SGI News: Global activities for peace, education and culture

Okinawa Youth Peace Summit

At the peace summit [© SGI-OPI]

On July 20 and 21, Soka Gakkai youth from Okinawa, Hiroshima and Nagasaki prefectures attended a peace summit at the Soka Gakkai Okinawa International Peace Center in Naha, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa (June 23, 1945).

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, who proposed the creation of the youth peace summit in April 1989, sent a message in which he emphasized that the determination to never wage war again is fundamental to securing a century of peace and humanity. He also proposed that the youth peace summit be renamed the "Antiwar Youth Summit."

Over the years, Soka Gakkai youth in Okinawa have been involved in conducting surveys of people's attitudes toward the Battle of Okinawa, as well as sponsoring peace forums. This year, some 34,000 people were polled. Questions ranged from basic facts about the Battle of Okinawa to questions about whether or not people had opportunities to discuss the war in their daily lives.

Viewing the Battle of Okinawa exhibition [© SGI-OPI]

The summit also included an exhibition of artwork depicting the Battle of Okinawa. An 88-year-old woman who drew one of the paintings shared how she had cried as she painted her memory of the war and how it had required great courage. One elementary school student who viewed the artwork shared his determination to talk to as many friends as possible about the horror of war. Another student shared her wish to carry on the "spirit of peace" which the artists had imparted through their paintings.

Soka Gakkai Okinawa youth also started a campaign this year called "Peace Action--It Starts from One," encouraging youth to learn from the war experiences of others and share what they have learned, working to bring together those who wish for peace.