A worldwide community for SGI Members
'A Youthful Diary' comprises excerpts from a private journal kept by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda as a young man, recording some of his reflections and struggles in the early history of Japan's Soka Gakkai.
Latest Activity: Apr 19, 2016
In May 1949 when this diary begins, Daisaku Ikeda was twenty-one. A year and nine months had passed since he had taken faith in Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism and joined Soka Gakkai. Since April of the previous year, he attended the night-school extension of Taisei Gakuin (now Fuji Junior College) in the economics and political science department. In January, he began working for the Nihon Shogakkan, a publishing firm owned and managed by his mentor, Josei Toda, then the Soka Gakkai general director, who would later become its second President. The young Ikeda was at first assigned to help edit the monthly children's magazine Boys' Adventure,and in May became its chief editor. During this period, the Soka Gakkai was still in the first phase of its postwar reconstruction but had already regained its peak prewar membership of 3000 families. Its study magazine, The Daibyakurenge (Great White Lotus), would soon be inaugurated in July.
In 1949, an economic policy called the Dodge Line was enacted to help check runaway inflation. As a result of this ultra-stringent measure, initiated by the general headquarters (GHQ) of the Occupation, the economy did an about-face into rapid deflation. Medium-sized and small businesses went bankrupt one after another. As the ranks of the unemployed swelled, labour disputes broke out nationwide. The Tokyo Joint Federation of Labor Unions held a retaliatory strike on June 2 to protest the death of a participant in a demonstration a few days earlier against the Tokyo public safety regulations. A two-days strike followed, on June 10 and 11, by Japan National Railways workers. Railway strikes became so widespread that the GHQ had to intervene.
Another threat soon became evident. On June 13, in connection with the problem of the return of Japanese prisoners of war from the Soviet Union, hostility between United States and Russia surfaced at a United nations Security Council meeting, and the intensification of the Cold War cast its shadow over Japan.
The mass dismissal of workers resulting from the implementation of the Dodge Line provoked a series of bizarre incidents between June and September. On July 6, the Japan National Railways president was found dead on the tracks between two busy railway stations, just days after major layoffs were announced. On July 16, an unmanned electric car in the car barns at Mitaka Station suddenly moved, apparently by itself, and crashed into neighboring homes, killing six and injuring thirteen. Such occurrences seemed to symbolize postwar confusion. In the midst of this, on August 31, a typhoon struck Kanagawa and swept across eastern Japan, leaving sixty-eight dead, thirty-nine missing and 10,000 homes destroyed. Causing the worst storm damage in eleven years, it was a severe blow to a nation still in the throes of reconstruction.
The Daibyakurenge was first published in September 1949. Before the war, the Gakkai had published a magazine known as Value Creation, but in 1942 it was suspended due to pressure from the military authorities. In June1946, a single issue was published as a mimeographed copy. To fulfil the needs of a rapidly increasing Gakkai membership, the monthly The Daibyakurenge was born, beginning as a standard-size, thirty-two page magazine of basic Buddhist theory.
The final, December issue of the Boys' Adventure(renamed Boys' Japan from the August issue) was ready on October 28, 1949. Young Daisaku Ikeda had been deeply involved with the editing. Along with the general economy, Josei Toda's business was experiencing a decline, and his company, the Nihon Shogakkan, suspended magazine publication in October. In December, Nihon Shogakkan employees became the staff of Toda's new business venture - the Tokyo Construction Credit Association.
A Youthful Diary
1949. pg 1& 2
July 23.Thursday - Cloudy.It was boiling hot today as well.The headquarters was packed to capacity for a regular leaders' meeting. Must think about building a new headquarters' building.My thoughts on the leaders' meeting:The top leaders should think more seriously about our members. They should abandon their own interests in order to serve the members. Only then will others follow them gladly. Our leaders mustn't become sly or calculating. It will be unfortunate for the members.Suffered alone.…Continue
July 22.Wednesday - Clear, then cloudy.It's hot today as well. It's been hot for a while.Must develop a strong body. Pensive.Congressman N. came over. An impudent character. A shallow politician. Praying that K. of the Gakkai will stop associating with such petty people. For the Gakkai's sake as well as his own.In the evening, went to see the Katsushika Block members to tell them I would no longer be assigned to their organisation . Everyone looked sad. Must continue to protect and embrace them…Continue
July 21Tuesday - Cloudy.It's been hot for days.Heard air-conditioning is very bad for the body. Let me experiment with it myself.Personnel appointments and organization operations are both going smoothly.In the evening attended a Tsukiji Chapter inaugural meeting. Gave my all in the Gosho lecture.Faith expresses itself in our lives.July 21, 1959.A Youthful Diary, pg 429Continue
July 20.Monday - Clear.My physical condition has turned for the worse again. Suffered all day.Want to develop an iron- like state of life. Fate, destiny,karma. Opening, breaking,changing.Phonograph records of President Toda's lectures and speeches have been completed. Very happy. Repaying my debt of gratitude.On the way home, treated the directors to sushi. Returned late.N. is entering politics with his new persona.The course of history. The movement of society. When will our time to appear on…Continue
July 17.Friday - CloudyChanted daimoku to my heart's content - as always.My mentor's compassion gradually permeates my heart. The love between father and son, the feeling between mentor and disciple - these bonds defy words. Who else knows this inseparable lifeblood?A dinner meeting with the general director and Z. at B. Restaurant. They are good people, but they would deepen their love and compassion for others.When a leader's capacity is small, those who trust his or her leadership will be…Continue
July 10.Friday - Cloudy.Wicked people are devilish functions that destroy the order of harmoniously united believers. We must see them for what they are. In Buddhism, causing disunity among believers is said to be one of the five cardinal sins. In this sense, fostering and protecting unity is one of the greatest acts of good. We must never allow anyone to destroy the Gakkai. Strong, young people must protect the Gakkai with their impartial, pure hearts.In the evening, went to Taito Gymnasium…Continue
July 9.Thursday - Clear, then cloudy.The appointment of a new youth division chief conducted in the main hall of the headquarters. The youth division leaders pledged to advance Kosen-Rufu into the future.Now is a crucial time for youth division leaders to courageously break through.Attended an evening YWD leaders' meeting at Nakano Civic Auditorium.Will do my best at any meeting to inspire even one or two people to deepen their faith and stand up with a sense of mission. This is the essence of…Continue
July 8.Wednesday - Clear, then cloudy.Visited K.'s home yesterday for a party.The Soka Gakkai is forlorn without a mentor. Only pray that the leaders' tenderness and love can effectively permeate the organisation in his stead.Worked out some new multidimensional plans for Kosen-Rufu.July 8,1959.A Youthful Diary, pg 427. Continue
July 6.Monday – Clear. Returned from an outing with the headquarters staff. Tired. Good health is foremost. In the evening a Study Department professors’ meeting. Focused on President Toda’s audio taped lectures. Those actualise their mentor’s teachings are worthy of being called disciples. The Gakkai is approaching a steep ascent. Must develop forbearance for the important time. Few are willing to dedicate their lives to our goal. Likeminded friends are scarce. Is this the epitome of…Continue
June 25. Thursday - Cloudy. Tired both physically and spiritually . Just exerting myself in chanting daimoku . A newspaper reported the demand for resignation os Socialist Party executives. The times change with each passing moment. Are we entering a warring period on both religion and politics? If so, then Japan is in grave danger. Must accomplish Kosen-Rufu as soon as possible for the sake of our nation and the entire world. Feel Sensei's greatness from the depths of my life these days,…Continue