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October 18, 2016

Mukherjee–Ikeda Dialogue Published in Japan

Japanese edition of the Mukherjee-Ikeda dialogue

Japanese edition of the Mukherjee–Ikeda dialogue

TOKYO, Japan: Daisanbunmei-sha has released Aratana chikyu bunmei no uta o—Tagoru to sekai shimin o kataru (tentative English title: Song for a New Global Civilization: On Tagore and World Citizens), a dialogue between the former vice chancellor of Rabindra Bharati University (RBU) Dr. Bharati Mukherjee, a political philosopher, and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda.

Their dialogue was originally serialized in Todai, a monthly Japanese educational magazine, from August 2011 to September 2013. It was later published as a book after reediting and includes new material.

Dr. Mukherjee (2nd from right) welcomed by President and Mrs. Ikeda

Dr. Mukherjee (2nd from right) welcomed by President and Mrs. Ikeda (Hachioji, Tokyo, February 24, 2004)

Rabindranath Tagore dedicated his life to composing inspirational poetry for the people as a spiritual mainstay of India’s independence. Founded in 1962 to commemorate his birth centenary, RBU occupies the Tagore family home and has continued to pass down the spirit of the great poet to the present day. The late Dr. Mukherjee, who died in December 2013, met Mr. Ikeda in February 2004, when she had traveled to Japan for a conferral of an honorary doctorate from RBU upon Mr. Ikeda. Over the years, they have exchanged numerous letters to further their dialogue based on friendship.

The dialogue, spanning five chapters, explores the vision shared by Dr. Mukherjee and Mr. Ikeda for the 21st century as a century that values life and women, focusing on wide-ranging topics spanning education, women, politics, and the environment, juxtaposed with the spiritual ideals Tagore held throughout his life, which were also reflected in his poetry. In particular, it examines Tagore’s view that women have the power to lead humanity toward higher values.

[Adapted from an article in the October 18, 2016, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]