The excerpts below come from Volume XI in Book 2 of the current edition of The Human Revolution. This chapter contains the story of the Osaka Incident and the subsequent arrest on false charges of young Daisaku Ikeda, portrayed in the novel as Shin’ichi Yamamoto. Suggested discussion questions follow. Please also see the “highlights” reading, also available on the SGI-USA website, with longer excerpts from Volume XI. We encourage all Men’s Division members to own and read the complete work, available through your SGI-USA bookstore.
Osaka pp. 1618-1619
In the 1957 election in Kansai, a few members, acting on their own and against the direction of Shin’ichi and Toda, engaged in illegal election tactics. The state authorities, threatened by the Gakkai’s success in the elections from the previous year, determined to launch an attack against the organization as a whole and attempted to prosecute the top leaders. They ordered Shin’ichi to Osaka at the beginning of July and charged him with responsibility for the illegal activities, and later threatened to investigate Toda as well. In this scene, Toda meets Shin’ichi at the Tokyo airport as Shin’ichi changes planes on his way to face charges in Osaka.
There was both affection and sadness in Toda’s expression. Shin’ichi looked down, as if to avert Toda’s stare. At that moment, Toda cleared his throat and spoke in a powerful voice, “Shin! You must go and fight!”
Toda continued to speak, looking directly into Shin’ichi’s eyes.
“The struggle we’ve chosen—to engage in widespread propagation— forces us to grapple with the realities of society. The deeper we sink roots into society, the greater the number of obstacles we’ll encounter, and they’ll all vie with one another to obstruct our progress. These obstacles clearly prove the validity of Buddhism. There’s no way to avoid them. But whatever these obstacles are, we have no choice but to fight. Though a serious difficulty is waiting for you now, Shin, you must go and face it!”
“Yes, I will go.” Despite his spirited reply, Shin’ichi was pained to see with his own eyes how gaunt Toda had become in just five days. His heart ached when he thought how concerned his mentor must have been. He could not help worrying about Toda’s health.
“Sensei, how are you feeling?”
“Ah, that…,” Toda said, avoiding the question. He looked squarely at Shin’ichi, placing his hand on the young man’s shoulder.
“Shin’ichi, your health is what concerns me…You must not die. Please do not die!” Toda’s grip was powerful, and he drew Shin’ichi closer as if to embrace him. His tone was somber.
“Shin’ichi, if, just if, you should find yourself facing death, I would come to you instantly and throw myself upon you to shield you from harm as we die together.”
Something like an electric shock coursed through Shin’ichi’s body. He tried to respond, but the words were not there. His heart filled with a thousand emotions that almost gushed forth as tears from his eyes, but he remained steadfast.
He faced Toda with resolve, telling himself: “I will never be defeated, and however great the obstacles I must face, I will fight as a disciple of President Toda. I’ll use all of my strength and abilities, for his sake and for the sake of my comrades in faith. This is the path that I must pursue.”
Trial pp. 1682-1683
Shin’ichi was arrested on July 3rd, the same date his mentor had been released from prison in 1945, and was
released two weeks later. In March 1958, in the midst of the preparations for the historic March 16th events,
he had to leave Toda to face the beginning of his trial, which would eventually last four years and result in his being cleared of all charges, exactly as Toda predicted. In this scene, with both men suffering from poor health, Toda once again exerts himself to encourage his disciple.
Shin’ichi was loath to leave Toda’s side for even a moment during this time. It pained him even to have to tell Toda about the trial, and the thought of leaving the head temple to go to court caused him great anguish.
Meanwhile, Shin’ichi’s own health had grown steadily worse ever since his arrest; every day he was plagued by a constant fever.
On March 5, Shin’ichi went to the second floor of the Rikyo-bo lodging to report to Toda that he would be going to Osaka for the trial. “Oh, I see,” Toda said, raising himself up from his futon.
“I’m very sorry to have to be away in the middle of this crucial campaign,” Shin’ichi said.
Toda, looking intently at Shin’ichi’s face, reached out and grasped Shin’ichi’s arm.
“Shin’ichi, you’re worn out, aren’t you? How is your health?”
Toda’s own face was drawn with exhaustion. Yet here he was asking Shin’ichi about his health. Shin’ichi felt a lump in his throat.
“I’m all right, Sensei,” Shin’ichi replied. “I just worry that you may be overtaxing yourself…”
“You have a long struggle ahead of you,” said Toda, as if murmuring to himself. “I would like to take your place if I could. Shin’ichi…,” he broke off. “You tried to take all the blame upon yourself. You are truly a goodhearted person. But then,” continued Toda, smiling contentedly, “that is the very reason why the Soka Gakkai has nothing to worry about.”
He then addressed Shin’ichi in a resolute tone: “This trial will not be an easy battle. It may trouble you for some time to come. But you will win in the end. For gold is gold; it never loses its luster no matter how it may be muddied. The truth will definitely come out. Just fight with dignity and courage.”
Toda’s words pierced Shin’ichi’s heart, and he felt himself fill with boundless courage.
Suggested Discussion Questions:
Toda explains to Shin’ichi that obstacles clearly prove the validity of the Daishonin’s Buddhism and his young disciple has no choice but to face them and fight. But it was Toda’s boundless compassion for Shin’ichi that ignites courage in his young disciple. How has the compassion of others helped you gain the determination to win over your obstacles? How would you encourage other members facing their own obstacles?
While we may not be experience direct persecution as Buddhists, how can we develop the same spirit to stand up to obstacles that Toda and Shin’ichi displayed?
Toda encourages his disciple in the midst of cruel persecution to “fight with dignity and courage” and that “the truth will definitely come out.” Have you ever faced a powerful obstacle or persecution and overcome it through faith in this way?