Daisaku Ikeda

Daisaku Ikeda was born on January 2, 1928 in Tokyo, Japan during a time of mass militarization within his home country. At a young age, Ikeda experienced stories of horrific treatment of the Chinese by Japanese soldiers by one of his older brothers. As well, he experienced first hand the bomb raiding of Tokyo during World War II, which resulted in the killing of 100,000 people and the destruction of his home twice. Through these series of events, young Ikeda grew resentment towards conflict, and developed a constant curiosity to find answers to the ills of life and spiritual weakness that plagued his people. He would read as much philosophical works to find answers to these questions.

After the war ended, Ikeda found his way to a speech given by his future mentor Josei Toda, the leader of Sokka Gakkai, a Buddhist-inspired civil organization. Ikeda, who grew a distrust in religious rhetoric, was convinced by Toda’s messages; Toda himself had an ethos in Ikeda’s eyes as he was one who had strong convictions of his beliefs, convictions which lead to his arrest for antagonizing Japan’s military policies in previous years. Ikeda decided to take mentorship under Toda and joined Sokka Gakkai in 1947. Ikeda was a strong proponent of Toda’s vision and aided him until his death in 1960.

By then, Ikeda helped recruit more than 750,000 members to Soka Gaikkai and then became the succeeding president. Ikeda did not stop expanding his and Toda’s Buddhism-inspired civil peace vision in Japan; in the succeeding years Ikeda went abroad. Whereas he recruited members worldwide in over 190 countries and opened up schools, not only in Japan, but in America—including the Soka University of America in California. As well, Ikeda founded many research institutions such as Boston Research for the 21st century and the Institute of Oriental Philosophy.. These schools and research initiatives were (and still are) intended to promote a more humanistic approach to education and coexistence between all peoples.

Ikeda himself has done much personal work towards bringing peace around the world. During the1970’s, Ikeda met with leaders of China, Soviet Russia, and the United States with the intentions of preventing conflicts and a potential nuclear war. During the 1980’s, Ikeda wrote proposals to better United Nations initiatives. Moreover, Ikeda has given lecture worldwide to promote conflict avoidance, human development, and nuclear weapon abolishment, to name a few. He has further worked with many universities to promote cultural and educational exchanges around the world.

Ikeda has recruited over 12 million members across the globe and has headed the largest ever Buddhism-inspired civil organization under his vision of peace and prosperity of all peoples—as well as a beacon of his mentor Toda’s vision of bettering the world. Moreover, he has established numerous educational institutions and he has written volumes after volumes of works. Ikeda has worked with leaders worldwide to achieve the goals of peaceful human development and has received hundreds of honorary doctorate and professorship awards from universities in many nations. Currently, Ikeda lives with his wife and two children in Tokyo.

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