Reiki History is an interesting story. Before World War II it is estimated that there there were over a million users Reiki in Japan. Just after the war Reiki type treatments were outlawed. This would have a major impact on Reiki History and the story of traditional Japanese Reiki. As a direct result of this legal action the popularity of Usui Reiki then declined rapidly. It began to die out due to being pushed underground. The new laws meant you could not practice touch treatments. Certain organisations would have enough strength to lobby for exemption, such as Acupuncture, but Reiki was not so lucky.
Only a few people could continue to practice hands-on treatments in public – including those with a medical licence. As a result many hand healing methods were changed from their traditional form to comply with the new law which meant they became hands-off treatments, such as Tekazashi, or a religious practice rather than a practical treatment to improve body and mind.
Some examples of these modified systems still survive today in Japan. For a long time there were no known successors of the original Usui Reiki, which is a hands on treatment method – even in Japan! Original Japanese Reiki had spread to the U.S.A. through Mrs Hawayo Takata. She was a Japanese American that had learned Reiki from Dr. Chujiro Hayashi after he had cured her of chronic illness in Japan. Dr. Hayashi was one of the first Usui Reiki Teachers trained by Mikao Usui.
Dr. Hayashi founded his own Reiki Institute with the blessing of Mikao Usui, and continued to teach Usui’s Reiki system in his own school. His status as a medical doctor allowed him to practice Reiki without fear of arrest. He also travelled to Hawaii. There he taught the original Usui style Reiki first time outside of Japan. It is now widely accepted that changes were made to the original Usui style passed to Hawayo Takata by Dr Hayashi. This follows a lot of research by Western Reiki Masters such as Frank Arjava Petter.
Further changes have happened since to many forms of Reiki. Over the next thirty years the Western forms gave birth to over a hundred different styles that exist today, many of these also contain ideas and methods that were not part of the original system. Some have parts that are understood differently, and some are missing important ideas of the original system.
Reiki History Goes Full Circle
By the beginning of the 1990s Western Reiki had spread round the world, eventually returning to Japan. Here, the craving for Western culture meant Reiki from the West spread quickly in Japan. It grew to significant popularity before it was even known there were still people practicing authentic style Reiki left in Japan (the Yamaguchis and their extended family).
Chiyoko Yamaguchi and her Son Tadao were eventually discovered by people practicing Western Reiki in Japan and their existence became public knowledge. The fact that Chiyoko Yamaguchi was a direct student of one of the original Reiki teachers is of great significance. Lots of people visited Japan to try to meet them once they came to public attention.
The Yamaguchis came to realize that that Reiki had become increasingly accepted and very popular in the West. It had also become quite different to the Reiki they practiced that came directly from Dr Hayashi, even though he had taught the founder of Western Reiki Hawayo Takata. So together, Chiyoko and Tadao Yamaguchi set up the Jikiden Reiki Institute with the purpose of keeping the original teachings of Mikao Usui and Chujiro Hayashi alive.
The Jikiden Reiki Institute is lucky to have lots of original documents and photographs documenting the history of Japanese Reiki as practiced by Usui and Hayashi. This is mostly sourced from the Yamaguchi family and their relatives. Mr Yamaguchi will often display this in public events and also to students attending training at the Jikiden Reiki Institute.
Some of these origianl Reiki documents have been published in Tadao Yamaguchi Sensei’s book “Jikiden Reiki” which is now available in the UK under the title “Light on the Origins of Reiki”. Copies of others are made available to Jikiden Reiki teachers as learning aids for their training. Other original images are published in Tadao Yamaguchi’s book with Frank ArjavaPetter ‘The Hayashi Reiki Manual’ published in 2003.
Since Mrs Yamaguhci passed away in 2003 her Son Tadao Yamaguch is head of the Jikiden Reiki Institute. He continues to teach Jikiden Reiki all over the world. Jikiden Reiki brings clarity to Reiki in a way that must be experienced to be appreciated. Discover the magic of Jikiden Reiki for yourself!
Reiki History – Further Reading
Blog Article: Reiki for Disasters – What You Can do to Help (talks about Usui in the Great Kanto Earthquake).