Message from Akira Kirigaya
Director of the Institute of Oriental Philosophy
SGI President Daisaku Ikeda envisaged the establishment of the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP) when he visited Buddhagaya in 1961, in the middle of journey for the 'Westward Transmission of Buddhism.'
He saw the fundamental activities of the IOP as going in three directions. The first was to deepen research on the Lotus Sutra, which has enriched the inner lives of people in East Asia for several thousand years. The second was to conduct comparative research on Buddhist thought with other religious thoughts, as well as with science. The third was to establish the theory of Buddhist humanism and pacifism to help resolve contemporary and global issues.
The first direction of research on the Lotus Sutra came to life with the creation of the exhibition “The Lotus Sutra and Its World — Buddhist Manuscripts of the Great Silk Road.” The exhibits contained manuscripts of important sutras including the Lotus Sutra which belongs to the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Russian Academy of Sciences. A number of Japanese and European Buddhist researchers offered high praise to this rare opportunity. The exhibition was also held in Austria and Germany. Moreover, another exhibition, “The Lotus Sutra—A Message of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence,” has been held in Hong Kong, Macao, India, Spain, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Brazil, the UK, Taiwan, Malaysia, Argentina, South Korea, Peru and Japan.
The IOP has also worked on editing the original texts of the Lotus Sutra in collaboration with Soka Gakkai. With the support of many professionals in Japan and throughout the world, we have conducted research and given commentary on various original texts of the Lotus Sutra, which are preserved at various institutions including Lüshun Museum, the National Archives of Nepal, Cambridge University Library, the General Library of The University of Tokyo, the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Société Asiatique, the British Library and the National Archives of India.
To realize the second and third directions of activity, the IOP has held joint symposia with universities and academic institutes all over the world. The IOP researchers have also given their presentations at various academic societies. I am convinced that such unity and academic activities will become more and more important in a world that is increasingly volatile.
More than ever, the IOP will contribute to establishing a theory of Buddhist humanism and pacifism through active dialogue beyond civilizational and religious differences. Furthemore, in order to make wisdom more widely available to society, the IOP will carry out initiatives such as offering free public lectures and Lotus Sutra exhibitions, publishing The Journal of Oriental Studies and other books, and updating its website. The time has come in which the IOP will mobilize its full potential to contribute to a culture of peace in the 21st century.
1966 Bachelor of Law, The University of Tokyo
1968 Master of Law, Graduate Schools of Law and Politics, The University of Tokyo
1970 Certified as an Attorney (Tokyo Bar Association)
1986 Professor, Faculty of Law, Soka University
2004 Professor, Soka Law School
2013 Honorary Professor, Soka University
Mr. Kirigaya has served as Vice President and Head of the Law Faculty of Soka University, and Head of Soka Law School. He has also held positions such as Auditor and Executive Bourd Member of the IOP, and Auditor, Executive Board Member and Executive Director of the Association of Religious Law.
Shinkyō no jiyū ni tsuite (On Freedom of Religion)
Shūkyō dantai no seiji katsudō (Political Activities of Religious Groups)
Minshu shugi to shūkyō (Democracy and Religion)
Seiji to shūkyō o kangaeru (Study on Politics and Religion)
Seikyō bunri no nichibei hikaku (Comparison of the Separation of Government and Religion between the United State of America and Japan)
Kempō 20-jō: sono konnichiteki igi o tou (Article 20 of the Constitution of Japan: An Inquiry into the Today's Significance)
Mr. Kirigaya has also written many articles on freedom of religion, separation of government and religion, autonomy and activities of religious groups, issues on amendments to the Religious Corporation Act and legal issues related to bioethics etc.