Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 31: The Great Path to World Peace [31.13]

31.13 The Power of Art to Bring People Together

The Soka Gakkai, in accord with President Ikeda’s guidance, has consistently affirmed the value of culture and worked to unite people through it. In this selection, President Ikeda describes the importance of cultural exchange.

“Art is a song of the joy of living.
Art is a force for bringing people together.
Art is a dance of life’s victory, crossing stormy seas to reach the shores of peace.”

The power of culture can be hard to discern, but it is a force that illuminates the innermost depths of people’s hearts, draws forth their wisdom and ingenuity, and shapes the deep underlying currents that will steadily but surely move human history in the direction of peace and prosperity for all.

Revitalizing the value of culture and widely promoting cultural exchange on the grassroots level is the direct path to strengthening the momentum leading to world peace. It was with that conviction that I founded the Min-On Concert Association in 1963, when there seemed to be no way out of the Cold War conflict, and later other institutions, including the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum.1

To whom does culture belong? For whom does it exist? It is for the people, for all people. No matter how splendid works of art or culture may appear, if they disregard this essential point, they will not endure, like castles built on sand.

Similarly, friendship between nations ultimately begins with the people of those nations getting to know one another well. In every country and social system, society is formed of and supported by the people. When the people of different nations develop mutual understanding through cultural exchange, they will be able to cultivate the ground for lasting peace.

From an article contributed to The Okinawa Times, published in Japanese, December 2, 2003.

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

  • *1President Ikeda founded the Fuji Art Museum in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1973 and the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum in Hachioji in 1983. In 2008, the Shizuoka museum closed and merged with the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum.