日本語
 

Annual Festival Honors Founder at His Birthplace

October 2016

The 40th annual Seitanchi Festival (Birthplace Festival), honoring Rissho Kosei-kai's founder, Nikkyo Niwano, where he was born in 1906, was held October 8-9 in the city of Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture. At the time of his birth, Tokamachi was a village.

The festival honors the founder for his contributions to world peace and promotes Tokamachi's development through cultural exchanges between Rissho Kosei-kai members and nonmember residents of the city. The festival was sponsored by a volunteer group of 20 local organizations, including the Tokamachi Tourist Association, the Tokamachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Tokamachi Dharma Center.

Some 25,000 people took part in the two-day event, including local residents and members from 41 Rissho Kosei-kai Dharma centers, as well as President and Mrs. Nichiko Niwano and other senior officers from the organization's headquarters in Tokyo.

On October 8 the Rissho Kosei-kai leaders attended the festival's opening event, the furusato (home country) program, held by the city at a convention center in Tokamachi. They mingled with city leaders, including the mayor, Mr. Yoshifumi Sekiguchi, and many local residents.

On October 9 the opening ceremony for a parade along Tokamachi's main street began at 9 a.m. before a bust of the founder in a square in front of the Tokamachi City Museum. Following greetings by President Niwano, a local brass band accompanied 73 dance and taiko (big drum) troupes of local residents and contingents of Rissho Kosei-kai members carrying mando (portable lighted pagodas) and twirling matoi (Japanese firemen's standards).

The festival also included booths for the sale of special regional products, and a number of attractions set up by local youth.

At the closing ceremony there were speeches by Mr. Hirohiko Izumida, the governor of Niigata Prefecture, Mayor Sekiguchi, and President Niwano. President Niwano thanked Tokamachi residents, volunteers, members of the police and fire departments, and participants for their support of the event.

The festival's 40th anniversary was commemorated by a special exhibition of photos and mementos of the founder's life October 7-10 at a hall in the city. President and Mrs. Niwano and the mayor attended its opening ceremony on October 7. Some 1,200 people visited the three-day exhibition.

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