Episode 357 – A Nation in a Nation, Part 1

This week, we’re starting a multi-episode series on one of Japan’s most famous organizations: the study society-turned-religion-turned-political-party known as the Value Creation Society, or Soka Gakkai.


Victoria, Brian Daizen. “Engaged Buddhism: A Skeleton in the Closet?” Journal of Global Buddhism, vol 2 (2001).

McLaughlin, Levi. Soka Gakkai’s Human Revolution: The Rise of a Mimetic Nation in Modern Japan.

Dator, James Allen. “The Soka Gakkai: A Socio-Political Interpretation.” Contemporary Religions in Japan 6, No 3 (Sept, 1965).


Makiguchi Tsunesaburo in his prime.
The main hall of Taisekiji, the chief temple of Nichiren-shoshu (the branch of Nichiren Soka Gakkai grew out of).
Makiguchi Tsunesaburo (center) with Soka Kyouiku Gakkai members in Fukuoka, Kyushu, in 1941. Though concentrated in Tokyo, the group did have members in other parts of the country. Image courtesy of SGI international.
Toda Josei, Makiguchi’s chief disciple. We’ll see more of him next week.
A statue of Nichiren in Kyoto’s Honnoji (same temple Oda Nobunaga burned to death in). Nichiren Buddhism is a diverse school of thought with several different branches.

2 thoughts on “Episode 357 – A Nation in a Nation, Part 1”

  1. What was that explanatory book on Buddhism you recommended? You said it was very well written.

    Thanks for this podcast. I am a listener from the beginning and a patreon supporter. Hiked over much of Japan’s ancient roads and intend too go back.

  2. After hearing about the description of Soka Gakkai as a nation within a nation and all the things they offer, I can see how they would be so appealing. An orchestra, a school, clubs, plus basing off an established religion and theology.
    Speaking of which, because of its connection to Nichiren Buddhism, why is it considered a new religious movement in the vein of Oomoto? You even said that it’s one of the four sects of Nichiren. Or did I misunderstand?

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