"Unity of self through harmony and balance"
The system of Reiki we now practice in the West actually comes out of 3 Japanese sources, all of which were influenced heavily by the Usui-Do system taught by Mikao Usui. These are Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, Hayashi Reiki Kenkyukai and Tenohira Ryoji Kenkyu-kai.
In the final years of his life, Usui Sensei was teaching his personal spiritual system, Usui-Do, which by this time included several levels of achievement, the naming convention having been influenced by Sensei's good friend Jigoro Kano, the founder of Japanese Judo. The levels were rokyu, gokyu, yankyu, sankyu, nikkyu (#1 symbol), ikkyu (#2), shodan (#3), nidan (#4), sandan, yondan, godan, rokudan, shichidan (nanadan)
Another influence in his life was his friend Toshihiro Eguchi who had his own hand healing methods, and who often taught some of these ideas in the Usuidojo (Usui training hall). Eguchi-sensei later had his own school called Eguchi Tenohira Ryoji Kenkyu-kai
Eguchi-sensei and Hayashi-sensei (founder of Hayashi Reiki Kenkyukai) were the only 2 students to complete the original Usui-Do training (Shichidan level) and for many years they continued to offer this system to some students along with their own Reiki systems. Women were traditionally not allowed to attain the highest levels in Japan but the 2 nuns who worked with Usui Sensei from 1920 to 1926 reached the 2nd highest level of Rokudan. One of these is Tenon-in (Mariko-Obaasan), who is over 105 years old.
When several navy admirals (including Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai founders Ushida-sensei and Taketomi-sensei) joined Usui Sensei's classes in 1925 there was a sudden shift in the class structure. Perhaps due to their social standing they had more sway in the dojo, but a new system of personal energy work began to emerge alongside Usui-Do.
The new system included Eguchi-sensei's hand healing concepts and his energy transfer ceremony (which Usui Sensei found to be of a religious tone) and the admirals were calling this Usui Reiki Ryoho (a phrase from the original Usui concepts or precepts). They also began these meetings with some Meiji Emperor poetry (gyosei) - probably to make the meetings appear loyalist and not religious (which was outlawed at the time of the Taisho emperor.) They added a healing guide for beginner students (by Hayashi-sensei) to their material, as well as a number of Tui-na and Qi-gong or Kikou techniques that Eguchi-sensei had introduced from a booklet he had produced.
After Usui Sensei's passing in 1926, Usui-Do seemed to slowly slip from the limelight as the new society Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai began to grow in numbers. The spiritual concepts were retained to some degree, but mainly taught to the advanced members, with personal healing through "Reiki" being encouraged on the novice. After 1931 Hayashi-sensei, who had by then left the URR Gakkai, no longer seemed to teach the original inner system of Usui-Do, although he had conferred Shichidan status on at least 12 students, including Tatsumi-san (1927-31). Eguchi-sensei also left the URR Gakkai (even before Hayashi-sensei) but he continued to teach both systems and one of his Shichidan graduates was Yuji Onuki-san (1926-30). The system that Hawayo Takata-sensei learned from Hayashi-sensei (1935-38) was a much revised version he was teaching at that time.
Dave King and Melissa Riggall of the Usui-Do Eidan received Rokudan from Onuki-san in 1971, Shichidan from Tatsumi-san in 1996 and Godan (3rd highest level) from Tenon-in in October 2002, the latter giving them a direct spiritual connection to Usui Sensei through her.
Note: Melissa Rigall made her transition on March 12, 2003. She and her contributions to Reiki will be greatly missed. Click here for a memorial page.
Sources: Dave King, George Mullen (who also received Godan from Onuki-san in 1971).
Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai
At the time of Usui Sensei's death, Reiki was becoming a bit more formalized in the form of a learning society called Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai. In 1926 the society was headed by retired Rear Admiral Juzaburo Ushida (also pronounced Gyuda). He was assisted by other senior students of Usui Sensei including retired Rear Admiral Kan'ichi Taketomi and retired naval Captain Chuujuru Hayashi.
The society changed methods and procedures over the years, even the ceremony it used to bestow Reiki. But it continued on as a support group for Reiki practitioners. Currently membership is limited and by invitation only, but there was a time when the society had over 80 chapters with a Shihan (teacher) in charge of each. It is known that Ushida-sensei would sometimes hold 5 day training sessions (much like Hayashi-sensei used to) in the Kansai area, held at the estate houses of fruit growers who wished to sponsor classes for themselves and the local population. The classes would have been closer to the original Shodan format (not Shoden) which originally included much of what we think now of as Reiki 1 and 2.
During the war the society headquarters had to be moved around due to the bombing in Tokyo, and afterwards it seems some of the members became permanently disconnected. Gradually the 80 chapters (and Shihan) were reduced to the current 5 locations (and Shihan). So it seems a new Shihan is appointed only by attrition. He or she would be elevated from the honored Shinpiden status, which these days is now more of an honorary status conferred after about 40 years of Reiki experience. There are only 12 Shinpiden in the URR Gakkai at this time and around 500 members.
Many aspects of the society are still unknown but it is hoped that the current leaders (the 5 Shihan or teachers) will gradually open up a dialogue with Reiki practitioners outside their organization. Last year at URRI 2001 in Madrid, Mr. Hiroshi Doi (a URR Gakkai member) carried greetings to the participants from the current society president, Mr. Masaki Kondoh.
Several other Reiki Masters had schools in operation at the time of Usui Sensei's passing. These included Toshihiro Eguchi, founder of Tenohira Ryoji (hand healing) and Kaiji Tomita, founder of the Tomita Teate (hand healing) Ryoho. Some of Usui's students simply taught quietly on their own. Some of information from these sources is gradually reaching us outside of Japan.
Usui Sensei's Usual Way of Applying Reiki
At the URRI 2001 Workshop in Madrid, Spain, Mr. Hiroshi Doi explained what the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai teaches as Usui Sensei's typical way of giving a Reiki treatment.
He said that Sensei would use the Reiji technique to discover the area of greatest need for healing that was required by the patient. Then he would apply Reiki there, usually with one hand. He would extend his middle and ring finger together, forwards and downwards at an angle, using them as the main focus for the energy. His index and smallest fingers were extended straight out, to act as radiators to dispell any negative energy (the thumb was up and acted this way as well).
(Note: Arjava Petter illustrated a version of this in his book The Original Handbook of Dr. Mikao Usui)
In this way, Doi-sensei said, Usui Sensei would typically give 3 minute healings.
Today, the Gakkai add the index finger together with the middle and ring fingers, and use the thumb and smallest finger as the radiators.
History of Usui Family (source: Usui family tree)
1. Emperor Kanmu Katsurahara Shin'no Takamioh Takamochioh (ancestor of Kanmu-heishi)
2. Takamochioh Yoshifumi (5th son) Muraoka Kingoro Tadayori Tadatsune Tsunemasa (ancestor of Chiba family)
3. Tsunemasa Tsunenao Tsunekane Tsuneyasu (3rd son) (ancestor of Usui family)
* The Usui Memorial has the name of Tsunetane Chiba. Tsunetane is NOT the ancestor of Usui family. He was a son of Tsuneshige, who was 1st son of Tsunekane.
4. Tsuneyasu Tsunekage Yasutane Kanetane Kaneo Tsunemasa Kanenori Yasutoshi Kanemasa Kanemaki (moved to Taniai Village)
5. Kanemaki Kanetada Kanenari Kanehiro Kanetoyo Kanesuke Kanehiro Kanesato Kaneshiro Kanetsuna Kanekatsu (2nd son)
*5 sons of Kanekatsu became independent and they are called "the Five Usui Family."
Usui Mikao is a descendant of Mitsukane.
The Birth Place/Town of Usui Mikao
1. Currently "Yamagata-gun Taniai-village" changed the name to "Yamagata-gun, Miyama-cho, Tanial" with the town and village combined
2. Usui's house does not exist now, and a part of the land became houses and a timber dealer.
3. Tsunekage succeeded to conquer the Mino area and he was given the area by Minamotono Yoritomo. Tsunekage built the Usui Castle (Tania Castle and Fort) here. Kanemaki erected a temple, Myojozan Komyoji, sacred to Myoken Bosatsu, on the top of close by mountain, but a big fire destroyed the temple. The castle does not exist now, but the stone wall and ruins are there. Further investigation is being waited.
4. A woman (95 years old) of Usui Mikao's relative remembers Usui Mikao's mother; sister and brother but about Mikao, she said " I heard about Mikao and saw ' photos before, but have never met him" Usui Mikao left home in his youth and did not come back so often, so that few remember about him.
5. There is a big Torii (shrine gate) which has name of Usui Mikao carved, in Amataka Shrine, close to Usui's home. The big stone Toril was donated by three Usul brothers in April 1923.
There are several of Usui Sensei's students who are still alive in Japan.
"In 1971 Melissa Riggall and I studied the Usui system in depth (in Morocco) with Yuji Onuki, a student of Eguchi. In 1994 Melissa and I visited Japan to meet with the grandson of Onuki. We were introduced to five elderly persons who had actually studied with Usui-sensei in Tokyo. One of these was a Tendai Buddhist nun who was born in the 29th year of Meiji (1897) and had trained with and assisted Usui-sensei from 1922 until 1926 and remembers his departure for Fukuyama. The nun confirmed that Usui had received Tendai training at an early age and remained Tendai all his life. She was not given printed handouts (photocopying at that time was in its infancy and paper sizes were not then standardized).
At a later visit I attended a Japanese Reiki (Vortex school) workshop given by Toshitaka Mochizuki in Tokyo. I then travelled on my railpass and chanced to meet a student of Hayashi named Tatsumi who studied until 1931. Details are available at http://www.usui-do.org.
Melissa returned to Japan later to await a permit to enter a restricted area of China to do research. She spent some time with Tatsumi and met further students of Usui, Hayashi and Eguchi during that time. We will be told when we can release information.
Last week (early May, 2001) we received permission from the nun to make her existence public. We hope that readers of this list respect the privacy of a 104 year-old woman in Holy Orders and make it clear that a source of information will be lost as a result."
Dave also said that the lady attained the 2nd highest level that Usui-sensei taught and she also knew Dr. Hayashi.
When I visted the Saihoji Temple in November, 2000, I was surprised to find another inscription on the left side of the Usui Family grave stone (area in red).
The inscription indicated the passing of Ms. Toshiko Usui, daughter of Mikao and Sadako Usui, on September 23, 1935 at the age of 22 years (21 in Western years).
The Usui Precepts originated with a source other than Mikao Usui Sensei.
"Usui Sensei created (the) Gokai (the 5 principles) getting hints from a book "Kenzon no Gebri" written by Dr. Suzuki Bizan (published in March, 1914.) The book says "Just for today, do not get angry, do not feel fear, be honest, work hard, and be kind to others."
(from Gendai Reiki Healing Training Text - Gendai Reiki-ho , Hiroshi Doi-sensei)
Dr. Hayashi did not teach formal hand positions.
Ms. Chiyoko Yamaguchi (80 years old) who learned Reiki from Dr. Chujiro Hayashi in 1938, told Sensei Hiroshi Doi that Dr. Hayashi did not teach her formal hand positions.
A Western Reiki Master who talked with another of Dr. Hayashi's students from 1939, said that the student (who appeared quite old) who lives in Nara, Japan also confirmed that Dr. Hayashi did not teach formal hand positions.
This same Western Reiki Master received training from Dr. Hayashi's 1931 student, Mr. Tatsumi, before his passing in 1996. Again, he told her that no formal hand positions were taught in Dr. Hayashi's school.
However, there may have been some hand positions in Usui Sensei's original training (other than those mentioned in the Usui Reiki Hikkei). Tatsumi-sensei's notes (copied from Hayashi and Usui notes while he was in training with Hayashi-sensei, 1927-31) apparently mention an early form of hand positions derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine. These are displayed at the TJR Reiki school pages and make use of meridian points on the body.
We can only speculate how the standard 12 hand positions became part of Western Reiki.
Dr. Hayashi would teach Reiki 1 and 2 on back to back days.
Ms. Chiyoko Yamaguchi (80 years old) learned Reiki from Dr. Chujiro Hayashi in 1938 and was allowed to teach Reiki. Recently Sensei Hiroshi Doi took Reiki training from her (May 2000) and was given permission to teach the Hayashi-sensei material. Yamaguchi Sensei taught Shoden and Okuden (Reiki 1 and 2) one month and then Shinpiden the following month. She taught this as she learned from Hayashi Sensei, and relates a lot of stories about Hayashi Sensei.
Doi Sensei says:
" The book 'The Reiki Healing' written by Fuminori Aoki (master of Reido Reiki) has an article of one of Yamaguchi Sensei's talks. It says 'When I (Yamaguchi) learned Reiki, I received Sho-den and Oku-den in five consecutive days.' Currently, Yamaguchi teaches as she (was) taught by Hayashi in 5 days. Sho-den for the 3 days, and Oku-den for the 2 days. I am not sure but it can be possible that Hayashi's teaching method was different between teaching in his clinic in Tokyo and going out of Tokyo to teach".
Famous Healers Who Learned Reiki Ryoho
© 2000 Modern Reiki Method for Healing, by Hiroshi Doi
a. Toshihiro Eguchi (founder of "Tenohira Ryoji (hand healing)")
Eguchi learned Usui Reiki Ryoho from 1925 to 1927, and established "Tenohira Ryoji Kenkyu-kai (hand healing research center)". Famous students of Eguchi are Yasukiyo Eguchi, Kohshi Mitsui, and Goro Miyazaki. It was said that Eguchi had 500 thousand students.
b. Kaiji Tomita (founder of "Tomita Teate (hand healing) Ryoho")
Tomita learned Reiki around the year of 1925, and he established "Teate Ryoho-kai (hand healing center)" after Usui Sensei passed away. Tomita gave Reiki seminar of 4 levels, "Sho-den", "Chu-den", "Oku-den", and "Kai-den". Each level required 5 days (2 hours for each day) to be completed, but Kai-den required 15 days. The number of students were more than 200 thousand and his famous student is Jiro Asuke.
c. Other healers
Other than the two famous healers stated above, there may exist several healers who established "new Reiki association" or who became "the founder of new religion". Currently, some religious groups practice hand healing but they do not touch people directly, because touching the body without license was regarded as contravention against the Medical Act. Usui Reiki Ryoho has not been regarded as contravention against the Medical Act, but they spread Reiki as "family treatment method by membership".