We can learn several important lessons from the actions taken by Rotary International and the Rotary
Clubs following the Great Tokyo Earthquake.
First, consider the speed with which these organizations responded, especially in light of the communications
technology at the time. Clearly the Rotary members' "good will" and "good faith"
were reflected in their rapid response. It should be beneficial to review our own aid activities with
this in mind.
Second, look at the way the aid money was distributed by the Rotary Club of Tokyo. Instead of
supplying daily household items such as food and clothing, the club decided to allocate the money
in a manner that touched the hearts of the people. The relief activities were based on a careful
consideration of what the people needed and found important.
We must ask ourselves, is the aspect of "heart" reflected in our activities today? Looking back, it
seems that the Japanese who were born in the Meiji era possessed the heart and character worthy of
an international Rotarian, and these noble people are deserving of our utmost respect.
The third lesson is that as a result of receiving so much aid from so many different countries, for the
first time the Japanese became fully aware of the existence of an international community. Following
the earthquake, when members of the overseas Rotary Club visited Japan, our members greeted
them warmly. When our members made visits overseas, they were greeted with equal warmth and a
kind of civil diplomacy began to be developed. The international exchange that we speak about
today was already underway more than 70 years ago.
Finally, after the Great Tokyo Earthquake, our Club's meetings, which had been held once a month,
were changed to weekly, a practice that continues to this day.
The History of the Rotary Club of Tokyo clearly reveals the transition of our Club from a social
salon to an organization that truly strives for "SERVICE ABOVE SELF."