August 01, 1997
By Craig Green & Jeff Farr
When SGI President Ikeda resigned as Soka Gakkai president in April 1979, it was done to quiet discontent within the priesthood. It was not tendered because of any wrongdoing or impropriety.
In July 1979, High Priest Nittatsu, who had worked with President Ikeda to resolve some of the differences between Nichiren Shoshu and the Soka Gakkai, died. Shortly thereafter — to the surprise of many, including priests — Nikken declared that he had been given the “heritage of the law,” making him the 67th high priest.
There were priests within Nichiren Shoshu who immediately questioned the legitimacy of Nikken’s claims. But to hold off any opposition, Nikken took action. In January 1980, he met with President Ikeda and demanded that Ikeda apologize again — this time to him.
Several months later, a manuscript was presented by the priests with a directive that President Ikeda publish it under his name, with no editorial changes. It was full of more apologies, plus pledges of loyalty to Nikken and Nichiren Shoshu. This article, “My Thoughts on the 23rd Anniversary of My Late Mentor,” was published in the April 2, 1980, Seikyo Shimbun (see May 1980 Seikyo Times).
As the new high priest, Nikken wanted to protect his position, to protect his power. That necessitated using President Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai — the forced apologies were all to make Nikken look good.
No. 6 in a series