What is Freemasonry and how did it get to Japan? This question was answered on January 29th by a Trustee of the Japan Society of UK who is an expert on this topic. Ms. Pauline Chakmakjian is a world traveler, history buff, and lecturer who comes to the U.S. periodically to visit family and friends. The Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) took the opportunity during her visit to Hawaii to schedule a luncheon talk featuring Ms. Chakmakjian. Those who attended were not disappointed and were treated to a fascinating talk about the rise of Freemasonry in Europe, the spread of this fraternal organization to the U.S. and the rest of the world, and its establishment in Japan. Throughout her talk, Ms. Chakmakjian tied in historical events and personages, keeping the audience interested and engaged. A lengthy Q&A session that followed showed the level of interest generated.
Ms. Chakmakjian explained that Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century based on guilds. Though it has lost those identities, it still flourishes across the world keeping many of the symbols and practices originally established as hallmarks of this secret society, but it now engages in mostly charitable work. Ms. Chakmakjian lifted the veil of secrecy (it’s not as secret as some might think) through her talk and pointed to the many positive charitable programs the organization started. Now Freemasonry’s membership is estimated at about six million with lodges all over the world.
JASH would like to thank Pauline Chakmakjian for taking the time to speak to our Society members and friends about this interesting topic.