Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Hitch ()
Date: October 29, 2012 10:01AM

Cult U. (aka: $oka "University") Employee Review:

“High faculty turnover due to a subculture of a Soka Gakkai religious elite; a sectarian college” - Former Employee in Aliso Viejo, CA – Reviewed Jun 18, 2012

Pros – Students are quite focused on learning and not distracted by either intercollegiate sports or binge drinking. Facilities are quite new. Soka Bistro's food is excellent.

Cons – Non-Soka Gakkai (SGI) believers are shut out of believers' meetings where the most important decisions are made behind closed doors; it's sort of like a small theocracy or communist party ruled regime. University President more likely to eulogize SGI Great Leader Ikeda than to discuss issues of academic significance. Curriculum is very rigid with fewer electives for students to choose from. Students are required to live in on-campus dorms all 4 years: infantilization. A large proportion of students come from feeder SGI high schools, many in Japan; certain ideas such as doubts about the SGI doctrine are verboten.

Advice to Senior Management – Decide whether Soka University is in large part a religious monument to Founder Ikeda of Soka Gakkai International or whether it is a bona fide university that upholds free inquiry and true faculty governance. If SUA is indeed a monument to Mr. Ikeda, then do not claim that it is a non-sectarian university. If it is not, then outlaw on-campus meetings in which only SGI members are welcome to attend.

Link: []

4 reviews (3 "positive", worthwhile checking out / 1 "negative", copied in full above). Review above is right on the money (pun intended). They also got Daniel Habuki (Cult U. Pres.) summed up perfectly. []

Who in their right mind would go to Cult U.? Answer: Nobody, only the brainwashed.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Hitch ()
Date: October 29, 2012 01:02PM

Levi McLaughlin's take on the $oka Gakkai (Cult) have been mentioned and discussed here before. Here [] is a review of his dissertation published this month. (In full, below.)


Soka Gakkai in Japan.

A review of Soka Gakkai in Japan, by Levi McLaughlin.

Levi McLaughlin studies the immensely influential and controversial lay Nichiren Buddhism-based organization Soka Gakkai (Value Creation Study Association). His dissertation moves beyond recent studies of the group, which are almost all divided between vigorous attacks by critics and hagiographies sponsored by the organization itself, to observe that “the final picture is not one of a hegemonic, undifferentiated mass created by Soka Gakkai leaders’ fiat but of a socially variegated and multivocal society animated by members’ histories, passions, and personal engagements with the group’s ideas and practices” (pg. 12). McLaughlin brings together archival research on Gakkai primary sources and data from close to seven years he spent as a non-member participant observer of Soka Gakkai activities to investigate what he terms the group’s “twin legacies”: self-cultivation through Nichiren Shoshu; Buddhism conflated with pedagogy, philosophy, and aesthetics introduced to Japan from Europe and the United States in the modern era. McLaughlin’s most provocative suggestion may be that Soka Gakkai builds on these legacies to construct what he calls an “adjunct nation,” which is to say that the organization functions as a kind of surrogate for, or supplement to, the modern Japanese nation-state. It has played this role for relatively disenfranchised people in a postwar Japan.

Chapter 1 details Soka Gakkai’s history, covering the development from its founding as a small educational reform society into a religious mass movement. It begins by discussing founder Makiguchi Tsunesaburo; and his background as an educator. In 1930, Makiguchi published Soka kyoikugaku taikei (System of Value-Creating Educational Study), which McLaughlin calls “a liberal humanist work of philosophy” (p. 46), expressing a self-improvement ethos characterizing the Meiji Period. In 1928 Makiguchi had also converted to Nichiren Buddhism, which values all-encompassing faith in the Lotus Sutra. McLaughlin notes the incongruity in the combination of Nichiren Buddhism with Makiguchi’s “liberal humanist” perspectives, and he traces ways these are addressed through initiatives by Toda Josei, the Gakkai’s leader after Makiguchi died in prison during the Second World War. Makiguchi was imprisoned because of his opposition to the wartime state; imprisoned at the same time, Toda identified his own tribulations with those of Nichiren who opposed the thirteenth-century Kamakura state. The remainder of the chapter deals with Soka Gakkai’s history under Toda’s successor and current Honorary President Ikeda Daisaku. It details the transformation of Soka Gakkai under Ikeda from an explicitly Buddhist lay association into a more broadly defined organization wherein adherents promote the institution’s ideals through electoral politics, art, literature, and other avenues broadly defined as “culture.” While this expanded mandate encouraged institutional growth, it also led to a split in 1991 between Soka Gakkai and its parent Buddhist sect Nichiren Shoshu, along with other conflicts.

Chapter 2, “Soka Gakkai’s Dramatic Narrative,” focuses on Ikeda’s dramatic persona. Ikeda and the Gakkai increasingly linked Nichiren’s ideal martyrdom and a drive to proselytize associated with Nichiren Buddhism on the one hand, with Western romanticism in literature, music, and art on the other. The organization’s most important text became Ikeda’s autobiographical serialized novel, The Human Revolution. This multi-volume work, a vast media empire publishing it and much else, along with infrastructure including youth organizations, women’s organizations, and a Music Corps, perpetuate and spread Soka Gakkai. Ikeda’s novel conflates him with Makiguchi, Toda, Nichiren, and canonical literary greats, including the Count of Monte Cristo, glorifying the author’s struggles against established authority. The chapter traces how members’ interactions with this Gakkai’s media empire provide them with lessons in discipleship and establish a model for future Gakkai goals.

Chapter 3 discusses Soka Gakkai women. McLaughlin provides contrasting ethnographic case studies of Soka Gakkai homes to demonstrate ways in which Soka Gakkai practice structures and gives meaning to the lives of female adherents, and how the institution encourages women members to transform their domestic spaces into Soka Gakkai venues. McLaughlin begins with a portrait of a middle class family woman who resides in greater Tokyo. He then describes an elderly, childless woman from a suburb of Nagoya whom McLaughlin accompanies on a visit to the group’s headquarters in Tokyo – a visit that she, and many other Married Women’s Division members like her, treat as a pilgrimage to a holy site. The next vignette involves a northern Kyushu devotee whose son resents the sacrifices his mother made for her absolute devotion to the organization. The son rejects the Buddhist faith in which he was raised and yet maintains close ties with his mother, who maintains her absolute faith in the Gakkai’s goodness. McLaughlin ends the chapter with the stories of two abused women, considering the question of what happens to the ideal Gakkai household when it falls apart.

The centerpieces of Chapter 4, “Cultivating Youth,” are taken from McLaughlin’s fieldwork experiences. In 2007 he took the nin’yo shiken (appointment exam), an entry-level doctrinal test for those who wish to achieve successive ranks in the group. McLaughlin details the expansion and the compromises of Soka Gakkai’s internal examination system from the times of Toda to the current century, and how the emphasis of cultivation within the group has transformed from lay Buddhist training to heightened devotion to Ikeda Daisaku and the discipline one must have in order to demonstrate this devotion. McLaughlin also participated for several years as a violinist in a symphony orchestra organized within the Gakkai’s Young Men’s Division. Here, he considers how the music of Ludwig van Beethoven is transformed into a mode of Buddhist self-cultivation, and he details some of the personal and institutional struggles this distinctive practice creates.

The Conclusion, titled “Paradoxes of Success,” discusses how Soka Gakkai owes its success as a mass movement to the ideals of a group-oriented, expansionist, aspirational ethos, and considers the dilemmas the organization faces as it tries to instill this same ethos in its second- and third-generation membership that is “increasingly socially diverse, largely unmotivated by the material wants and spiritual anomie that attracted the first generation of members, and otherwise driven by individual aspirations not necessarily accommodated by the mass movement focus of the centralized organization” (pg. 34).

Scholars such as Robert Kisala, Helen Hardacre, and Shimazono Susumu have written on “New Religions” in prewar and postwar Japan, of which Soka Gakkai is an example. McLaughlin’s dissertation builds upon all of this, as well as upon Jacqueline Stone’s research on the long-term history of Nichiren Buddhism and related forms. McLaughlin’s work, moreover, provides novel focus on Soka Gakkai in recent times, combining knowledge of history with ethnography. Nonetheless, his work is about more than “religion.” He compares the Gakkai to a nation-state, which is the fundamental organizing principle of modern societies, and there are many similarities. Readers who want a view into the complexities of this society as it takes shape within Soka Gakkai, and those who have been looking for a treatment of Japan’s largest-ever religious organization that goes beyond a top-down perspective, will have something to learn from McLaughlin’s empathetic yet analytical perspective on the Gakkai and its adherents.

Gerald Iguchi
Assistant Professor
Department of History
University of Wisconsin – La Crosse

Primary Sources

Periodicals (in print and online), in particular the wide variety of those produced by Soka Gakkai
The (published) collected works of the three leaders of Soka Gakkai (Ikeda Daisaku, Makiguchi Tsunesaburo, and Toda Josei), along with various individual works by each of them published in both English and Japanese
The Soka Gakkai edition of Nichiren’s writings, Shinpen Nichiren Daishonin gosho zenshu
Main source: ethnographic, firsthand research

Dissertation Information

Princeton University. 2009. 445 pp. Primary Advisor: Jacqueline Stone.


Ikeda glorification, the WD as a driver, the "YOUTH!" cultivation for future growth, all the critical points seem to have been hit. IMO, however, The $oka Gakkai is a Cult "Nation State" and a pseudo-buddhist cult "organization."

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Hitch ()
Date: November 01, 2012 05:59AM

Continuing on the topic of a Mini Cult Nation State:

The Cult Master's Wife gets an Official new hybrid orchid named after her, the "Dendrobium kaneko" []. A gift from $oka Singapore cult members and now part of an Official cult (warning: very pedestrian and lame tune / lyrics) song []. Official registry, [].

There appears to be no end to this cult machine (the tri-color logo is infamous and instantly recognizable in the motherland, all over Cult Town Shinanomachi, as well as all Gakkai cult events / buildings / paraphernalia). An insular, "special", cult community and cult world.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Hitch ()
Date: November 03, 2012 05:59AM

Came across this [], from another thread. Just wanted to put this out there and mention how my time growing up in the $oka Gakkai cult (Japan and U.S.A. branches), meets every single criteria listed:

"The similarities between cultic devotion and the traumatic bonding that occurs between battered individuals and their abusers are striking. An abused partner is generally made to submit to the following types of behaviors:"

early verbal and/or physical dominance, - Very common, especially in the "YOUTH!" division of the cult.

isolation/imprisonment - Isolation in the form of being ostracized by the group and your fellow members / peers was common, if you were "negative" (i.e., not following the prescribed program, belief system and rituals).

fear arousal and maintenance - *Appeals to adverse consequences was a common tactic for manipulation and control, if you persisted in going against the grain.

guilt induction - Another common manipulation tactic, usually employed together with the *above, for the same effects / goals.

contingent expressions of "love" - The more you did for the cult org., unquestionably and devotedly, the more you were "accepted" and embraced by the hardcore circles.

enforced loyalty to the aggressor and self-denunciation - Blind devotion to the cult master (Dear Leader Ikeda), who can make no mistake, is a perennial obsession with the $oka cult org..

promotion of powerlessness and helplessness - The cult org. is the only way to change your (fake) karma. A manufactured, psychological dependency.

pathological expressions of jealousy - Encountered it often, in terms of material success inside (climbing the hierarchical cult ladder) and outside (personal life or job) of the cult org., and outright hostility to independent critical thinking challenging the cult org. / The Dear Leader / etc..

hope-instilling behaviors - Cousin Rufus, world-peace, the magic paper / chanting treasure box to fulfill all of your metaphysical and material desires. Your support of the cult org., The Dear Leader and the gakkai's goals are all directly proportional to how much (perceived) benefit you will receive in return (when it doesn't materialize, the victim blaming and more manipulation begins).

required secrecy (13) - All the time. There was always "knowledge" that leaders and hardcore circles could not share with ordinary members, in many cases, even outright intentional concealment was the stated goal.


$oka gakkai (international included) = an abusive cultic relationship with its "members."

- Hitch

Options: ReplyQuote
Soka Gakkai in Japan, by Levi McLaughlin.
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: November 03, 2012 11:15AM

Soka Gakkai in Japan, by Levi McLaughlin.

Does this dissertation get into the....SGI MONEY?
Like...the SGI BILLIONS in investments, real estate, and their entire global financial empire?
Which are all controlled by the Ikeda family?

If not, why not?
Naive? blind to reality?
With SGI you gotta follow the money, start with the money, and end with the money.

Its like the Wizard of Oz...ignore the man behind the curtain, look at the magic tricks.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai - Give SGI $10,000 a year and you will be rich!!
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: November 03, 2012 11:28AM

Give SGI $10,000 a year and you will be rich!!

You see, this is how it works. You work hard at your job, and then you take your 10K and give it to Ikeda, so Ikeda can dump another 10K into his pile of billions of dollars. You can never have enough billions of dollars, Ikeda knows that.

By giving Ikeda 10K a year, you have 10K less, so you are richer!

Don't invest that 10K yourself, or put into a house payment, or donate it to charity.
Ikeda needs your 10K a year, as he needs more money.
Even though Ikeda would make probably 10K a hour in interest on his investments 24/7, he still wants YOUR money too.

This is the old Karma "tithing" bullshit tactic done by many.
Its pretty funny actually.
The gag is...give Org ________ blank 10K a year, and the "Universe" will give you more back!

Its the same mentality as converting others to SGI to make your OWN fake karma better.

So this post is sarcastic of course, never give SGI 10K a year, or even 1 dollar.
SGI does not deserve a single dollar, as SGI are a HORRIBLE "charity" as all the financials are secret and kept under Ikeda's bed. You don't give one dollar to corrupt fake charity's who conceal their financials.

Donate to an open charity, that has open books, and is well rated by charity agencies.
Or why not do 10K of direct work to help people directly?

Never give one dollar to greedy money-addicts like Ikeda and SGI.
Not one dollar for SGI.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai in Japan, by Levi McLaughlin.
Posted by: Hitch ()
Date: November 03, 2012 01:32PM

The Anticult
Soka Gakkai in Japan, by Levi McLaughlin.

Does this dissertation get into the....SGI MONEY?
Like...the SGI BILLIONS in investments, real estate, and their entire global financial empire?
Which are all controlled by the Ikeda family?

If not, why not?
Naive? blind to reality?
With SGI you gotta follow the money, start with the money, and end with the money.

Its like the Wizard of Oz...ignore the man behind the curtain, look at the magic tricks.

Agreed, on all counts.

It isn't given any mention here [].

He did his dissertation on a cult and wants to see it as a "religion." The above article is just more making of excuses for the cult org. as being "unfairly" perceived as less than a legitimate religion or stigmatized as a "new religion."

I also disagree with him on the central tenet of the above article. The apotheosizing of Ikeda was always there, in place, well before the 1995 Aum incident; in fact, it was only let out of the box and fully unleashed, when the gakkai cult org. self-destructed during the priesthood ex-communication at the advent of the 90's. I don't see the Aum incident to be of the inflated significance that McLaughlin attempts to mold it into. IMO, McLaughlin was "played" by the cult org.. Hence, some of his ametropic views.

- Hitch

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai in Japan, by Levi McLaughlin.
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: November 03, 2012 08:40PM

Yes, it could be a type of cultish apologetics, where they try to reframe the cultish group simply as a "religion".
Or the article writer could just be incredibly naive or blind to the facts of reality?

SGI is mainly a gigantic global financial corporation controlled by the Ikeda family, who are multibillionaires.

SGI does not want you to think about that though.
SGI does not want their followers to think about any of the facts of SGI.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 03, 2012 09:30PM

Regarding Soka University

Question One: How much does tuition cost?

Question Two: Do people (or their families) take out loans to pay for tuition at SG university?

Question Two is the important one.

After all, the person who takes out the loan is the person ends up paying that loan--with interest.

Meanwhile, whatever school the person goes to gets bankable income because students pay tuition. Doesnt matter if tuition is out a student's own savings, or from a loan that the student has to pay later on.

If Soka University doesnt immediately lead to a job where graduates can earn sufficient income to pay off their student loans, and quickly, those loans sit around, accumulating interest after the grace period.

And if graduates are already SG devotees, they may be stuck not only paying off those loans, but also paying the additional costs levied on devotees.

Here is a case study of what happens if a school floats on student loans and doesnt immediately lead to good jobs upon graduation.



Parent Loan Trap - Students - The Chronicle of Higher EducationOct 4, 2012 ... The federal PLUS loan program has become indispensable for parents
desperate to support their kids' college dreams. ... Much attention has been
focused on students burdened with loans through their lives ..... popular locations
of New York City, Boston, and Southern California ... French Culinary Institute ... - 65k - Cached - Similar pages

Nick Keith's Student Loan Horror Story - Business InsiderMar 12, 2012 ... Keith's father only agreed to co-sign a student loan if he stuck with an ... In
September, the California Culinary Academy agreed to pay $40 ... - 151k - Cached - Similar pages

here - Louisiana Culinary InstituteLouisiana Culinary Institute and Burden. ... at Burden 4560 Essen Lane, Baton
Rouge, LA 70809. Students from LCI will be preparing a 5 course menu featuring ...
[] - - Cached - Similar pages

Louisiana (LA) | Culinary School Scholarships Louisiana LA ...Financial Aid and Scholarhips | Chef 2 Chef culinary-institute/scholarship-grant/
Culinary Loans, Grants and Scholarships Help You Pay for Culinary School! 1/ - Similar pages

Young Man's Life Is Completely Ruined By Student Loans | Elite DailyAnd, without any escape clause, these loans can consume students' lives. ... He
attended California Culinary Academy against his father's wishes, and his father
refused to co-sign on a student ... And now Keith must face even bigger burdens. - 114k - Cached - Similar pages

Learning the Hard Way - California LawyerIn that case, the California Culinary Academy (CCA), a for-profit, educational
institution ... on a student loan, alleges violations of California's consumer-
protection laws, ... The combination of heavy debt burden and high default rates
have some ...
[] - 58k - Cached - Similar pages

California School of Culinary Arts - Pasadena - Pasadena, CA21 Reviews of California School of Culinary Arts "I graduated from this ... the truth,
burdening them with great debt, dismissing them after acquiring their money, ... is
the C.I.A.( Culinary Institute of America) now this is the "Crown Royal" of all .... I
took a student loan out for $40k to go here and when you graduate you can get a ... - 169k - Cached - Similar pages

Culinary school versus on-the-job chef training - Los Angeles TimesJul 28, 2011 ... Some up-and-coming chefs are skipping culinary school ... It's such a huge
financial burden now. ... (That's about one-third the cost of tuition for the culinary
arts program at the for-profit Art Institute of California in Santa Monica.) ...
According to the C.I.A., the student loan default rate among its graduates since ... - 87k - Cached - Similar pages

The tragic story of a young man crushed by student loan debt. Of - FarkMay 31, 2012 ... More: Dumbass, California Culinary Academy, interest rates, Sallie Mae, culinary
school, engineering degree, loan debt, student loans, room ... -debt-Of-course-perhaps-he-shouldnt-have-taken-out-$60K-at-a-19... - 145k - Cached - Similar pages

NEWS YOU CAN USE BLOG - Portland Oregon Class Action LawyerCareer Education Corporation agrees to settle California Culinary lawsuit ... all
students who enrolled in the California Culinary Academy and/or graduated from ... - 39k - Cached - Similar pages

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Nichijew ()
Date: November 04, 2012 12:46AM

SUA is Ikeda's "jewel in the West" and SGI thought control central, so no expenses were and are spared by the Japanese organization. The endowments for SUA are huge, with many wealthy and not so wealthy SGI members donating their hard earned dollars to SUA. For a school with less than two thousand students, it equals proportionally the endowments to Columbia, Brown, Princeton etc. Still, with so few students, it is probably losing money. Scholarship, grant, and work study programs are available to most students since raising brainwashed Ikedabot fund raisers like Nathan Gaeur [SGI-USA Youth Division Leader] and David Witkowski [SGI-USA Young Men's Division Leader] is Ikeda-SGI's main priority.


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/2012 01:00AM by Nichijew.

Options: ReplyQuote

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.