As a result of backlash against Soka Gakkai’s uncompromising interpretation of Buddhism and its controversial practices, such as shakubuku, SGI president Daisaku Ikeda toned down some of the movement’s ideals. For example, in 1970 he conceded that Soka Gakkai did not intend to establish the kaidan, or “government-sponsored platform” (Baffelli 2011: 234).
Since establishing SGI, Ikeda has adopted a more innovative and engaging approach in spreading Buddhism worldwide. He founded the Soka schools, a non-denominational school system which includes all levels, including kindergarten, and a university in Tokyo and another in California (SGI-UK 2017: 44). Ikeda is also a proponent of dialogue and peace initiatives, and has published exchanges with figures as diverse as Mikhail Gorbachev (the last leader of the Soviet Union), Elise Boulding (the Norwegian Quaker and sociologist), Joseph Rotblat (the Polish Nobel Peace laureate), and Andre Malraux (the French novelist, art theorist and politician) (SGI-UK 2017: 44).
The fourth item in the SGI charter also affirms that the movement “shall respect and protect the freedom of religion and religious expression” (Soka Gakkai International (SGI) 1995).