December 27, 2004
[Abridged letter carried in the magazine's "Readers Say" section]
Soka Gakkai Responds
Rebuttal letter to "Sensei's World," an article published in the September 6, 2004 issue of Forbes magazine and statement from the editor in response.
In spite of multiple interviews, "Sensei's World" (Sept. 6, p. 126) does not include a single quote from Soka Gakkai representatives other than a third-party report from the 1960s. Hardly fair, balanced or accurate. A far more representative quote from Daisaku Ikeda, rather than the 1960s-era quote you used and one that is well-known by SGI members around the world, is: "The purpose of Buddhism is not to produce dupes who blindly follow their leader. It is to produce people of wisdom who can judge right or wrong on their own in the clear mirror of Buddhism."
The box about the Asaki case quotes the daughter of the deceased but doesn't share the ruling, affirmed by the Supreme Court of Japan, that required her and her publishers to publish an apology and retraction of all her accusations about her mother's death. None of the courts that dealt with the issue of Asaki's death found any Soka Gakkai involvement in the incident.
From characterizing our seven-story national headquarters building as a "high rise" in "gilded Santa Monica" to the description of Lisa Jones as "a former aide and follower who ghostwrote an Ikeda book," your hyperbole betrays its intentions and negates any sense of journalistic integrity.
Senior Vice President
Soka Gakkai International-USA
[Our description of the cross-defamation lawsuits between the family of Japanese politician Akiyo Asaki and the Japanese Buddhist set Soka Gakkai concerning Asaki's 1995 death should have noted that Soka Gakkai has prevailed in all of the defamation cases to which it was a party, not just "several" of them. The article referred to the constitutionally mandated separation between church and state in Japan; it should also have said that Japanese tax law does not prevent a religious entity from engaging in political activity.--Forbes Editor]