Friendly Tips from Far East Lodge No. 1 F. & A. M.

Nov. 1982 – Feb. 1983


Greetings, Brethren:

As you can surmise from the heading of this article, this will most likely be the last time I will have the pleasure of addressing you "From the East". My 14 months in the East are about finished and by the time you receive this issue, Brother William "Jim" LaSalle will have been installed in the Oriental Chair. I will have the pleasure of serving Bro. Jim and the rest of you Brethren again this year as your Secretary. Returning also in his now familiar slot will be MWB Yoshio Yamada, PGM, as Treasurer. Moving up, for which we are all most happy, is Bro. Katsuhiko Otani who will serve as our Senior Warden this year. Our newcomer to the line-up but unfortunately soon to leave us is Bro. Robert A. Moore as Junior Warden. Our other officers are noted on the inside of the front cover. To WB Jim, we wish every success for a fruitful and peaceful year in the East. WB Jim would have been installed as WM in December of 1982, however, he acquired an "attachment" to Korea commencing in November of 1982 and just returned to the land of the Rising Sun in late February 1983. I will leave it to Bro. Jim to explain his "attachment" to Korea.

We still are in "temporary" quarters with no projected move date. The folks in Maonic Hall, Ltd. are no doubt working the problem but just have not yet reached an acceptable solution. We wait with patience as befitting our Masonic teachings.

The final figures for 1982 were:

Dual Member 1 Demitted 3 Initiations 1
Restored 6 Suspended—NPD 4 Passings 0
TOTAL GAINS 7 Died 3 Raisings 0
    TOTAL LOSSES 10    

Number of Master Masons on the Rolls as of 01/01/82: 283

Number of Master Masons on the Rolls as of 12/31/82: 280

Financially we fared better than the previous two years. We received ¥1,234,445 in dues, fees, and interest on investments while we spent ¥1,116,750, which includes ¥761,400 for Grand Lodge Head Tax for 1981 and 82. The Lodge only "spent" a total of ¥355,750 of which: ¥139,500 was for CHARITY; ¥82,320 was for printing the FTs; ¥50,000 was for the House Committee; ¥23,200 was for Grand Lodge Fees and supplies; ¥25,000 was for our 1982 Installation Program; ¥82,320 was for postage; and ¥8,990 was for Installation Pictures.

We have a total of ¥15,933,956 invested of which: ¥8,369,873 is Life Membership Fund money; ¥3,082,722 is Temple Trust Fund money; and the balance of ¥4,481,361 belongs to the General Fund. We ended the year with ¥1,242,241 cash on hand in the General Fund for a Net Worth of ¥5,606,307.

In dollars (which is in addition to the Yen account) we started the year with $1,004.99; we received a total of $1910.00; we spent a total of $287.00 for postage and supplies; we ended the year with $2627.99 in cash on hand in the bank, all General Fund Money. Like I said, Brethren, we finished the year much better off financially than the previous two years. We weren't paying any Lawyer's fees!

We awarded 17 Twenty-five Year Pins and we have 24 members for which we have no current mailing address, 22 of which are life members!

Finally, Brethren, our Issue of Concern continues. On the following pages you will see that the Brethren continue to express their concern in writing. For that we are grateful as it will require the combined thinking of all to enable us to reach acceptable solutions. In this regard, we have taken the first step by accepting WB Myron G. Bettencourt's proposed Resolution to amend the Constitution and Code of the Grand Lodge. You will find WB Bettencourt's proposed Resolution in this issue. We think this is a positive step in the direction that the Grand Lodge must go in order to perpetuate Masonry in Japan; however, until it is passed/accepted by Grand Lodge convened next month (March 82), it cannot be implemented. We pray for acceptance but only time will tell.

With love always, I am,


Worshipful Master
21 February 1983
Yokohama, Japan


WB Stanley M. Sagara, PM

Enclosed is my dues for 1983. I have read your last two F/Ts with great interest. When I first joined Moriyama Lodge at Grant Heights in 1954 we met in temporary quarters. When I later jointed Kantō Lodge 143 we again met in temporary quarters. Before and after each lodge meetings the officers and members were required to set up and take down all furniture and equipment. We did it with dedication and loyalty to the Craft and our Brethren. We also were concerned with obtaining new members as fast as we would lose members through transfers and it was apparent that the "military lodges" were only temporary and that Japanese members would have to fill the ranks if the lodges were long to continue in carrying on the work of the Craft in Japan.

WB Tom, your problem is not a new one and wise heads have foretold your present situation years ago. It is unfortunate that Freemasonry has not caught on more rapidly in Japan as we would have hoped for, but do not despair. There is a very definite change of winds in Japan at present. The rise in the economy is about to level off and the pace of life in Japan will become a more steady beat. I believe that this will have a definite change in memberships in fraternal organizations. What is most needed is for the Masonic Fraternity in Japan (GL of Japan) to take the lead to maintain a high profile in the news media, to keep the purpose of Freemasonry in public view. Social revolutions are predicted to take seventy years, you must give Freemasonry in Japan some more time.

I realize that these thoughts will not solve your immediate problem, but then again the problem has been with us for a number of years.

In the May—Oct 82 F/Ts WB Bruce A. Riffle has misquoted Bro. Rudyard Kipling, (perhaps not intentionally). The opening lines of The Ballad of the East and West are as follows:

'Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgement Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand fact to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!'

Perhaps these few lines say a lot for our Masonic Fraternity.

* * *

Bro. Robert A. Yoder

I have nothing to add to the concerns only that I am heartsick for you that you are bearing the burden. Keep your chin high as I know you are and maybe things will work out."

* * *

WB Byron D. Brown, PM

Just a few words to let you know that all is well in Naples but Dollie & I really miss Japan.

Have been receiving the F/Ts like clockwork and it always brightens my day. Congratulations on another very fine year as WM of Far East #1.

After attending several lodges in the US and the local lodge here in Naples I thought you might like to know that your ideas (as presented in previous F.T.'s) are not as radical as some may think. In fact, there are a surprising number of Brethren who feel exactly as you do on items pertaining to membership. So Masonry is not losing ground in Japan alone, but in many areas as well. Maybe if a few more Masons will muster up the gumption to speak their mind as you do then the radical ones will be those bent on living in the past.

I was especially pleased to read some of the Brethren's responses to your article. I for one agree that although some of the ideas presented are of a radical nature, they nevertheless present the problem and in many cases the solution in an accurate and precise manner which makes it very difficult to refute. I am sure there are many who disagree for whatever reason. But, you at least, present solutions and not just more problems and until better solutions are presented I for one will support your ideas.

Masonry in Italy is, at the moment anyway, very low-key. Still recovering from the problems presented by Lodge P-2 two years ago. I have not had much of an opportunity as yet to get active here as my job requires a lot of traveling and at very short notice. The English-speaking lodge near the base uses the California Ritual so I am looking forward to getting involved when possible.

During our trip here, Dollie and I had the opportunity to visit the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Washington, D.C. I must say that for any Mason to pass through D.C. and not stop there is missing a real heart warming experience. It is absolutely Beautiful.

Well my few words have generated into about 3 pages so I'll close for now. Please give my Sincere Fraternal greetings to all the Brethren and although I am halfway around the word, I think of you each daily.

* * *

Bro. Lawrence G. Kayo

I read your recent Friendly Tips and remember when I was the Lodge Secretary back in 1956-57 and was the Editor of the FTs and had to mail out dues notices, etc., to an unbelievable number of Brethren around the world.

I really don't know how you hang in there. You deserve more than we could ever tell you.

This year one of my sons enlisted in the Navy. Should he be fortunate enough to visit the Far East, I shall have him look you up.

I have longed many time to return for a trip just once. I hope that I will be able to make it after I retire. Regards and fraternal greetings to any Brethren who remember me. I have many fond memories. Keep up the good work. I shall support you as long as I'm around.

* * *

Bro. Robert B. Tomlinson

Your latest copy, Friendly Tips, arrived late last month along with the notice of dues. I am forwarding herewith my check in amount of $20.00 to cover these dues until 31 Dec. 1983.

I am convinced you do have an "Issue of Concern"; for no one person should be asked to serve as Worshipful Master, Secretary, and editor of the Friendly Tips from Far East Lodge #1. You are really alone in the Lodge and with your illness you should not be pressured by all these important duties. I feel helpless here and I'm sure I don't comprehend all the work you have done and are doing to try to move the lodge forward. I pray you will try to take it easier — certainly someone from Grand Lodge should be helping when the lodge faces such important problems.

I have been asked to demit many times; have 2 blue lodges right here in Beaufort. My answer has always been that I was raised in Far East #1 and felt that since the lodge did face some problems my dues and prayers should remain there. I have not changed my mind, my Brother.

On 2 August 1949, when I was raised, we had many workers and enthusiasm was high; because, may we say, the Americans had taken over, and the lodge was like unto one in the U.S.A. With recent changes this apparently has deteriorated to a mere few workers to carry on the good work. I know no easy solution.

I, like you, hope the lodge will not need to close in 1983; and I join you in a prayer that it will be able to continue.

* * *

Bro. Noel J. Paine

Thank you for continuing your work. You may call on me at any time for assistance, both morally and financially, along with our remaining Brethren.

Please be assured I am delighted to receive "Friendly Tips" and I am most appreciative of your work and Masonic dedication.

There is always a beginning and an end, as surely as life itself. Do not be dismayed.

* * *

WB Myron G. Bettencourt, PM

Having been the subject of much controversy during the past few years I had decided to keep a low profile, but your letter in the February-April 1982 Friendly Tips just begs a reply. I regret that it has taken me so long to make that reply.

I support your contention that until the Grand Lodge of Japan becomes truly the Grand Lodge of Japan it will sputter along on one cylinder and nobody will benefit. I do not derogate from any of the Past Grand Masters; I believe they were truly dedicated to promoting Masonry. However, I also think that the initial emphasis in the late 40's and early 50's was more to provide Masonry for the Americans than anything else. As the records of many lodges attest, the early lodges were 'Degree Mills' working weekly late into the night and raising two, three, or more at a time. This practice did little to build a solid base among the Japanese, and still doesn't.

I am sure that it was purely coincidental on your part to include the Masonic Shimbun with the article about Brother Nile's experiences in Europe. It emphasises to me the importance of formulating basic policies appropriate to the country. a step that was not taken when the Grand Lodge of Japan was formed.

Why indeed can't a man be invited to join the Masons? All rituals I am familiar with only ask if the decision to join was freely made by the petitioner. An invitation to participate does not force membership. The individual makes the final decision to petition or not to petition. As you stated, in Japan it is not natural to push oneself forward! A man expects to be invited to join a social organization or fraternity. There is a saying in Japan which loosely translates "A nail which sticks up is pounded down". Few, if any, Japanese want to be thought of as a nail which needs to be pounded down.

I would advocate some very fundamental, immediate changes in the governing regulations of the Grand Lodge of Japan to make Masonry more palatable to the Japanese Nationals.

  1. Acknowledge a petitioner as a Freemason when initiated, entitled to attend all business meetings and to a Masonic Funeral should such be necessary. To admit Entered Apprentices to the business meetings would necessitate changing the rules to permit the meetings to be held in the First Degree. There is precedence to be found for this practice among the premier Grand Lodges.
  2. Revise the laws of the Grand Lodge to require all business of the constituent lodges, except election of officers, to be held in the First Degree. Revise the ritual to require opening of the lodge on the First Degree and pass or raise when conferrals are to be held.
  3. Eliminate the lengthy and involved proficiency examination and substitute a simple short examination. Too often the proficiency examination only demonstrates that the examiner is proficient, a man is a Mason in his heart long before he learns the extensive ritualistic catechism.

I cannot agree with your proposal to limit active membership in Grand Lodge to Japanese Nationals. Lodge Masters, regardless of nationality, should be members of Grand Lodge as at present. Each and every Mason should have the opportunity of progressing through the chairs of a constituent lodge and of Grand Lodge. As long as there are lodges working on military bases there will be American Masters, and they should be entitled to represent their lodge in the Grand Lodge. An alternative to your proposal would be that each lodge would be entitled to cast policy votes based on the percentage of Japanese Nationals in the lodge.

Having been so long in rendering my reply I have had the opportunity to read what some of the other members of the lodge think. It is most gratifying to see the overwhelming support that is represented by the letters you have published in subsequent issues of the Friendly Tips. I realize that perhaps the Brothers who disagree will not take the time to write, but the Brothers who have taken the time to write are all basically in agreement with the stand you advocate. I hope that your efforts may bear fruit in the near future to the betterment of Masonry in Japan.

As a first step in promoting what I have advocated above, I enclose some resolutions for consideration of the lodge and presentation to the Grand Lodge for their consideration at the next annual communication.

Please feel free to modify these proposed resolutions as you see fit, or if you think proper, disregard them.

Editor's Note: The following Resolution, submitted by WB Bettencourt, was adopted by the Lodge with minor modifications at its stated meeting of 05 January 1983 and has been forwarded for consideration by Grand Lodge convened at its annual communication. It is reproduced here for your information and benefit.


Whereas the Grand Lodge of Japan was formulated to provide the government of Masonry for and of all Masons within the sovereign country of Japan, and

Whereas the operation of the Grand Lodge and the constituent lodges should conform to the mores of the country rather than those of another country, and

Whereas strong affirmative action is necessary to increase the number of Japanese nationals in the Grand Lodge,

It is hereby resolved that the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Japan be amended to require that all constituent lodges open all meetings on, and conduct business (other than election of officers) in the First Degree. Only Master Masons would be entitled to vote on the expenditure of lodge funds, but all would be entitled to a voice on the business of the lodge.

Be it further resolved that the Constitution of the Grand Lodge be amended to acknowledge that once initiated as an Entered Apprentice the Brother is entitled to the benefits of a Masonic funeral if the Brother should die before being raised.

Be it further resolved that the Constitution of the Grand Lodge be amended to admit Entered Apprentices and Fellows-of-Craft to the annual Grand Lodge communication, without vote or voice.

To effect these changes, revised articles to the Grand Lodge Constitution are attached hereto.

Respectfully Submitted:

/s/ Myron G. Bettencourt

Past Master

Far East Lodge No. 1, F&AM

Proposed Amendments to the Constitution and Code of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Japan.

Article 6 which now reads:
Any past master who moves into this jurisdiction from any other shall, on his becoming a member of a lodge herein, be entitled to all the rights and privileges of a past master in this jurisdiction.

Master Masons in good standing may, in the discretion of the Grand Master, be granted the privilege of seats at Grand Lodge communications, said Master Masons when admitted shall be without a vote or the right of participation in Grand Lodge deliberations.

Be amended to read:
Any past master who moves into this jurisdiction from any other shall, on his becoming a member of a lodge herein, be entitled to all the rights and privileges of a past master in this jurisdiction.

Entered Apprentices, Fellows-of-Craft, and Master Masons may be granted the privilege of seats at Grand Lodge communications, said Entered Apprentices, Fellows-of-Craft and Master Masons when admitted shall be without a vote or the right of participation in Grand Lodge deliberations.

* * *

Article 89, which now reads:
No member of a lodge, when present, shall be excused or permitted to refrain from voting upon an application for affiliation, dual membership, or for the degrees of Masonry.

Should be amended to read:
No Master Mason of a lodge, when present, shall be excused or permitted to refrain from voting upon an application for affiliation, dual membership, or for the degrees of Masonry.

* * *

Article 101 which now reads:
None but members in good standing whose dues are paid, shall be entitled to vote at an election; and every voter shall be eligible to any office in the lodge (refer to Art. 29). In case of dual membership, however, such members cannot hold offices in their two lodges at the same time.

Should be amended to read:
None but Master Masons in good standing whose dues are paid, shall be entitled to vote at an election; and every voter shall be eligible to any office in the lodge (refer to Art. 29). in case of dual membership, however, such members cannot hold offices in their two lodges at the same time.

* * *

Article 106 which now reads:
All balloting for candidates must take place in the Third Degree, and at a stated meeting of the lodge.

Should be amended to read:
All balloting for candidates must take place at a stated meeting of the lodge. Only Master Masons are entitled to ballot.

* * *

Chapter XXXIV Article IV Section 3 which now reads:
Every person raised to the degree of Master Mason in this lodge, (except when such degree shall have been conferred at the request of another lodge), or elected to be a member thereof, shall sign its by-laws.

Should be amended to read:
Every person initiated in this lodge, or elected to be a member thereof, shall sign its by-laws, except when such degree shall have been conferred at the request of another lodge.

* * *

Chapter XXXIV Article IX should be amended by adding:
Section 5. No member shall be chargeable with dues until he has been raised as a Master Mason. no Entered Apprentice or Fellow-of-Craft shall be considered in arrears for dues at any time.

* * *

Section 60, General Laws of the Grand Lodge which now reads:
Business — When conducted. — All business of a constituent lodge must be conducted when open on the Third Degree, except examinations for advancement.

Should be amended to read:
Business — When conducted. — All business of a constituent lodge, except election of officers and examinations for advancement, must be conducted when open on the First Degree.

* * *

Chapter XV Section 92 which now reads:
Who entitled. — One of the rewards of faithful Masonic life is the honor of a Masonic burial, at the request of a member of his family or by his lodge, except when requested of a lodge by a member thereof in good standing, or by his family, a Masonic burial shall only be at the discretion of the Master of the lodge at whose hands the honor is sought, having in view the customs of the fraternity and the welfare of the craft. none but Master Masons in good standing can receive a Masonic burial.

Should be amended by changing the last sentence to read:
Entered Apprentices, Fellows-of-Craft and Master Masons in good standing can receive a Masonic burial.

* * *

Section 93 which now reads:
What lodge. — All Masonic burials must be by a lodge of Master Masons, and no Entered Apprentice or Fellow Craft can be admitted to the procession.

Should be amended to read:
What lodge. — All Masonic burials must be by a lodge of Master Masons. Entered Apprentice and Fellows-of-Craft may be admitted to the procession.

* * *

Bro. Merrill C. Albury

It appears that the problems with Far East Lodge #1 are slowly being resolved. Although I was never happy with us having to move out of our long-time abode, after reading some of the history I understand the "Rights" of our evictors, although I did not and still cannot understand the real Masonic justice of the issue. It appeared that they gained right to the land due to the tragedy of war and not through the process of voluntary relinquishment. Even this being the case, I am thankful that some of my Brothers saw fit to preserve the entity of the lodge even though the material structure will be different. I hope 1983 will find Far East No. 1 permanently settled and the issues put to rest.

As to the latest Friendly Tips, I found many of my thoughts reflected in the letters of my fellow Brethren. When I first returned to the States in 1978 and ever since, I have found no corners as square nor Brotherhood as close as that I felt in FE #1. The floor work here is quick and less than sharp. Major concern is given to being an expert on the rules of the Grand Lodge while corners become rounder and lectures become monotonous. I have now settled at 200 Arch Road, Chesapeake, VA 233210 and am Executive Officer on a dry dock being overhauled in Philadelphia. As soon as I move myself down to Norfolk in April or May I hope to find out about Virginia Lodges. The issue of Blacks as addressed by Brother Harris is an issue that truly bears airing. we are a Brotherhood of Man whose ties reach to every corner of the earth and encompass every nationality. Why should we find justified the exclusion of any person who meets the requirements of the fraternity, not the stretched "truth" of not freeborn used to exclude our fellow man. These "truths" lead to war and not the Brotherhood of Man. For this same reason I feel that we should not exclude any non-citizen (Japanese citizen) from serving in any lodge or Grand Lodge of Japan. I agree that the Japanese must become the majority controllers of their Grand Lodge but this should be by the will of all Masons in Japan and not by edict. I also think that the use of the native tongue of the country should be the norm unless special reasons are identified for the use of another language and the Grand Lodge gives special dispensation to that lodge (i.e. Yokosuka 20 on a military base).

Well, I could go on and on but have gotten some of my ideas off of my chest in the above paragraphs and will stop here. I pray that the wisdom of the Great Architect of the Universe will guide your decisions and the direction of the Masonic order in Japan.

* * *

Bro. Edward O. Crouch

Your 'Issues of Concern' were certainly thought provoking and rightfully so. I have always considered that any organization, when the active membership becomes ineffective, the organization begins its long slide into oblivion. An organization can have strength in numbers but unless the numbers are active, the true strength is unrecognizable and as a result 'little sought after'. This is probably recognized by the learned men throughout our worldly organization but they hesitate to apply the remedial medicine. One need only consider the many changes in the various denominations of religion; changes in staid laws which were developed and served their purpose throughout many years but which have become outmoded because of the progress and changes in both the related and other influential fields. Perhaps we do agree with those changes but at least a medicinal effort is being made both to bolster numbers and encourage a more active participation.

I guess all of this preamble really leads to my central thought 'an Education program' and I use the word education to distinguish from solicitation, advertising and other verbiage which to me connotates 'selling'. How many times have you, I, and the other Brothers been asked: 'Masonry — what is it?' This is an educational question and when explained properly with organization, goals, limitations, relationship with fellow man, and benefits all outlined; the mystique vanishes and an understanding develops and above all an interest may be activated. I have never heard a person speak of this subject other than in lodge.

Our Japanese Brethren need to be recognized, their needs and our needs certainly coincide as well as do those in other countries. Our strength lies in this recognition and a continued harmonious relationship.

In closing and as I reread, perhaps the text is rather rambling but I pray it conveys some glimmer of thought.