Nichidatsu Fujii (1885-1985) was a Japanese Buddhist monk and peace activist who founded the Buddhist order Nipponzan Myōhōji in 1918. Nipponzan Myōhōji is a small lay and monastic order of about 1500 people that continues to be active to the present day, and scholars consider it to be one among Japan’s many new religious movements, albeit much smaller in terms of its size and scale than other groups in this category.
Japan’s devastating defeat in World War II led many ordinary Japanese people to develop a general antipathy and aversion to war and militarism. Pacifism was enshrined in the famous Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which states that Japan “forever renounce(s) war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.”
SEALDs (Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy) was a student organization founded in May 2015 as part of the protest movement against Shinzō Abe and his government’s legislations to reinterpret the Japanese Constitution to allow Japan to engage in collective self-defense on behalf of its allies, e.g., the United States.
Toyohiko Kagawa (1888-1960) was a Japanese social reformer, labor activist and Christian evangelist known as “Japan’s Gandhi.” As a social activist, pacifist and public figure, Kagawa was well-known during his lifetime – both in his home country of Japan as well as in the United States. He was nominated for the Nobel Prizes in literature and peace on numerous occasions.