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Middleway Press introduces its first manga, Nichiren, which is inspired by milestone events in the life of the 13th-century Buddhist reformer, Nichiren Daishonin, interwoven with basic Buddhist principles.

The graphic novel will be available for $12.95 in select SGI-USA bookstores and at your favorite online or neighborhood bookstore on Aug. 1.

The manga is set in 13th century Japan, when disease, famine, violence and natural disasters plagued society. Samurai lords, blinded by power, shirked any responsibility to protect the citizenry. Religious leaders cared more about currying favor with the powerful than helping common people find hope and a positive way to deal with their suffering.

But one unknown Buddhist monk dared to speak the truth to those in power: Nichiren Daishonin remonstrated with the authorities. He insisted that all human life was precious and that the government needed to change its ways and become of service to the people. He criticized the established Buddhist schools as being merely pawns of the state that taught ideas that only furthered the people’s sense of powerlessness. The true purpose of Buddhism, he asserted, is to teach people a way to empower themselves, challenge their destiny and experience happiness in this life.

This story will captivate readers as it illustrates the life of one courageous human being who stopped at nothing to bring happiness to the people and peace to the land.

The book was created by Masahiko Murakami, a wellknown Japanese novelist and playwright, and Ken Tanaka, who has illustrated several Japanese manga on Buddhist history.

For more information and to preview the graphic novel, visit www.nichirencomic.org.