The History of Reiki


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There are very few documented facts about Dr Usui, other than a memorial stone, that was erected by some students in 1927, after his death in 1926, that provides an insight into his life story. The stone was inscribed in Old Japanese and once translated gives us the following history: –

 Born in 1865, Mikao Usui showed great aptitude for hard work and study as a child and went on with his studies as he moved to adulthood. He was described as a gentle and humble man who was always smiling. As an adult, he had a number of occupations ranging from public servant, office worker, industrialist, reporter, missionary, supervisor of convicts and a politician’s secretary. Mikao Usui was not always successful in life and was often very poor, but he didn’t let this worry him and threw himself into his studies.

The memorial stone also documents Usui’s teachings and describes a period of meditation and fasting that Usui undertook on Mount Kurama, near Kyoto. During this time, he is said to have experienced a spiritual “download” of Higher power (Rei) and life force energy (Ki) around his head and in the centre of his head (Third Eye Chakra position). He was also shown symbols which, without explanation, he understood the meaning and purpose of. 

 Usui practiced what he had been shown on himself and his family with much success. Usui made a brave decision to teach his practice to the public and opened a training facility in 1922. Word spread quickly of his healing sessions and teaching and people travelled huge distances to be both taught and healed by him.  


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 In 1923 a devastating earthquake hit the Kanto district, made worse by large fires started by the wood burning stoves destroyed when the earthquake hit. Mikao Usui and some of his students went out into the streets and healed the injured and homeless people. This charitable act increased his popularity and in 1925 he moved his teaching school to a larger building just outside Tokyo. It was here he met and befriended a naval officer Chujiro Hayashi, who went on to become a master student of Usui. The Reiki method of healing became very popular with the armed forces, particularly the Navy as they welcomed traditional ways of healing to avoid having to carry large stocks of equipment and drugs on board ship.

 Later that year, several more naval officers arrived and took over the running of the training school allowing Mikao Usui to travel around Japan teaching Reiki. Mikao Usui died of a stroke in March 1926 and the memorial stone states that he taught over 2000 to practice Reiki and trained 20 teachers, including Chujiro Hayashi who is credited with originating the hand positions that we use today. At the time of Usui’s death, Reiki was only practiced in Japan. One of Chujiro Hayashi’s students, Mrs Haywayo Takata, was responsible for bringing Reiki to the western world. Mrs Takata was born in Hawaii to Japanese immigrants. 

On a visit to Japan she became sick and visited Mr Hayashi to receive some healing for herself and was so impressed with the results that she decided to learn Reiki for herself and reached Level 2. Mrs Takata returned to Hawaii followed soon after by Dr Hayashi, for a speaking tour to promote Reiki and it was during this time that he trained Mrs Takata to teach Reiki, making her what we know today as a Reiki Master/Teacher. Mrs Takata was the 13th and last of Mr Hayashi’s students and went on to teach a further 22 Reiki Masters before her death in 1980.


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