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Kaneko's story - Chapter 4 Living with a Trailblazing Husband

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May 3 1960 Mr Ikeda was inaugurated president of Soka Gakkai.
Mr Ikeda became much busier, his health was not good, in the winter 1969, Mr Ikeda became sick during his travels. Mrs Ikeda began accompanying her husband when he attended events around Japan. Because of uncertain health demonstrated by Mr. Ikeda's collapse during a trip to US, executive staff of Soka Gakkai requested his wife accompany him on all overseas trips.

In the midst of buzy life, Mrs Ikeda continued to her own affairs successfully. Her cheerfulness, even when facing great difficulty , was a boon to the family. No matter what happened, she never faltered. But she admits, "When I accompanied him, I would also get extremely tired and once got very sick.

Mr Ikeda arrived home late at night, she let him have the bedroom to himself in order to give him a chance to sleep soundly. It shows just how exhasuting their daily life had become. Here, though, Mrs. Ikeda's exceptionally positive attitude can be seen. She said that, having become ill herself, she experienced for the first time the difficulties that her husband faced.

That she spoke frankly caused her husband a bit of apprehension on their first trip to China in 1974. Her honesty, however, served to deepen the relationships of trust with their Chinese hosts. This kind of courage, to state things just as they are, seems very characteristic of Mrs Ikeda, and her husband may have signed with relief at the outcome.


Fumi Shiraki's recollection of Mr. Ikeda's Inauguration:

After the General meeting at which Mr Ikeda was appointed the third president of the Soka Gakkai, my husband and I went to the Ikedas' residence to pay our respects. The entryway had been freshly sprinkled with water, and I still remember how it glistened brightly in the sunlight.

"As we stepped into te entry way, my husband called out: 'Good evening! It's Giiciro.'

"Come on in,' Mr Ikeda said in a friendly and welcoming voice, and so we went into the house. We immediately noticed that the mood in the room was completely different from usual ambience. Mrs Ikeda seemed so grave and somber. Mr Ikeda explained: 'She didnt make any sekihan for me. She says that today we are observing a funeral."

May 3 1960 was the most unforgettable day of my life. My husband was inaugurated president of Soka Gakkai. Our normal family life ended on that day. The next day, my usband would beocme a public person who would work for the benefit of all people. This was my husband's mission in life. No one else could do the work he had to do, so I felt I must do my utmost to make sure that he could wholeheartel devote all his energy to his work. I made up my mind that I would be strong and withstand whatever storms might come.

I was unable to feel joyful about the appointment of my hsband to the presidency of Soka Gakkai. It felt like a funeral to me, and this expressed my true feelings. That day marked the beginning of a new life in which our public lives would gradually begin to overtake our private lives.

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