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Brother Kiyoshi "Hiram" Miyagawa Award
2013 Award Recipient
Brother Ken Morgan
Ken Morgan, Award Recipient 2013
 
 
    No history of Masonry in Yokohama would be complete without mentioning the name of the Masonic Temple caretaker Kiyoshi (Hiram) Miyagawa. Hiram is now 71 years of age, of which, it might be well said, that 50 years of his life has been in the service of the craft in the capacity of caretaker. It all started in 1881, shortly after Lodge Star in the East was instituted in Yokohama by Brother Oscar Otte Keil, and Hiram's father, Mankichi Miyagawa, became the first caretaker. Hiram's father remained in this position while the Lodge moved three times, resting finally, at No. 61 Yamashita-cho in 1911 - it was here that he passed away in 1916, after 30 years of service, and it came to pass, that his third son took up his responsibilities.
    Hiram was born in 1892 and became the second Miyagawa to take everything Masonic to himself without knowing any of its mysteries. Hiram took the Lodge through the earthquake of 1923, and into the present Temple which was erected in 1927. 
    It was Hiram who took the Temple through the difficult war years - who hid documents and records in order that they might not be confiscated - who underwent the investigations conducted by the Japanese Government - it was he also who stayed near during the many air raids. There were no doubt many other difficulties not known to anyone but the recipient of the hardship. The craft can surely thank the Great Architect for the services of such a personage during these trying years. 
    Since the end of World War II, Hiram has continued to serve the craft - not only as caretaker of the Temple and grounds, but prepares the Lodge Room for every organization meeting and is always on-hand to assist in serving refreshments in the Collation Room in the Temple (Blue Lodges, O.E.S., DeMolay, Rainbow, etc.). 
    In all, the Miyagawa family has contributed almost a century of service to the craft - a record which probably has no equal in the World of Masonry, in light of the circumstances. There have been many men who have suffered hardship because of their Masonic affiliations, however, it is an odd case where the man is not a Mason, and yet, receives and accepts the hardship. His devotion and fidelity is indeed one to be imitated. 
    At the 71st Stated Meeting of Far East Lodge No. 1 of March 6, 1963, 33 days following his 71st birthday, Hiram was elected to receive the Degrees of Masonry. On the evening of March 20, 1963 more than 80 Masons from Yokohama and the nearby communities were present to see Hiram receive his EA Degree, for the first time in Far East Lodge, exemplified in the Japanese language. 
    Among those present were our PGM's Sadaichi Horiuchi and Nohea O. A. Peck, and four other Grand Lodge Officers, RWB Chester O. Nielsen, Grand Treasurer, VWB Alexander T. Forester, Grand Chaplain, WB Floyd J. Robertson, Senior Grand Lecturer, and WB Mahlon E. Seese, Jr., Jr. Grand Steward. Three other sister Grand Jurisdictions were represented - The Grand Lodge of Scotland by RWB Myron Bettencourt and the Grand Lodge of the Philippines by WB Royal Strickland, Worshipful Masters of Lodge Star in the East 640 of Yokohama and Rising Sun Lodge No. 151 of Camp Zama, respectively, both of whom, together with several officers and Brethren, were on that evening making official visits to Far East Lodge. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was represented by WB Harold Oppenheim, PM of Sinim Lodge in Tokyo. Also present were RWB George W. Colton, PDDGM of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and VWB Robert W. Seeley, DDGM of District #22 under the Grand Lodge of the Philippines, together with 20 first time visitors from the Grand Lodges of California, Arkansas, and Delaware and from Hawaii. 
    The Japanese Ritual was exemplified by WB Yoshio Yamada, PM of Far East Lodge in the East, assisted by Brothers Shinichi Shigenobu of Sagamihara Lodge No. 13, Sadao Fujita of Yokosuka Lodge No. 120 and Brothers Voyce, Noel, Seese, Robertson, Oliver, Nishiyama, Harrison and Cowe of Far East Lodge. 
    Several Brethren spoke of how the evening had demonstrated the true "universality of Masonry". All present were of the common opinion that this was truly a milestone in the history of Far East Lodge No. 1 as we approached our 15th Anniversary, and hoped that in the not too distant future the Grand Lodge of Japan would predominately consist of Japanese members.
 
    Material for the foregoing article was compiled from articles previously appearing in the Friendly Tips written by MWB Nohea O. A. Peck, WB Herbert Wolff, WB Kenneth R. Pearson, Bro Shigeru Nishiyama and the late RWB E. V. Bernard, of Lodge Star in the East No. 640.
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Yokosuka Lodge,
Feb 11, 2014, 6:55 PM
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