Announcing the Opening of Soka Heritage Hall on Campus

November 15, 2022
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Exterior shot of Heritage Hall

Soka Heritage Hall, which chronicles SUA’s history and the heritage and founders of Soka education, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Josei Toda, and Daisaku Ikeda, opened on campus this October.

“Visitors to the hall will embark on a journey of SUA’s heritage and the vision of the founders of Soka education, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Josei Toda, and Daisaku Ikeda,” President Edward Feasel said. “It is my hope that everyone who visits Soka Heritage Hall will develop a deeper understanding of SUA’s founding spirit and mission.”

Student Impressions

Aashish Sunar ’24: When I walked around Soka Heritage Hall, looking at the history of SUA and pictures of our alumni, many of whom are supporting me in my intellectual and personal growth, my heart was overwhelmed with emotions. I could feel the sincere efforts of our founder, alumni, and donors to make SUA a citadel of hope. How can I fail when so many people have entrusted their hope to me? I will win. I will win for them. I believe that Soka education is essential now more than ever before to fight against global challenges, such as poverty, discrimination, and war. Visiting Soka Heritage Hall inspired me to become the voice of thousands of underprivileged people who may not have voices themselves.

Ayu Nakazaki ’25: After viewing Soka Heritage Hall, I thought how remarkable it is to be a student at such a young institution—one where its rich history is not a thing of the distant past and where the students still receive encouraging messages from the founder! Deepening my understanding of Soka’s heritage cultivates my own unshakable purpose to pursue a university education, and deepens my awareness of my incredible responsibility as an SUA student to uphold our university’s mission. Based on our deepened understanding of the heritage of Soka education, I hope my fellow SUA students and I can make the most of our time at college by challenging ourselves to expand our intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual capacities.

Emi Kuroda ’23: Visiting Soka Heritage Hall encouraged me to not give up on my challenges and growth. I was inspired by the following quote from the founder displayed in the hall: “Dialogue is the painstaking and persistent effort to remove all obstacles that obscure our common humanity.” I learned that I’m capable of truly respecting and understanding others (and so is everyone!), and therefore I should never give up on having sincere dialogues with others.

The development of the hall, near the Athenaeum on the southwestern edge of campus, is part of the 20th anniversary project, “Soka Global Citizens: Embodying Wisdom, Courage, and Compassion.” The hall was completed thanks to the hard work of SUA’s staff, alumni, and precious donors.

A small stone monument near the entrance to the hall is engraved with Ikeda’s calligraphy for “wisdom,” “courage,” and “compassion,” the core principles of global citizenship outlined in his seminal 1996 Columbia University address. In the foyer, SUA’s principles, mottos, and mission statement are featured prominently alongside photos of programs and initiatives that exemplify how the university has put them into practice.

Exhibit rooms branch off the central hallway, highlighting Ikeda’s multifaceted efforts as an author, educator, and citizen diplomat to promote peace, education, and intercultural dialogue and exchange alongside SUA students’ and alumni’s global efforts to actualize the ideals and mission. The Dialogue Room features a large world map that illustrates SUA students’ countries of origin and locations where they have studied abroad or traveled to during Learning Clusters.

Although Ikeda has never visited SUA’s campus in Aliso Viejo, California, Soka students have enjoyed warm and meaningful exchanges with the school’s founder since 2001. The Exchanges with the Founder Room highlights these personal exchanges, including the background of the beloved “Founder’s Snacks”; a showcase of sheet music for SUA’s two school songs; small gifts of encouragement; poems and messages to the students and university; and the manuscript of Ikeda’s dedication message when SUA opened in 2001.

There are also several rooms dedicated to the founding and origins of Soka education, detailing Tsunesaburo Makiguchi’s (1871–1944) and Josei Toda’s (1900–1958) courageous commitment to peace, human rights, and value-creating education. Makiguchi, a geographer, author, and educator, was an outspoken critic of the indoctrination of children under imperial Japan’s education system. He promoted value-creating education, a philosophy he developed over many years of teaching, enriched by his practice of Nichiren Buddhism. Together with Toda, his closest disciple, they founded the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (Value-Creating Education Society), the educators society that has since expanded into one of the world’s largest lay Buddhist organizations, the Soka Gakkai.

A display case features a copy of Toda’s A Deductive Guide to Arithmetic, which sold over a millions copies. Toda used the profits from the guide to fund the publication of Makiguchi’s foundational work The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy on Nov. 18, 1930, the publication of which also dates the foundation of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai.

Soka Heritage Hall is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can register to visit by clicking the button below. Walk-in visits are not available.

Register for a Soka Heritage Hall Tour