Daisaku Ikeda is a peacebuilder, Buddhist philosopher, educator, author and poet. He was president of the Soka Gakkai lay Buddhist organization in Japan from 1960–79 and is the founding president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), one of the world’s largest and most diverse community-based Buddhist associations, promoting a philosophy of empowerment and social engagement for peace. He is also the founder of the Soka Schools system and several international institutions promoting peace, culture and education.
Ikeda was born in Tokyo, Japan, on January 2, 1928, the fifth of eight children, to a family of seaweed farmers. Growing up during World War II, he endured firsthand the suffering and devastation of war, including the death of his eldest brother who was killed in action in Burma (present-day Myanmar). This experience as a teenager gave birth to a lifelong passion to work for peace and root out the fundamental causes of human conflict.
Ikeda has also founded a number of independent, nonprofit research institutes that promote peace through cross-cultural, interdisciplinary collaboration: the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century (renamed Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue in 2009), the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research (renamed Toda Peace Institute in 2017) and the Institute of Oriental Philosophy. The Min-On Concert Association and the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum promote mutual understanding and friendship between different cultures through the arts.
This conviction is expressed most succinctly in the preface of The Human Revolution, Ikeda’s novelization of the Soka Gakkai’s history and ideals: “A great inner revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.”
Ikeda is a prolific writer who has published more than 250 translated works, ranging from commentaries on Buddhism to biographical essays, poetry and children’s stories.
He has two sons, Hiromasa and Takahiro, and lives with his wife, Kaneko, in Tokyo.
[The texts in the Profile section were developed by Anthony George, editor for the SGI Quarterly].