Historic Events

Historic Events

Washington Hall has been the site of many historic events. This page is evolving to bring some of these events to life.

2008. Leaders of SGI-USA Pacific Northwest Zone in front of Washington Hall / Photo: Jim Cleghorn

Soka Gakkai International-USA and Washington Hall

The Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is a worldwide network of lay Buddhists dedicated to a common vision of a better world through the empowerment of the individual and the promotion of peace, culture and education. The SGI-USA is the American branch of the SGI network, with more than 2,600 neighborhood discussion groups and nearly 100 SGI-USA centers throughout the country. The SGI has its roots in 1930s Japan. The Buddhism practiced by SGI members is based on the teachings of the 13th-century Japanese priest Nichiren and his interpretation of the Lotus Sutra. For information on SGI locally, contact SGI’s Seattle Culture Center at 206.244.0268. (Source: www.SGI.org and www.SGI-USA.org)

The Event:

On October 6, 2010, SGI-USA’s Pacific Northwest Zone celebrates the 50th anniversary of its first discussion meeting between Soka Gakkai leaders from Japan and a group of Seattle members, which took place in Washington Hall in 1960. The Pacific Northwest Zone has grown from about twenty members in 1960 to more than 10,000 members today. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first meeting, the SGI-USA Pacific Northwest Zone will hold a meeting in Washington Hall on October 6th.

Stories Related to Washington Hall:

“…the leaders headed for the hall where the discussion meeting was to be held. About forty members had assembled when they arrived. It was quite a large turnout for this, the very first discussion meeting in Seattle. This time, the meeting was not held at a private home but at a medium-sized hall. Consequently, there was something forlorn about their small gathering.” -From “Golden Autumn,” chapter three in The New Human Revolution, Volume 1, by Daisaku Ikeda. Describes the first meeting between Soka Gakkai leaders and Seattle members in the lodge room of Washington Hall on October 6, 1960.

“I received a letter from the headquarters in Japan saying President Ikeda was coming to Seattle. In the letter they asked me to contact the other members and let them know when our Sensei was coming. My husband typed up letters and sent them to everyone.

On Oct 6th 1960, people from all over the Northwest showed up to greet President Ikeda at the Airport. We went to the Olympic Hotel for a small gathering, then there was a meeting planned at Washington Hall in Seattle.

Before the Washington Hall meeting,  I had not met any of the other members. It was just me and my husband practicing by ourselves. The meeting at Washington Hall allowed me to meet with the other members from Tacoma, Everett and even Montana. If President Ikeda had not come to Seattle we would not have been able to form a district here to help each other practice. That’s how our organization began here.” – Mitsue Nakayama