“Although it was not an official visit, I set foot on the Lion City – Singapore’s soil for the first time on January 29, 1961. It was during a stopover on my way to India, a journey embarked on with the determination to realise the westward transmission of Buddhism that was predicted by Nichiren Daishonin and was also the dearest wish of my mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda.
Darkness began to fall over the airport as we landed for refueling. Waiting inside the airport, I gazed up at the stars in the sky, visible through the windows. They were beautiful. But when I recalled Singapore’s painful history, its invasion by Japan, the countless innocent people who were killed, and the cruel suffering that had been inflicted on so many, my heart ached as if it were being ripped apart.
I decided right then and there that, I would devote my life to bringing peace and happiness to the people of Singapore. I prayed, deeply and strongly, ‘Emerge, Bodhisattvas of the Earth! Assemble, my comrades of profound mission!’— so that a new glorious dawn might be ushered in for Singapore.”
(From SGI President Ikeda’s essay, “Singapore–A Citadel of Global Citizens”)
In August 1963, the first district was formed in Singapore. On June 24, 1967, Mr Koh Kian Boon — who later went on to become the first General Director of the Soka Gakkai Singapore (SGS) — was appointed district chief. As such, 1967 was adopted as the year to mark the beginning of Singapore’s kosen-rufu movement.
In August 1969, Singapore Chapter was established. In January 1972, SGS was incorporated.
First Soka activity centre -- Geylang Soka Centre was established in August 1975, through a kind donation by President Ikeda.
The period 1980 to 1990 was a period of increasing involvement in cultural and community programmes.
Cherishing the Buddhist principle that faith finds expression in daily lives and in society, members joyfully contributed their time and efforts for the betterment of society. SGS’s participation in the National Day Parades and Chingay Parades also began during this period.
The second activity centre Telok Blangah Soka Centre established in 1984. This centre was refurbished in 2014 and is now the Soka Peace Centre.
The third activity centre — Pasir Panjang Soka Centre established in 1987.
President Ikeda visited Singapore for the first time from February 8 - 11, 1988.
With the change of name from “Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist Association” to “Singapore Soka Association” in 1992, the Association made a deeper commitment to contribute to social development through community, cultural and educational services based on the humanistic principles of Nichiren Buddhism.
Opening of SGS Headquarters at Tampines Street 81, officiated by the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong on January 1, 1993.
Soka Kindergarten officially opened at Pasir Panjang on January 17, 1993. It was later relocated to Tampines Street 92 in 1998.
On November 18, 1993, present Honorary General Director Mr Ong Bon Chai succeeded the late General Director Mr Koh Kian Boon as SGS second General Director.
SGI President Ikeda made his second visit to Singapore from November 5 - 10, 1995.
On March 30, 1997, the fifth activity centre at Tampines Street 92 (present Soka Kindergarten) opened together with the establishment of An-Le Temple.
On February 8, 1998, the sixth activity centre and a new temple hall for An-Le Temple opened. Relocation of Soka Kindergarten to Tampines Street 92.
On August 30, 1998, the seventh activity centre (Soka Culture Centre) at Jurong opened and purpose-built for arts and cultural events.
SGI President Ikeda visited Singapore for the third time from November 22 to 27, 2000.
On October 2002, the eighth activity centre (Senja Soka Centre) was opened, as the first activity centre established in the northern region. It is also the first SGS centre to house a columbarium.
On June 25, 2005, the SGS Youth Division was conferred the Singapore Youth Award 2005 for Community and Youth Services (Team category) by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana.
On February 27, 2007, an enchanting new orchid hybrid of exquisite grandeur and elegance was named in honour of Mrs Kaneko Ikeda, Honorary Women Leader of Soka Gakkai International, in recognition of her commitment and selfless contribution to the movement of building lasting global peace, on the occasion of her 75th birthday. This lovely orchid with light pink petals was officially named “Dendrobium Kaneko Ikeda” (DKI). An Orchid Naming Ceremony was held at the Burkill Hall in the National Orchid Garden. Three series of commemorative stamps featuring the DKI have since been launched.
On June 26, 2007, then Singapore President S R Nathan visited the SGS Headquarters during which a plaque for the Friendship Hall was unveiled. His visit was a gesture of appreciation to SGS for the years of contribution to the annual National Day Parade performance since 1981.
On December 10, 2011, SGS embarked on a new departure under the leadership of newly appointed SGS General Director Tay Eng Kiat as SGS third General Director at the SGS General Meeting Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Asia Kosen-rufu. The event also witnessed the appointment of Honorary General Director Ong Bon Chai who has led SGS for 18 dedicated years.
On March 23, 2014, the Soka Peace Centre opened. It houses the Mentor Memorial Hall and the Kaneko Orchid Garden.
On June 10, 2017, in celebration of SGS’ 50th anniversary, SGS held the Community Partners Appreciation Night at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre. The Guest-of-Honour was Mr Heng Swee Keat, then Minister for Finance and Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC.
One of the key events for SGS Golden Jubilee was the holding of the “The Lotus Sutra – A Message of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence” Exhibition from 1- 25 October. The exhibition was held at the Arts House and was opened by Guest-of-honour Mr Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. The exhibition was jointly organized by The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (Japan), Dunhuang Academy (China) and SGS, and supported by The Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and International Academy of Indian Culture. Singapore was the 16th country to host the exhibition.
As SGS commemorates her 50th anniversary as a Buddhist organization in 2017, SSA deems it timely to make further enhancements to their Constitution to entrench their faith in Nichiren Buddhism so as not to forget their spiritual ballast and values.
As we embark on this first year in the last decade towards Soka Gakkai centennial in 2030, Singapore Soka Association (SSA) has renamed ourselves to Soka Gakkai Singapore (SGS) with effect from November 18, 2021. Our Chinese name 新加坡创价学会 remains unchanged. This name change is also symbolic of our impending 50th year of registration with the Registries of Societies since 1972 and SGS remains committed as a Buddhist organisation established to promote the understanding and practice of Nichiren Buddhism in Singapore.