The history of Reiki

Dr. Mikao Usui was born in Japan on August 15, 1865 – 9th March 1926

Usui was born into a Buddhist family, and received his education in a Buddhist monastery. He was proficient in martial arts and languages and was an advances scholar of theology, medicine and philosophy.

After he married and had two children Usui went on to study Buddhist scriptures, meditation and healing techniques. He became a teacher/practitioner of meditation.

It is widely written that Dr. Usui decided to go to the holy mountain of Kurama-yama to fast and meditate for 21 days. 

Usui sat on top of the mountain with 21 stones in front of him. Every day as dawn broke, he threw a stone away. The rest of the day was spent in meditation. On the twenty-first day, he threw his last stone away and shortly after saw a very bright light. He realised that this light was a message and that he was about to receive what he had been looking for all his life. The light was very strong and was the universal healing energy, this was the way Dr.Usui was initiated to Reiki. With this and through his previous study and teachings, he formulated his own system of healing.

Dr. Usui then spent 7 years taking care of the sick and beggars in the slums of Kyoto. In 1922 Usiu moved to Tokyo and set up a clinic there, were he practised and taught Reiki for the remainder of his life.


Dr. Chujiro Hayashi

Dr. Hayashi (1878 - 1941), a retired naval officer, was interested in Dr. Usui's work. Before his death, Dr. Usui initiated Dr. Hayashi as a Reiki Master. Dr. Hayashi was initiated as a Master in 1925 at the age of 47. Dr. Hayashi is responsible for breaking Reiki into three degrees and setting up new hand positions. Up to that time, Reiki was given in a series of attunements and could be given in a very short period of time (Dr. Usui himself was given Reiki in one powerful attunement). Dr. Hayashi opened a Reiki clinic in Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace, and kept detailed records of the treatments given. Dr. Hayashi designed the system of hand position taught during the first degree and their initiation procedures. 

One of Hayashi's students was a lady called Hawayo Takata. Hayashi diedon May 10, 1941. During his life, Dr. Hayashi initiated 13 masters (including his wife).


Hawayo Takata

Hawayo Takata was born on 24 December 1900 in Kauai, one of the Hawaii islands. She was of Japanese origin and her father worked in a local sugar plantation. She married Saichi Takata who was the bookkeeper of the sugar plantation, where she eventually worked herself. Her husband died in October 1930 at the age of thirty-four leaving his wife and two children. Takata took over the keeping of the family and eventually suffered from a nervous breakdown, abdominal pains and lung problems. 

She went to Japan to visit her parents after the death of her sister. Whilst there, she went to hospital and was diagnosed with a terminal illness and rushed into surgery. 

But whilst waiting for the surgeon, she is supposed to have heard a voice that said: "The operation is not necessary." She wondered if she was dreaming but realised that she was fully awake. To the surprise of the staff in the operating theatre, she got off the operating table and looked for the surgeon and asked him if he thought there might be another way to get rid of her problems rather than operate on them. The doctor told her about Hayashi's clinic.

She underwent a course of treatments at Hayashi's clinic. Just by laying their hands on her, the Reiki practitioners described her symptoms accurately. This impressed Takata and gave her the confidence to go ahead with the treatment. She was curious about the heat she received whilst the two practitioners were treating her and thought that they may be using some heating apparatus. She looked under the couch for it and found nothing. Then she grabbed one of the practitioners' sleeves thinking that some heating equipment was hidden there. The startled practitioner laughed at her when she explained what she was looking for. He told her about Reiki and how it worked.

Eventually Dr. Hayashi attuned her to First Degree Reiki in the spring of 1936, the Second Degree in 1937, and to the Master Degree on February 21, 1938.

We have Takata to thank for popularising Reiki in the United States as without her, this wonderful art would have remained in Japan.