From what I can recall the UK became more Ikeda-orientated after the late 90s. Before this time there was a Reassessment group formed of members and some leaders who wanted to look at the way SGI-UK was organised, with a view to making it more democratic.
A report about this can be found at
although it is difficult to determine if it is the original source. However, it is the only one I can find.
This Reassessment group proposals were circulated to members in the SGI bulletin, as it had the approval of the UK leaders at that time.
However, the ideas that the group came up with were never to be and it seems as if there was a power struggle with the more traditional members.
As the report says‘According to the facilitators, there was a group of "fundamentalists" (mostly
English, some with Japanese spouses) who banded together to, in their view,
save the organisation from the Focus Group's work.'
At this point the report states that the SGI leadership from Japan came over‘On August 1 a meeting was held for headquarters level leaders and above from
throughout the SGI-UK. …………………During the meeting there was no mention of the practice of the
Daishonin's Buddhism. The overall theme was "back to basics; you naughty
children you have gone off the rails." Back to basics," in this case, means
fight the Nikken sect, contribute to the kosen-rufu fund, and get more
The report goes onto describe how the focus groups were disbanded‘It was announced that the results of the Focus Groups were to be abandoned,
and a restructuring of the SGI-UK leadership would take place, with another
level of leadership to be added at the top, including the re-appointment of
many older "retired" leaders. All of the individuals who opposed the
Reassessment Process, many of whom had held no leadership position for years,
were given positions. All of the Reassessment leaders and key supporters
lost their positions.’
In my experience I have found that there is very little information about this period of time apart from this report, and the Reassessment group is certainly never mentioned in official publications, (there will be no benches built to commemorate this group :)) It’s almost as if it has been erased from history, and the members who joined after this time are none the wiser unless they dig deep for this information.
Although I was never heavily involved with the reassessment group I did notice that after this time there was a lot more emphasis on the master/disciple relationship. It was also the time when ‘dedicated’ groups were formed for the youth division so that they could ‘understand Sensei’s heart’. The wearing of uniforms for the youth division was more encouraged, and any discussion about changing the leadership structure disappeared.
There was also a greater emphasis on studying Ikeda’s guidance.
We started to get more information about the priesthood/SGI split (all from SGI’s point of view of course) and the youth division were encouraged to study the ‘Untold History of the Fuji School’ as part of their dedicated commitment. We learnt from leaders about how Ikeda had tried so hard to protect the members and not wanted to let them know at first of the priesthood’s bullying ways and how he had ‘sacrificed’ his leadership position in 1979 in order to save the organisation. I remember listening to all this with tears in my eyes, feeling shocked at everything Sensei had gone through on our behalf – lol.
IMO there was a lot of fear installed in the UK leadership at that time from Japan, and it was all based around the idea that the members didn’t have the proper master disciple spirit, in other words, Ikeda would lose his power if members prioritised the actual Buddhism and didn’t make him the centre of their universes.
Of course, it is dressed up in other ways such as the master/disciple relationship being a fundamental concept of Buddhism (this is what I was always told). But it also helps to discourage independent thought, criticism and creativity – after all who knows what would happen if members started being allowed to express negative opinions about Ikeda.