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The Origins of Soka Education

The Origins of Soka Education

The origins of Soka education lie in the educational philosophy of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944) and Josei Toda (1900-58), who, in 1930, published Makiguchi’s work, The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy. “Soka” means “value creation.”

Tsunesaburo Makiguchi

Tsunesaburo Makiguchi exerted himself for many years in studying and implementing pragmatic methods of education. His books, The Geography of Human Life, which delves into the principles of the natural world and human life, and The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy, which focuses on humanistic education, were written based on voluminous records of his own teaching experience. He was also the first president of the Soka Gakkai lay Buddhist association.

Throughout his life Makiguchi continued to pursue the question: “What can be done to achieve human happiness?” Bravely upholding his convictions, he stood up against the militarist government of the day, and died in prison in 1944.

Josei Toda

Josei Toda implemented the Soka education advocated by Makiguchi in the Jishu Gakkan, a school he opened in Meguro, Tokyo. Through his passionate teaching style, he fostered countless competent graduates. Moreover, he compiled his math study materials and texts and published the book A Deductive Guide to Arithmetic, which became a best seller, selling over one million copies. Imprisoned together with Makiguchi by Japan’s militaristic government during World War II, Toda was released in 1945 and, continuing the will of Makiguchi, rebuilt the Soka Gakkai and expanded it as a grassroots movement for peace and human happiness.

On the Opening of Tokyo Soka Junior and Senior High School

Toward the Mainstream of Future Society

Daisaku Ikeda, Founder of the Soka Schools
April 4, 1968

The Tokyo Soka Junior and Senior High School finally held their long-awaited Commencement Ceremony on March 16 and will be holding their Entrance Ceremony on April 8. We cannot possibly imagine how happy our first President Makiguchi and second President Toda must be.

Whether the subject is civilization, politics, economics, science, industry or arts, the underlying theme is humanity, for it is human beings who drive all branches of learning, generate them and put them into practice. Furthermore, it is education that touches each individual and determines how the world will evolve in the next generation. For this reason, education is a task of the utmost significance.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle stated: “The fate of empires depends on the education of youth.”Today, the importance of education is not simply a national issue. I would like to emphasize that the fate of the world, humanity and our entire civilization depends on the education of our young people.A civilization that disregards the need to develop human wisdom will surely decay and deteriorate with the passage of time.

Education relates to the unique character of each individual student. And the inner state of life of each individual student subtly changes at every moment. For this reason, education can be considered the most difficult of all ventures, and those engaged in and dedicated to this task the most noble of all people.