SINIM IN TOKYO
Sinim Lodge, which had been operating in the city of Shanghai, China since the early 1900’s with a charter from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was reactivated in Japan in 1952. The Massachusetts` Grand Lodge was responsible for the constitution of several other lodges in China, but by 1950, Grand Master Roger Keith had advised the lodges to go into voluntary recess. In 1952 the charter for Talien Lodge in South Manchuria was revoked and Sinim Lodge was allowed to move from Shanghai to Tokyo.
The suggestion which led to the reactivation and rebirth of Sinim Lodge MC arose from a visit of Bro Anselm Chuh to Joseph N. Sbath in Tokyo in January 1950. They met again in Hong Kong on 11 August 1951, when they had lunch with Bro T. H. Peter Chao at the Parisian Grill on Queen’s Road Central. Bro Chao had just left Shanghai, and he had the original charter of Sinim Lodge with him. Bro Sbath and Bro Kenneth C. Miller located a number of former members of China lodges of the Massachusetts constitution in Kanto, and a masonic club was formed with the object of transplanting a Massachusetts lodge from Shanghai to Tokyo.
Bro. Henry F. Kay and Bro Sbath both started writing to Boston. A letter, written by Bro Kay on 14 January 1952, was countersigned by nine members oí Sinim Lodge, three members of Ancient Landmark Lodge and four members of Hykes Memorial Lodge of Tientsin, and was sent to the Grand Secretary, petitioning for the transfer of Sinim Lodge to Japan. The Grand Master granted a dispensation on 19 April 1952, authorizing the lodge to be transplanted to Tokyo with its jurisdiction extended to include the Empire of Japan, which was “an open masonic territory.”
Bro Hawklin Chuh designed and supervised the making of the regalia in Tokyo, with a complete set of working tools made of sterling silver in Hong Kong. All lodge records had been lost or left behind in China. The only official document available was printed circular No 226, for meeting No 658 held on Tuesday 27 January 1949, from which the emblem showing “Sinim Lodge, Shanghai, China 1903,” was reproduced.
The first general meeting was held in the Tokyo masonic temple on Tuesday, 16 September 1952, when the original charter was brought up from Hong Kong by R W Bro Hyman Hodes, the District Deputy Grand Master and a past master of Hykes Memorial Lodge in Tientsin. He installed the first officers in Japan, at an impressive open ceremonial witnessed by three hundred and fifty visiting masons and their ladies and friends. He was assisted by R W Bro William J. Eichorn, District Grand Master for Japan and past master of the Far East Lodge No 124 PC, as master of ceremonies. A special banquet was given at the American Club with dancing and a floor show. The lodge secretary wrote, “There was never before an open Installation Ceremonial or more sumptuous Masonic Party in Japan.”
Currently Sinim Lodge has over 100 members and has been experiencing a resurgence in attendance and membership.
The original petition of dispensation for this lodge in 1903 bore the name Cathay, as shown below. The charter was issued by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1904.