Soka Gakkai

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Sōka Gakkai
Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
Sanshokuki2.svg
Soka Gakkai International flag with logo
Formation 1930
Founders Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, Jōsei Toda
Type Religious movement
Headquarters Shinanomachi 32, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-8583, Japan
Membership over 12 million (by own account)
President (SGI) Daisaku Ikeda
Honorary President (SG) Daisaku Ikeda
President (SG) Minoru Harada
Parent organization Nichiren Shōshū (until 1991)
Website Soka Gakkai International
Formerly called Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai

Soka Gakkai (Japanese: 創価学会?) is a Japanese new religious movement based on the writings of Nichiren and the teachings of the organization’s presidents Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, Jōsei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda. It is one of the larger Japanese new religions. Originally a lay group within the Nichiren Shōshū Buddhist sect, the Gakkai reveres the Lotus Sutra and places the chanting of the name of the Sutra at the center of devotional practice. The movement is publicly involved in peace activism, education and politics. It has also been at the center of controversies.

The movement was founded by educators Makiguchi and Toda in 1930. After a temporary disbandment during World War II when much of the leadership was imprisoned on charges of lèse-majesté, the membership base was expanded through controversial and aggressive recruitment methods to a claimed figure of 750,000 households by 1958, compared to 3,000 before the end of the war.[1][2][3]

Further expansion of the movement was led by its third president Daisaku Ikeda, who planted the seed for the organization's international expansion in 1960. According to its own account, it has 12 million members in 192 countries and territories around the world. While Ikeda has been successful in moving the group towards mainstream acceptance in some areas, it is still widely viewed with suspicion in Japan.[4][5] The organization has been the subject of substantial criticism over the years, often finding itself embroiled in public controversies[6] especially in the first three decades following World War II.[1][7][8][9][10]

According to James R. Lewis, although the Soka Gakkai has matured into a responsible member of society, it grapples with the stereotype of a brainwashing cult.[11] Other scholars who utilize the Bryan R. Wilson typology of new religious movements reject the cult appellation preferring to describe it as "gnostic-manipulationist," a category of teachings holding that the world can improve as people master the right means and techniques to overcome their problems.[12][13][14][15] The movement has also been characterized as being centered on a cult of personality around Ikeda.[16][17][18][19]

History

Makiguchi: 1930-1944

Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, First President of the Sōka Gakkai

Foundation

The Soka Gakkai officially traces it foundation to November 1930, when educators Tsunesaburō Makiguchi and his colleague Jōsei Toda published the first volume of Makiguchi's magnum opus on educational reform, Sōka Kyōikugaku Taikei (創価教育学体系, The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy).[20][21]:49 In a 1933 publication by this group, Makiguchi explained one of his educational principles: "We must make our children thoroughly understand that loyal service to their sovereign is synonymous with love of country."[22]

The first general meeting of the organisation, then under the name Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai (創価教育学会, lit. "Value Creating Educational Society"), did not take place until 1937.[23] The group was a hokkeko (lay organization) affiliated with the Nichiren Shoshu, by that time a small and obscure Nichiren Buddhist sect. Makiguchi, who had turned to religion in mid-life, found much in Nichiren's teachings that lent support to his educational theories, though it has been argued that the sect's doctrines and rituals went against the grain of Makiguchi's modernist spirit.[2][24]:21–32 From the very first meeting, however, the main activity of the group seems to have been missionary work for Nichiren Shōshū, rather than propagating educational reform.[2] The membership eventually came to change from teachers interested in educational reform to people from all walks of life, drawn by the religious elements of Makiguchi's beliefs in Nichiren Buddhism.[25]:14

Repression during the war

The organization soon attracted the attention of the authorities. Makiguchi, as did Nichiren, interpreted the political troubles Japan was experiencing as a result of the propagation of false religious doctrines. His religious beliefs motivated him to take a stand against the government, earning him a reputation as a political dissident.[25]:14–15 In fact, his main motivation was religious, not political; he had no tolerance for non-Nichiren doctrines.[26]

In 1942, a monthly magazine published by Makiguchi called Kachi Sozo (価値創造, "Creating values") was shut down by the government, after only nine issues had gone to press. In 1943, the group was instrumental in making the Nichiren Shoshu refuse to merge with the Nichiren Shū, per the Religious Organizations Law which had been established in 1939.[2] Later the same year, one zealous Tokyo member told a non-member that his daughter had died as punishment for not converting to Nichiren Shōshū. This prompted a government investigation of the group, which perhaps precipitated the subsequent arrest of its leadership.[21]:98, 108[27][28] The government believed that because Soka Gakkai members insulted the religious beliefs of others and destroyed religious implements, the group posed a threat to Japan's policy of religious freedom.[29]

Makiguchi, Toda, and 19 other leaders of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai were arrested on July 6, 1943, on charges of breaking the Peace Preservation Law and lèse-majesté: for "denying the Emperor's divinity" and "slandering" the Ise Grand Shrine. The government had issued that a talisman from the Shinto shrine should be placed in every home and temple. While the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood had been prepared to accept the placing of a talisman inside its head temple, Makiguchi and the Gakkai leadership had openly refused.[2] Makiguchi gave the following reason for refusing the talisman: "The Sun Goddess is the venerable ancestress of our Imperial Family, her divine virtue having been transmitted to each successive emperor who ascended the throne up to and including the present emperor. Thus has her virtue been transformed into the August Virtue of His Majesty which, shining down on the people, brings them happiness. ... In light of this, who is there, apart from His Majesty, the Emperor himself, to whom we should reverently pray?"[22]

With its leadership decimated, the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai disbanded.[27][30] During interrogation, Makiguchi had insisted that "The emperor is an ordinary man ... the emperor makes mistakes like anyone else".[24]:40–41 The treatment in prison was harsh, and within a year, all but Makiguchi, Toda, and one more director had recanted and been released.[27] On November 18, 1944, Makiguchi died in prison of malnutrition, at the age of 73.

Toda: 1945-1958

Jōsei Toda, second President of the Sōka Gakkai

The new Soka Gakkai

Jōsei Toda was released from prison in 1945 and immediately set out to rebuild what had been lost during the war. In February 1946, the organization was officially re-established, now under the shortened moniker Sōka Gakkai (lit. "Value-creation society"). While progress was slow for the first few years, the monthly magazine Daibyaku Renge (大白蓮華?) began publishing in 1949, and the newspaper Seikyo Shimbun in 1951 - the same year that Toda formally assumed presidency.[31] During his acceptance speech, he placed a formidable challenge to the congregated members: to convert 750,000 families before his death. Toda added: "If this goal is not realized while I am still alive, do not hold a funeral for me. Simply dump my remains in the bay at Shinagawa."[32]:285–286

Aggressive proselytizing

Toda adopted an aggressive and controversial method of proselytizing, based on Nichiren teachings on shakubuku (折伏), often translated character for character as "break and subdue", sometimes as "forced conversion".[33] Shakubuku, essentially, is the more assertive of two different methods of proselytizing traditionally employed by Nichiren adherents, in which the proselytizer aggressively confronts a non-adherent about the falsity of their beliefs. Toda's brand of shakubuku was of an unusually aggressive nature and would come to give Soka Gakkai a reputation of militancy. It also resulted in widespread criticism in the popular press and, remarkably, also by other Buddhist sects.[3][8][34]

A 1955 report tells of a typical shakubuku session. Three or four young members called on the house of a young women for several days in succession, each time warning her that she had one week to join the Gakkai, or some terrible calamity would befall her home. On the last day they threatened to not move until she gave in - at two o'clock in the morning, she finally allowed them to sign her name.[8]:104 In eyewitness reports of a similar session in 1964, Gakkai members surrounded a home, yelled and made noise for hours until the residents relented and agreed to join.[35]:82 While the use of violence and intimidation as a part of the shakubuku in modern times has been dismissed by the Gakkai as "excessive zeal on the part of uneducated members", the evidence shows that much of it was actually organized by its high-ranking leaders.[36]:74

Threats of divine vengeance and bodily harm were frequent, and a child's illness or death could be attributed to not having already joined the Gakkai.[35]:82[37]:199 Local leadership would often destroy the household Shinto altars of new members.[2] There was infrequent violence, but also violent actions taken against Soka Gakkai members: "... veteran adherents from the Toda era speak of being driven away from houses by residents who doused them with water and pelted them with stones."[32]:287[35]:49

When the Religious Corporation Law came into effect in August 1952, the Soka Gakkai legally registered as a religious corporate body. The same year, Toda was required to deliver a statement to the special investigations bureau of the Department of Justice to the effect that Soka Gakkai members would refrain from the illegal use of violence or threats in their proselytizing.[38]:217

While shakubuku was a controversial practice, it was certainly successful: during Toda's presidency, the Gakkai's official ledgers count an increase from 3,000 households to the 750,000 that Toda had demanded at the outset of his presidency - thereby smoothly avoiding the need to meet Toda's request that his body should be dumped in Shinagawa bay.[32]:285–286 The accuracy of this figure was never confirmed by outside sources.[37]:199 Whether or not the 750,000 number was strictly true or not, the Gakkai's membership had certainly grown. Many of the new recruits had been found among the "downtrodden classes" in the larger urban areas who had sometimes been excluded from the benefits of the "upward swing" during the postwar reconstruction boom.[39]

The "raccoon dog festival" incident

The relationship with the parent organization Nichiren Shoshu worsened considerably during Toda. Specifically notable was what went down in the Gakkai annals as the "raccoon dog festival incident" on April 28, 1952. A group of 4,000 men belonging to the Gakkai's youth division headed to Taiseki-ji, the Nichiren Shoshu head temple, to confront a priest named Ogasawara who had allegedly cooperated with the authorities during the war. The group was led by President Toda and Daisaku Ikeda (who would eventually become the organization's third president). When Ogasawara initially refused to apologize, the men mobbed him, tore off his vestments and tagged him with a placard reading "raccoon dog monk".[40] He was forcibly carried to Makiguchi's grave, where he was made to sign a written apology.[41]:96–97[42]:698–711 Toda, who claimed to have only hit Ogasawara twice during the ordeal, was temporarily banned from entering the temple.[41]:96–97[43] Though no legal action was taken, this incident helped establish the organization's reputation as a violent cult.[42]:705–711

Increased membership

The Jozaiji temple.

In October 1954, Toda made a speech to over 10,000 Gakkai members while mounted on a white horse, proclaiming: "We must consider all religions our enemies, and we must destroy them."[2][32]

The Gakkai's teachings at this point became more restrictive and lower ranking members were no longer allowed access to more difficult books.[44] At this time, hundreds of thousands of Gakkai members were taught in "graded classes";[24]:142 they were awarded titles like "assistant lecturer" and "associate professor" depending on their achievements in learning Gakkai doctrine.[37]:208

With the rapid increase in membership, Toda "... focused on 'cultural activities' aimed at winning broad-based support ... in particular Toda decided that Soka Gakkai should enter the political area",[38]:206 and the Sōka Gakkai first entered into politics in 1955.[39] Toda's view was that according to the teachings of Nichiren, the day was soon to come when the true teachings of the Gakkai would become the law of the State and when Sōka Gakkai became the ruling government, a "national altar" would be built at Mount Fuji.[44]

Toda passed away on April 2, 1958. The funeral was held at his home, but the coffin was afterwards carried past weeping, chanting crowds to the Ikebukuro temple Jozaiji, where he was buried.[24]:84 The then prime minister Nobusuke Kishi attended the funeral - something that scandalized "quite a few Japanese" but was a testament to how the Gakkai had grown to a force to be reckoned with under Toda.[41]:116[45] For two years after Toda's death, there was a leadership vacuum and the Gakkai had no president, as it was unclear if anyone was able to replace him.[41]:118

Ikeda: 1960-

Daisaku Ikeda, third President of the Soka Gakkai

Jōsei Toda was succeeded as president in 1960 by the 32-year-old Daisaku Ikeda. Ikeda had been "Toda's point man" in the aggressive shakubuku campaigns of the 1950s and one of the leaders of the violent "raccoon dog festival" in 1952, but he would nonetheless come to be a moderating and secularizing force.[24]:77[41] Ikeda formally committed the organisation to the principles of free speech and freedom of religion and urged, from 1964, for a gentler approach to proselytizing.[24]:97[citation needed]

International expansion

Under Ikeda's leadership, the organization expanded further, both inside and outside Japan. Soka Gakkai's first chapter outside of Japan was founded in 1960 in California, as the "Nichiren Shoshu of America" (NSA), later "Nichiren Shoshu Academy", which grew at "a remarkable rate" and claimed some 200,000 American adherents by 1970.[46] The Soka Gakkai International was formally founded in 1975, on Guam.

Foundation of the Komeitō

In 1964, Ikeda founded the political party Kōmeitō ("Clean Government Party") which would grow into Japan's third largest political party by 1969.[47]

In 1970, a prominent university professor named Fujiwara Hirotatsu authored the book I Denounce Soka Gakkai in which he severely criticized the Gakkai, calling it "fascist" and comparing it to the early Nazi party. The Gakkai and Kōmeitō attempted to use their political power suppress its publication. When Fujiwara went public with the attempted suppression, the Gakkai was harshly criticized in the Japanese media. As a result, Ikeda announced that "Kōmeitō members of national and local assemblies will be removed from Soka Gakkai administrative posts."[48] In the aftermath, both Kōmeitō and the Gakkai were more heavily critiqued by sections of Japanese society and their years of constant growth came to an end.[32]:295 The same year, Soka Gakkai was also embroiled in a separate scandal - it was discovered that the Gakkai had been wiretapping the home of Kenji Miyamoto, leader of the JCP. The illegal operation had been headed by Masatomo Yamazaki, then legal advisor and vice chairmen of the Gakkai.[49]

The New Komeito Party was founded in 1998, and has been allied with the LDP since 1999. The New Komeito has generally supported the policy agenda of the LDP, including reinterpretation of Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, proposed in 2014 by LDP Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to allow "collective defense". Approval of this policy change came only after tense meetings between the party leadership and representatives of local branches, who reported that large majorities of party members in their districts were strongly opposed. It was approved only after party leaders promised to press for strict limits to the circumstances under which collective defense actions would be allowed.[50]

Shōhondō

The Shōhondō hall of the Taiseki-ji temple. Constructed in 1972, demolished in 1998.

In 1965, Ikeda announced plans to build a Shōhondō (正本堂, True Main Hall), at Taiseki-ji, the head temple of Shōshū, to house the dai-gohonzon (大御本尊), the Nichiren mandala from which all other gohonzon are said to derive their power. Soka Gakkai's fundraising for the building was extremely successful - eight million contributors donated more than 35.5 billion yen in a timespan of only four days in October 1965, perhaps making it the largest private fundraising project in Japan's history.[32]:289–293

Ikeda and Soka Gakkai represented the Shōhondō as a "virtual" honmon no kaidan (本門の戒壇, roughly great ordination platform), one of the "three great treasures" whose construction would mark the completion of the entire nation's conversion to Nichiren's teachings. This led some Shōshū lay groups to object that the building should not be constructed until after all of Japan had actually been converted to Nichiren Buddhism.[32]:289–293 When the Shōhondō was completed in 1972, the controversy about the timeliness of its construction heated up, with some lay groups denouncing the Gakkai. Ikeda worked to improve the Gakkai's relationship with the priesthood, and when a Shōshū lay group called Myōshinkō protested against the Gakkai in 1974, they were excommunicated by Shōshū.[51] In 1976 the Nichiren Shōshū administration modified its liturgy to include a prayer for the success of the Soka Gakkai.[52]

Separation from the Shōshū priesthood

In 1978, Soka Gakkai's relationship with Shōshū soured over the role of priests and lay believers.[53] In 1979, the prayer for the success of the Soka Gakkai was removed from Nichiren Shōshū liturgy. Ikeda resigned from Soka Gakkai on April 24, 1979, retaining only an honorary title but maintaining presidency of Soka Gakkai International. It seems likely the conflict with the Nichiren priesthood was behind Ikeda's departure, and it has been suggested that the Nichiren priesthood demanded Ikeda's resignation.[51]

In July 1979, the head abbot of Shōshū, Nittatsu Hosoi, passed away. A controversy arose among Shōshū lay groups over the legitimacy of his successor, Nikken Abe. 200 monastic opponents of Abe eventually formed a group, Shōshinkai, which was soon expelled from the Shōshū.[54] Soka Gakkai supported Abe at this time.

The doctrinal dispute centered on interpretations of the meaning of the Three Jewels of Buddhism, in particular the "treasure of the Sangha", which according to Nichiren Shōshū refers to the Priesthood, while - according to the Soka Gakkai - anyone who practices true Buddhism is a member of the Sangha.[52] This dispute related to the concept of religious authority: "The priesthood claims that it is the sole custodian of religious authority and dogma, while the Soka Gakkai leadership argues that the sacred writings of Nichiren, not the priesthood, represent the ultimate source of authority, and that any individual with deep faith in Nichiren's teachings can reach enlightenment without the assistance of a priest".[53]

In 1991, Nichiren Shōshū administration published a list of points where they perceived Soka Gakkai to have deviated from Shōshū doctrine. The priesthood also condemned Ikeda for abandoning the aggressive propagation style (shakubuku) that led to some social criticism od the lay group, though not the priesthood.[55] Soka Gakkai was no longer considered a lay group, or hokkeko, of Shōshū, and its leaders, including Ikeda, were excommunicated. One of the deviations the priesthood objected to was Ikeda allowing members to sing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" at meetings because it mentions God.[56][57] Another problem was the concern of some priests that the Soka Gakkai was building community centers for its members rather than emples for the priests.[58] Some Japanese members of the Gakkai left at this time, believing that a cult of personality was developing around Ikeda which departed from Nichiren's teachings; most however, stayed with the Soka Gakkai and what they perceived as Ikeda's modernization of Buddhist ideas.[59] Others left the organization out of concerns that they would no longer be able to enter Shōshū temples and have traditional pilgrimages and funerals. In response, Soka Gakkai began collecting names of Shōshū members across the country and held regular prayer sessions to attempt to "defeat" (打倒 datō) them.[32]:300 In one incident, Gakkai members broke into a Shōshū temple during a religious service and beat a defector into unconsciousness.[60] Soka Gakkai began fabricating evidence that the Shōshū administration had engaged in illicit conduct.[61] Households were allowed to belong to both organizations until 1997, when Shōshū requested that all its members leave Soka Gakkai. In that year, Shōshū demolished the ¥35 billion Shōhondō building at Taiseki-ji. High Priest Nikken alleged that the reason for the demolition was corrosion caused by sea salt, but the architect of the Sho Hondo has said this had "no basis in fact", and the soundness of the building had been verified many times.[62]

In December 1999, Soka Gakkai was found guilty of libel against Shōshū. The Gakkai's official newspaper, the Seikyō Shinbun, had printed a doctored photo of Abe's 70th birthday party, claiming that it showed him cavorting with geisha.[63] Following the guilty verdict, the Seikyō Shinbun reported that it had been found innocent of all charges.[64][65] In July 2000, the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform disclosed that a private investigator hired by Soka Gakkai had illegally stolen National Crime Information Center records pertaining to Abe. The committee expressed concern that no arrests were made.[66]

Religious scholars have mixed opinions about the split. According to M. Bumann, Seager, Dobbeleare, Metraux, Hurst and others, the cause of the split was the friction between hierarchical tradition and democratic modernity: "A spirit of openness, egalitarianism, and democratization pervaded the SG, embodying and giving new life to the idea of self-empowerment. In 1991, these liberalizing developments led to the split between the Japan-oriented, priestly Nichiren Shōshū and the lay-based, globalized SGI."[67] However, H. Neill McFarland alleges that Soka Gakkai is not democratic; it has no parliamentary procedure and no transparency, and he reports a widespread worry that the group is "fascistic".[37]:217 Dobbelaere, on the other hand, notes the election of the presidents,[68] as well as a process of "nomination, review and approval that involves both peers and leaders" in choosing other leaders.[69] In an analysis of books studying the expansion of SGI after the split, Jane Hurst viewed the split as the result of: "lay members seeking religious support for their lives, priests seeking perpetuation of hierarchical institutions".[67] Ian Reader, on the other hand, saw "corrupt and scandalous behavior on both sides."[61]

Beliefs and practices

Further information: Nichiren Buddhism


Until the 1991 split with the Nichiren Shōshū, Sōka Gakkai existed within the Shōshū framework as a hokkeko, a form of lay organization. The split was to a degree caused by disagreements over the interpretation of Nichiren teachings, though this was not the main issue.[70] But from its inception the Soka Gakkai did not base its beliefs exclusively on Nichiren Shoshu doctrine[71] Before the Soka Gakkai, these hokkeko were not expected to propagate, an innovation Makiguchi brought to Nichiren Shoshu [72]; and Toda’s insistence that laity “have an informed commitment” was new enough to cause shock and anxiety among the priesthood.[73] Makiguchi interpreted the teaching through his own theory of value creation[74], and from his time the Soka Gakkai was more interested in religion serving the needs of practitioners than practitioners being loyal to dogma.[75] Second president Toda introduced the notion of obutsu myogo, the concept that secular affairs and Buddhism were not separate; and the idea that “Buddha is life”, a concept not previously found in Nichiren Shoshu.[76] Toda also organized and funded the first comprehensive compilation of the writings of Nichiren, which the parent organization had never done.[77] While the two movements still share most of their canon, the Soka Gakkai did change some practices to “reflect the changes of the late twentieth century”,[78] and had a its own approach to kosen-rufu, or widespread propagation.[79] The Sōka Gakkai leadership, specifically Ikeda, has produced certain writings which have acquired a canonical status within Sōka Gakkai, such as Ikeda's book "Human Revolution", which in some ways sets it apart from its former parent organization,[80], which in turn sets itself apart from the Soka Gakkai by makintaining that only a priest can be a "Bodhisattva of the Earth".[81]


Lotus Sutra

Main article: Lotus Sutra

The Lotus Sutra is one of the most popular and influential Mahāyāna sutras, of uncertain authorship. The sutra presents itself as a discourse delivered by Gautama Buddha toward the end of his life. The oldest parts of its text were probably written down between 100 BC and 100 AD: most of the text had appeared by 200 AD.[82] While most Mahāyāna denominations regard the Lotus Sutra as important, a characteristic of Nichiren Buddhism is the elevation of the Lotus Sutra to the only true revelation of Buddhism. The sutra is the basis for the two central focuses in Nichiren Buddhist practice: the daimoku and the gohonzon.[46][80]

Chanting of the daimoku

See also: Buddhist chant

One of the major focuses in Nichiren Buddhism is the daily morning and evening chanting of the mantra Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō (南無妙法蓮華経, Hail the Marvelous Teaching of the Lotus Sutra), commonly referred to as the daimoku (題目, the title).[46] Soka Gakkai teaches that through this chanting, one can gain this-worldly benefits that range from health, wealth and happiness to world peace.[83] Gakkai doctrine has never shied away from materialistic desires, whether it's for this or the next life: Toda, Gakkai's second president, once advised: "I recommend that you accumulate good fortune [through chanting and performing shakubuku] in this life, so that in the next existence of life, you can be born into a family possessing five Cadillacs."[32]:289 Ikeda voiced a similar sentiment in 1962: "I sincerely wish you will ... chant the Daimoku and practice Shakubuku for the sake of gaining great divine favor until you come to lead as majestic a life that you can say assuredly, 'I am the happiest in the world.'"[84]

That point has been explained by Daisaku Ikeda: “The ideal of Mahayana Buddhism is the realization of happiness for oneself and for others. Nowhere is this more completely set out than in the Lotus Sutra, which recognizes the Buddha-nature in all people—women and men, those with formal education and those without…..the Lotus Sutra doesn’t deny the value of worldly benefit. By allowing people to start to practice in expectation of such benefit, the teachings of the Lotus Sutra establish a way of life based on faith, and through this faith…we enter the path of wisdom. By believing in this sutra that teaches universal enlightenment and by purifying our mind, we are then able to bring our daily actions into harmony with the core spirit of Buddhism.”[85]

Daimoku campaigns can apparently be organized for specific purposes and many members are encouraged to participate. For example, after the tumultuous 1991 split with the Nichiren Shōshū, Gakkai members were encouraged to chant for the destruction of the sect and of Nikken Abe, its head priest. Local Japanese chapters routinely passed out lists of nearby Shōshū temples for members to focus on in their daily chants.[32]:302

Gohonzon

Sōka Gakkai gohonzon

The gohonzon (御本尊, roughly principal image of worship) is a diagram (mandala) calligraphed on white paper containing the names of the major bodhisattvas and Buddhas described in the Lotus Sutra. It is the major object of worship on Nichiren altars both in temples and in individual practitioner's homes and plays a large part in Nichiren practitioner's religious lives. It is facing the gohonzon that the daimoku is chanted.[46][86] To SGI Nichiren Buddhists, the gohonzon symbolizes the superiority of the Lotus Sutra over other religions and Buddhist sects.[87]

The power of all gohonzon are taught to flow from the dai-gohonzon (大御本尊, large gohonzon), the camphor wood original carved by Nichiren himself, housed in the Taisekiji temple.[86] Toda likened the dai-gohonzon to a "happiness-producing machine" capable of realizing absolute happiness in one's lifetime.[32]:289

The gohonzon has been a point of great contention between the Nichiren Shōshū and the Soka Gokkai since the 1991 schism. According to Shōshū doctrine, the high priest at Taisekiji has the exclusive ritual authority to consecrate and issue new gohonzon to all practitioners, but the priesthood has since the excommunication refused to issue any gohonzon to Gakkai members.[86] For the Gakkai, this problem was partly solved in 1993 when the group began to have gohonzon replicas made from a 1720 transcription of the dai-gohonzon, conferred to the group by the Jōenji temple, one of a handful of temples that voluntarily left the Nichiren Shōshū together with Soka Gakkai in 1991.[32]

Life-force and happiness

Beginning with Toda Josei, Soka Gakkai has taught that "life-force" (生命 seimei?), is an omnipresent, creative power derived from the Buddha, understood as the foundation of faith and practice at Soka Gakkai. This force is said to emanate directly from the gohonzon and it is through chanting of the daimoku that this power can be released, bringing happiness to the chanter. In Toda's own language, "by embracing this life-force, everything is enjoyed, nothing is suffered. This is called liberation."[88]:113 The goal of life, according to Toda, is to achieve this happiness in this world.[89]:150

Happiness is therefore an indication of participation in life-force. In proclaiming that faith is imperfect until it guarantees happiness for the greater number, Soka Gakkai is at odds with the doctrine of Nichiren Shoshu.[88]:122–3 The writings of Nichiren are also lacking in this utilitarian concept.[88]:126 Toda's belief that salvation comes from synchronizing one's vibrations with the eternal life force is a soteriology unique among Nichiren groups.[90]

Views on priesthood

The Soka Gakkai teaches that it is possible to attain enlightenment without the assistance of traditional temples and without a system of priesthood, for any person with deep faith in Nichiren's teachings.[91]

Peace activities

The group's peace activities can however be traced back to the Toda era - at an athletic meeting in 1957, Toda called for a complete ban on nuclear weapons. A 1975 petition drive against nuclear weapons by the Gakkai's youth division garnered 10 million signatures, and was handed over to the United Nations.[92][93]:84

Culture of peace

Gymnastic formation by the Brazil SGI team at Rio de Janeiro, on October 30, 2011.

The Soka Gakkai was included in a collective Buddhist response to UNESCO's "Declaration on the Role of Religion in the Promotion of a Culture of Peace," established in Barcelona in December 1994. The Soka Gakkai's contribution to building a culture of peace is summarized by person-to-person diplomacy, the promotion of small community discussion meetings with egalitarian mores reflecting the Lotus tradition, the promotion of the values of compassion, wisdom, and courage to promote action to nurture world citizenship, and participation in cultural events to foster the culture of peace.[94] Peace and human rights activists such as Dr. Lawrence Carter of Morehouse College and Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who partnered with the Soka Gakkai in various exhibits and presentations, praise the organization's efforts.[95]

Each year, Ikeda publishes a peace proposal which examines global challenges in the light of Buddhist teachings and suggests specific actions to further peace and human security. The proposals are specific and wide-ranging, covering topics as constructing a culture of peace, promoting the development of the United Nations, nuclear disarmament, the prohibition of child soldiers, the empowerment of women, the promotion of educational initiatives in schools such as human rights and sustainable development education, and calls to reawaken the human spirit and individual empowerment.[96] The complete texts of recent proposals are available at the SGI website.[97] Olivier Urbain, Director of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, has published a compilation of topical excerpts from past proposals, with a focus on the role of the United Nations.[98]

Establishment of institutions

The Soka Gakkai has established multiple institutions and research facilities to promote its values of peace. The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (founded in 1962), among other goals, clarifies the essence of Buddhism to peace studies. The Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning and Dialogue (founded in 1993 as the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century), promotes dialogue between scholars and activists to prevent war and promote respect for life.[99] The Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research (founded in 1996) conducts peace-oriented international policy research through international conferences and frequent publications.[100][101]

Criticisms of the Soka Gakkai's promotion of pacifism

Soka Gakkai's pacifist stand has however been questioned for the group's support to the non-pacifist political party Komeito, without denying that the group is very active in "trying to establish the basis for world peace".[93]:84 In Japan, there is a widespread negative perception of SGI's pacifist movement, which is considered to be mere public relations for the group.[5] But the same author who found the negativity also concluded that "I doubt very much, however, that many ordinary Japanese who are not members of the Soka Gakkai know or care very much about the Soka Gakkai or its activities".[102] Scholar Brian Victoria characterizes Soka Gakkai's pacifist activism as a "recruiting tactic", noting in particular Komeito's support for revising the Constitution of Japan.[26]

Proselytizing

Reason for controversy was the seemingly aggressive form of conversion or recruitment of new followers called shakubuku (Japanese 折伏; English: "break and subdue"), at least in the past.[103] Although the movement has distanced itself from this aggressive form of recruitment of new followers, the term continues to be used.[104]

Oneness of Mentor and Disciple

Chilson reports that Soka Gakkai members revere Daisaku Ikeda.[105] The relationship between members and their mentors is referred to as "the oneness of mentor and disciple." Soka Gakkai members both in and outside Japan perceive Ikeda as their mentor and openly discuss this relationship. The mentor is to lead and thereby improve the lives of his disciples. The mentor's actions is seen as giving disciples confidence in their own unrealized potential. The role of disciples is seen as supporting their mentor and realizing his vision using their unique abilities and circumstances. The relationship is seen as non-hierarchical and mutually weighted. Disciples are encouraged to be active creators rather than passive followers.[106] Seager writes: “The oneness of the mentor-disciple relationship is described not in terms of demands and duties as many critics imagine it to be, but in terms of choice, freedom and responsibility. It is the disciple’s choice and decision to follow the mentor’s vision for their common goal. In response, it is the mentor’s wish to raise and foster the disciple to become greater than the mentor.[24]:63

A predominant theme in Ikeda’s writings is his relationship with Toda, thereby modeling for his followers the oneness of mentor and disciple. Chilson states, “There is no part of his life that he talks about more, or with more enthusiasm, than the years he spent with Toda.”[107]

Since the mid-1990s, the issue of the oneness of mentor and disciple has received more prominence in the Soka Gakkai. There is a strong emphasis on cultivating all members through forging affective one-to-one relationships with Ikeda.[108]

Detractors have looked upon Soka Gakkai's version of the mentor and disciple relationship as a cult of personality for its focus on SGI President Ikeda.[109] Some outside observers describe Ikeda's role as a process where Sōka Gakkai "began a decisive transformation from an organization run by Ikeda to a group dedicated to Ikeda".[110]

Organization

Soka Gakkai's Tokyo headquarters

Soka Gakkai was originally a lay organization of Nichiren Shōshū, meaning it was necessary to belong to Shōshū to be a member of the Gakkai and was stripped of its status as a lay organization of Nichiren Shōshū. There are several other lay organizations within Shōshū as well as members of Shōshū who belong to no organization.

Formally, the Soka Gakkai International is the umbrella organization for all national organizations, while Soka Gakkai by itself refers to the Japanese arm. Soka Gakkai International maintains an international political presence as a registered non-governmental organization with the United Nations.[32]:273

SGI has been in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 1983. As an NGO working with the United Nations, SGI has been active in public education with a focus mainly on peace and nuclear weapons disarmament, human rights and sustainable development.[111]

Though a lay organization, there are a handful of temples and ordained priests affiliated with the Gakkai: the Kenbutsuji in Kyoto, the Kōryūji in Yūbari, Hokkaido, the Jōenji in Oyama, Tochigi, for example. These temples were previously affiliated with the Nichiren Shōshū but voluntarily left after the split.[32]:301

In recent decades it has become quite difficult for academics and other outsiders to get access to reliable information about the Soka Gakkai's inner workings. As a result, there is a paucity of independent in-depth studies of the organization.[112]

Membership

Soka Gakkai has, together with its international offshoot Soka Gakkai International (SGI) been described as "the world's largest Buddhist lay group and America's most diverse".[113] Soka Gakkai International claims a total of over 12 million adherents.[114] The lion's share of these belong to the Japanese organization, whose official membership count is 8.27 million households.[115] According to statistics from the Agency for Cultural Affairs (a body of the Japanese Ministry of Education), the Japanese organization had 5.42 million individual members in 2000.[116] Even that number, however, has been questioned by some authors.[117][118][119]

Leadership

The election or nomination of so-called “leaders” is typically not decided by SGI’s adherents but by a Board of directors.[120] Leadership below national staff, however, has been liberalized; in the U.S., for instance, the nomination and approval of leaders includes both members and leaders.[121]

List of Presidents

List of Presidents of Soka Gakkai

  1. Tsunesaburō Makiguchi (18 November 1930 – 2 May 1944)
  2. Jōsei Toda (3 May 1951 – 2 May 1960)
  3. Daisaku Ikeda (3 May 1960 – 24 April 1979)
  4. Hiroshi Hōjō (北条浩) (24 April 1979 – 18 July 1981)
  5. Einosuke Akiya (18 July 1981 – 9 November 2006)[122]
  6. Minoru Harada (9 November 2006 – present)[24]:94[122]

Honorary President of Soka Gakkai

  1. Daisaku Ikeda (24 April 1979 – present)

President of Soka Gakkai International (SGI)

  1. Daisaku Ikeda (26 January 1975 – present)

Japanese politics

See also: New Komeito

Soka Gakkai's initial forays into politics met with conflict. On April 23, 1957, a group of Young Men's Division members campaigning for a Gakkai candidate in an Osaka Upper House by-election were arrested for distributing money, cigarettes, and caramels at supporters' residences, in violation of elections law, and on July 3 of that year, at the beginning of an event memorialized as the "Osaka Incident," Ikeda Daisaku was arrested in Osaka. He was taken into custody in his capacity as Sōka Gakkai's Youth Division Chief of Staff for overseeing activities that constituted violations of elections law. He spent two weeks in jail and appeared in court forty-eight times before he was cleared of all charges in January 1962.[123]

While the political party New Komeito is nominally separated from the Soka Gakkai and has been so since 1970, some critics have alleged that the party is in effect controlled by the Gakkai as almost all party members are also members of the religious group and that their voluntary activities during election campaigns equal a de facto endorsement of the party.[124][125] Article 20 of the Japanese Constitution demands the strict separation of politics and religion.[126] While Kōmeitō claim that they fulfill and comply with those legal and constitutional demands, all of New Kōmeitō's past and current presidents have held executive positions in Soka Gakkai.[127][128]

The Japan Echo alleged in 1999 that Soka Gakkai distributed fliers to local branches describing how to abuse the jūminhyō residence registration system in order to generate a large number of votes for Komeito candidates in specific districts.[129] In the 1980s Akahata discovered that many Soka Gakkai members were rewarding acquaintances with presents in return for Komeito votes, and that Okinawa residents had changed their addresses to elect Komeito politicians.[130] This resulted in Soka Gakkai being harshly criticized by the Ryūkyū Shimpō and Okinawa Times.[131]

Although the Soka Gakkai is politically active within Japan, it does not allow any of its foreign chapters to become involved in political action of any kind."[102]

Power and wealth

SGI's president, Daisaku Ikeda, has been referred to as "the most powerful man in Japan".[19] The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that Ikeda cultivates the image of a "charismatic leader", although he has displayed a "violent temper" in private.[132] Former Mainichi Shimbun reporter Toshiaki Furukawa has alleged that the acquisition of personal awards and honors for Ikeda has been budgeted by the Gakkai as "charity services".[133]

In the 1990s, a Japanese parliamentarian alleged the Soka Gakkai had amassed wealth up towards $100 billion, though the organization denied this. Journalists writing for Forbes estimated the organization brings in at least $1.5 billion per year, while an Asiaweek article published in 1994 reported on a $2 billion figure from donations alone.[134][135] Religion scholar Hiroshi Shimada has estimated the wealth of the Japanese arm at ¥500 billion.[128] In 2004, Soka Gakkai as a religious organization alone was Japan's 170th largest corporation, and its earnings were over 100 times larger than any other religious organization.[136]:34

The Gakkai now owns most of the land around Shinanomachi Station in Shinjuku, Tokyo, and most of the businesses in that area advertise their Gakkai affiliation.[136]:41–44

In 1989, a Soka Gakkai-controlled museum auctioned two Renoir paintings for 3.6 billion yen (over $35 million), but only paid the seller 2.125 billion yen (roughly $20 million). An investigation discovered how most of the money had been apportioned, but roughly $3 million is still missing.[136]:51

Soka Gakkai fully owns the Seikyo Shinbun (聖教新聞), which has a readership base of 5.5 million, making it Japan's third most widely circulated newspaper.[137] The newspaper does not own its own printing equipment, instead paying the other major newspaper publishers to print the newspapers throughout the country - a strategy which has been criticized as an attempt to dissuade them from giving negative coverage to the organization.[128] Seikyo Shinbun regularly reports on President Ikeda's activities, making evident "the cult surrounding his figure".[2] Soka Gakkai also owns the popular literary journal Ushio.[37]:218

Educational institutions

[138] [139]

Kindergartens

Elementary Schools

  • Tokyo Soka Elementary School - Kodaira, Tokyo, Japan, founded in 1978
  • Kansai Soka Elementary School - Hirakata, Osaka, Japan, founded in 1982
  • Brazil Soka School - São Paulo, Brazil, founded in 2003.[145]

Junior and Senior High Schools

Junior Colleges

Universities

Soka University
Main article: Sōka University

Soka University is a private university located in Hachiōji, Tokyo, Japan founded in 1969. The school was opened to undergraduate students in 1971, while a graduate school was opened in 1975.

Soka University of America

The Soka University of America is a private university founded in 1987, located in Aliso Viejo, California, with $1.01 billion on assets in the year 2014 and 412 undergraduate students. While the university claims to be secular and independent of Soka Gakkai, it is largely funded by Soka Gakkai .[147] Currently it is reported that “the school maintains no religious affiliation.” [148]

The expansion of the university over a flat meadow coveted by public parks officials wanting to build a visitor center for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area precipitated a slew of litigations and a battle with the school and local environmentalists.[149][150]

The original campus was in Calabasas, California, but opened a new campus in Aliso Viejo when expansion in Calabasas was met by environmental concerns.[150]

One college evaluating organization ranked SUA the 56th best college (out of 1,394 ranked) in America, and the 9th (of 82) best in California.[151] U.S. News and World Report listed SUA as the 5th “best value” liberal arts college in America.[152]

SUA offers Bachelors Degrees with concentrations on environmental studies, humanities, international studies and social and behavioral sciences.[153][154]

Humanitarian Work

Soka Gakkai also conduct humanitarian aid projects in disaster regions. It not only dedicated to personal spiritual development but also to engaged community service. SGI-Chile members collected supplies to deliver to a relief center after the country's recent earthquake.[155]

Public perception and criticism

There is a "fractured view" of the Soka Gakkai in Japan. On the one hand it is seen as a politically and socially engaged movement;[156][157] on the other, it is still widely viewed with suspicion by Japanese.[5][158] James R. Lewis claims the Soka Gakkai still grapples with a stereotype of being a brainwashing cult[159] even though the group has matured into a responsible member of society.[160] Other scholars reject the cult label.[161] Some scholars who utilize the Bryan R. Wilson typology of newly emerging denominations categorize it as "gnostic-manipulationist", a category of teachings holding that the world can improve as people master the right means and techniques to overcome their problems.[12][13][14][15]

Public perception as well as the international reputation of the Soka Gakkai has been influenced by media reports as well as academic research.

Japanese Media
Public and international perception of the Soka Gakkai has been influenced by the Japanese media which has usually been highly critical.
Media criticism leveled at the Soka Gakkai should be understood in the larger context of the political, religious and social culture of Japan. According to Watanabe, the Soka Gakkai has rocked established notions and hierarchies in Japan from its earliest years when Makiguchi questioned the imperial system along with established institutions such as public education, the military, and clerical authority. Its dramatic growth during the Toda years, together with the fact that its new ranks were primarily composed of people in the lower strata, challenged Japanese society and it was deliberately stigmatized in the press as a "frightening religion" and a "gathering of the poor." As it became a frequent target of tabloid press affiliated with the Japanese establishment, it was slow to develop public relations skills.[162][163]
Scholars have linked political motivations to reports in the press that associated the Soka Gakkai with Aum Shinrikyo.[164][165][166][167] In addition, press criticism of the Soka Gakkai should be seen against the backdrop of negative press coverage of new religious movements in general.[168]
Media criticism of the Soka Gakkai, or at least the New Komeito Party, has abated since it became a coalition partner to the LPD.[169]
Soka Gakkai is rarely criticized in public forums.[citation needed] Some[who?] claim that television stations have a policy prohibiting mention of the link between Soka Gakai and the Kōmeito, although political commentators on all networks discuss the relationship regularly in their analyses of election results. Ikeda occasionally contributes editorials to major newspapers, which also print reports on Gakkai business. However, some claim that major newspapers overlook news critical of the Gakkai. According to one account in Shukan Shincho, Japanese news media cannot handle the social and economic pressure that the Gakkai poses.[170][need quotation to verify]
Academic Research
Clarke’s bibliography on Japanese new religious movement contains the most exhaustive collection of academic research about the Soka Gakkai.[171] Most of these studies are from historical or political science genres. Several ethnographic research methodologies have been utilized in studies about the Soka Gakkai.
Early Historical and Political Studies
As is often the case in social science research, new fields of study often incorporate anecdotal evidence. Researchers draw conclusions drawn largely from media sources; interviews are important sources of information although they are not collected through validated sampling techniques. English-language anecdotal evidence about the Soka Gakkai began to accumulate in the 1960s and accerated in the 1970s. Among the scholars who contributed to early historical and political literature are: Beasley,[172] Brannen,[173] Hunt,[174] Kitagawa,[175] Ramseyer,[176] Moos,[177] Doherty,[178] McFarland,[179] Murata,[180] and Fujiwara.[181]
Exegesis
Exegesis or hermeneutics is often the second wave of social science research. Scholars, their interest often piqued by prior anecdotal research, turn their attention to careful textual analyses of what exactly an organization and/or its leaders say or write. Among the early English language scholars exploring the Soka Gakkai in the 1970s and 1980s through this modality are Epp[182] and Bethel.[183][184][185]
Scholars are still conducting hermeneutical research on the writings of the Soka Gakkai and/or its leaders. Chilson analyzes Ikeda's diaries and autobiographical writings.[186] There is extensive hermeneutical work on Ikeda's writings on education[187][188][189][190] and philosophy of peace[191][192][193]
Qualitative Research
Qualitative researchers attempt to collect data broadly through survey and interview methodology. Ethical researchers note the degree of consent, cooperation, and even funding given by of organizations under study so readers are alerted to any implicit bias. Starting in the 1990s, English-language research on the Soka Gakkai, conducted by religious historians and sociologists, began examining constituent organizations of the Soka Gakkai International but included broad discussions about the Soka Gakkai itself. Sociologist Macioti examined the Soka Gakkai in Italy.[194] Sociologists Wilson and Dobbelaire investigated the Soka Gakkai in the United Kingdom.[195] The Soka Gakkai in the United States was studied by Chappell[196] and Hammond and Machacek.[197] Metraux has written about the Soka Gakkai movements in Southeast Asia, Canada, and Australia.[198][199][200] Clarke[201] and Silva[202] have studied the Soka Gakkai movement in Brazil. Fowler and Fowler discuss the Soka Gakkai in Wales[203] In an anthropological study Mette discusses the participation of Soka Gakkai youth in the political process.[204] Ionescu conducted field research in Germany to view the process of accommodation.[205] Powell conducted an ethnographic study to view the process of accommodation in Japan.[206] Angurarohita studied the emergence of the Soka Gakkai in Thailand using sociological methodology.[207]
Interpretative Studies
Noted scholars often conduct interpretative studies which combine their prolific experiences and research, extensive literature review, and on-site visits and interviews to develop reflections and theories. Seager[208] and Strand[209] conducted studies on the Soka Gakkai that utilize such methodology.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin, eds. (2010). Religions of the world : a comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. pp. 2656–2659. ISBN 978-1598842036. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Kisala, Robert (2004). "Soka Gakkai: Searching for the Mainstream". In Lewis, James R.; Aagaard Petersen, Jesper. Controversial New Religions. Oxford University Press. pp. 139–152. 
  3. ^ a b Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael, eds. (2006). Introduction to new and alternative religions in America. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-275-98712-4. 
  4. ^ Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek, “Soka Gakkai International” in J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann (eds.), Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, 2010, p. 2658. “Daisaku Ikeda (b. 1928), Soka Gakkai’s charismatic third president, led the international growth of the movement. Although Ikeda and his successor, Einosuke Akiya, have gone to great lengths to improve the movement’s public image, suspicion remains. Soka Gakkai’s political involvement through the organ of the Komeito, a political party founded by the Soka Gakkai, and the near godlike reverence that members have for President Ikeda have tended to perpetuate public distrust. Although it has been subjected to a generalized suspicion toward Eastern religious movements in the United States, Europe, and South America, the movement’s history outside of Japan has been tranquil by comparison to its Japanese history.”
  5. ^ a b c Wellman, Jr., James K.; Lombardi, Clark B. (eds.). Religion and human security : a global perspective. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 272. ISBN 978-0199827756.  "When I conducted a survey of 235 Doshisha University students a few years ago asking their opinions about the Gakkai and how much they knew about its peace education programs, over 80 percent responded that they had a negative image of the movement and about 60 percent thought that its "peace movement" is little more than promotional propaganda. The few respondents with a positive image were either Soka Gakkai members, were related members, or were friends of members."
  6. ^ Seagar, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. University of California Press. p. xii. ISBN 978-0-52024577-8. "Since its founding in the 1930s, the SG has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies, some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan, others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view. Over the course of its history, however, it has also grown into a large, politically active, and very well-established network of institutions, whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population. One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan. On one hand, it is seen as a highly articulated, politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace. On the other, it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination." 
  7. ^ Beasley, W.G., ed. (1977). Modern Japan: aspects of history, literature, and society. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 190–196. ISBN 0-520-03495-3. 
  8. ^ a b c Brannen, Noah (1968). Sōka Gakkai: Japan's militant Buddhists. John Knox Press. pp. 80, 101. 
  9. ^ Hunt, Arnold D. (1975). Japan's militant Buddhism: a survey of the Soka Gakkai movement. Salisbury East, S. Aust.: Salisbury College of Advanced Education. pp. 1–13. ISBN 0909383065. 
  10. ^ Kitagawa, Joseph M. (1990). Religion in Japanese history ([Reprint]. ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 329–330. ISBN 978-0231028387. 
  11. ^ Lewis, James R. (2003). Legitimating new religions ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0813533247.  "For over half a century, one of the most controversial new religions in Japan has been Soka Gakkai. Although this group has matured into a responsible member of society, its ongoing connection with reformist political activity served to keep it in the public eye. Until relatively recently, it also had a high profile as the result of sensationalist and often irresponsible media coverage. Apparently as a direct consequence of the social consensus against this religion, some scholars have felt free to pen harsh critiques of Soka Gakkai--critiques in which the goal of promoting understanding has been eclipsed by efforts to delegitimate Soka Gakkai by portraying it as deluded, wrong, and/or socially dangerous....Soka Gakkai also spread to the United States and Europe, where it aroused controversy as a result of its intense proselytizing activities. Although it was never as controversial as groups like the Hare Krishna Movement or the Unification Church, Sokka Gakkai—which in the United States went under the name Nichiren Shoshu of America after Soka Gakkai broke with Nichiren Shoshu—was not infrequently stereotyped as a brainwashing cult, particularly by anti-cult authors." pp. 217-18
  12. ^ a b Bryan Wilson, Religion in Secular Society. Penguin, 1969
  13. ^ a b Bryan Wilson, Magic and the Millennium, Heinemann, London, 1973, pp. 18-30
  14. ^ a b Wallis, Roy (1976). The road to total freedom: a sociological analysis of Scientology. London: Heinemann Educational. p. 156. ISBN 0-435-82916-5. 
  15. ^ a b Glock, Charles Y.; Bellah, Robert N., eds. (1976). The New religious consciousness. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 200. ISBN 0-520-03083-4. 
  16. ^ Maria Immacolata Macioti, The Buddha within Ourselves, translated by Richard M. Capozzi. University Press of America, 2002. Originally printed as Il Buddha che e in noi: Germogli del Sutra Loto, Edizioni Seam, 1996. "President Ikeda is very much loved - -and according to a few authoritative studies, too much loved so much so, in fact, that he risks a personality cult. At leaders’ meetings, and at district and chapter meetings too, one often refers to a phrase from his writings, or his guidance." p. 115
  17. ^ Furukawa, Toshiaki (2000). Karuto to shite no Sōka Gakkai = Ikeda Daisaku (Shohan, pp 45-51. ed.). Tōkyō: Daisan Shokan. ISBN 978-4807400171. 
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  19. ^ a b Watanabe, Teresa (15 March 1996). "Japan's Crusader or Corrupter?". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  20. ^ Clarke, Peter, ed. (2008). Encyclopedia of new religious movements (1. publ. ed.). London: Routledge. p. 594. ISBN 978-0415453837. 
  21. ^ a b Bethel, Dayle M. (1994). Makiguchi the value creator : revolutionary Japanese educator and founder of Soka Gakkai ([1st pbk. ed.]. ed.). New York: Weatherhill. ISBN 0-8348-0318-6. 
  22. ^ a b Victoria, Brian (2001). "Engaged Buddhism: A Skeleton in the Closet?". Journal of Global Buddhism 2. ISSN 1527-6457. 
  23. ^ Levi McLaughlin, Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions, Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion, ISBN 978 90 04 23435 2, page 282
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. Berkeley [u.a.]: Univ. of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. 
  25. ^ a b Hammond, Phillip E.; Machacek, David W. (1999). Soka Gakkai in America: accommodation and conversion (Reprinted. ed.). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198293897. 
  26. ^ a b Victoria, Brian (2014). "Sōka Gakkai Founder, Makiguchi Tsunesaburō, A Man of Peace?". Asia-Pacific Journal 12 (37). 
  27. ^ a b c Robert L. Ramseyer. "The Soka Gakkai". In Beardsley, Richard K., editor, Studies in Japanese culture I. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1965. p. 156
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  29. ^ Thomas, Jolyon Baraka (2014). Japan's Preoccupation with Religious Freedom (Ph.D.). Princeton University. p. 281. 
  30. ^ Laderman, Gary; León, Luis, eds. (2003). Religion and American cultures. Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.]: ABC- CLIO. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-57607-238-7. 
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  33. ^ Moos, Felix (March 1963). "Religion and Politics in Japan: The Case of the Soka Gakkai". Asian Survey. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
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  35. ^ a b c White, James W. (1970). The Sōkagakkai and mass society. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804707282. 
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  37. ^ a b c d e McFarland, H. Neill (1967). Rush Hour of the Gods. New York: Macmillan. 
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  40. ^ In Japanese folklore, the tanuki or Japanese raccoon dog is regarded as a sly and deceptive being with shapeshifting powers. The word is still used in contemporary Japanese to refer to slyness and deception. See the definition of tanuki in Kōjien (2nd ed.): 他人を欺くこと。また、そのひと。
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  53. ^ a b The Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1992 - 19/4, The Dispute between Soka Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu D. Metraux, p. 326
  54. ^ Fire in The Lotus, Daniel B. Montgomery, Mandala 1991, 1991, p. 200
  55. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel. Soka Gakkai. p. 12. "Other criticisms were more fundamental. For example, the president was criticized for having abandoned shakubuku as a method of proselytism in favor of the shoju method." 
  56. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel. Soka Gakkai. p. 11. 
  57. ^ Seagar, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 130. 
  58. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 129. 
  59. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 130. "Members who believed priests to be essential to their spirituality stayed with Nichiren Shoshu, but most remained within the Gakkai, their loyalties tied to Ikeda and his modernist Buddhism." 
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  68. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel. Soka Gakkai. p. 9. ""H. Hojo. . . was electred president. Ikeda became honorary president. . . At the death of Hojo in 1981, E. Akiya was elected president. . ." . ." 
  69. ^ Dobbelaere, Karel. Soka Gakkai. p. 78. 
  70. ^ Prebish, Charles S.; Tanaka, Kenneth K., eds. (1998). The faces of Buddhism in America. Berkeley, Calif.: University Press. pp. 285–286. ISBN 978-0520213012. 
  71. ^ Tamaru, Nariyoshi (2000). Macachek and Wilson, ed. Soka Gakkai and Japanese Politics in Global Citizens - the Soka Gakkai Buddhist Movement in the World. Oxford University Press. pp. 28,30. ISBN 0-19-924039-6. "28: "...this alliance between an essentially clerical organization and a new lay movement has been somewhat precarious from the very beginning." 30: "Thus, the fundamentally intellectual-ideological vein that distinguishes Soka Gakkai from other groups...was nurtured in the process of its formation."" 
  72. ^ +Hurst, Jane (2000). Macachek and Wilson, ed. A Buddhist Reformation in the Twentieth Century, in Global Citizens. p. 73. "Despite its insistence that it alone taught true Buddhism, the lay members associated with Nichiren Shoshu temples did not attempt to proselytize to any great extent. This changed in the twentieth century, when Tsunesaburo Makiguchi founded a new lay organization called Soka Kyoiku Gakkai in 1930. Makiguchi and ...Toda took up the mantle of Nichiren Daishonin and intended to reform society based on his teachings." 
  73. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma - Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. University of California Press. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. "When the Soka Gakkai entered the picture, he said 'Nichiren suddenly became a living presence in the religious life of laity and believers'. Its impact on the established community was 'an unprecedented event. There were many within the priesthood who had never heard the word shakubuku.' Toda's demand that laypeople have an informed commitment was shocking and anxiety-provoking." 
  74. ^ Tamaru, Nariyoshi. Soka Gakkai and Japanese Politics, in Global Citizens. p. 32. ":"His published works, accordingly, shjow a unique combination of his own thinking and the doctrine of traditional Buddhism, or an attempt to interpret the latter by means of the former."" 
  75. ^ RRamseyer, Robert (19695). "The Soka Gakkai: Militant Religion on the March". Studies in Japanese Culture 1: 160. ""For Makiguchi, the object of worship is not the Lord, the Ruler, to whom absolute loyalty is given, but rather a tool to be used for personal gain. The allegiance which must be given to religion is always a qualified allegiance, qualified because it is contingent on receiving some benefit from the religion.”" 
  76. ^ Tamaru, Nariyoshi. Soka Gakkai and Japanese Politics, in Global Citizens. pp. 37–38. ""For instance, the key term 'life', or some equivalent, did not occur in dogmatic literature." (37) The doctrine of obutsu myogo was formulated by Toda, incorporating a central motif in Nichiren's 's teachings." (38)" 
  77. ^ Montgomery, Daniel (1991). Fire In The Lotus. London: Mandala, an imprint of Grafton Books, a division of Harper Collins. p. 188. ISBN 1-85274-097-4 Check |isbn= value (help). "One of Toda's most imprtant contributions to his sect was the publication of its version of Nichiren's collected writings. Throughout all these centuries, Nichiren Shoshu, while insisting that it was the only orthodox transmitter of Nichiren's Buddhism, had not had a sacred scripture of its own." 
  78. ^ Hursy, Jane. A Buddhist Reformation in the Twentieth Century, in Global Citizens. p. 70. "Soka Gaskksi emerged at a time of great cultural, economic and technological change. The changes they have brought to the practice of Nichiren's Buddhism are a reflection of the changes of the late twentieth century." 
  79. ^ Hurst, Jane. A Buddhist Reformation, in Global Citizens. p. 77. "...the priesthood just did not share Soka Gakkai's vision of how to accomplish kosen-rufu." 
  80. ^ a b Cornille, C. (1998). "Canon formation in new religious movements: the case of the Japanese New Religions". In van der Kooij, A. Canonization and decanonization : papers presented to the international conference of the Leiden Institute for the Study of Religions (LISOR), held at Leiden 9-10 January 1997. Leiden: Brill. pp. 283–287. ISBN 9004112464. 
  81. ^ Seager, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. p. 130. "...laypeople, such as members of the Gakkai, can be followers of the bodhisattvas of earth *sic), but cannot be among the bodhisattvas themselves, because that status is reserved for priests." 
  82. ^ Williams, Paul (1989). Mahāyāna Buddhism: the doctrinal foundations. Routledge. p. 142. ISBN 9780415356534. 
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  96. ^ Anwarul K. Chowdhury, "Introduction," Olivier Urbain (ed), A Forum for Peace: Daisaku Ikeda’s Proposals to the UN. IB Tauris, 2013, ISBN 978-1780768403, pp. xi-xiv
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  98. ^ Olivier Urbain (ed), A Forum for Peace: Daisaku Ikeda’s Proposals to the UN. IB Tauris, 2013, ISBN 978-1780768403
  99. ^ Karel Dobbelaere, "Toward a Pillar Organization?" in Global Citizens, Machacek and Wilson (eds.), pp. 243, 250
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  109. ^ Yano, Jun'ya (2009). Kuroi techō: Sōka Gakkai "Nihon senryō keikaku" no zenkiroku. Tōkyō: Kōdansha. ISBN 978-4-06-215272-3. 
  110. ^ Levi McLaughlin, Did Aum Change Everything? What Soka Gakkai Before, During, and After the Aum Shinrikyo Affair Tells Us About the Persistent “Otherness” of New Religions in Japan, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies Vol 39 (1), 51-75, 2012. Archived from the original
  111. ^ UNODA, update (18 March 2014). "UN Office for Disarmament Affairs Meets Youth Representatives of Soka Gakkai Japan and of SGI-USA Engaged in Disarmament Issues". Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  112. ^ Ehrhardt, George (14 March 2008). "Review: Jiminto – Soka Gakkai – Komeito: Kokumin Fuzai no Renritsu Seikken – Hishi; Komeito – Soka Gakkai no Shinjitsu; Soka Gakkai to ha Nanika". Politics and Religion 1 (1). doi:10.1017/S1755048308000072. 
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  120. ^ http://constitution-sgic.org/2013%20documents/C3%20policy%20on%20leaders%20-%202013%2009%2022.pdf
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  122. ^ a b "Minoru Harada appointed as Soka Gakkai President". Soka Gakkai International. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  123. ^ http://www.has.vcu.edu/wrs/profiles/SokaGakkai.htm
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  125. ^ Lecture by Levi McLaughlin at Princeton University on SGI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx1st9FSK98
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  130. ^ Yōichi, Kira (1986). Sōka Gakkai nanatsu no daizai : jitsuroku (Shohan. ed.). Tōkyō: Shin Nihon Shuppansha. ISBN 4406013881. 
  131. ^ 沖縄タイムス1981年7月27日付 社会面, 琉球新報1981年7月27日付 4面
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  133. ^ Furukawa, Toshiaki. Shisutemu to shite no soka gakkai. Tokyo: Daisan Shokan. p. 236. ISBN 978-4807499229. "池田大作が海外で表彰、名誉博士号等を受けるにはそれなりのコストがかか池田大作がゴルバチヨフと面会するための工作費は数十億円社会福祉団体から「福祉功労賞」を授与されれいる。" 
  134. ^ Benjamin Fulford; David Whelan (9 June 2006). "Sensei's World". Forbes. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  135. ^ "The Komeito Factor. Fears Over the Rapid Rise of a Buddhist-Backed Party Soka Gakkai: Aggressive proselytizing, extensive networks - and big money". Asiaweek (Asiaweek Limited) 20 (14-26): 198–199. 
  136. ^ a b c Weekly Diamond. 『創価学会の経済力』. August 7, 2004.
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  150. ^ a b Loesing, John (13 March 2003). "Environmentalists beat Soka University—again". The Acorn. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
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  154. ^ Seagar, Richard. Encountering the Dharma. University of California Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. 
  155. ^ Religious Humanitarian Work
  156. ^ Seager, Richard (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai, and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. University of California Press. p. xii. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8. "Since its founding in the 1930s, the Soka Gakkai has repeatedly found itself at the center of controversies, some linked to major struggles over the future of Japan, others to intense internal religious debates that erupted into public view. Over the course of its history, however, it has also grown into a large, politically active, and very well-established network of institutions, whose membership represents something on the order of a tenth of the Japanese population. One result is that there is a fractured view of the movement in Japan. On one hand, it is seen as a highly articulated, politically and socially engaged movement with an expressed message of human empowerment and global peace. On the other, it has been charged with an array of nefarious activities that range from fellow traveling with Communists and sedition to aspiring to world domination." 
  157. ^ Takesato Watanabe, "The Movement and the Japanese Media" in David Machacek and Bryan Wilson (eds.), Global Citizens, Oxford University Press, 2000. “The Soka Gakkai is exceptional in that no other large Japanese religious organization engages in both social and political issues—from the promotion of human rights to the protection of the environment and abolition of nuclear weapons—as actively as it does." (p. 217)
  158. ^ Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek, “Soka Gakkai International” in J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann (eds.), Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, 2010, p. 2658. “Daisaku Ikeda (b. 1928), Soka Gakkai’s charismatic third president, led the international growth of the movement. Although Ikeda and his successor, Einosuke Akiya, have gone to great lengths to improve the movement’s public image, suspicion remains. Soka Gakkai’s political involvement through the organ of the Komeito, a political party founded by the Soka Gakkai, and the near godlike reverence that members have for President Ikeda have tended to perpetuate public distrust. Although it has been subjected to a generalized suspicion toward Eastern religious movements in the United States, Europe, and South America, the movement’s history outside of Japan has been tranquil by comparison to its Japanese history.”
  159. ^ Lewis, James R. (2003). Legitimating new religions ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0813533247.  ""For over half a century, one of the most controversial new religions in Japan has been Soka Gakkai. Although this group has matured into a responsible member of society, its ongoing connection with reformist political activity served to keep it in the public eye. Until relatively recently, it also had a high profile as the result of sensationalist and often irresponsible media coverage. Apparently as a direct consequence of the social consensus against this religion, some scholars have felt free to pen harsh critiques of Soka Gakkai--critiques in which the goal of promoting understanding has been eclipsed by efforts to delegitimate Soka Gakkai by portraying it as deluded, wrong, and/or socially dangerous....Soka Gakkai also spread to the United States and Europe, where it aroused controversy as a result of its intense proselytizing activities. Although it was never as controversial as groups like the Hare Krishna Movement or the Unification Church, Sokka Gakkai—which in the United States went under the name Nichiren Shoshu of America after Soka Gakkai broke with Nichiren Shoshu—was not unfrequently stereotyped as a brainwashing cult, particularly by anti-cult authors." p. 218
  160. ^ Lewis, p. 217
  161. ^ Macioti, p. 124. "It should be clear to all by now that Soka Gakkai is not a “sect.” It is not a small, two-faced cult, characterized by obscure and hidden agendas. Rather it is a movement that has given life to varied associations, all of which are engaged in promoting culture, and raising interest around the theme of values—and a movement that demands to be examined more closely by using scientific methodologies and instruments of evaluation."
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  163. ^ Mette Fisker-Nielsen, Anne (2012)"Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito," Routledge, p. 52. “Soka Gakkai’s relentless, but highly successful, proselytising in the 1950S stirred up fear in wider society. Soka Gakkai was portrayed by the mass media as aggressive and some members were reported to have resorted to violence to remove objects of other religious worship from the home of new adherents, although it is difficult to find evidence….The organisation was widely portrayed as a ‘conglomeration of lower social elements’ (quoted in White 1970: 6), by that presumably meaning that most members were poor.”
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    The findings of the above types of research are often tested in smaller and more specific settings through case studies. Researchers, “insiders” who have privileged access to subjects, conduct participant observeration. In case studies there is usually much more narrow research questions. Tong examines the phenomenon of conversion in the Singapore Soka Gakkai movement.< Tong, Chee Kiong (2007). “Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism and Competition in Singapore Society.” Brill.
  204. ^ Mette Fisker-Nielsen, Anne (2012). "Religion and Politics in Contemporary Japan: Soka Gakkai Youth and Komeito," Routledge.
  205. ^ Ionescu, Sanda (2003). “Soka Gakkai in Germany: The Story of a Qualified Success,” in in "Globalizing Japan: Ethnography of the Japanese Presence in Asia, Europe, and America," Harumi Befu, Sylvie Guichard-Anguis (eds.), Routledge.
  206. ^ Powell, Melvin Cecil (1993). "Ever a New Beginning: Processes of Symbolization and Social Action in Sôka Gakkai, a Contemporary Japanese New Religion." University of Wisconsin.
  207. ^ Angurarohita, Pratoom P. (1993) "Soka Gakkai in Thailand: A Sociological Study of Its Emergence, World View, Recruitment Process, and Growth." University of Pennsylvania.
  208. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2006). Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai, and the globalization of Buddhist humanism. Berkeley [u.a.]: Univ. of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24577-8
  209. ^ Clark Strand, Waking the Buddha, Middleway Press, 2014, pp. 125-130. Middleway Press is the publishing arm of the SGI-USA

References

  • Sōka Gakkai in America: Accommodation and Conversion By Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek. London: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-829389-5
  • "The Sōka Gakkai: Buddhism and the Creation of a Harmonious and Peaceful Society" by Daniel A. Metraux in Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia. Christopher S. Queen and Sallie B. King, eds. SUNY Press, 1996.
  • The New Believers: A survey of sects, cults and alternative religions. David V Barrett. Octopus Publishing Group, 2003
  • The Lotus and the Maple Leaf: The Sōka Gakkai in Canada by Daniel A. Metraux (University Press of America, 1996)
  • Fundamentals of Buddhism (second edition) by Yasuji Kirimura (Nichiren Shōshū International Center [now SGI], 1984). ISBN 4-88872-016-9
  • Sōka Gakkai kaibō ("Dissecting Sōka Gakkai") by the editors of Aera (Asahi Shimbun, 2000). ISBN 4-02-261286-X (Japanese)
  • A Public Betrayed: An Inside Look at Japanese Media Atrocities and Their Warnings to the West. Adam Gamble & Takesato Watanabe. Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2004. ISBN 0-89526-046-8
  • (SERA) Southeast Review of Asian Studies 29 (2007). "Religion, Politics, and Constitutional Reform in Japan," by Daniel Metraux, 157-72.
  • Westward Dharma: Buddhism beyond Asia. Charles S. Prebish and Martin Baumann, eds. 2002.
  • Igami, Minobu. 1995. Tonari no Sōka Gakkai [The Sōka Gakkai Next Door], Tokyo: Takarajima.

Further reading

Books

  • Strand, Clark: Waking the Buddha - how the most dynamic and empowering buddhist movement in history is changing our concept of religion. Strand examines how the Soka Gakkai, based on the insight that "Buddha is life", has evolved a model in which religion serves the needs of its practitioners, rather than the practitioners adhering to dogma and traditions for their own sake. Middleway Press, 2014. ISBN 978-0-9779245-6-1
  • Editors of AERA: Sōkagakkai kaibai (創価学会解剖: "Dissecting Sōkagakkai"). Asahi Shimbun-sha, October 1995. ISBN 978-4-02-261286-1. AERA is a weekly investigative news magazine published by one of Japan's leading news organizations; this book attempts to present a dry, fair assessment of Sōkagakkai and Daisaku Ikeda and contains several interviews with Gakkai leaders.
  • Shimada, Hiroki: Sōkagakkai no jitsuryoku (創価学会の実力: "The true extent of Sōkagakkai's power"). Shinchosha, August 2006. ISBN 5-02-330372-0. Argues that the Sōka Gakkai is not (or is no longer) as powerful as many of its opponents fear, and that it is losing ground internally as all but the most dedicated are turned off by the leadership and fewer members need the organization for social bonding. Also notes that it is becoming more like a civic rather than a religious organization, and that inactive members don't resign because they want to avoid the ostracism and harassment that can result.
  • Shimada, Hiroki: Kōmeitō vs. Sōkagakkai (公明党vs.創価学会: "The Kōmeitō and the Sōka Gakkai"). Asahi Shinsho, June 2007. ISBN 978-4-02-273153-1. Describes the relationship between Kōmeitō and Sōka Gakkai and the development of their history. Touches on the Sōka Gakkai–Nichiren Shōshū split, describing it as the result of a power struggle and financial constraints, as well as on the organized harassment of opponents by Sōka Gakkai members, the organization's use of its media vehicles to vilify opponents, and Ikeda's demand for unquestioning loyalty.
  • Taisekiji: Shoshū Hashaku Guide (Jp: 諸宗破折ガイド: "Guide to refuting [erroneous teachings of] other schools"). 2003 (no ISBN); pp. 160–164. Published by the Buddhist school formerly associated with Sōka Gakkai and presents details of Sōka Gakkai's gradual distortion of the school's teachings and reasons for its severing of ties.
  • Tamano, Kazushi: Sōkagakkai no Kenkyū (創価学会の研究: "Research on the Sōkagakkai"). Kodansha Gendai Shinsho, 2008. ISBN 978-4-06-287965-1. This book is an attempt to review scholarly studies of Sōka Gakkai from the 1950s to the 1970s and shifts in perceptions of the organization as journalists took over from scholars. Tamano takes the perspective of a social scientist and describes Sōka Gakkai as a socio-political phenomenon. He is also somewhat critical of some views Shimada expressed in the latter's recent publications.
  • Yamada, Naoki: Sōkagakkai towa nanika (創価学会とは何か: "Explaining Sōkagakkai"). Shinchosha, April 2004. ISBN 4-10-467301-3
  • Yano, Jun'ya: Kuroi Techō—Sōka Gakkai "Nihon Senryō Keikaku" no Zen Kiroku (黒い手帳 創価学会「日本占領計画」の全記録: "My black notebooks: a complete record of Sōka Gakka's 'Operation Occupy Japan'"). Kodansha, February 2009. ISBN 978-4-06-215272-3. Yano is a former secretary-general of Kōmeitō.
  • Yano, Jun'ya: "Kuroi Techō" Saiban Zen Kiroku (「黒い手帳」裁判全記録: "The whole record of the trials concerning 'My black notebooks'"). Kodansha, 7/2009. ISBN 978-4-06-215637-0.

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