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January 20, 2024

Memorial Service for Daisaku Ikeda Held in Florence, Italy

Memorial Service for Daisaku Ikeda Held in Florence, Italy
The memorial service at the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

On January 20, 2024, a memorial service for Daisaku Ikeda (1928–2023), Honorary President of the Soka Gakkai and President of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), was held in Florence, Italy, at the historic Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred) in the Palazzo Vecchio. The event was cohosted by the City of Florence and Istituto Buddista Italiano Soka Gakkai (Soka Gakkai Italy).

Some 500 members and guests attended the service, including mayors of neighboring cities, representatives from religious circles and representative members of SGI Europe and Soka Gakkai Italy.

SGI Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda sent a message on behalf of the Ikeda family sharing that his father held Florence in immense respect as the birthplace of the Renaissance, renowned for its culture and academia. He stated that through Soka Gakkai Italy, which deeply shares his father’s ideals, the Soka Gakkai is committed to working together with the City of Florence to create and uphold the great values of peace, culture and education into the future.

Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence, stated that remembering Mr. Ikeda today “means not only recalling the great thinker, philosopher, teacher and spiritual guide but also reflecting on a man whose concrete dedication to promoting peace was a powerful constant throughout his life.”

President (governor) of Tuscany Eugenio Giani remarked that Mr. Ikeda will live on in the hearts of people throughout the world as a man of action and unwavering values, and Soka Gakkai Italy President Alberto Aprea renewed his commitment to carry on Mr. Ikeda’s actions for building peace.

The memorial featured a poignant string quartet performance of “Morigasaki Beach,” a song based on a poem written by Mr. Ikeda that depicts his genuine wish for a friend’s happiness.

Mr. Ikeda’s connection to Florence dates back to 1981, when he first visited the city while traveling across Europe. In recognition of his contributions to peace, culture and education, the City of Florence awarded Mr. Ikeda the Fiorino d’Oro Coin in 1992, the “Florentine Republic Seal of Peace” in 2007 and Honorary Citizenship in 2017. Mr. Ikeda is the sole recipient of the city’s three highest honors.

[Adapted from an article in the January 24, 2024, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]              

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