Soka Gakkai Holds Memorial Services for March 11 Victims
On April 29, memorial services were held in Miyagi, Iwate, Fukushima, Aomori, Akita and Yamagata Prefectures to honor victims of the March 11 earthquake in Japan. Prayers were also offered for those suffering from the effects of the disaster and for the fast recovery of the affected regions. Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada, General Director Masaaki Masaki, Women's Leader Shinobu Sugimoto attended some of these meetings.
Prayer services were held in several of the Soka Gakkai centers that had been restored following the earthquake and tsunamis. One such center was the Ofunato Community Center in Iwate Prefecture, the first floor of which had been flooded. One-and-a-half months later, the second floor of the center could be used for meetings.
A service was also held at the Soka Gakkai Soma Community Center in Fukushima Prefecture, where participants included prayers for the stabilization of the nuclear power plants.
In Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture, around 50 gathered for a memorial service at the home of a local Soka Gakkai member.
In his message to Tohoku members, which was read at the services, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda wholeheartedly praised the courageous and dedicated efforts of the members to help friends and fellow citizens in their communities following the disaster, conveying his deepest condolences for the lives lost. Encouraging bereaved family members and friends, Mr. Ikeda mentioned the significance of praying for the eternal peace and happiness of the deceased.
Mr. Ikeda also wrote that the key to reviving Tohoku was to restore people's hearts, create unity and impart courage. He continued that Tohoku's triumph over adversity would give great hope to all of humanity.
In Miyagi Prefecture, Mr. Harada attended a memorial service at the Tohoku International Women's Center in Sendai City. Mr. Harada expressed his heartfelt desire for the members in Tohoku to win over their hardships and become truly happy, based on encouragement from Mr. Ikeda.
[Adapted from an article in the April 30, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]