What is Kiwanis?
The Name “Kiwanis” was coined from an American Indian expression, “Nunc Kee-wanis”, which means, “We trade”. It is one of the three major service organizations. Since 1919, it is focusing on service – specifically service to children. As of December 2019, there are 190,000 members in 7,400 Kiwanis Clubs in 85 countries worldwide. Together with “Service Leadership Programs” that consist of youth, there are around 540,000 members in the organization. The headquarter is situated in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.
Kiwanis clubs formed in communities across the United States and Canada until 1963, when clubs were formed in three cities in Europe. Kiwanis Club of Tokyo was established on January 24, 1964 as the first Kiwanis Club in Asia-Pacific Region. Then came Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Kobe, Sendai, Sapporo, Yokohama, Takamatsu, Fukuoka, Kyoto, Chiba, Wakayama, Niigata, Senshu, Saitama, Nishinomiya, Kumamoto, Shizuoka, Kanazawa, Matsue, Kagoshima, Ashiya, Fukushima, Oita, Chiyoda, Nagasaki, Miyazaki, Saga, Akita, Ogaki, Fukui, Okinawa, Tokushima, Aomori, Utsunomiya, Ehime, Yamagata, Okayama, Yamaguchi and Gumma. As of October 2022, there are 41 Kiwanis Clubs with around 2,000 members in Japan.
Kiwanis Clubs worldwide are divided to around 50 districts. On October 1, 1977, the Japan Kiwanis Committee was promoted to “the Japan District”, which consists of 8 divisions; Hokkaido-Tohoku, Kanto, Tokyo, Chubu, Kansai North, Kansai South, Chugoku-Shikoku and Kyushu. Every Kiwanis Club belongs to a division. Districts are led by Governors, and divisions are led by Lieutenant Governors.