A brief History of Y'sdom in Asia Area

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The first Y's Men's Club beyond the shores of the North American Continent was formed in Shanghai, China, in 1924, thus commencing the expansion of Y'sdom to every continent on the globe. Between 1924 and 1948, the great majority of the Y's Men's Club in this regional area were on the Mainland China. The following is the list of the clubs organized in Mainland China between 1924 and 194

Shanghai 1924


Tientsin 1928


Tsingtao 1928


Peiping 1929










Shanghai International


























Following the end of the war with Japan in 1945, internal warfare continued to disrupt the activities of the YMCA and the Y's Men's Clubs in China so that by 1949 all official activity of Y'sdom on Mainland China had ceased.

Hong Kong/Thailand/Myanmer/Vietnam/Indonesia

The Hong Kong Y's Men's Club was organized in 1932 by William Yinson Lee, then of Shanghai. During the period 1941 - 1945, the war interrupted the normal functions of the Club; but the Y's Men did some good work and secret meeting were sporadically held. Four other Y's Men's Clubs have been chartered in British Crown Colony at Kowloon(19520, Victoria(1962), Tsuen Wan(1967), and Peninsula(????).


The Singapore Y's Men's Club was formed in 1941 by the then Director of the Chinese Region, Yinson Lee, while making a visit to Singapore. During the war, it became necessary to suspend club meeting, but following the war, the first general meeting was held on May 8, 1946. The second Y's Men's Club in Singapore (Beta Chapter) received its charter December, 1958, and has had an interesting and effective service program. The Singapore (Beta) Y's Men's Club sponsored the new club in Ipoh, Malaysia, which was organized in May, 1966; and the club in Talok Anson, Perak, chartered in March, 1968. The third Y's Men's Club in Singapore is the Orchid Club, chartered February 7, 1970.


For several years, a small devoted group of YMCA workers in Bangkok sought the formation of a Y's Men's Club. Y's Man Chaiya Kattonponia reported that the Bangkok Club consisted of 32 members of 12 different nationalities. The Bangkok Club became dormant in 1962, but was revived by Charter Night in October 1969, with 100 in attendance including representatives from Manila Downtown Y's Men's Club.


The Y's Men's Club of Rangoon, Burma (Myanmer), was chartered in August, 1958. It has been generally listed as an independent club, but it is considered as part of Southeast Region now.


It is said that there were Y's Men's Club of Saigon, Vietnam as well as Y's Men's Club of Djakarta, Indonesia. But because of some lack of communication with Saigon and Djakarta, neither of these clubs have been officially chartered.


The first Japanese Y's Men's Club was chartered in Osaka November 10, 1928, under the leadership of Tsutae Nara, who was responsible for the growth of Y'sdom in Japan. He was instrumental in establishing four additional Y's Men's Clubs which were chartered in 1929 at Keijo, in 1930 at Kobe, and in 1931 at Tokyo and Yokohama. A club was also formed in 1930 at Kyoto, and several years later at Sendai; these two clubs did not receive charters from International until their reorganization in 1947 and 1948 respectively.


Early in 1941 the Regional Director found it necessary to resign his position, and to advise that circumstances had made it necessary for the Japanese Y's Men's Clubs to withdraw from the International Association for the time being.


Within a year after the end of the war, the clubs the clubs in Osaka, Kobe and Tokyo gradually resumed their occasional meetings, and renewed their affiliations with International in the Spring of 1947, pursuant to the invitation springing from a resolution adopted at the 1946 Convention (Bradford, Pennsylvania).


The first Y's Men's Club in Taiwan (Taipei Alpha) was chartered in Taipei on March 12, 1955 with General J. L. Huang as the speaker. He had benn International Director for the Chinese Region and a member of the Nanking Club.


The Taipei Beta Chapter Y's Men's Club was formed March, 1959. The Beta Chapter conducts its meetings by the use of English, whereas the Alpha Chapter conducts its meeting in Taiwanese.


The third club in Taiwan is the Kaohsiung Y's Men's Club which was formed in February, 1962, and which conducts its programs in Mandarin inaguage.  Three additional clubs in Taiwan have been chartered in Taichung (Dec. 1969), Tainan (Mar. 1970), and Pintung (Dec. 1970).


Y'sdom was introduced to Sri Lanka (Formerly Ceylon) by Mr. R. O. Buell, then General Secretary of the Colombo YMCA, on his return to Sri Lanka after attending an International Convention in Minneapolis, USA. Thus the first club (Colombo) began functioning in 1929 and was chartered on 3rd December 1930 with the late Sir Oliver Goonetilleka, former Governor General of Ceylon, as its charter president.


Through the Colombo club, Y'sdom was introduced to India where it spread rapidly and as a result, the India-Sri Lanka Region came into being. Today, the Y's Men's Club of Colombo has the distinction of being the oldest functioning Club in Asia. It may be also mentioned that in 1973, Colombo was the first Club in Asia to admit women as fully fledged members.


With the charter of 5 more clubs - Kandy (28th July 1962), Moratuwa (30th March 1964), Amparai (November 1964), Jaffna (30th October 1971) and Badulla (1974), representations were made to International Headquarters for Sri Lanka to become a separate Region. Accordingly, at the International Convention in Atami, Japan in 1975, SriLanka became a region of its own. Two Clubs were chartered thereafter, Chavakachcheri (22nd November 1975) and Hatton (March 1976). The first Regional Convention of the Sri Lanka Region was held at the National Seminary, Ampitiya on 10th, 11th, and 12th of September 1976 with a large gathering of over 200 present.


More clubs were chartered - Welimada (12th February 1977) and Kurunegala (28th May 1977).. Wellawatte (10th November 1978) and Batticaloa (30th May 1980). International Council meeting was held – 27th to 30th July 1981. 9th Asia Area Convention was held – 31st July 1981. Asia Area Council meeting – 1st August 1981.


Fifty years of Y'sdom in Sri Lanka was celebrated during the Asia Area Convention with the Colombo Club hosting a banquet.


One of the key issues arising at the meetings was the request by India to secede from the Asia Area and function as a separate Area. This resulted in the "Parting of ways" between colleagues, India and Sri Lanka, with Sri Lanka opting to continue as part of Asia Area.


The history of Philippine Y'dom dates back to 1928, when the first Y's Men's Club was organized in Cebu. This club functioned until 1933. Reorganized in 1939, it's progress was interrupted by World War II.


The modern history of Y'sdom in the Region gegan when the Y's Men's Club of Manila was organized on April 4, 1941. During the Japanese occupation of the country, the members of the Club continued to serve the YMCA. The club was granted its charter by the International Association on August 3, 1946, and thereafter became the largest Club in Y'sdom.


The spread of Y'sdom throughout the Philippine












1948 - reorganized

San Pablo


Downtown Manila








Cotobato City


Bacold City



In 1962, the Davao Club was the world's largest club with 127 members.

In 1964, the Y's Men's Club of Naga, Philippines, was chartered with 114 members.


The first Y's Men's Club in Korea was organized in 1929 among the Japanese members of that association and known as the Keijo Y's Men's Club. This club became dormant in 1941.


The spread of Y'sdom among the Koreans was originated after the war by the indefatigable efforts of Lt. Carl V. Bergstrom, U.S.N.R. of the United States Army Military Government who had been an active Y's Man in Milwaukee, and was located in Pusan in 1945.


In his travels through the city, he noticed YMCA signs with Korean language. His interest aroused and he met the leader, a Presbyterian Minister by the name of Roh, who had taken over an abandoned Japanese Church, and converted it into an informal YMCA office. This group was strictly a grass roots movement. Bergstrom helped and encouraged them and suggested to form a Y's Men's club. A charter application was filed and the charter granted in 1946. There were 40 members at that time, and the Mayor of Pusan became the first club president. Grass roots group of YMCA groups in Masan and Chinju decided also to apply in 1947 for charters, which they received.


When the General Secretary of the Seoul YMCA, Pyun Sung Ok, learned of the Y's Men's Clubs 350 miles to the south, he made a special trip to investigate them. As a result, the Seoul Y's Men's Club was chartered in February, 1947, with 40 members.


After June, 1950, the Region became inactive, due to the North Korean invasion. International body, as well as individual clubs in U.S. contributed cash and collected/shipped clothing for Korean relief.


The further growth of Y'sdom in Korea was described by Robert Baker, Fratarnal YMCA Secretary, whose interest and support of the Korean Y's Men's Clubs has been an outstanding factor in their successful development.


By 1959, more than 60 Y's Men's Clubs had been chartered, and Y'sdom had become the largest service club in Korea.


Four Y's Men's Clubs have been organized in that area of the Continent of Asia generally refered to as Asia Minor.


The first club was formed in Beirut, Lebanon, which applied for its charter September 30, 1952.


On March, 1953, a charter was issued to the Jerusalem Y's Men's Club, which included members from 12 different countries as far apart as India and Indiana.


In October, 1956, a new Club was chartered in Nazareth, Israel, with the charter being presented in person by International Secretary Henry Grimes.


In June, 1961, a newly organized Y's Men's Club of 30 members was reported at Gaza, Palestine, but apperently this Club never applied for its charter.