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February 19, 2012

Osten-Ikeda Dialogue on Goethe to be Serialized in Japan

Osten-Ikeda Dialogue

Mr. Ikeda and Dr. Osten meet in Tokyo (December 2009)

TOKYO, Japan: The monthly literary magazine Ushio, beginning with the April 2012 issue, will carry a serialized dialogue between Dr. Manfred Osten, a member of the advisory board of the Goethe Society in Weimar, Germany, and Daisaku Ikeda. The work, titled Ningen gete o kataru-- seimei no uta, sekai shimin no hikari (tentative translation: A Discussion on Goethe the Man--Song of Life, Light of Global Citizenry), examines the life, vision and values of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer, playwright, poet and humanist.

In the first installment, which commemorates the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011, Dr. Osten and Mr. Ikeda share thoughts on initiatives Goethe developed for responding to natural disasters and the idea of altruistic action as a force for reconstruction.

In addition to being a Goethe scholar, Dr. Osten, 74, is a distinguished Japanologist. The Goethe Society was founded in 1885 in Weimar, Germany, where Goethe lived for many years. The institute supports a scholarly network extending from Europe to Asia and Latin America.

In December 2009, the institute presented Mr. Ikeda with its Goethe Medal and a special commendation for his commitment to peace and his understanding and promotion of Goethe's spiritual legacy. At the presentation ceremony held in Japan, Dr. Osten described Mr. Ikeda as "one of the most loyal friends of Goethe."

[Adapted from an article in the February 19, 2012, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]