The History of Reiki

History of Reiki – A Complete Guide

What is The History of Reiki?

History of Reiki, The traditional story handed down by Mrs. Hawyao (Hah-wah-yoh) Takata (Tah-kah-tah) depicts Mikao (Mee-Kah Oh) Usui (Oo-soo-ee) as a Christian minister running a boy’s school in Japan. In this capacity, he is approached by two boys asking him if he believed in the miracles of Jesus? To this, he replied, “Yes”. Then the boys went on to ask him if he knew how Jesus healed? Much to his dismay, he could not answer them. He did not know. This troubled him so greatly that for the next several years he ventured far and wide to find the answer to that question as to how Jesus performed his many miraculous healings.

It is said he attended the University of Chicago as well as other schools of learning. He even attended various Christian denominations hoping that they would provide him with what it is he sought for if anyone knew how Jesus had healed Christians would since they adhered to the concepts Jesus taught.

Finding no answer he came to the conclusion that the answer was not to be found in the world around him so as his last means of finding the answer he turned to meditation. If after this, he could not find the answer, then he figured he’d give up his quest as being hopeless.

So with that in mind, he went up onto the mountain of Kurama where he meditated and fasted for 21 days. To count down these days he gathered 21 stones and with each passing day he tossed aside a stone until all the stones had been used up; however, on the 21st day when he thought all was lost he had a vision whereby he saw a light coming toward him. This light struck him in the middle of the forehead (third eye) and as it did so he saw colors, mantras, symbols, and all kinds of heavenly things of wonderment. In short, all things were made known to him at that moment.

The Four Miracles

Learn About The Four Miracles of Reiki, PIC: Socal Media

Soon after the experience was over he anxiously hurried down the mountain and on his way down he stubbed his toe, which he instinctively grabbed with his hand. Upon grabbing it he came to the realization that it was suddenly healed. This is known as his first miracle.

That evening he attended a banquet eating a full course meal with no ill after-effects (normally when someone fasts as long as he did such a large meal would have made him sick to his stomach yet he felt fine). This, then, was his second miracle.

During the meal, a woman had an abscessed tooth that bothered her. Usui wanting to ease the pain touched her jaw and the pain went away. This was the third miracle.

Finally, a friend of his who was bedridden for many years with what they call an abbots disease was suddenly healed as Usui touched him. Apparently, the disease had been healed. This is his fourth miracle.

Now that he had this gift of healing bestowed upon him he wanted to share it with the rest of the world so he started a clinic but he had to name the system something so he devised the name Reiki. One problem he noted is that those he taught seemed to keep coming back for healings. He wondered why this was so and after giving this some thought he figured that the reason they kept coming back is that they did not value what he had taught them.

Once again he retired to his study to see if he could come up with something that would enable his system of healing to appear more appreciative of those he had taught rather than have them keep returning to him.

The Five Principles of Reiki

Reiki Has Five Principles

During his contemplations, he came up with what he called the five principles. He felt that by incorporating these five principles in his teachings the people he taught would value his healing system more thereby getting more out of what it is they were taught.

These five principles are:


Just for today do not be angry.
Just for today do not worry.
Just for today honor your parents, teachers, and elders.
Just for today earn your living honestly.
Just for today show gratitude to every living thing.

NOTE: If you will notice in each of the principles the notation, “Just for today.” This, “just for today”, is important in that you are asked to try and keep the principles for that day only. You are not asked to try and keep them for a week, a month, or a year. The reason behind this is that it is much easier to adhere to something for one day at a time than it is for several days at a time. Once having formulated these principles he began incorporating them in his healing teachings and much to his surprise those he taught seemed to value the teachings more than they had without the principles so to this day and as a result, these principles have been an important aspect of what we now know as reiki.

Masters Behind Reiki, PIC: Social Media

In part, Usui traveled around Japan teaching his reiki healing system whereupon he came across a gentleman called Dr. Chujiro (Chew-gee-row) Hayashi (Hah-yah-shee). This man kept following him everywhere he went with such enthusiasm for what it is Usui taught. Befriending the man Usui and Dr. Hayashi became friends. In time Dr. Hayashi was administered the Reiki Master/Teacher level and together the two of them worked side by side building up a reputable hands on healing practice.

At some point, Mrs. Hawayo Takata, who was pretty much an unknown to reiki at this point, was suffering from a series of serious illnesses in Hawaii. Being of Japanese descent but not Japanese she heard of Usui and his healing practice. She heard of his reputation and how it is he did many seemingly miraculous healings for others. In her own case, the doctors had pretty much given up on her illness as incurable, and not willing to give in to their diagnoses she turned to Usui for help. Traveling to Japan she met him at his clinic and inside of four months, her ailments were cured. They no longer bothered her. Like Dr. Hayashi, she too became very interested in reiki asking to be attuned to the Master level but having gone only to level II she was not permitted to go any further since she was not pure Japanese by birth.

Shortly after the healing of Mrs. Takata Usui suffered a heart attack and died but before doing so he left his practice in the capable hands of Dr. Hayashi. At this point, Dr. Hayashi, who was not as strict as Usui, agreed to attune Mrs. Takata to the Master level, and together the two of them worked side by side just as Usui and Dr. Hayashi had done prior to the death of Usui.

In time the advent of World War II was approaching and being a Japanese retired naval officer Dr. Hayashi knew he would be called back to active duty whereby he would be expected to kill people. This he did not want to do since he was a peace-loving man so he decided to take his own life, which according to the Japanese was not frowned upon in Japan as much as it is in the United States. Before taking his own life he called Mrs. Takata by his side to let her know that after his passing the tutelage of reiki would be passed on to her and with that confirmed Dr. Hayashi took his own life.

NOTE: It must be said that even though Dr. Hayashi took his own life that those who are attuned to Reiki after his passing DO NOT take on his negative karma resulting from the suicide that he performed. In FACT, ALL those who are attuned to Reiki or attune others DO NOT take on anyone else’s karma. So in essence this karma thing is not to be worried about since the only karma you have to worry about is your own – not another’s.

A Rare Picture of Mrs Hawayo Takata’s Class in Hawaii in 1939, Source: Social Media

Now the only one left to carry on the newfound tradition of reiki was Mrs. Takata and taking it on she went back to her home in Hawaii where reiki began to spread out to the rest of the world rather than remain in Japan as it had done during the lives of Usui and Dr. Hayashi. So this is how reiki got its start in the world today, as we know it.

NOTE: There are a few things you need to keep in mind about the traditional story as told by Mrs. Takata. First of all, it has been confirmed that Usui never attended the University of Chicago or any other school in the states for when the records were checked there is no name of Usui as ever having attended. Secondly, Usui was not a Christian minister. He was a Buddhist by birthright and a practicing one at that. The reason why Mrs. Takata said he was a Christian minister is to make reiki more acceptable to those here in the west since this system originated from Japan, a country that would soon be at war with the United States. So she fabricated that part of the story to make it more acceptable to the west. It should be noted that, according to Usui’s memorial, he did go up on the mountain to meditate and he did receive a revelation at that time whereby he was given the gift of healing. This much is true even though some parts of the traditional story have been fabricated but traditionally the story just told is the one that seems to be kept by most western proponents of reiki.

22 Reiki Masters – The History of Reiki

Mrs Takata, initiated 22 Reiki Masters before her death in 1980.

Before leaving the brief history lesson it is interesting to know that Mrs. Takata did not start teaching other Reiki Masters until 1975 and at the time of her death in 1980 she had attuned 22 people to the Masters level. Their names are below for reference:

  • George Araki
  • Dorothy Baba
  • Ursula Baylow
  • Rick Bockner
  • Patricia Bowling
  • Barbara Brown
  • Fran Brown
  • Phyllis Furumoto
  • Beth Gray
  • John Gray
  • Iris Ishikuro
  • Harry Kuboi
  • Ethel Lombardi
  • Barbara McCullough
  • Mary McFadyen
  • Paul Mitchell
  • Bethel Phaigh
  • Shinobu Saito
  • Virginia Samdahl
  • Wanja Twan
  • Barbara Weber Ray
  • Kay Yamashita

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