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January 18, 2022

Danish Edition of Toynbee-Ikeda Dialogue Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Their Meeting

Danish edition of the Toynbee-Ikeda dialogue
Danish edition of Choose Life, the dialogue between British historian Arnold J. Toynbee and Daisaku Ikeda

COPENHAGEN, Denmark: A Danish edition of Choose Life, a dialogue between British historian Arnold J. Toynbee (1889–1975) and Daisaku Ikeda, has been released by SGI-Denmark. It comes in time to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the initial round of dialogues between Toynbee and Ikeda that gave rise to the book.

President Ikeda first met Dr. Toynbee, at the latter’s invitation, in 1972 to exchange views on what Toynbee described as the “fundamental problems of our time”—global, philosophical and inter-personal concerns that are as pertinent today as ever. Their meetings continued in May of the following year and the dialogue was first published in Japanese in 1975, followed by English in 1976 and other languages over the years. This Danish edition is the 31st language into which the dialogue has been translated.

Arnold Toynbee and Daisaku Ikeda at Holland Park London May 1972
Dr. Toynbee (2nd from right) and Mr. Ikeda (right), taking a walk in Holland Park (London, May 1972)

Denmark was the first country Mr. Ikeda visited when he traveled to the European continent for the first time in 1961. Soka Gakkai founding president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871–1944), an educator, was an admirer of the Danish folk high schools and of the shared dedication to realizing an educational ideal of its founder Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1783–1872) and his student, Kristen Mikkelsen Kold (1816–70). It was a relationship that mirrored the mentor-disciple relationship between Makiguchi and his protégé Josei Toda (1900–58), and later between Toda and Ikeda. It was from Toda that Ikeda inherited the ideal of striving for global peace.

His dialogue with Dr. Toynbee was the first step in expanding the circle of friendship that he believed would create the foundations for such peace.

[Watch the video, Daisaku Ikeda: Arnold J. Toynbee and the Power of Dialogue]

 [Adapted from an article in the January 18, 2022, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]

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