President Ikeda’s Activities Abroad
According to the flow of my descriptions about what happened over the years up until 1976, I naturally may have to write about the temple issue that ensued. But if I simply get into the issue of Taiseki-ji and the Soka Gakkai only from a chronological standpoint, I may give mistaken views of the Soka Gakkai in terms of its influence over Japanese society and the world. In other words, if I jump into the issues that took place in relation to Nichiren Shoshu after 1976 onward, I may create the impression that the Soka Gakkai is just an organization vying with the religious authority of a closed society of less than one thousand priests.
In those days, the Soka Gakkai activities were spreading well beyond Japan. Based upon Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings of world kosen-rufu, the Soka Gakkai was making a steady progress toward the goal of global kosen-rufu. However, as the social weight of the Soka Gakkai became significant, a variety of evaluations of its movement — both pro and con — came about in Japan. And these evaluations of the Gakkai’s activities aboard had many kinds of impact on the priesthood of Nichiren Shoshu, with High Priest Nittatsu on top. The structure of this reciprocity continued even after Nittatsu Hosoi passed away and Nikken Abe took office.
When the Soka Gakkai was criticized in society, Nichiren Shoshu presented itself as an entity different from the Gakkai. And when the Soka Gakkai received positive evaluations from all corners of the world, Nichiren Shoshu disparaged the lay organization as swayed by the eight winds of prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering, and pleasure. There is no denying that Nichiren Shoshu’s attitude toward the Soka Gakkai subtly changed according to how the Soka Gakkai was regarded in society.
In October 1972, the Sho-Hondo was completed and its completion ceremony was conducted. On May 17 of the same year, President Ikeda visited the United States. In August 1973, he visited Hawaii.
In 1974, his activities for world kosen-rufu greatly expanded. His activities were meant not only for the expansion of the religious organization he led, but for the breakthrough of international tension that was growing, due to the confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. President Ikeda was motivated to see what he could do as a civilian for the sake of peace. From January to December, he visited Hong Kong, the United States, Panama, Peru, Mexico, again the United States, Hong Kong (for the second time), China, and the Soviet Union.
In his dialogue with Premier Kosygin in Moscow in September, President Ikeda asked, “Is there any chance that the Soviet Union will attack China?” (from SGI Graphic, October 1992 issue)
Premier Kosygin replied, “We have no intention to attack China. We have no intention to isolate China, either.”
President Ikeda then asked, “Can I convey your message to the executives of China?”
The premier responded, “Yes, you can. Please convey our message to them.”
To convey this message to China, President Ikeda visited China again in December. Taking into consideration the international conditions of those days, the message from the Soviet Union that President Ikeda carried to China as a civilian was beyond the framework of common sense. In those days, minor skirmishes were prevalent along the border of China and the Soviet Union. Some scholars predicted that a war would break out between these two giants.
(The ensuing parts in this Part 13 are omitted, as they are not directly related to Masatomo Yamazaki and the development of the temple issue. They cover such subjects as: “Investigation Bureau for Public Safety (Japanese CIA) Watches Soka Gakkai,” “U.S. Army in Japan and State Department Watches Soka Gakkai and Komei Party,” “Daizo Kumabe Takes Full Advantage of CIC’s Internal Information,” “Kim Dae-jung Abduction Incident,” “KCIA and Japanese Self-Defense Force Involved in This Incident,” “Connection between KCIA and a Japanese Detective Company,” “Scandals Published in Monthly Pen,” “Meeting with Kumabe,” “Daizo Kumabe, Leader of Mahayana Buddhist Organization,” “Daizo Kumabe Trained by Old Japanese Military Forces’ Information Organ,” and “Ramifications of Attacks on Soka Gakkai in View of Their Timing.”)
The Essence of Press’s Criticism of Soka Gakkai
Now that the Komei Party has joined the ruling coalition government and has changed its policy from advocating the abolition of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty to adopting a pragmatic approach, the Soka Gakkai has freed itself from a barrage of criticism by the Japanese press.
Certainly in the past, there was discussion at editorial meetings about whether criticism of the Soka Gakkai was justified. Every news magazine had these discussions, followed by publication of articles critical of the Gakkai. When we research the frequency of anti-Gakkai articles in the mass media on a yearly basis, we can discern a relationship between these articles and a national intention.
It is noteworthy that the deeper, more essential understanding of the Soka Gakkai has been growing on an international scale. The humanism of the Soka Gakkai has been noticed in many countries due to the steady efforts of members abroad.
Because of the positive impression of the Soka Gakkai’s movement outside Japan, the United States and those involved in matters of security may have the view that the Soka Gakkai would not harm the security of Japan and that it has a vital mission for the peace of the Far East.
Readers must understand that the anti-Gakkai campaign in the press that started in 1976 had as an undercurrent the desire to create a situation that would be viewed favorably by the U.S. Whether the Gakkai liked it or not, the Gakkai found itself in the midst of the larger forces of an “international information war.”
I was the one who reported to Yamazaki about the background of Daizo Kumabe, the former editor of Monthly Pen. Yamazaki was arrested and indicted for blackmailing the Soka Gakkai for 300 million yen and attempting to blackmail it again for 500 million yen. After his arrest, Yamazaki made an approach to Kumabe. Later, in the trial against Kumabe, lay believers of the Shoshinkai group testified at the court one after another, fabricating a scandalous story about the affairs of Honorary President Ikeda. However, the Tokyo High Court judged them all as untruthful.
However, because the court was the arena where strange testimonies were shared (true or untrue), the court actually aided the press in distributing scandalous propaganda.
There is a saying that, “Warriors destroy their own castle from within.” Yamazaki received from me detailed reports of Kumabe’s background, the direction of the Japanese religious world, behind-the-scenes manipulation by the press, and journalists’ connections with other religious sects. Yamazaki attempted to manipulate all sorts of anti-Gakkai individuals to attack the Soka Gakkai, by using his connections to create an anti-Gakkai network.
However, Yamazaki was no more than a bubble on the surface of the water, as he attempted to swim through the ocean of Japanese society using the energy of the anti-Gakkai movement in Japan. Certainly, Yamazaki initiated an anti-Gakkai campaign by the press that started in 1977, but he did not create this groundswell on his own. Yamazaki was being used by the international secret intelligence agencies or domestic anti-Gakkai forces that had their own agendas.
After he was arrested in 1981, Yamazaki remarked, “I was betrayed by the Liberal Democratic Party.” Kumabe was like trash pushed up onto the surface of water by the power of the ocean current, while Yamazaki was a bubble attached to trash.