Death of Daisaku Ikeda, Honorary President of the Soka Gakkai: “Succession Problem” and the “Collapse of the Kishida Administration” Coming Soon | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Death of Daisaku Ikeda, Honorary President of the Soka Gakkai: “Succession Problem” and the “Collapse of the Kishida Administration” Coming Soon

Daisaku Ikeda, who built a huge organization and controlled the religious and political worlds in the Showa and Heisei eras, died on November 15 at the age of 95.

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A group photo of Mr. Ikeda and members of the Society that appeared in the July 3, 1998 issue of this magazine. The Women’s Club has now been renamed the “Women’s Club.

The FRIDAY reporter has a photograph in her possession. It was taken at Taiseki-ji Temple, the head temple of Nichiren Shoshu in Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Prefecture. This huge temple, founded about 700 years ago, was a “holy place” for the Soka Gakkai until it was excommunicated by Nichiren Shoshu in 1991. In 1968, a summer seminar was held at Taiseki-ji Temple with 457 members of the Soka Gakkai Women’s Club. Surrounded by a throng of female leaders, a well-dressed man sitting on a chair with his legs spread was Daisaku Ikeda, honorary president of the Soka Gakkai, who passed away on November 15 this year at the age of 95.

The Women’s Club, which had nearly 5 million members in its heyday, was the most important to ″Sensei″ and to the Gakkai. Since the formation of the Komeito in 1964, the women’s club had been a thorough “vote-collecting machine” in the election campaign. Women’s club members scattered all over the country called out to non-Komei members, sometimes even going door-to-door to encourage them to vote. To reward them for their efforts, Sensei would gather the women’s leaders and hold seminars and training sessions. She personally approached the academic members who had achieved results and exchanged words with them directly. Seeing this, the members of the women’s section became even more involved in the campaign, saying, ‘Someday I too will receive a word from the teacher at ……. As a result, Komeito grew into a major political party, receiving 8.98 million votes in 2005, its peak year.

Although Ikeda had a great influence on the political world, his last years were shrouded in mystery. Until his death, Ikeda had not made any public appearances for more than 10 years.

In June 2010, Mr. Ikeda abruptly abstained from the executive board meeting at the head office, and handed over all business to the current president, Minoru Harada (82). Since then, he had maintained his centripetal force by having his eldest son and chief vice president Hiromasa (70) read messages to the society’s members on his behalf. The executives must have been well aware that many Gakkai members would lose heart with Ikeda’s disappearance,” said journalist Naoki Yamada.

The Soka Gakkai was sometimes derided as “Ikeda-kyo. The death of the charismatic leader, who had been deified , has caused confusion within the association.

President Harada, who will begin his fifth term on October 27, is 82 years old, as is President Shigeo Hasegawa, who will be 86 when he completes his four-year term. Yoshiki Tanigawa, 66, who is considered a candidate for the next president, will turn 70 in four years. Naoki Hagimoto, another candidate, and Hiromasa Ikeda, Daisaku Ikeda’s eldest son, are both 70 years old and will be 74 in four years. All of the executives are elderly. Yet, it is strange that the Soka Gakkai’s theme for next year is “Opening Year of the World Association of Young Scientists.
Within the Soka Gakkai, there are members who are calling for a drastic generational change and internal reform, and there have been voices criticizing the current executive. However, Mr. Ikeda, the only charismatic figure in the organization, has passed away. Since this is a critical time for the organization, they will use Ikeda’s death as a springboard to tighten up the organization and ride it out under the current system at least until the next general election.

When will the “next general election” be held? There is a smoldering possibility that the Kishida cabinet, which is suffering from a decline in support, will make a last-ditch effort to dissolve the Soka Gakkai and hold a general election at the beginning of the new year, hoping for a “mourning battle” for Ikeda and the enthusiasm of the Gakkai members.

However, Ikeda’s followers are aging, and there are not many of them who are eager for a battle of mourning any longer. It is hard to imagine that they will be able to endure the sense of loss and confusion caused by the loss of their charisma and conduct a proper election campaign. Komeito’s vote count, which was up to 8.98 million, dropped by 2.8 million to 6.18 million in last year’s Upper House election, and it also struggled in this year’s local elections. It would be too much of a gamble to expect a strong fight in such a situation, and Komeito probably does not want to prepare for a national election right now,” said an LDP official.

To begin with, the Kishida administration, which had achieved success in the areas of diplomacy and security, and the Soka Gakkai members, who believed in the pacifist ideals Ikeda espoused, were not compatible with each other.

But as long as Ikeda was alive, we could understand that he must have had something in mind and was working with the LDP,” said Mr. Kishida. But now that Mr. Ikeda is gone, there is a possibility that the LDP will not be willing to work with the LDP, which is strengthening its defense capabilities, saying, ‘A peace-loving teacher would not have done this,’ or ‘Komeito has moved away from his philosophy,’ and the excellent vote-collecting team will become reluctant to cooperate in the election.
Ikeda’s death is a major blow to both the LDP and Komeito. There is even a possibility that the LDP, having decided that it cannot maintain power in a coalition with Komeito alone, will team up with the Restoration Party or the People’s Democratic Party. A “political realignment” may occur,” said Yoshiro Fujikura, a journalist with expertise in religious issues.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (66), upon receiving the news of Mr. Ikeda’s death, wrote in an X message, “I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Daisaku Ikeda. Mr. Ikeda played an important role in promoting peace, culture, and education in Japan and abroad, and left a significant mark on history. Kenta Izumi, 49, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan’s Constitutional Democratic Party, and Yuichiro Tamaki, 54, leader of the People’s Democratic Party, followed suit.

I was honestly surprised,” said Kenta Izumi, 49, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan. I think it is legally legal for the DPJ to mourn Mr. Ikeda, who made great achievements in Japan’s private diplomacy, including building friendly relations with former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev and former Chinese President Hu Jintao, and it does not violate the principle of separation of church and state. However, it would be inappropriate for a representative of a national political party to praise the head of a specific religious organization,” said Fujikura.

The Kishida administration’s approval rating is approaching the danger zone of 10%, and it is also unable to step up to the plate for a general election. With Ikeda’s death, the countdown to its collapse has finally begun.

He has received numerous commendations, including the National Order of Merit and honorary degrees.’ In 2003, he was reportedly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In ’17, Mr. Hiromasa Ikeda addresses an international conference at the Vatican. As the eldest son of a charismatic figure, his future skills will be questioned.
The young Mr. Ikeda, eloquent and eloquent at the microphone. He won the hearts of the audience with his pompous manner and skillful speeches, often interspersed with jokes.
Mr. Ikeda also had a great influence on diplomacy. He met with former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev on multiple occasions.

From the December 8-15, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Koichi Kikuchi, Kyodo News, Jiji Press

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