Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 28: The Three Founding Presidents and the Path of Mentor and Disciple [28.16]

28.16 July 3—A Solemn Day of Mentor and Disciple

In a period when Japan’s political world was experiencing deep ideological divisions, the Soka Gakkai fielded political candidates who would speak up for the people, who were long overlooked, and work to build a society of peace and human rights. This also marked the beginning of a fierce battle against the devilish nature of authority. In July 1957, the young Daisaku Ikeda was arrested and imprisoned for two weeks on false charges by the authorities. Here, President Ikeda describes how he bore the brunt of this attack in order to protect President Toda, the Soka Gakkai, and its members.

July 3 is the date when President Toda was finally released from detention in 1945. He was filled with the resolve to carry on the lofty vision of his mentor, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, who died in prison for his beliefs.

It is also the date on which I, President Toda’s direct disciple, was taken into police custody 12 years later, in 1957.

In “The Opening of the Eyes,” Nichiren Daishonin states that persecution by the ruler of the nation is certain to arise (cf. WND-1, 239). And in exact accord with this stern prediction, President Makiguchi, President Toda, and I all suffered persecution at the hands of the ruling authorities.

This is unequivocal proof that the heritage passed on by the Daishonin—the mission of establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land and realizing kosen-rufu—flows powerfully in the Soka Gakkai.


On July 3, 1957, having received a request to appear for questioning at the Osaka Prefectural Police Headquarters, I made my way there, prepared to cast myself into the turbulent currents awaiting me.

My flight from Hokkaido had a stopover at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, and my mentor, Josei Toda, was there waiting to meet me. At that time, he said: “Daisaku, should death overtake you, I will rush to your side and throw myself upon you and accompany you in death.” There were tears in his eyes. I remember his warmth as he embraced my thin frame tightly.

I was arrested by the Osaka Prefectural Police around 7:00 in the evening on July 3—inexplicably, the same time and date when my mentor had been released from prison 12 years earlier.

Unfortunately, a few Soka Gakkai members had breached campaign rules during the House of Councillors by-election held in Osaka that April, in which the Soka Gakkai fielded a candidate. The authorities concluded that this had been part of an organized illegal activity carried out at my instruction as the leader of the campaign effort. They therefore arrested me on the unfounded charge of violating the Public Offices Election Law. A short time after my arrest, they moved me to the Osaka Detention Center.

I recalled what President Toda had often said: “If you are ever put in prison [as a result of government persecution], accept that you might spend the rest of your life there and fight on till the very end!”

Without such determination, one cannot fight for one’s beliefs in prison.

I was subjected to harsh interrogations for days and nights on end. It was hot and humid in Osaka, with temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius [86 degrees Fahrenheit]. I was innocent. I had no crime to admit to. But the chief prosecutor revealed his devious intent to me. If I didn’t confess, he said, they would search the Soka Gakkai Headquarters and arrest President Toda.

My mentor was already very weak, and to be imprisoned again could very well mean his death. To protect him, therefore, I decided the best course of action would be to admit culpability at this point and then set about winning an acquittal when the case went to court.

And so it was that on July 17, two weeks after my arrest, I was released from the Osaka Detention Center.

From an essay series “Light of the Century of Humanity,” published in Japanese in the Seikyo Shimbun, July 7, 2006.

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works on key themes.