Joining Far East Lodge No. 1 FAQ

How can I join Far East Lodge No. 1?

There's a common misconception that joining Masonry is by invitation only. Nothing could be further from the truth. Masonry places great importance on the 'free will and accord' of the applicant. This means that no one will try to talk you into joining. It's up to you to decide if you want to become a Mason or not.

You become a Mason by joining a lodge. There are usually three steps:

Remember that the first step is up to you. If you know any Masons or any members of Far East Lodge No. 1, don't hesitate to ask them about Masonry. If you don't know any Masons, please contact the lodge directly and we'll do our best to answer your questions.

Do I have a choice of which lodge I join?

Yes! If you live in the Yokohama area, you have a choice of two local lodges: Far East Lodge No. 1 under the Grand Lodge of Japan and Lodge Star in the East No. 640 under the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Both lodges use the same Yokohama Masonic Temple. Many more lodges meet in Tokyo and you might find one of them more convenient. There are also lodges in several other major cities in Japan, and on some of the larger US military or naval facilities. A list of all lodges in Japan is available in the Links Section of this website.

How do I choose a lodge?

This decision will depend on a number of factors, the most important being location, time of meeting, and membership. Masonic meetings are held at least once a month, so most people will apply to the lodge closest to them. Some hold their meetings in the afternoon, others in the evening. Each lodge has its own character or personality, and some people may choose to join a lodge that is slightly farther away, but whose atmosphere suits them better.

In Japan there's another important factor. For historical reasons, there are lodges of many different jurisdictions (Grand Lodge of Japan, Grand Lodge of Scotland, Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Washington, etc.), with different rituals and traditions.

If you're not sure about these differences, or need help with exploring the various options, please don't hesitate to contact Far East Lodge No. 1. We'll be happy to refer you to any other lodges you might find interesting.

What's the application procedure?

The application begins with the submission of a Petition Form, available from the Secretary of Far East Lodge No. 1. You'll need two members of the Lodge to sponsor you, so it's very important to get to know as many members as possible before you apply. After receiving your completed Petition Form, the Lodge will inform the Grand Lodge of Japan of your application. You will then be interviewed, in private, by several members of the Lodge who will report their findings to the Master of the Lodge. If the findings are favorable, the Lodge will hold a secret ballot on your application. If that ballot is favorable, a date will be set for you to become a member by receiving the first degree of Masonry.

How long does it take to become a Mason?

Once you decide to apply, you'll probably want to join as soon as possible, but a little patience is needed. Each stage of your application will have to be discussed and approved at formal meetings of the lodge, which usually take place once a month. On average, it takes two or three months from the time you submit your petition to the time you receive the first degree of Masonry. If your petition is received just before the summer break, or the busy year-end season, it might take a little longer.

Once you've received the first degree of Masonry you'll be known as an Entered Apprentice. With time, you'll be able to receive the second (Fellowcraft) and third (Master Mason) degrees.

How much does it cost to join?

There's a one-time Initiation Fee of 60,000 yen, and an annual fee of 10,500 yen. These fees are in accordance with the Bye-Laws of Far East Lodge No. 1 and have been approved by the Grand Lodge of Japan.

Once I join, will I be able to visit other lodges?

Although there are a few exceptions, you'll have to wait until you become a Master Mason before you can visit other lodges. As a member of Far East Lodge No. 1, you'll be able to visit any lodges recognized by the Grand Lodge of Japan.

I'm a woman. Can I join Far East Lodge No. 1?

Since its foundation in 1957, the Grand Lodge of Japan has accepted only male members. There are, however, some Grand Lodges that accept only female members, or who accept members of both sexes. Currently only one of these Grand Lodges is active in Japan but information about them is readily available on the Web.

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