Where it Comes From, A Brief History of Reiki

The following three passages trace the story of Reiki as researched by William Lee Rand.  A more detailed explanation can be found in his book,  Reiki, The Healing Touch.

Dr. Mikao Usui

Dr. Mikao Usui is the founder of the Usui System of Reiki. He was born August 15, 1865 in the village of Yago in the Yamagata district of Gifu prefecture, Japan. He traveled to Europe and China studying medicine, psychology, and religion. It is thought that he was from a wealthy family, as in Japan only the wealthy could afford to send their children to school. Eventually he became the secretary to Shinpei Goto, head of the department of health and welfare who later became the Mayor of Tokyo. The influencial connections Dr. Mikao Usui made at this job helped him to spread the news about Reiki when it first came to him.

In March,1922 Usui's personal and business life was failing. As a sensitive spiritualist, Usui Sensei had previously spent much time meditating at power spots on Mt. Kurama. He returned to this holy mountain where he enrolled in Isyu Guo, a twenty-one-day training course. We do not know for certain what he was required to do during this training, but it is likely that fasting, meditation, chanting and prayers were part of the practice.

In addition, we know there is a small waterfall on Mt. Kurama where even today people go to meditate. This meditation involves standing under the waterfall and allowing the waters to strike and flow over the top of the head, a practice which is said to activate the crown chakra. Japanese Reiki Masters think that Usui Sensei may have used this meditation as part of his practice.

In any case, it was during the Isyu Guo training that the great Reiki energy entered his crown chakra. This greatly enhanced his healing abilities and he realized he had received a wonderful new gift - the ability to give healing to others without depleting his own energy!

Please refer to Reiki, The Healing Touch, by William Lee Rand for a detailed description of Reiki and how Dr. Usui rediscovered it.

Dr. Chujiro Hayashi

Dr. Hayashi was a retired naval officer. He received the Reiki Master initiation from Dr. Usui about 1925 at the age of 47.

Up to this point, the Usui system of healing consisted of the energy itself, the 3 Reiki II symbols, the Usui hand positions, the attunement process, and the Reiki ideals.  Dr. Hayashi went on to develop the Usui system of healing. He opened a Reiki clinic in Tokyo and kept detailed records of the treatments given. He used this information to create the Hayashi Healing Guide that included detailed hand positions for specific illnesses and conditions.

Reiki comes to the West

Hawayo Takata was born December 24th, 1900, on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Her parents were Japanese immigrants and her father worked in the sugar cane fields. She 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. After five years she suffered a nervous breakdown, and developed abdominal tumor, gallstones, and appendicitis.  Her sister died, so Takata decided to combine a trip to Japan deliver the news to her parents in person, and receive medical attention there as well.

 She took a steamship and was accompanied by her sister-in-law. After informing her parents of the death of her sister, she entered a hospital. It was found that she had a tumor, gallstones, and emphysema. She rested for several weeks in preparation for an operation.

Just before the surgery was to begin, Hawayo heard an audible voice. The voice said, "The operation is not necessary." She had never heard a voice speak to her like this before.  She knew she was wide awake and had not imagined the voice. It was so unusual, yet so compelling that she asked her doctor if he knew of any other way that her problems could be helped. The doctor told Hawayo about of Dr. Hayashi's Reiki clinic.

At the Reiki clinic, she began receiving treatments. She had never heard of Reiki before and did not know what it was. Using a method for detecting discordant energies, called byosen scanning, the practitioners could sense what was wrong with Mrs. Takata. Their diagnosis very closely matched the doctor's at the hospital and gave her confidence in what they were doing.

Mrs. Takata received daily treatments given by two practitioners at a time, and, in four months, she was completely healed. Impressed with the results, she wanted to learn Reiki.  In the spring of 1936, Mrs. Takata received her First Degree in Reiki. She worked with Dr. Hayashi for one year before receiving the Second Degree Reiki.

Mrs. Takata returned to Hawaii in 1937. Dr. Hayashi and his daughter came to help establish Reiki in Hawaii. In the Winter of 1938, Dr. Hayashi initiated Hawayo Takata as a Reiki Master. She was the thirteenth and last Reiki Master Dr. Hayashi initiated. Mrs. Takata ran a clinic in Hilo, Hawaii offering Reiki.

For the most part, the text above is reprinted from Reiki the Healing Touch by William Rand. Permission is granted to reprint portions of this text if original source is cited: Rand, William. Reiki, The Healing Touch. Southfield, MI: Vision Publications, 1991.