku Nakata, young men’s leader from Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture, shared his experience of participating in relief activities for two months in Kobe, following the 1995 earthquake. At the time, he was a sophomore at university. Because he had a motorcycle, he could deliver relief items throughout the city, as part of a volunteer motorcycle relief team formed by the Soka Gakkai. From this experience, Mr. Nakata realized his passion for becoming a firefighter. He now works as a firefighter in Mita City, Hyogo.
The meeting also included input from representatives in Tohoku, broadcast live from the Soka Gakkai Tohoku Culture Center in Sendai, which had been used as an evacuation center following the quake and tsunamis.
Kazuo Nirasawa, Soka Gakkai regional leader in Tohoku, the women's leader Shizue Chida, and representative youth members expressed their gratitude for the heartfelt support they have received from throughout Japan and around the world and reported on the Soka Gakkai youth's relief activities in Tohoku.
The monthly leaders meeting also commemorated Soka Gakkai Mother's Day. The day was proposed by Mr. Ikeda in April 27, 1988, at the first national Soka Gakkai Women's Division meeting held in Tokyo, in appreciation for the sincere efforts of the women members.
Soka Gakkai Women's Leader Shinobu Sugimoto announced that a special monument inscribed with Mr. Ikeda's lyrics for the song "Mother" will be erected at the Soka International Women's Center in Tokyo. She also mentioned that the month of June will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the founding of Women's Division.
Lastly, President Harada conveyed his heartfelt condolences for those who lost their lives in the March 11 earthquake and expressed his hope for the fast and safe recovery of the affected regions. He also shared his determination to continue providing support to the disaster-stricken areas.
A message from Mr. Ikeda was read at the meeting in which he expressed his gratitude for the dedicated efforts of Soka Gakkai and SGI members around the world, and especially praised the ongoing earthquake relief efforts led by the youth.
[Adapted from an article in the April 29, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]