A Greeting from the President (2023-2024)

This fiscal year, our Kyoto Rakuhoku Rotary Club celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The history of our club begins on September 6th, 1973, as the ninth club in “the Millennium City of Kyoto,” starting its activity under the guidance of the Rotary Club of Kyoto East as the sponsor club. The initial Charter Members counted 23, including 5 Key Men. The meeting venue at the time of establishment was Holiday Inn Kyoto, which was then moved to Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa, then to the present venue of Hotel Okura Kyoto, located next to the Kyoto City Hall.

During the fifty years, more than 240 members have joined our club. Among them, four were rejoining members. We carry out many activities based on the tradition established by all of these members.

The average age of our members being 64, our club holds each generation evenly, from the forties to the eighties. The long tradition of the 100% attendance after Make-Up (absence supplementation) by all members, which lasted for over 30 years, has been revived and all members have successfully achieved 100% attendance including Make-Up included for the past few years. However, the COVID-19 disaster has made it very difficult to achieve the Make-Up, and the new system of the Deemed Attendance has been introduced to cope with the pandemic. Through these efforts, we have been able to maintain an average meeting attendance rate (attendance at home club meetings) of about 80%, which is exceedingly high despite the threat of COVID-19, and our club has successfully maintained its bright and cheerful meeting atmosphere, which is the charm that keeps the home club attendance high.

  • Some of our recent activities are as follows:
  • ・The Rotaract Club of KYOTO-RAKUHOKU, which our club has founded as a sponsor 31 years ago, has changed the number of monthly meetings from twice a month to once a month in an effort to stop to the reduction of the membership and increase it again. This change has resulted in a gradual increase in membership.
  • ・We have presented Japanese black pine to Kyoto City Zoo, the place of recreation and relaxation for the residents of both the Kyoto City and neighboring municipalities. The donation was swiftly made after the news of pine trees in "Forest of Kyoto" located inside the zoo being blighted and cut down was announced. The last generation of the pine tree was planted by the Emperor Showa Himself when He was the Crown Prince.
  • ・In March 2020, in response to the severe shortage of medical masks at the COVID-19 frontline where medical workers continued to fight, our members promptly endeavored to procure total of 4,000 surgical masks despite difficulties and donated them to Kyoto Medical Association.
  • ・"Okazaki Wai-wai Bunkasai" is a cultural festival organized by the local residents and held in the Okazaki area, where many of cultural tourist spots of Kyoto are located. We have been co-sponsoring the event for over ten years since its start, sometimes even participating as a band, contributing to the revitalization of the region together. Participating in such community service programs is a part of our public relations efforts to make the Rotary Club visible to the general public.
  • ・It has been 35 years since we established "the Rakuhoku Cup", the soccer tournament for boys, which has now grown to be "the Rakuhoku Rotary Cup", in which many U-9 teams participate. There was virtually no soccer tournament for elementary school kids in Kyoto back then and was highly appreciated. Now the tournament is regarded as one of the major and most traditional soccer tournaments for lower elementary school kids.
  • ・"Kyoto Sakura Yosakoi", one of Kyoto's own spring dance events in which many Yosakoi dance teams from nationwide come to perform, is another event we take part in; ever since the proposal of its antecedent, "the 1st Kamogawa Sakura Matsuri". Popularly referred to with the abbreviated name, "Saku-Yosa", Kyoto Sakura Yosakoi is one of the biggest Yosakoi gatherings in the Kansai region and is mainly planned and managed by the college students of our city.
  • ・Four doctors have been dispatched to the United States as exchange students from Kyoto so far, utilizing scholarship from the Rotary Foundation.
  • ・We also donate calendars provided by our members to facilities for the elderly. Beautiful Japanese calendars are appreciated by the elders as they brighten their rooms.

Thus, our club has been actively involved in various activities that contribute to the local community and youth development.

Moreover, our club offers various lively group activities for friendship cultivation. Some of the groups include: the "Golf Group" with the largest members, the "Tea Ceremony Group", which has resumed after a long hiatus for those who wish to learn through the way of the Tea Ceremony how to live this turbulent time with a calm heart, the "Music Group" with the big band consisted of mostly beginners who had never touched a music instrument until their middle or old age, the "Outdoors Group" that tries on a wide range of fun stuff, anything from fishing, skiing to live music sessions, the "Hara Hara Group" that simply enjoy filling up their stomachs with delicious meals and heart-to-heart talks, the "Railroad Group" that enjoys travel by train, and the “Marine Vessel and Aircraft Group” for fans of marine vessels and aircraft who enjoy them not only through movies and plastic models, but also through field trips for up-close observation and friendship cultivation. The momentum to build new groups has been increasing recently, providing more opportunities for members to get acquainted with kindred minds of all hobbies, physical abilities and ages.

Upon taking on the post of the 2023-2024 fiscal year President of this Rotary Club of Kyoto Rakuhoku, I set the presidential slogan for this fiscal year as “50th Anniversary of Foundation: Appreciation, and To the Future!” and the Action Guideline “Ask not what our Rotary club can do for us ; ask what we can do for our Rotary club !”.

Along with
RI President Gordon R. McInally’s Theme
District Governor Hiromi Nakano’s Slogan
“Personality, Foundation and Unifying Power”

I promise to fulfill my duty to make the Rotary Club of Kyoto Rakuhoku appealing and to make this entire year a memorable and enjoyable 50th anniversary for all by working together with all members and the Rakuhoku family.

Kotaro Nakano

President of the Rotary Club of Kyoto Rakuhoku
(2023 - 2024)