Masonry in Japan

The First One Hundred Years: 1866 to 1966

Tamotsu Murayama

Brother Tamotsu Murayama requested, and was allowed, to deliver the following speech:

Most Worshipful Grand Master Baradi, Most Worshipful Past Grand Master Goldenberg, Distinguished Grand Lodge Officers and Fraternal Brothers:

In this Holy Temple of the Almighty Architect of Universe and Creator, I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation for your fraternal invitation extended to me. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the Philippines as Deputy Chief of the Japanese Boy Scout contingent to the First National Jamboree of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines to aid Chief Scout Mishima, who is also a fraternal brother. As you know this scout movement is one of the most important movements in this part of the world to cultivate the spirit of democracy and freedom in the minds of coming generations.

More than four years ago, many of you Grand Lodge officers came to Japan to confer upon me the most distinguished honor to be raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason as the first Japanese national in Japan in the history of Freemasonry. At this very moment, my dream of dreams was realized to stand before this sacred altar of this Holy Temple of the Grand Lodge.

In this the 38th Annual Communication of our Grand Lodge, history has been made. Among other outstanding events, you have approved the organization of a District Grand Lodge for Japan; for this we are eternally grateful. For my part, I wish to fulfill my duty as the first Japanese Master Mason. I have to merit your confidence placed in me.

Bro. Mishima and I actually paved the way through for present day Freemasonry in Japan, for more than two years ago we were actually initiated into this great universal fraternity, we approached Japanese government officials for various negotiations in order to start the fraternal activities. Therefore, our Masonic duty is to serve silently to strengthen the foundation of this Fraternity in Japan. Due to anti-Masonic campaign or Masonophobia advanced by Japanese militarists and Catholics, there is a great deal of misunderstanding in the minds of Japanese people toward this Fraternity. When I realize how much our Filipino brothers had to fight for the fraternity, our Masonic history in Japan is just in an embryonic stage.

We, Japanese Masons have many miles to travel in order to strengthen the Masonic front in Japan. It is no easy task to perform. We need your constant encouragement-even punishment for our negligence to perform our duties Masonicly.

Masonicly speaking, Japan is an old country. That is—when Commodore Perry visited Japan to open the door of Japan to the world more than 100 years ago, Masonic meetings were held.

In order to cultivate the Masonic spirits in Japan, it requires to have a constant encouragement such as Most Worshipful Past Grand Master Goldenberg's inspiring visit to whip the sleeping Masonic conscience of Japanese Masons. We certainly appreciate your visit and the visit of Past and Present Grand Officers from the Grand Lodge as often as possible.

This Masonic inspiration is something different from that of an ordinary inspiration of diplomatic or political nature as you know.

I am standing in this Holy Temple, of which your distinguished first President of the Philippine Commonwealth, Mr. Manuel L. Quezon, was the first Filipino Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines.

Fraternal Brothers, it is my happy memory to recall Mr. Quezon because I was one of the first and charter members of the Japanese-Filipino Club in San Francisco, California, to aid Mr. Quezon's struggle to win the independence as early as 1927 or thereabouts. It was a very humble part for me to play, however, I welcomed him many times in San Francisco, and he enjoyed Japanese dinners and attended benefit dance parties to assist his cause.

"Some day I can invite you to Manila," said President Quezon. Right this moment I am here in Manila in this Holy Temple to recall the great character of the Philippines. Alas, he is no more!

He has been a guiding light for many of us Asians in our struggle to promote democratic spirit and fraternity. In spite of my past relations with President Quezon, I never knew that he was the Mason of Masons until I came to the Philippines to attend the first national Jamboree. Therefore, I was christened to the spirit of Freemasonry by Bro. Quezon for many, many years before I was actually brought to the door step of this universal fraternity of humanity and brotherly love.

The spirit of Freemasonry was already and adequately proven to me and demonstrated to me so beautifully.

As I stand here this evening before this sacred altar of testimony, wonderful memories of Bro. Quezon are flashing through my mind.

"He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is Love" shouted Bro. Quezon, and praised your national hero and Mason, Rizal. Although I came here for the first time in my life, I do not feel that I am an alien to this country. Thanks to you, Most Worshipful Grand Master Baradi, I can say now that I came back to my country—the country of my dreams and admiration. Without Bro. Goldenberg's efforts and assurances, I could not be here today. Thanks to you all for your assurances. I can feel your warm hearts so closely. I also feel that as if I returned from a long journey-certainly it was a long journey-it took me more than a quarter of a century to reach here from the shores of California since my first acquaintance with Bro. Quezon.

I came to the Philippines with our Scouts with our serious determination and humble prayer to serve the cause of humanity unselfishly as well as expressing our sincere plea for your forgiveness. We were more or less expecting to be accused in some way or another due to much-rumored anti-Japanese sentiments here. Contrary to our expectations, we are overwhelmed by your amnesty as well as hospitality.

Of course, there were some negligible incidents, but just imagine 6,000 Filipino Scouts and nearly 25,000 visitors are trying to approach the Japanese Boy Scout camp at Jamboree City, Quezon City. They express their intimate feeling—some speak Japanese—and still others confide their Japanese blood in their veins. Their parents or close relatives might have been killed by our soldiers during the war, but nobody came around to accuse the Japanese Scouts.

"Let us bury the past" said a Scout from Davao in his tears, and shook hands with us. I was more than impressed, and I could not help to cry with him.

Most Worshipful Grand Master Mauro Baradi, you have sacrificed and won much for Freemasonry. I'll never forget your tearful, challenging and impressive oration delivered in Tokyo when you came to help in raising me, in which you mentioned that your only brother was killed by a Japanese soldier and that the same situation could be said of many other Filipino brothers. In spite of this crime, you said that you Filipino brothers are determined to open the door of Freemasonry for Japanese in order to extend your fraternal hearts to us, because you did not want to inherit the hatred and transmit it to your children; and that you want to win friends through Masonic teachings and not through force of arms. How impressive it was, Bro. Baradi! The Masons of Japan are greatly indebted to you.

Here—Godfather Goldenberg, you have shown us your bullet wounds by Japanese soldiers. In spite of humiliations and inhuman crimes, you endeavored to make us your fraternal brothers.

Here this evening, I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation to every one of you, Masons in the Philippines, for your magnanimous determination and fraternal demonstration. You have accepted us fraternally instead of revenging with hatred.

Before Almighty Architect of Universe and Creator there is no race and creed. Our brotherly love alone can achieve any difficulties toward the realization of a better world.

As the first Japanese Master Mason, let me sincerely express my appreciation for your demonstration of brotherly love Masonicly.

Where all is understood, all is forgiven. Yes, we have to do everything we can to eradicate existing misunderstandings. And at the same time, we have to repay injuries in order to live peaceably with all men.

We, Masons in Japan, are challenged to do our part sincerely and honestly. Particularly, the Japanese Masons must face the situation squarely to prove our conscientiousness to our fellow brothers in the Philippines.

You have proven to me the real meaning of Masonic Brotherly Love, through which we have to do our best to make this world a better place to live in for all of us. The age of preaching is over—the time has come to do our part with the spirit of Brotherly Love unselfishly—not for his own glory—not for his own personal successor position.

We are challenged to be good Masons in heart and in deeds. We stand and face the judgment of Almighty Father of Universe and Creator whether we are living and serving God as Masons.

We pray for light to give us courage to live like strong Masons in words and action. With this prayer, I sent a stone lantern here with the aid of our brothers in the name of Tokyo Lodge 125.

When the Masons join hands across the ocean, we can iron out many difficult problems in order to restore peace and confidence in this world.

Let us erect the Masonic pillars as in King Solomon's Temple.

(This speech was received with applause, and a resolution was adopted to insert it in the proceedings.)