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  • The origin of the bronze statues in front of A Building is now known


The origin of the bronze statues in front of A Building is now known

In front of A Building, there are a pair of Bronze statues that were gifted by the Founder, Mr. Ikeda. The “Statue of Angel and Printer” and “Statue of Angel and Blacksmith,” a pair of statues that are masterpieces by Alexandre Falguière, a French sculptor who was active in the second half of the 19th century. On the pedestal are inscribed the guidelines given by Mr. Ikeda to the students of the university: 'For what purpose should one cultivate wisdom? May you always ask yourselves this question!’ and ‘Only labor and devotion to one’s mission give life its worth’


Recently, we were contacted by Mr. Laurent Falguière, the grandson of Alexandre Falguière, when he found out that these two statues were displayed at Soka University. He expressed his gratitude on seeing that they stood as a symbol of the university, and had been maintained very well. He sent the university precious photographs that he had collected of the statues from back in the day.


According to Mr. Laurent, these two statues were designed in 1892 to be displayed at a big department store, Les Grands Magasins Dufayel in Paris during the store expansion. The plaster sculptures are thought to have been made around 1899, and the Musée d'Orsay (Orsay Museum) has the plaster sculpture of the Angel and the Blacksmith.

The original bronze statues were displayed in the department store for at least 30 years and were probably removed after the store went bankrupt in 1930. Their whereabouts were unknown for the next 30 years, however, an essay from 1978 mentioned that the statues were transported from France to Japan in 1969. Documents state that the statues were originally named “Credit” and “Publicity”.(Architectural Record Vol. 12 p.432~p.435)


On receiving recent pictures of the statues Mr. Laurent said “All the pictures are very nice: it is amazing to see those of the installation in 1971, and it's really great that you took the trouble to photograph the groups as they stand today, with all important and quite instructive details! I trust you will have no objection that I share these pictures with my friends Curators of major French Museums. I would be particularly happy (and honored) if you could enlighten the students of your prestigious university with the history of these groups.”


Details are available in the magazine “Architectural Record Vol. 12”(p.432~p.435) published in 1902.

These pictures have also been uploaded to the page introducing the Landmarks of Soka University on the IRISE website.


The Founder said that the angel is playing the pipe, pointing toward glory, implying that workers should not be forgotten.*

Having existed for over 120 years, a new history of the Bronze statues of Soka University has been revealed.

* Minshu Koso Ouja  Ikeda Daisaku to Sono Jidai 19, p. 47

Pictures received from Mr. Laurent

*Click on the pictures to enlarge

Photos collected at Soka University