Masonry in Japan FAQ

How did Masonry come to Japan?

In 1859 Japan emerged from 200 years of isolation and opened the ports of Yokohama and Kobe to international trade. Among the foreign merchants, diplomats and businessmen who settled down in these ports were many Masons. Wishing to continue their Masonic activities in Japan, these Masons formed themselves into lodges, the first being Yokohama Lodge No. 1092 under the United Grand Lodge of England, founded in 1866. Commodore Matthew Perry, the US naval officer who, in 1854, forced the opening of Japan through the signing of the Convention of Kanagawa, was himself a Mason.

How many lodges are there in Japan?

Currently there are 26 lodges in Japan:

Grand Lodge of Japan
Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Washington
Grand Lodge of Scotland
Grand Lodge of the Philippines
United Grand Lodge of England
Grand Lodge of Massachusetts


How many Masons are there in Japan?

This is a difficult question to answer. Each Masonic lodge will report membership numbers to its own Grand Lodge, but it is not easy to obtain such numbers. Furthermore, many Japanese lodges have, for historical reasons, large numbers of overseas members. At a very rough guess, there are 1,500 – 2,000 active Masons in Japan.

What's the proportion of Japanese to foreign Masons?

This will vary from lodge to lodge but, overall, foreign Masons probably outnumber Japanese Masons by about 2 to 1.

What language is spoken in Japanese lodges?

Both English and Japanese are spoken but, as with so many other things, this will vary from lodge to lodge. The 16 lodges under the Grand Lodge of Japan have a choice of conducting the formal part of their meetings (the 'ritual') in either English or Japanese. Some lodges use a combination of both. Far East Lodge No. 1 is bilingual and uses both English and Japanese.

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