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Seikyo Shimbun Highlights for September 25, 2020

September 25, 2020
Seikyo Shimbun is a Soka Gakkai daily newspaper

News Flash 

On September 21, National Day of the Tree in Brazil, responding to the tragic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the Soka Institute of the Amazon near Manaus launched an initiative to plant one tree in honor of each Brazilian victim of the novel coronavirus. More than 100,000 trees will be planted in Amazonas State over a four-year period. Where possible, each tree will be named after a victim, and for those from Amazonas State, their families may be involved in the planting. The Soka Institute hopes to involve the inhabitants of Manaus in caring for the trees. As part of the launch ceremony, participants also signed the Earth Charter, a statement of shared values and principles for a sustainable future that marks its 20th anniversary this year. The full text of the press release is attached to this email.  

Seikyo Shimbun – Highlights 

Auckland, NEW ZEALAND: On September 6, SGI-New Zealand cohosted the virtual opening ceremony of the “TŪMANAKO!” exhibition of Children’s Artworks for Peace with Auckland University of Technology and other organizations. This was the fifth year that this exhibition has been held to commemorate Hiroshima Day. Some 70 artworks from 35 schools were showcased on Tūmanako’s Facebook page.   

ONLINE: On September 18, Soka Gakkai youth representatives held their 11th teleconference with Professor Takeo Fujiwara of Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Associate Professor Yugo Shobugawa of Niigata University and the chairs of the Soka Youth Physicians Conference and the Soka Women Physicians Conference, joined this time by leaders of the Soka Gakkai Educators Division. They discussed the pros and cons of online education and the importance of face-to-face communication. 

ONLINE: On September 19, the Soka Gakkai Office of Peace and Global Issues hosted an online seminar to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Earth Charter and announce the winners of the “Shift to Green” photo and video contest. Executive Director of the Earth Charter International Secretariat Mirian Vilela gave the keynote speech, commending the SGI for encouraging people to take concrete action to build a sustainable society.  

Chiba, JAPAN: On September 19, the Soka Gakkai youth division in Chiba Prefecture held an online peace seminar. Assistant Secretary General of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations Michiko Kodama shared her experience of the bombing of Hiroshima. 

CANADA: On September 22, SGI-Canada Women’s Leader Helen Izumi-Choi gave an interview in Seikyo Shimbun about the organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since mid-March, SGI-Canada has suspended meetings and home visits, and all centers have been closed. Members have engaged in the 1-2-3 Campaign in which they chant for an hour, study The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin for 20 minutes and encourage three people each day. Online meetings are being held throughout the country, and SGI-Canada has been publishing biweekly newsletters to encourage its members. The organization also contributed to a non-profit organization supporting seniors.

FRANCE: On September 24, Seikyo Shimbun reported that the publishing house L'Harmattan had released a French edition of Knowing Our Worth: Conversations on Energy and Sustainability, SGI President Ikeda’s dialogue with Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, former co-President of the Club of Rome. 

Media – News watch

The NewYorker, USA: Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s Music for a Future That Never Came (Hua Hsu - September 14, 2020)  

This article features the career and music of SGI-Canada member Beverly Glenn-Copeland. 

“By the time Glenn-Copeland began teaching himself how to use a computer, he was working in children’s television, writing songs for ‘Sesame Street’ and performing on a Canadian program called ‘Mr. Dressup.’ He had become immersed in Buddhism and its traditions. The music he was making was spacious and unpredictable, nothing like his work from the seventies. Some songs resembled techno anthems slowed to a crawl; others seemed like furtive experiments in rendering the sound of a trickling stream with a synthesizer. Instead of paeans to a lover, there were odes to higher powers and changing seasons, lyrics about spiritual rebirth and the great outdoors. ‘Ever New’ slowly builds, a series of synth lines layering on one another, until Glenn-Copeland finally begins singing: ‘Welcome the child/Whose hand I hold/Welcome to you both young and old/We are ever new.’ He made two hundred cassette copies of an album called ‘Keyboard Fantasies.’ And then, befitting his life philosophy, Glenn-Copeland moved on to the next thing. More snow. There’s a history of electronic music that replaces the sweaty communion of the dance floor with self-discovery and alternative forms of consciousness. Glenn-Copeland has described himself as a ‘musical monk,’ largely ignorant of what’s going on outside his house. ‘Keyboard Fantasies’ was rediscovered in 2015 by a Japanese record collector, who bought Glenn-Copeland’s remaining stock and sold it to people around the world. The following year, the album was reissued by the Toronto record label Invisible City Editions. …Glenn-Copeland began publicly identifying as trans in 2002. He had long since stopped writing songs about relationships or heartbreak. Instead, the autobiographical nature of his music comes through in its exploration of textures, moods, and memory.” Read more

Read another recent profile of Beverly Glenn-Copeland by Grayson Haver Currin in the New York Times here.