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Buddhism

Back to listJul 3, 2011

Tohoku Youth Division General Meeting Held in Miyagi Prefecture

Aoba Culture CenterAt the Aoba Culture Center in Sendai

Following the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck on March 11, Soka Gakkai youth members in Tohoku gathered together for the first time on July 3, at the Soka Gakkai Aoba Culture Center in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, to celebrate the holding of the "New Generation First Tohoku Youth General Meeting." SGI Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda, Soka Gakkai Tohoku Region Leader Kazuo Nirasawa and youth leaders from throughout Japan, as well as 600 representatives from the six prefectures that make up the Tohoku region, attended.

In celebration of this meeting, which marked a symbolic new departure for the youth of Tohoku, youth from around the world, including New Zealand, Côte d'Ivoire, the UK, Hong Kong and Argentina, sent words of encouragement and support. Video messages were also sent from the USA, Korea and Brazil.

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a message to participants expressing how proud he is of those who are working tirelessly behind the scenes for the speedy recovery of the affected areas in Tohoku. He also encouraged everyone by saying what they have gone through has deep meaning and that their struggles will enable them to become capable people who can truly help others.

At the meeting, it was announced that tree planting ceremonies would be held in the six prefectures in Tohoku, as well as at the Soka Bodhi Tree Garden located in a suburb of New Delhi, India, to commemorate the Tohoku youth members. Plans for the holding of future Tohoku Youth General Meetings in 2012 and in 2013 were also announced.  

Sakiko Kanazawa, a young women's leader from Fukushima, spoke about her around-the-clock relief efforts following the earthquake in Fukushima and the continuing concerns regarding the Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis. She also shared one young woman's heroic efforts to encourage her friends in the aftermath of the disaster, despite losing her own father to the tsunami.

Hidehiro Kato, the Tohoku Regional Youth Leader, announced the creation of a "New Tohoku Youth Declaration" in which the youth of Tohoku make a vow to become capable leaders for the sake of the future and to set their goals toward advancing kosen-rufu, or lasting peace and harmony, in Tohoku through sincere dialogue and action.

In response to Mr. Ikeda's words of encouragement, Tohoku Regional Men's Leader Norio Nakagawa and Young Women's Leader Yukari Nakamura shared their determinations to work wholeheartedly for the sake of all the people who have suffered from the earthquake and tsunami and to help them establish lives of absolute happiness.

Soka Gakkai Young Women's Leader Yuki Yoshii, Young Men's Leader Taro Hashimoto and SGI Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda encouraged the youth to fulfill their goal of reviving Tohoku.

[Adapted from an article in the July 4, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]