is a Japanese Buddhist religious movement based on the teachings of the 13th-century Japanese priest Nichiren as set into motion by its first three presidents Tsunesaburō Makiguchi, Jōsei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda. It is the largest of the Japanese new religions and holds the largest membership among Nichiren Buddhist groups. "The Gakkai" bases its teachings on Nichiren's interpretation of the Lotus Sutra and places chanting " Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō" at the center of devotional practice. The organization promotes its goals as supporting "peace, culture, and education."
The movement was founded by educators Makiguchi and Toda in 1930 and held its inaugural meeting in 1937. It was disbanded during World War II when much of the leadership was imprisoned on charges of lèse-majesté. After the war it expanded from a pre-war estimate of 3,000 members to a claimed total of 750,000 households in 1958 through explosive recruitment, which shocked the Japanese establishment and media. Further expansion of the movement was led by its third president Daisaku Ikeda. According to its own account, it has 12 million members in 192 countries and territories around the world.
While Ikeda has been successful in moving the group toward mainstream acceptance, it is still widely viewed with suspicion in Japan and has found itself embroiled in public controversies, especially in the first three decades following World War II. From 1952 to 1991 it shared an association with the Nichiren Shōshū Buddhist sect.