SGI Youth Training Course Held in Tokyo
Some 250 SGI youth representatives from 55 countries and territories gathered in Tokyo to take part in the SGI Youth Training Course from September 7-10. "You are all outstanding leaders who share solemn and profound karmic ties," said SGI President Ikeda in one of the many messages of encouragement he sent to the participants.
On September 6, prior to the official start of the course, the visiting SGI youth attended a commemorative Soka Gakkai Youth Leaders Meeting, held in conjunction with the national monthly leaders meeting, at the Tokyo Toda Memorial Auditorium in Sugamo. In honor of the Soka Gakkai's Student Division Day (August 31), some 1,000 Soka Gakkai student members from 332 universities throughout Japan also attended the meeting. On behalf of the SGI youth participants, representatives from Korea, Brazil, US and Togo shared reports on their recent activities.
In his message introduced at the meeting, Mr. Ikeda characterized the power of youth as follows: "The power of youth is the ability to boldly blaze new trails where none before existed. It is the ability to courageously stand firm in the face of any evil or injustice. It is the ability to unite others by cheerfully pursuing dialogue and forging an ever-expanding network of friendship."
After the opening ceremony on September 7 at the Soka International Friendship Center in Sendagaya, Tokyo, SGI youth members studied Nichiren's writing "On the Treasure Tower," led by SGI Study Department Vice Chief Masaaki Morinaka.
The following day, on September 8, the youth took part in exchange meetings with local Soka Gakkai members at 32 venues in five prefectures. At one such exchange held at the Soka Gakkai Utsunomiya Culture Center in Tochigi Prefecture, representatives from Venezuela and Paraguay were welcomed with lively choral performances and a karate demonstration. In return, the SGI youth sang the song "Morigasaki Beach" in Japanese. At another exchange attended by Indian members at the Soka Gakkai Ichikawa Peace Center in Chiba Prefecture, local young men's members danced "Soran Bushi," a traditional Japanese song and dance first performed by fishermen in Hokkaido, Japan.
On the morning of September 11, the day after the closing ceremony of the SGI Youth Training Course, SGI President and Mrs. Ikeda stopped their car in front of the Seikyo newspaper building to greet 17 African youth members who had been touring the facility. Participants came from 10 countries: Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Togo.
[Adapted from articles in the September 7, 9 and 12, issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan and the October 5, 2012, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]