Jōsei Toda

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Jōsei Toda
Former President Toda.jpg
Toda in May 1951
2nd President of Soka Gakkai
In office
3 May 1951 - 2 April 1958
Preceded by Tsunesaburō Makiguchi
Succeeded by Daisaku Ikeda
Personal details
Born (1900-02-11)11 February 1900
Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan
Died 2 April 1958(1958-04-02) (aged 58)
Surugadai Nihon University Hospital, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Alma mater
Jōsei Toda, aged 17

Jōsei Toda (戸田 城聖 Toda Jōsei?, February 11, 1900 – April 2, 1958) was an educator, peace activist and second president of Soka Gakkai from 1951 to 1958. Like his mentor, Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, he was disillusioned with the Japanese educational system — which he thought of as suppressive of individual thought and as geared toward the interests of the state — Toda took immediate interest in Makiguchi's pedagogical theories when they met in 1920. Toda was the first to apply those theories when he began managing a private school in Tokyo.

Toda began practising Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism in 1928 and two years later, together with Makiguchi, he founded the Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai ('Value Creation Education Society'). With the onset of World War II, however, they met with harassment and prosecution. Both were arrested and jailed by the government in 1943 on charges of blasphemy against the deified emperor and violating the Maintenance of Public Order Act; the society, in effect, ceased to exist. Makiguchi died in prison in 1944. Toda was released just weeks before Japan's surrender in 1945. While imprisoned, Toda, through his study of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, had come to the conclusion that Buddhahood, or enlightenment, is inherent in life itself, and that all people can manifest it.

That realization, coupled with his deep anger toward the government's exercise of power, became the motivation for his efforts to propagate Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism for the remainder of his life. He renamed the pre-war society Soka Gakkai ('Value Creation Society'), thus expressing his conviction that its mission should not be confined to educators and the field of education but should extend to the whole of society. On May 3, 1951, he was inaugurated as second president of Sōka Gakkai.

On September 8, 1957, Toda (despite the fact that he was not an expert in international law) issued a declaration condemning the use of nuclear weapons as "criminal" under any circumstances, and called on the young people of the world to work for their abolition. The declaration became a cornerstone of Sōka Gakkai's peace activities. Membership grew rapidly under Toda's leadership, to more than 750,000 households by December, 1957. He died on April 2, 1958 and buried at Ikebukuro Jozai-ji temple, where his wife Iku Toda was laid to rest in the year 2000.

He was a teacher of mathematics and science. He was also a businessperson, and ran a publishing company, that published the magazine Boy's Japan.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Tsunesaburō Makiguchi
2nd President of Sōka Gakkai
3 May 1951 – 2 April 1960
Succeeded by
Daisaku Ikeda