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Creating a Century of Peace through Courage (Soka Schools, Japan, November 17, 2023)

(Message to Soka Schools in Japan on November 17, 2023, in celebration of “Wisdom Day”—November 18, Soka Schools Founding Day)

Congratulations on celebrating “Wisdom Day,” sparkling with your desire to learn and a willingness to take on new challenges as you become “bluer than the indigo.”[1]

Commuting to school over long distances early in the morning, living away from your parents in dorms and boardinghouses—all such experiences are valuable human education. Thank you all for your hard work!

The emblem of our schools depicts the nib of a pen—mightier than the sword and symbolizing wisdom—flanked by the wings of a young phoenix. This is symbolic of you honing your wisdom and soaring into the future on the widespread wings of your mission, cheerfully connecting the world. The emblem is the symbol of Soka (value-creating) education, the wisdom of the Soka Schools that illuminates the world.

Today, reflecting on this, what I ask is that you thoroughly strengthen the two wings of the spirit of scientific inquiry and the courage to uphold your humanity.

My esteemed friend Dr. M.S. Swaminathan was an agricultural scientist who, through his sustainable “Green Revolution,” saved countless people from starvation. He also served as president of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, a solidarity of scientists dedicated to abolishing nuclear weapons.

In our dialogue Green Revolution and Human Revolution, Dr. Swaminathan and I discussed how to combat the barbarism of our time that is hurting and dividing humanity, creating such unhappiness. One conclusion we reached was the importance of fostering both a scientific spirit—a search for truth, and a humanitarian spirit—the courage to take action for others’ well-being and happiness.

Dr. Swaminathan saw in Soka education a model for nurturing global citizens—individuals who contribute to the global community.

The bond of wisdom cultivated each day at Soka Schools, as you learn from and elevate one another, is the hope for realizing the vision of a century of peace and humanity that Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, the founder of Soka education, passionately dedicated his life to and even risked his life for.

My wish is that you, the Soka Schools students, will hold your heads high amidst the fierce winds of the times and society and will savor the joy of forging wings of exploration and courage.

May each of you rise as champions, like a mighty phoenix soaring into the sky, with your sights set firmly on the limitless horizons of the future. I will continue to pray earnestly for the health and growth of each of you.

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