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RELIGION LIBRARY

Soka Gakkai

Sōka-Gakkai, literally the "Society for Creating Values," is a lay religious movement derived from Nichiren Shoshu, a Japanese Buddhist denomination that dates back to the thirteenth century. Sōka-Gakkai was founded in 1937 as a religious movement under the leadership of Makiguchi Tsenusaburo and Toda Josei; the movement saw a dramatic increase in membership in the 1950s due to an aggressive proselytization strategy called shakubuku ("break and subdue") and the distribution of its journal, Kachi Sozo ("The Creation of Value"). Like many Nichiren Buddhist sects, initially Sōka Gakkai had a strong exclusivist ideology, but since the 1970s has become considerably more liberal. The primary sacred text for the Sōka-Gakkai is the Lotus Sutra. Sōka-Gakkai teaches that happiness is the primary goal of life, attained primarily through the values of goodness, beauty, and prosperity. This happiness may even include material success and all of the benefits that accompany it. Sōka-Gakkai has continued to grow, extending beyond Japan into other parts of the world, including France and the United States. Sōka-Gakkai claims a membership of six million members. The movement has also experienced significant political influence (and considerable persecution), especially through educational activities and the distribution of its journal. In 1964 Sōka Gakkai established its own political party called Kōmeitō ("Clean Government" Party); since the 1980s, the Kōmeitō has become the third largest political party in Japan.

Quick Facts

Formed 1930
Adherents 12,000,000
Deity None (N/A)
Sacred Text Lotus Sutra
Origin Japan
Headquarters Tokyo, Japan
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