Jan 2 1953 – Young Ikeda appointed as First Corps YMD Chief

Personnel action (appointment of leaders) carried out intelligently will enrich an organisation and develop the abilities of its members. On the contrary, haphazard personnel changes can destroy an organisation and prevent its members from displaying their talents.

Flight, The Human Revolution, Book 2, pg. 833, World Tribune Press

Perhaps nothing was more important than personnel affairs, according to Mr Toda. This was a point he reiterated on the last day of his life. The appointment of the young Ikeda to the front line, at national level, in the leadership appointment of the Soka Gakkai was done after serious consideration and thorough preparation for years.

On January 2, 1953, the young Ikeda was fully prepared. He was 25. Strong resolved and also confident. Did he become an inspiring and competent front line leader automatically after he accepted the mission? Certainly not.

The young Ikeda had a lot of training, tailored for him. He was tested again and again, pushed to the limits, and he passed each time. With flying color. A few years prior to that, he had been working in Mr Toda’s publication company. The business was in terrible shape. One of his companies went bankrupt and the one Mr Ikeda had been working in was under serious debt issues. He had to reassure and give confidence to the creditors who was pressuring him on a daily basis.

He often went without his pay, sometimes for several months. Mr Toda was unable to pay his staff salary. Many left. This only meant more and more work for Mr Ikeda. The young Ikeda was literally broke as he cannot even afford a new pair of socks. The one he was wearing already got holes in it.

The young Ikeda also took on the role of editor for a magazine, the Boy’s Adventure. He was also the sales manager and tasked to develop new business opportunities. It was a tough and bitter struggle, stretching him physically, mentally and spiritually.

He was determined to turn the financial situation around. He knew that this was absolutely necessary if he wanted Mr Toda to be inaugurated as the Soka Gakkai second’s president. He won over all the struggles and by 1953, Mr Toda’s business was back on tracked and with good foundation.

Also, the young Ikeda was tasked to lead a shakubuku campaign in Kamata Chapter. The chapter achieved over a thousand new converts in a year, an all time record then. He has proven himself to be capable kosen-rufu leader.

After the various tasks and training, Mr Toda felt that it is time to push the young Ikeda to the forefront. On January 2, 1953, Mr Toda felt a deep sense of sadness. He knew that he would have to let the young Ikeda go to the front lines and no longer need to keep him near him. It is time for the young Ikeda to take flight.

1953 was a most significant year in the history of Soka Gakkai. The membership rose from 20,000 households to 70,000 households. A breakthrough and set a new momentum for the pace of development for the subsequent years.

We do earnestly hope that SGM can learn something in this area of fostering our leaders. Is our new YMD Chief prepared for his role as a national figure to lead and direct the growth and development of SGM YMD? Is our YWD Chief, appointed last year, any better? Do they have a clear and solid plan of development for the next three or five years? It would certainly be difficult when very short notice were given. The organisation will be destroyed if appointment of top leaders were done in this haphazard manner.

in 1953, Mr Toda also focused on training district leaders. He felt that without strong force of capable and committed district leaders, kosen-rufu will not march ahead. Without practical steps taken to prepare the organisation for the future, steady growth would never be possible.

Shakubuku campaign must not be treated as an one-off and stand alone campaign and allow ourselves to indulge in the delusion that once we get the shakubuku campaign going, every other problems will disappear by itself.

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