Soka Gakkai International


Name of Group: Soka Gakkai International

Other Names of Group: SGI (Soka Gakai International)

Related Organizations: In 1991 there was a major split within Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism when the priestly class, the Nichiren Shoshu Priesthood under High Priest Nikken, excommunicated the lay class of the Soka Gakkai movement. The priesthood faction continues to practice its form of Nichiren Buddhism today. The New Komeito (the “Clean Party”) is Japan’s fourth largest political party).

Estimated Membership: Over 12,000,000 members in 190 countries and territories are claimed worldwide.

Symbols: The capital letters “SGI” over swirly lines arranged to look like a flower.

Website: (English) (Japanese) (Nichiren Shoshu)

Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan.

Meeting Places: Discussion meetings” are held monthly in members’ homes or at SGI Community Centers.

Year Began: 13th Century – the original movement under Nichiren. 1930 – the modern movement.

Founders: Nichiren Daishonin (1222-1282) was the author of The Lotus Sutra and the founder of the Japanese Nichiren school of Buddhism. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944) and Josei Toda (1900-1958) are the modern founders of the movement.

Current Leadership: Daisaku Ikeda (1928 - ) is the President of SGI.

Sacred Scriptures: The Lotus Sutra; The writings of Nichiren Daishonin.

Other Sources of Authority: The writings of Daisaku Ikeda.

Periodicals & Publications: The World Tribune weekly newspaper; Living Buddhism (formerly Seikyo Times); the SGI Quarterly journal; Seikyo Shimbun Japanese weekly newspaper.

Publishing Houses: SGI-USA; World Tribune Press; Middleway Press; Nichiren Shoshu International Center.

Radio & Television Programs: A few scattered radio programs exist in various countries, but the movement makes a few podcasts of lectures by President Ikeda available.

Schools and Other Institutions: Soka University in Hachioji, a suburb of Tokyo; Soka University of America is in Aliso Viejo, CA.

Means of attracting new members: Members are to engage in “shakubuku”, the spreading of the message of True Buddhism and the refutation of attachments to false beliefs. Prospective converts are promised great “benefits” if they perform daily daimoku (the chanting of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, meaning “I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra”) before the object of worship called the Gohonzon, a paper scroll allegedly created by the Daishonin.

Mindset towards Christianity: Only the True Buddhism as is taught by Nichiren is the way to enlightenment and world peace. In the past members would practice “hobobarai” where members would destroy religious articles of other faiths, but a newer and more liberal approach of today’s SGI is marketing itself as a far more tolerant and progressive faith.

Famous Members: Musicians - Tina Turner; Herbie Hancock; Courtney Love; Wayne Shorter. Actors – Patrick Duffy; Orlando Bloom; Kate Bosworth; John Astin; Vinessa Shaw. Democratic Congressman – Hank Johnson. MLB player – Orlando Cepeda. Victoria Secret Model – Miranda Kerr.