“Do you tell your friend that you are a Mason?”
Some among us hesitate to talk about our membership in the World’s Oldest and Most Honorable Fraternity because of a perceived negative reaction among our country.
This is very unfortunate because the future of our wonderful Fraternity in Japan depends on increasing the membership in Japanese Society.
I would like to discuss the roles that I, as your Grand Master, intend to pursue this coming year.
This year, we celebrate our 60th anniversary.
Speaking of the number of members, at our peak period we had more than 4700 but now it is less than 1700. MWB James L. Johnston said about the current situation in the thesis “Freemasonry in Japan” that “Masonry in Japan is limited to foreign residents from the beginning therefore we must recognize Masonry in Japan is not truly a part of international masonry and also it is an urgent matter for our members to spread information and knowledge of Masonry to contemporary Japanese population.” I will assume this task.
Accordingly, I will establish a “develop the member” program for the purpose of reinforcing and increasing the number of members who are living in Japan. This program consists of three factors;
- To get new members
- To activate existing members and each lodge
- To provide systematic information and knowledge of masonry in Japanese
The specific activities are as follows;
Open House (Target: Non-members of our Fraternity)
This is an activity to invite people who are interested in masonry and make them understand more about what is freemasonry or what kind of people are members and increase their interest and understanding. I will spread the current activity carried out in Tokyo to various places in Japan.
Workshop (Target: Mason Member）
This is for activating each lodge. In this activity, each lodge will prepare a program to promote reactivating dormant members and activate each lodge itself with the assistance of Grand Lodge support team in schedule.
Provide Systematic Information (Target: Japanese Society)
I will positively carry out public relations activity to send correct mason information from our side and spread correct information to Japanese society related to Freemasonry.
In conjunction with above, I will introduce literature and thesis which can be recommended by Grand Lodge of Japan.
Now then, I recommend each member to talk their own Freemasonry experiences to people around. This is essentially the most important matter.
Our organization shows fundamental principles to raise one’s virtue and enables direct contact with seniors members who possess those essential characteristics, but the excellent point more than anything else is that we offer specific methods to encourage each other. It seems to be quite difficult to raise one’s virtue alone because it is exhibited only when people communicate with people.
There is a something called “Masonic Protocol” in our organization. We could have the opportunity to improve one’s personality through various lodge activities by observing this courtesy and etiquette. This education system may also be the reason why our organization is long-lasting.
- Basic Principles as unwavering guidelines are expressed clearly
- There are living models
- Offers specific methods of grow
These are just the part of many good things of experiential Freemasonry.
Please relay some of your experiences directly to the people around occasionally.
We would never solicit, but we should tell the good parts of masonry freely if requested. Small seeds such as words or actions to your solid, familiar friends could grow up to become an admirable tree of masonry. Since it is the era where electronic information dominates, I believe the power of words transmitted from our mouth to ears.
However, is it really possible to improve the image society has?
I believe we can.
Like the story of the man planting trees making a forest. Experience and word each one of us have has a power to expand the forest of masonry when it was told to reliable friends. If there were 100 masons, there are 100 experiences and words. I do believe the power of them. All masons here are my brothers. We are surrounded by wise and wide-experienced seniors, and many energetic fellowships. There is no reason we cannot do. It is said that 21st Century is an age of heart. Number of people wishing their growth and improvement, and being interested in masonry is increasing.
“Make good person better”
Our organization has a potential to develop dramatically by being recognized correctly. Age needs us.
I will go back to the question at beginning.
“Do you tell your friend that you are a mason?”
The time has come. Speak with confidence.
“In my experience…”
I really appreciate all of you for your kind cooperation.
Shinya Takeda, Grand Master
Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Japan