In 2018 BR David Carrano and two other Freemasons had a simple desire – conduct Masonic community involvement in the communities in which they lived. They talked with other Brothers in the Shonan area, and the group grew to add six more members including BR Katsuyuki Nakazawa and BR Bill Young. The simple desire also expanded into a grand vision of there being a Masonic Lodge in each prefecture of Japan.
As the first step in achieving our vision, we selected Fujisawa, the central city and transportation hub of Shonan, as the location for our Lodge. We sincerely hope Freemasonry will travel along the Tokaido to Nagoya (the next nearest Lodge in that direction) by adding Lodges in cities and towns along the way.
What is Freemasonry?
“Freemasonry is a beautiful system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. ”
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that seeks the self-improvement of its members and, through them, the improvement of society. This self-improvement is carried out by borrowing the narratives and symbols of medieval stonemasons and using them to teach fundamental lessons of truth, morality, brotherly love, and charity.
In their meetings, Masons imitate the gatherings of ancient stonemasons. The cutting and polishing of stones is used, for example, to illustrate the shaping of personality, the construction of King Solomon’s Temple to symbolize the building of character, and tools such as squares and compasses to represent virtues such as honesty, prudence, and moderation.
Many Masons are convinced that Freemasonry began with the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717.
In that year four of the many lodges in the London area met at a tavern to discuss the possibility of cooperating in annual events. For several years little came of this initiative until, in 1723, a concerted effort was launched to create a supervising body and persuade hitherto independent lodges to recognize its authority. Many lodges preferred to remain independent and Freemasonry got off to an unsteady start. Lodges in Ireland and Scotland were equally reluctant to abdicate their authority to a new organization. The Grand Lodge of Ireland was founded in 1725 and the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736. The oldest Grand Lodge in the United States is that of Massachusetts, which traces its origins to 1733. While Masonic Lodges have been in Japan since 1866, the Grand Lodge of Japan was constituted in 1957.
Becoming a Freemason
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:
- Finding out about Masonry.
- Choosing a lodge and getting to know the members.
- Submitting an application or ‘petition’.
Remember that the first step is up to you. If you know any Masons, don’t hesitate to ask them about Masonry. If you live in the Shonan area but don’t know any Masons, please feel free to contact us at Shonan Masonic Lodge. We will be delighted to answer your questions. If you live elsewhere, please contact the Grand Lodge of Japan and they will do their best to answer your questions and put you in touch with a convenient lodge.
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