The New Human Revolution is an ongoing historical novel in which Daisaku Ikeda, as third president of the Soka Gakkai lay Buddhist organization, documents its development from the time he assumed the helm in 1960. It is essentially a story of how “human revolution”—the calling forth of the “limitless inherent power” of the human spirit—can build a movement for world peace and individual empowerment, a dynamic process of betterment referred to within the Soka Gakkai as kosen-rufu.
This is the mandate that was passed onto Ikeda by his mentor and second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda. In the 6-volume English edition of the work,
The Human Revolution Ikeda details Toda’s efforts to rebuild the Soka Gakkai in postwar Japan and, what has become a guiding principle of the Soka Gakkai’s activities to advance peace, Toda’s 1957 declaration calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
On August 6, 1993, the 48th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Ikeda decided to write The New Human Revolution, the sequel to The Human Revolution, in the belief that nuclear weapons “threaten the most basic of human rights, the right to life,” and in the hope that the voice of his mentor would resonate deeply within the hearts of future generations. He wanted to record the extent to which kosen-rufu had progressed since Toda’s death in 1958 as a true tribute and testament to his mentor’s spirit. To do so, he describes his own struggles and those of pioneering Soka Gakkai members to carry out their mentor’s mandate to better their own lives and to strive in the service of humankind as Nichiren Buddhists.
The New Human Revolution opens in October 1960 with the author—who appears in the novel as Shin’ichi Yamamoto—departing for Canada, America and Brazil to visit and encourage a handful of Soka Gakkai members living abroad at the time. He writes that such individuals “are the true protagonists of our age” because they lead the way in teaching those who are suffering that Buddhism offers a practical answer to their adversity, and are living proof of its effectiveness in inspiring hope, courage, compassion and wisdom in their lives. Thus, The New Human Revolution is Ikeda’s “enduring tribute” to every Soka Gakkai member, whose steadfast commitment and efforts have vaulted the lay organization into the genuinely global movement that it is today, “just as a river grows from one small spring . . . [into] a mighty river of peace.”
Ikeda expects The New Human Revolution to eventually reach 30 volumes by the time it is completed, which, having started the novel at the age of 65, he regards as a personal duty and a supreme lifelong challenge.
English editions of The New Human Revolution are published by World Tribune Press in the USA, the SGI-UK in the UK, the Eternal Ganges Press in India and the Singapore Soka Association in Singapore. It is also available in booklet form in Malaysia and in the Philippines, published respectively by Soka Gakkai Malaysia and Soka Gakkai International of the Philippines.