Early Masonic History of Kobe

The first Masonic Lodge established in Japan was Yokohama Lodge No. 1092 consecrated June 26, 1866. Consecration was carried out by a Bro. Cartwright, a Past Provincial GM for Western India, SC.

Otentosama Lodge No 1263 EC in Yokohama, warranted on July 29, 1869, was the second Lodge. Nippon Lodge No. 1344 EC consecrated May 27, 1871, in Tokyo was the third Lodge.

The fourth Lodge in Japan, and the first in Kobe, was Lodge Hiogo & Osaka No 498 SC and was consecrated May 14, 1870, at the lodge room of the International Club, now the Kobe Club.

On February 16, 1871, the foundation stone of a new masonic building was laid at 81 Kyomachi by Bro. Major Thomas William Kinder, who was in charge of the Government Mint at Osaka and was one of the most prominent of the international community. He became the first Master of Rising Sun Lodge in 1872.

Rising Sun Lodge No 1401 EC was constituted on November 17, 1872, as the fifth Lodge in Japan. Of the petitioners for the warrant, Bros. J. C. Abell and J. W. Hart, the architect of the masonic hall, were also petitioners for the charter of Lodge Hiogo & Osaka. Another three of the Rising Sun's petitioners were Past Masters of Lodge Hiogo & Osaka.

Bro. Maurice Fitzgerald, a petitioner for the Hiogo & Osaka charter, became the Master of Rising Sun in 1885 and again in 1887.

Bro. J. J. Enslie, Junior Deacon of Rising Sun in 1872 and Treasurer and Secretary in 1873, and Master of Hiogo & Osaka in 1874 and 1895, was the British Vice-Consul in Osaka and later Consul in Kobe.

Bro. George Harvey Whymark, who was Master of Rising Sun in 1888, 1890 and 1905, and Treasurer from 1892 to 1904, was also Secretary of Hiogo & Osaka from 1892 to 1895.

Bro. C. A. Heimann. Tyler in 1872 and Senior Warden in 1874 of Rising Sun, was Master of Hiogo & Osaka in 1875. He was a partner in Mourilyan, Heimann & Co., one of the two largest British firms at the time.

Bro. H. St. J. Browne of Goldsmith & Browne, the other of the two largest British firms, was the Treasurer and Secretary of Rising Sun in 1874 and Master of Hiogo & Osaka in 1876. He and A. C. Sim are credited with having made the largest individual contributions to the development and running of the settlement.

Bro. Dr. T. C. Thornicraft, who was the senior foreign doctor in the settlement and was much loved and respected, became Inner Guard of Rising Sun in 1875 and Master in 1879 and 1893.

District Grand Lodge of Japan EC was formed on June 6, 1873, with the three English Lodges in Yokohama and Tokyo and Rising Sun in Kobe. The sixth Lodge in Japan was Lodge Star in the East No 640 SC in Yokohama.

In 1902, premises were acquired at 48 Nakayamate-dori 2-chome for the new Corinthian Hall. It housed the Lodges and the Masonic Club, consisting of a library, bar, billiard room with three tables, and an office.

Return to Index Page