"In sum, the religion and the party accrued costs and benefits during this early growth period:
Costs: Fallout from the 1970 incident struck a blow to Komeito’s fortunes in the polls. The party dropped from 47 to 29 elected Diet representatives in the 1972 elections, and though it rose to 56 officials in 1976, the most it has ever held, it never again experienced the massive swell in support it enjoyed in the five years after Komeito’s founding.
Soka Gakkai lost more than power among the electorate when it severed official ties with Komeito and renounced goals to build a national ordination platform: it lost its momentum as a mass movement. It made only modest gains after 1970. In contrast to its growth by orders of magnitude in the immediate postwar years, the religion claimed 7.62 million adherent households in 1974, up from 7.55 in 1970, and since the early 1980s its has claimed just over 8.2 million adherent households and has held steady at 8.27 million for the last decade.42It is probable that Gakkai membership growth was already peaking by the end of the 1960s and that a flattening of its membership numbers was inevitable. In spite of these qualifications, the events of 1970 mark a watershed moment in Soka Gakkai’s history, the point when the group began to shift toward cultivating the needs of a second generation born to the converts who flocked to Soka Gakkai during its years of explosive growth in the 1950s and 60s.
Benefits: The generations that have followed the official religious / political division have been reared within a Gakkai milieu in which electioneering for Komeito has remained an adherent’s duty, on par with chanting the Lotus, carrying out shakubuku conversion, and otherwise contributing to Soka Gakkai’s institutional goals. Komeito is an ordinary political party in most senses, in that it carries out the usual business of getting elected, seeing to the needs of its constituents, policymaking, negotiating with interest groups, and other responsibilities associated with ordinary behavior by political parties. However, an obvious difference between Komeito and other Japanese parties is the understanding that in every election, from a town assembly to the National Diet, every devout Gakkai member can be counted on to fire up the vote-gathering machine that generations of Gakkai adherents have kept running since the heady days of Soka Gakkai’s early political activities." -- Levi McLaughlin