Memorial Services Held on Anniversary of Great Hanshin Earthquake
On January 17, Soka Gakkai members conducted memorial prayer services at four venues in Hyogo and Osaka prefectures on the 18th anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake (January 17, 1995).
At the Soka Gakkai Nagata Culture Center, located in one of the hardest hit areas of Kobe City, participants solemnly prayed for the repose of all victims and renewed their determination to continue spreading hope in their local neighborhoods. Ms. Hideko Kawamoto shared her experience of finding her business and home completely destroyed in the quake, and facing her husband’s death and her eldest son's illness soon afterward. She was able to move forward one step at a time thanks to encouragement she received from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda when he visited the Nagata Culture Center in February 2000.
Mr. Ikeda sent a message for the memorial meetings, conveying his hopes for the local members to continue striving in their respective fields, and through example, give hope and courage to those facing similar situations in Tohoku and throughout the world.
On January 16, the Soka Gakkai Kansai 21st Century Symphony Orchestra, comprised of professional and semi-professional musicians, not all Soka Gakkai members, performed at an annual goodwill concert in Osaka City. The orchestra, which debuted a day before the earthquake in 1995, has held annual concerts in conjunction with the area's recovery efforts ever since. This year they welcomed renowned violinist Marlene Ito of the Berlin Philharmonic and performed pieces by Brahms and other composers.
[Adapted from articles in the January 17 and 18, 2013, issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]