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The Founders

Mikao Usui

Dr Chujiro Hayashi

Hawayo Takata

Dr Mikao Usui

Reiki as a system of healing was rediscovered by Mikao Usui in the late 1800’s. The word “Reiki” is a Japanese term that Mikao Usui created in an attempt to label the healing energy system, the connecting link or anchor of energy from the All That Is (or the Divine Creator/The Tao) to the physical realm of humanity.

It is important to note that this system of healing which is well over 2,500 years old was not always called ‘Reiki’. This label again came with the rediscovery of the attunment/initiation process by Mikao Usui on the Sacred Mount Kuri Yama, where he meditated and fasted for 21 days until he was presented with the four Reiki Symbols that are utilised in the physical Usui Shiki Ryoho System of Natural Healing. Mikao Usui was charged to preserve and protect the sacred knowledge and wisdom that had been revealed to him, and then to pass this on to another in the physical world, who would, in turn, preserve and protect its future.

Mikao Usui was born on the 15th August 1865. He died on the 9th March 1926 and is buried at Saihoji Temple, a Buddhist temple in the suburbs of Tokyo. He founded the Usui Shiki Ryoho and started the Reiki lineage by initiating some 2,000 students and various Masters. He made Dr Chujiro Hayashi a Grand Master with responsibility for leading all other Reiki teachers.

He used Reiki to heal the poor of Kyoto and in 1922 moved to Tokyo, starting a healing society called Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, which means the “Usui System of Reiki Healing”. In 1923 the Great Kanto earthquake devastated Tokyo, 140,000 people lost their lives, many more were injured. Dr Usui treated as many of the injured as he could, the demand for Reiki became so great that he outgrew his clinic, building a bigger one in Nakano, Tokyo. As a result of this, his reputation spread throughout Japan.

The Japanese Government issued him a Kun San To award for doing honourable work to help others
Dr Chujiro Hayashi

Dr Hayashi, a retired Naval Officer still on reserve status, received his Reiki Masters training from Dr Usui in 1925 at the aged of 47. Chujiro Hayashi trained teams of Reiki practitioners both men and women, including 16 Masters. He opened a healing clinic in Tokyo where healers worked in groups on people who lived at the clinic during the time of their healing. It was to Chujiro Hayashi’s Shina No Machi Clinic that Hawayo Takata came for healing in 1935. Dr Chujiro Hayashi introduced initiation procedures kept records of his treatments and formed the Reiki Symbols into First, Second and Third degree formats.
Hawayo Takata

The following is Mrs Hawayo Takata’s version of her early years leading up to her contact with Reiki at Dr Hayashi’s clinic. (This information is taken from Mrs Takata’s handwritten notes, dated May 1936 and published in William Rand’s book – ‘Reiki, The Healing Touch’, 1991.) She stated that she was born on December 24th 1900, on the Island of Kauai, Hawaii. Her parents were Japanese immigrants and her father worked in the sugar cane fields. She eventually married the bookkeeper of the plantation where she was employed. His name was Saichi Takata and they had two daughters. In October, 1930, Saichi died at the age of thirty-four, leaving Mrs Takata to raise their two children.

In order to provide for her family, she had to work very hard with little rest. After five years she developed severe abdominal pain and a lung condition, she had a nervous breakdown. Soon after this, one of her sisters died and it was Hawayo’s responsibility to travel to Japan, where her parents had re-settled, to deliver the news. She also felt she could receive help for her health in Japan.

After informing her parents, she entered a hospital and stated that she was diagnosed with a tumour, gallstones, appendicitis and asthma. She was told to prepare for an operation but opted to visit Dr Hayashi’s clinic instead.

Mrs Takata was unfamiliar with Reiki but was impressed that the diagnosis of the Reiki practitioners at the clinic closely matched the doctor’s at the hospital. She began receiving treatments. Two Reiki practitioners would treat her each day. The heat from their hands was so strong, she said, that she thought they were secretly using some kind of equipment. Seeing the large sleeves of the Japanese kimono worn by one, she thought she had found the secret place of concealment. Grabbing his sleeves one day, she startled the practitioner, but of course, found nothing. When she explained what she was doing, he began to laugh and then told her about Reiki and how it worked.

Mrs Takata got progressively better and in four months was completely healed. She wanted to learn Reiki herself. In the spring of 1936 she received First Degree Reiki from Dr Hayashi. She then worked with him for a year and received Second Degree Reiki. Mrs Takata returned to Hawaii in 1937, followed shortly thereafter by Dr Hayashi and his daughter, who came to help establish Reiki there. In February of 1938 Dr Hayashi initiated Hawayo Takata as a Reiki Master.

Mrs Takata practiced Reiki in Hawaii, establishing several clinics. She gave treatments and initiated students up to Reiki II.

It was not until 1970 that Mrs Takata began initiating Reiki Masters. She charged a fee of $10,000 for Mastership even though the training took only one weekend. This high fee was not part of the Usui System, and she may have charged this fee as her way of creating a feeling of respect for Reiki. She said that one should never do treatments or provide training for free, but should always charge a fee or get something in return.

Before Mrs Takata made her transition on 11th December 1980, she had initiated twenty-two Reiki Masters. These twenty-two Masters began teaching others. However, Mrs Takata had made each one take a sacred oath to teach Reiki exactly as she had taught it. She said that one must study with only one Reiki Master, she did not allow her students to take notes, tape record classes or make any written copies of the Reiki symbols, everything had to be memorised, none of which is part of the original Usui system.