A holiday visit by the Past President of Takasaki Rotary Club, Suburo Kodama, to the Gold Coast in 1990, including some makeups at Surfers Paradise Rotary Club, started an enduring international friendship.


The regional Japanese city of Takasaki, in Gunma Prefecture, is located about 1 hour Shinkansen or "Bullet Train" ride north of Tokyo, in the centre of the island of Honshu, and is a regional transportation hub.  The Joetsu Shinkansen and the Hokuriku Shinkansen lines split at Takasaki Station, Hokuriku west to Kanazawa and Joetsu northbound to Niigata.

The Takasaki Rotary Club was chartered in March 1954.

In February 1991 a significant delegation of members and families was due to travel to Surfers Paradise to sign a Sister Club agreement with Surfers Paradise Rotary Club.  The outbreak of hostilities of the first Gulf War that month, meant only three Takasaki Rotary Club members attended the meeting, but the original Sister Club agreement was signed. In March, Rotarian Rob Heaney, representing President David Riley and the Club, visited the Takasaki Rotary Club, formalising the Sister Club agreement.

In February 1992, 31 Rotarians and families from Takasaki Rotary Club visited our Club, to set off the full-scale interchange of visits between our clubs.

This was immediately followed early in 1993, when President Paul Gillett led a party of 18 Surfers Paradise Rotarians and families on a return visit to Takasaki.  A welcoming party of 150 guests was held for our Rotary Club, including the Rotary District Governor and the Australian Embassy Secretary from Tokyo.  It was then realised that the strength of this Sister Club relationship was significant to both Rotary Clubs.

Since that time, several mutual visits have occurred.

In March 2004, 17 members and family of the Surfers Paradise Rotary attended and participated in the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of Takasaki Rotary Club, treated as honoured guests. After the celebrations, a visit to the Kusatsu Spa resort allowed both groups to let their hair down and enjoy some well-earned mutual fellowship.

In September 2005, 33 Takasaki Rotary Club members and family attended, and participated as honoured guests, at the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Surfers Paradise Rotary.

Since then, Takasaki Rotary Club members and families have visited Surfers Paradise in February 2009, February 2013 and February 2016. Likewise Surfers Paradise Rotary members and families have travelled to Japan and visited with Takasaki Rotary Club in March/April 2007, November 2010, April 2014 and November 2018.  Due to the proposed Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, Takasaki RC postponed their next visit to Surfers Paradise to February 2021. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, this visit had to be postponed again, to a date to be advised.  Surfers Paradise Rotary likewise has put on hold any visit to Takasaki Rotary Club.

The good news is that the visits are resuming - Takasaki Rotary Club is planning a visit to Surfers Paradise Rotary on Wednesday 7th June 2023 and Surfers Paradise Rotary have been invited  to the 70th Anniversary celebrations of Takasaki Rotary Club on 30th March 2024; which some members and partners will be attending.  Our next visit to Japan and Takasaki Rotary Club is eagerly awaited - roll on 2024!

The clubs have combined in many areas over the several years to donate funds to worthwhile projects: including provision of water to Solomon Islands hospitals; provision of fishing boats for the emerging Timor-Leste, and supporting Surf Life Saving Clubs on the Gold Coast.