History of Reiki

The history of Reiki as such doesn’t change but we constantly advance the information we have about Reiki and its founder Dr. Mikao Usui. With Reiki Masters ‘ work like Frank Arjava Petter, William L. Rand, etc., we receive a more comprehensive and factual report on Reiki today. Reiki in Japan is also made explicit through facts and new information about Reiki, its history and methods.

“Reiki” with many origins

Reiki has been around for many centuries and is known in many cultures with many origins. In books or on the web reading about Reiki you can discover various theories about where Reiki came from: the stars of Lemuria, Atlantis, Egypt, India, Tibet, etc. In the beginning of the 20th century, Reiki was “re-discovered” by Dr. Mikao Usui in Japan. In Reiki’s history for us and the westerners there are three individuals who play a vital role: Dr Mikao Usui, Dr Hawayo Takata and Dr Hayashi.

Dr MIKAO USUI 1865 – 1926
Dr MIKAO USUI 1865 – 1926

Dr. Mikao Usui was born in Japan on August 18, 1865 and was the founder of Reiki’s Usui System or Usui Shiki Ryoho System. He was a fairly wealthy Buddhist family who encouraged him to study in the field both academic and physical. He also was called Usui Sensi (Sensei meaning a teacher). Usui also mastered Samurai’s swordsmanship and Kiko, the Japanese form of Chi Kung during his graduation at the traditional Japanese Tendai Buddhist Monastery.

Usui was interested in various types of medicine, energy and religious movements and read a lot about all subjects. Usui tried to find a way to heal himself and others by his hands, which did not exhaust his level of energy and devoted himself many years looking for a system. Reiki is accessible to all because of his open mind approach to the other systems and religions of faith. It has nothing to do with religion.

In order to study their medicines and disciplines Usui visited China and the West as part of his search. He did a lot of different kinds of work and eventually returned to Buddhism. Usui became a Buddhist Tendai monk and lived in a monastery close to Mount Kurama. His studies were continued.

While he was in the monastery, Usui decided to go to Isyu Guo, a training course for 21 days, to look for white light. They spent their days in a cave on Mount Kurama, and fasted, meditated and prayed. It is said that it went through unintended. But on the 21st day in the morning, Usui experienced an event of mysticism, which he embraced would help him develop the healing system he was seeking. Usui started up a clinic in Kyoto after this event, where he started to heal and to teach people.

The clinic’s success allowed Usui to travel throughout Japan with his Reiki. He also provided healing sessions at a relatively low price, or even free, as well as teaching others how to cure themselves, which allowed everybody to be healed. The main lessons of Usui were focused on how you can heal yourself in the first grade of Reiki (Reiki One). His conviction is you must have healed yourself before you can heal others. Usui had trained about 16 Reiki Masters, one of whom was Dr. Chujiro Hayashi at the time of his death on 9 March 1926. This would ensure Usui’s healing system would continue to live.

Dr CHUJIRO HAYASHI 1878 – 1940
Dr CHUJIRO HAYASHI 1878 – 1940

In Japan Dr. Hayashi was a naval officer but once introduced to Reiki, a healing clinic was established in Tokyo. He became a master of Reiki at the age of 47, and it seems he started making changes with Usui’s blessing to his original teachings. The healing system of Usui, which introduces further hand positions to cover the body and alters the harmony process, has been further developed by Dr Hayashi. In the Hayashi Healing Guide he compiled his new teachings. Dr. Hayashi trained about 14 students to be Reiki Masters at the time of his death. One person was Ms. Hawayo Takata, a woman who came for Reiki to Dr. Hayashi, and who was a Japanese American woman. It was Ms. Takata who made Reiki known in the West.

Mrs HAWAYO TAKATA 1900 – 1980
Mrs HAWAYO TAKATA 1900 – 1980

Ms Takata was born in Hawaii to Japanese parents on 24 December 1900. Throughout her lives in Hawaii, events have led her to become ill. At this time, however, she needed to travel to Japan in a family affair and decided to attend a Japanese hospital for treatment while she was there. Ms. Takata came to Tokyo in 1935 and it was said that she was under serious condition and needed surgery. However, before the operation, Mrs. Takata heard a voice inside her head telling her again and again that there was no need for the operation and there was a different way. She chose against the operation and asked the physicians if she could treat her condition otherwise. The doctor told her about Reiki Clinic in Tokyo, and so, even though she never heard of Reiki before, Mrs Takata arranged to go there for treatment.

Mrs Takata was surprised by the warmth that went out of the practitioner’s hands and found that the experience is very relaxing during these treatments that have been carried out daily. In the course of months, Mrs Takata cured of all her illnesses during the healing workshops. She approached Dr. Hayashi at this stage and asked him to teach her Reiki and in the following year she taught her Reiki’s first and second grades (Reiki First and Reiki Two). Now Ms. Takata has returned to Hawaii and regularly practiced Reiki in the next two years. Dr. Hayashi came to Hawaii in 1938 to attune it to the Master of Reiki.

Shortly afterwards, he asked Mrs. Takata for a visit to Japan, where she chose to spread the Reiki word. He gave Mikao Usui’s and his own entire knowledge and elected her his successor before his death. It is said that Ms Takata has changed Reiki’s teachings in the west due to World War II. It is more acceptable. In Japan the West was at war and then everything was considered hostile by the Japanese. Reiki has survived this way throughout the West until today. But more and more Reiki Masters return to the original teachings of Usui.

She had received 22 Reiki Master sessions by the time of Mrs. Takata’s death on 11 December 1980. These Reiki Masters continued their education and every day the Reiki lineage grows longer. Reiki is the world’s fastest growing complementary therapy, which talks about this fantastic healing energy system.