Daisaku Ikeda, the Founder of Toda Peace Institute passed away on November 15, 2023 at the age of 95. He was the long-time spiritual leader of the lay Buddhist organization, Soka Gakkai International which has 12 million members in 192 countries and territories worldwide.
President Ikeda travelled to more than 50 countries to engage in dialogue with well-known figures, including then-Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and then-Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev. These visits to Moscow and Beijing were path-breaking during the Cold War and paved the way for the normalisation of bilateral ties between China and Japan in 1972.
It was these experiences that forged his strong belief in the transformative power of deep listening and dialogue. President Ikeda founded the Toda Peace Institute in honour of his mentor, Josei Toda, who was a firm believer in the need to abolish nuclear weapons and made a historic declaration calling for its elimination in 1957 in front of 50,000 Japanese youth.
President Ikeda was also a prolific writer and published a number of books based on his dialogues with intellectuals such as British historian Arnold Toynbee, Joseph Rotblat, Elise Boulding and many others.
He will be much missed by all of us and his passing will inspire the Toda Peace Institute to redouble efforts to ensure that his legacy for peace is realised.
President Ikeda is survived by his wife, Kaneko, and sons Hiromasa and Takahiro.