Lodge 640 History [09]

The Post-War Years

Lodge Star in the East No. 640 was the first Masonic lodge in Japan to resume labour after the Pacific War, holding its first post-War meeting on Tuesday, April 9, 1946.

With the help of senior officials of GHQ, the lodge was able to regain possession of the Temple building it had occupied before the War. This building, affectionately known as the Bluff Temple after the Yokohama Bluff on which it stood, had been confiscated by the Japanese authorities and handed over to a film company. Little use was made of the building during the War years, and it had fallen into a state of disrepair.

Recovery of confiscated furniture and regalia proved much more difficult. Efforts by the Japanese police to track down the whereabouts of missing items resulted in the return of only a grandfather clock, an organ, and two chairs. [see Japanese Police Letter]

The immediate post-War years saw an upsurge in Masonic membership worldwide, Japan being no exception. As the only active lodge in Japan, Star in the East was overwhelmed with applications, as the following table shows:

1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 Dormant 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950
15 4 9 1 2 - 56 90 23 5 15

By 1947 the number of expatriate Masons in Japan had grown substantially and many of them sought to form their own lodges by applying for dispensations from overseas Grand Lodges. One such lodge was Tokyo American Lodge under dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, another was Tokyo Naval Masonic Lodge under dispensation from the Grand Lodge of the Philippines. Within a short space of time fifteen new lodges were instituted under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines. These lodges were eventually to become the core of the new Grand Lodge of Japan, founded in 1957.

One of these new lodges (Far East Lodge No. 124, later to become Far East Lodge No. 1 under the Grand Lodge of Japan) was established in Yokohama and shared use of the Bluff Temple with Lodge Star in the East and a Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star.