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Soka Gakai (Buddhism)

Last modified: 2020-06-20 by rob raeside
Keywords: buddhism | soka gakai |
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[Soka Gakai Buddhist flag] image by Ivan Sache 21 December 2000


See also:

About the movement and flag

Soka Gakai International is a Buddhist lay organization in many nations of the world. In the past few years, the organization has flown a blue-yellow-red vertical tri-colour. It is flown both in the US and in Japan. I am not sure about the UK or Germany. Groups within the organization have had many flags, all dark blue with central white emblems.
Bruce Ward 2 April 1996

Within the organization, many flags have been used to denote various divisions or sub-organizations within the sect. The great majority are white symbols on blue background. However, the parent organization -- it is a lay or secular rather than a priest-based sect -- began using a vertical tricolor of bright blue/yellow/bright red. It can be seen flying at major cultural centers around the world. I have seen films of the flag flying in Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, France, the UK and the US. In the US, however, most cultural centers (would be called churches for the way they are used) continue to use older white on blue flags, along with the Stars & Stripes. The two flags flank the altar.
Bruce Ward 12 June 1996

The vertical tricolour (blue/yellow/red) is called the Victory Flag by Soka Gakkai and blue stands for peace, yellow for honour and red for victory.
Nozomi Kariyasu
, 22 December 2000

I am sending you a photo of a Buddhist flag I shot at Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh, Cambodia March 2007, which is a bit different from the ones illustrated above.
Davor Pukljak, 2 May 2007 image by Ivan Sache

[Soka Gakai Buddhist flag] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 28 February 2016

The flag may be charged with an emblem drawn in black, which represents the lotus flower, in center of yellow field [1]. The flag is used in Japan [2], but the examples of its use are mostly from other countries, like the USA [3], United Kingdom [4, 5], Thailand [6] and Ghana [6]. The plain flag is also used in these places [2, 7, 8], either together with the flag with lotus [2] or alone.

[Soka Gakai Buddhist flag] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 28 February 2016

There is also the horizontal variant of the flag with lotus. The design mostly appears as the lapel pin [9, 10], but there is one example of the real flag from Ghana [6] (last photo at the source page, top left corner).

Detail of lotus emblem

[Soka Gakai Buddhist flag] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 28 February 2016

Sources:
[1] Soka Gakkai International at Wikipedia (in Japanese): https://ja.wikipedia.org
[2] The Asahi Shimbun Digital website: http://www.asahi.com/english/articles/AJ201509070020.html
[3] Soka Gakkai International USA Online Bookstore - flag with lotus: http://bookstore.sgi-usa.org/product_p/322585.htm
[4] SGI-TAMU website: https://sites.google.com/site/sgitamu/reading/sgi-lgbt
[5] Flickr - Photo of Soka Gakkai members at the 2012 World Pride parade in London: https://www.flickr.com/photos/beejer/7575953050/
[6] Presentation of Soka Gakkai International: http://www.angelfire.com/tv2/sgm/future.html
[7] Soka Gakkai International United Kingdom online shop - plain flag: http://www.sgi-uk.org/shop/shop/accessories/sgi-flag
[8] Soka Gakkai International USA Online Bookstore - plain flag: http://bookstore.sgi-usa.org/product_p/8648.htm
[9] Soka Gakkai International United Kingdom online shop - flag-shaped lapel pin: http://www.sgi-uk.org/shop/shop/accessories/sgi-lapel-pin
[10] Soka Gakkai International USA Online Bookstore - flag-shaped lapel pin: http://bookstore.sgi-usa.org/product_p/322159.htm

All attached images are derived from the SVG image of Soka Gakkai vertical flag with lotus at Wikipedia: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sanshokuki2.svg
Tomislav Todorovic, 28 February 2016

On 27 April 1988, during the 1st meeting of the Board of the Women's Division of Soka Gakai, Daisaku Ikeda proposed to design a flag based on the French national flag. The flag was presented on 26 July 1988 during the 7th meeting of the Board of Soka Gakai, held in the Soka Cultural Center, Tokyo, by Einosuke Akiya, President of Soka Gakai.

The flag was widely adopted, with a meaning of the colors different according to the divisions of the organization:
- Women's Division: Good luck, searching spirit, harmony;
- Soka Gakai International: Peace, glory, victory;
- Soka Gakai Schools: Knowledge, glory, passion,
- Seikyo Shimbun: Kōsen-rufu ["World peace through individual happiness"], intelligence, sun.
(Seikyo Shimbun - lit., Newspaper of Holy Teach - Japan's third largest daily newspaper, is owned by Soka Gakai)

[Brasil Seikyo, No. 1,828, 21 January 2005]
http://distritomarmeleiro.blogspot.com/2010/09/o-significado-das-cores-da-sgi.html

Photos
Plain flag
https://www.cesnur.org/2015/intesa_soka.html
https://twitter.com/sgi_info/status/991930857576280064

Flag with the lotus symbol in the center
http://www.opanal.org/en/50-anniversary-plaza-tres-culturas/
Ivan Sache, 19 May 2020


 
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