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Monday, May 25, 2020

GL of Japan Suspends Recognition of Prince Hall GL of Oklahoma



by Christopher Hodapp

The Grand Lodge of Japan F&AM has just suspended recognition with the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge F&AM of Oklahoma for conducting Masonic activities within its sovereign territory without permission. 

Japan's Grand Master Jeremy Entwistle issued the following notice earlier today:
Notice of Suspension of Recognition of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Oklahoma
Dear Brothers,
One of the principle [sic] foundations for the establishment of fraternal relations between Grand Lodges is the recognition and respect of each Grand Lodge's sovereignty over its territorial jurisdiction. That includes not issuing charters establishing lodges or otherwise carrying out masonic activities within each other's sovereign territory unless specifically allowed by authorization, agreement or treaty between the two Grand Lodges.
Unfortunately, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Oklahoma has been conducting masonic activities within the sovereign territory of Japan without such authorization from our Grand Lodge.
Therefore, and with immediate effect, acting upon a decision by the Executive Committee of the Grand Lodge of Japan, I hereby suspend recognition of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Oklahoma until further notice. If the situation is resolved I will issue further guidance at that time.
Sincerely and fraternally yours,
Jeremy C. R. Entwisle
Grand Master

From what I have been able to find, the MWPHGL of Oklahoma established Cypress Military Lodge 206 in 2009 at Yokota Air Base in Fussa, Tokyo. They also chartered New Beginnings Military Lodge 199 at Yokosuka. I'm unsure when the GL of Japan and the MWPHGL of Oklahoma established mutual recognition, but these particular military lodges have been no secret to anyone. But something happened to raise the hackles of Japan recently, setting this action in motion.

Such, I'm afraid, are among the many obstacles when trying to operate military lodges in foreign nations, especially in the modern communication era. Between accusations of Masonic territorial invasion and the delicate diplomatic dance required for any private clubs meeting on military bases, to say nothing of the strictures of military protocol (lodges can't have 'officers,' they have 'staff'), the potential for problems are numerous. Which is why very few grand lodges anywhere attempt to charter them in the first place anymore.

Hopefully, they will work out their issues quickly.

16 comments:

  1. Two years ago there were signs that this was coming. Some of the local PHA Washington members were likewise complaining about PHA OK “poaching” candidates and trying to recommend suspension of amity within their ranks. I think that may be the root of Japan’s issue as well.

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  2. Wow...I visited Japan last year..

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  3. Really unfortunate when issues like this arise,we are all Masonic Brothers, let's face Masnoie is not new and we all know the proto calls and respectbrother should show brother. Were all inn this boat of life together let's show respect for each other and act like Mason's. May this be resolved with respect and quickly

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  4. They have never been recognized in all my years in this jurisdiction. And they have more unauthorized Lodge's than are listed in this article.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, they most certainly have been recognized by the GL of Japan up until now. And they have been aware of Oklahoma's PH military lodges in that territory since the beginning.

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    2. No Oklahoma was not, Washington is, and discussions were never even brought up until last year. This is my Jurisdiction, and not yours, and as a long standing voting member of my GL, I might have better knowledge on the topic than you.

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    3. You certainly have better firsthand information than I do, and I'm not questioning what you say. However, you say that the GL of Japan has NEVER recognized the MWPHGL of Oklahoma? If that is the case, how could your GM 'suspend recognition' if it is something that didn't exist in the first place? I'm just asking.

      I have requested more information directly from both grand lodges, and if either one is comfortable sharing anything to further clarify this, I will update this story.

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  5. This is a leadership problem. All Brothers in foreign jurisdictions should have a well traveled and highly respected Brother to represent them, OFFICIALLY, as Liaison/Ambassador to the foriegn jurisdiction.

    Ideally, this Brother would not only possess Masonic excellence, but would also have a keen understanding of the host nation's cultural differences.

    Respect and Morality is true Masonry.

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  6. If we look back over 300 years of military lodges, on many occasions they met for a time in jurisdictions other than their own because of troop movements. An 18th century regimental lodge still active in 2020. Glittering Star 322, Irish Constitution, gives a good example of how functioning in different jurisdictions is a challenge to the lodge and to those who want to understand recognition. See http://www.irishmasonichistory.com/lodge-history-of-glittering-star-lodge-no-322.html

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  7. On a lighter note... the Grand Lodge of China has banned gloves! HA, nothing better to do I suppose.

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  8. Military bases are considered "sovereign" territory. Therefore if the military lodge consists of military members from that US Military base, then the GL of Japan does not have anything to say.

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  9. Well, Yokota is not a solely US base, like many US bases, it's shared between the home country and US forces. I visited my daughter and family there in Dec 2009/Jan 2010. I can't find my notes from then, but there definitely was a PH lodge on base. My recollection was that it was PH of Washington, not Oklahoma, and I can't remember the name of the lodge. I had reached out about getting a tour of their lodge room, but never heard back. It is fully possible that there were multiple lodges on base.

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  10. Mr. A. Harry Williams
    You are absolutely incorrect, please read the SOFA agreement between the USA and Japan, Article 15, Ralph459 is correct. Also, the US bases have Staff Judges Advocates who can enlightened you, plus the Military bases are like Embassies. Fact.

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  11. Mr. Williams please read the SOFA agreement between USA and Japan Article 15, or speak to the Staff Judge Advocate on a Military base, no different that the Embassies.

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  12. There are many comments as to the situation, I find that many people have no inclination of the SOFA agreements between the USA and Japan. We cannot just assume without clarification and speaking to both sides. This does no good but to cause more confusion. Just for Education, Oklahoma has published a history book "Cemented in Love" A consolidated history. 128 years. From the Oklahoma Territory and the Indian Territory to present.

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