WILL THE REAL 'HAYASHI-STYLE REIKI
PLEASE STAND UP?
© 2011 James Deacon
is commonly taught by many pro “Japanese style” Reiki
enthusiasts, that, because there are differences between the
modern-day Japanese 'Jikiden' style of Reiki (as taught by Mrs Chiyoko
the Usui Shiki Ryoho style of Reiki (as practised and taught by
Takata-sensei over a period of more than 40 years,) that it is Usui
Shiki Ryoho which has deviated from what was actually taught by
Hayashi-sensei in the late 1930's
– that Hawayo Takata must
made changes to the system.
course this is not beyond the bounds of possibility.
it is not the only
yes, a couple of people have pointed to the fact that Hayashi-sensei
apparently named his organisation the Hayashi Reiki Kenkyukai
(Hayashi Reiki Research Society) and have suggested that perhaps the
differences are actually due to Hayashi-sensei himself – that as
part of his researches, what
and how he
taught evolved into new forms
others have suggested that Hawayo Takata did not receive the 'proper'
training because she was a nisei (a
person of Japanese blood, yet born overseas – and thus, seen by
some as less than pure Japanese)
to date, few it seems have been willing to consider the
it is actually the Jikiden
teachings, and not the
Usui Shiki Ryoho
teachings which really deviate from what Hayashi-sensei taught in the
is, I feel important to remember that Usui Shiki Ryoho's Hawayo
Takata learnt Reiki before Jikiden's Mrs Chiyoko
fact, by the time Chiyoko Yamaguchi took her first Reiki class,
Hawayo Takata was already a fully trained and certified Master, and
had been practising Reiki for somewhere in the region of 2 ½
unlike Mrs Yamaguchi's training, Hawayo Takata's training with
Hayashi-sensei took the form of an extended, full-time
1935, Hawayo Takata had travelled to Japan to inform her parents of
the death of one of her sisters in Hawaii (also bringing her own late
husband's ashes to be interred in Kyoto).
experiencing daily Reiki treatments in the Hayashi clinic, she was
healed of a number of
serious health problems – something that in itself would have given
her a very deep connection with Reiki.
effort, managed to persuade Hayashi-sensei to accept her as a
gone through (by her own account) a four-day introductory training and initiations for
Level 1, Hawayo Takata had been privileged to be offered a
Reiki apprenticeship / internship.
worked alongside Hayashi-sensei, his wife Chie, and a small number of
other select students in the Hayashi clinic in the mornings, and
went out on 'house calls' (sometimes accompanying Hayashi-sensei,
sometimes alone) in the afternoons.
This was the
routine for these students. Learning from Hayashi-sensei, from each
other, and from direct experience of treating the many and various
conditions that brought people to the clinic.
this time, she had not only worked on a daily basis with her teacher,
but, after some months, had been honoured by being welcomed into the
a student, to be invited to live with their teacher in this way, as part
of his family, is something which has special significance –
particularly for 'old school' Japanese ( a pertinent fact which seems
to have either been missed or conveniently overlooked by those who
seek to promote the 'superiority' of various ”Japanese” Reiki
styles tracing their lineage back via Hayashi-sensei) and is
something we will look at, below.
time Hawayo Takata was permitted to undergo the training and
initiations which constituted entry into level 2, and having done so,
she continued the next phase of her apprenticeship.
Returning to Hawaii in July 1936, she set up her Reiki practice, remaining in regular contact with Hayashi-sensei.
In 1937 Hawayo Takata visited Japan again, spending a couple of months with Hayashi-sensei, before returning to Hawaii in September 1937.
Less than two weeks later, Hayashi-sensei also travelled to Hawaii, where he accompanied
Hawayo Takata on a lecture tour to promote the art of Reiki Ryoho.
prior to returning to Japan at the end of February 1938.
Hayashi-sensei signed a Certificate before a 'Notary Public'
confirming Takata-sensei's status as Reiki master.
– contrary to some later claims that Takata-sensei, due to her
being a woman and a nisei
person of Japanese blood, yet born overseas – and thus, seen by
some as less than pure Japanese) had not received full
training - the notarised certificate also clearly acknowledges
Takata-sensei as being “ one of the thirteen fully qualified as
masters of the profession”
was only after all this, on Hayashi-sensei's return to Japan, that he
is said to have travelled to Daishoji in the North of Japan to hold
the short training course where Chiyoko Yamaguchi began her journey
mentioned above, Hawayo Takata had been welcomed into the Hayashi's
Now to 'western' minds, little significance is
this fact (- other than perhaps a fleeting thought that the Hayashis
were kind to give her a place to stay)
likewise, even though she spoke about her acceptance into the Hayashi
household when recounting information about this time in her life,
other than to express her gratitude to the Hayashis, Hawayo Takata
herself did not 'make a big ego thing of it'.
though, in Japanese culture, a student being invited to live as a
member of their teacher's household (no matter what the nature of the
discipline they are studying) has long been seen as something of
is a great honour - something usually only bestowed on students who
display high levels of potential.
be invited to live with their teacher in this way is to become
(literally an 'inside student') is a live-in student who
receives special training – frequently with a focus on becoming
their teacher's successor.
Uchideshi has a far greater degree of contact with their teacher than
is possible for other students.
only students deemed by the teacher to be highly dedicated to their
development within the chosen art would be offered the
opportunity to become Uchideshi.
is said that life as an Uchideshi can be a challenging one (for a
start, Uchideshi often have to put up with animosity from other
students who are jealous of their status1),
yet life as an Uchideshi
can also be a highly rewarding one, as it is believed that only
through experiencing daily life with their teacher, can a student truly
reach beyond the technicalities of their art and learn its
inner essence. (Thus, the term Uchideshi can also be understood in
the sense of “student of the inner teachings”)
so, to all intent and purposes, HawayoTakata had become an uchideshi
only was she working, day in day out, in the clinic with
Hayashi-sensei and the other chosen apprentices, but she was also
living in the Hayashi home, 'breathing the same air', in almost
constant close proximity to her teacher: observing how he lived his
life, how he dealt with various situations, how he interacted with
others; and being exposed to endless situational learning
opportunities: a comment here, a question there, being asked to find
her own solution to a problem or treatment issue; a simple
conversation – its content seemingly unimportant at the time - its
true significance and value only realised perhaps months or even
years later; perhaps being challenged to look at situations from a
new perspective - often learning by 'osmosis', a gradual, often
unconscious process of assimilation or absorption.
certain extent, almost every aspect of her daily life would have
become part of her training.
one of Takata-sensei's diary entries (May 1936 ) she wrote:
was more than pleasing was that Mr Hayashi has granted to bestow upon
me the secrets of Shinpi Den ...” (i.e. third Level)2
would seem to suggest that Hayashi-sensei had made the decision that Hawayo Takata possessed the correct
moral character, and was displaying the necessary understanding,
ability and aptitudes, of a student destined to be initiated and
trained as a master.
must remember that at the time (unlike today) master-level training
and initiation was something not automatically offered to every level
to recap, HawayoTakata, after undergoing several months of intense
treatment in the Hayashi Clinic:
hard to persuade Hayashi-sensei to accept her as a student, proving
her determination and commitment to the art that had cured her.
offered an internship/apprenticeship in the Hayashi Clinic, with
other select students.
uchi deshi (an “inner student”).
Received full, certified,
Mastership directly from Hayashi-sensei.
And not only had
lived, trained and worked hand-in-hand with her teacher for six months3
or so in Japan, returning again the following year to spend further time with her teacher, but she was then honoured by her teacher coming to Hawaii,
where the two of them toured giving lectures and demonstrations.
she had Hayashi-sensei's confidence in her that she was worthy to be
the sole representative of the Reiki art in the US.
Mrs Yamaguchi on the other hand:
learnt level 1 and level 2 from Hayashi-sensei over a few days when
he visited her home town.
not offered an internship/apprenticeship working directly under
not work on a daily basis in the Hayashi clinic.
invited into the Hayashi home as a live-in student.
not invited to take master level training directly from Hayashi-sensei.
apparently only later learnt how to perform reiju from her uncle
Wasaburo Sugano, who had, so we are told, been trained as a master by
I feel we have to ask the question:
Shiki Ryoho or Jikiden - Hawayo Takata or Chiyoko Yamaguchi – based
purely on the nature, quality and depth of training received directly
from Hayashi-sensei by each of these two women, which of
styles would probably more closely reflect the system of Reiki Ryoho
as actually taught by Hayashi-sensei ?”
again, did Hayashi-sensei perhaps modify the Reiki system at some
point after training
Hawayo Takata, his wife Chie, and many other
did he perhaps feel some need to teach different things to those
“outside students” (both in Tokyo and in other areas of the country)
than he taught to
his apprentices in his clinic. Perhaps he also felt that the inclusion
certain additional techniques and practices would help to
supplement the training of those students for whom he was unable to
provide a greater depth of day-to-day in-person training?
could it have perhaps been Mrs Chiyoko Yamaguchi who over time
altered what she had been taught to suit her personal preferences?
For example, can we perhaps find influences in her
drawn from her interactions with one of the groups practising a
version of the Johrei teachings of Mokichi Okada ?
Hawayo Takata who was a professionally active Reiki practitioner (and
teacher4) throughout her life, Mrs Yamaguchi appears only
begun to work with Reiki on a professional level in the 1990's.
it be that she had forgotten things, or simply misremembered some of
the details of the brief training she had received from
could perhaps the differences between what Chiyoko Yamaguchi taught
and what Hawayo Takata had learnt, been due, at least in part, to the
Chiyoko's uncle Wasaboro Sugano - with whom she obviously had far
more interaction than she did with Hayashi-sensei?
yes, of course it is possible that Hawayo Takata did also make
changes to the way in which she taught and practised Reiki over the
However I feel that
the reason for the differences between
the teachings of Jikiden Reiki and Usui Shiki Ryoho is not nearly as
'clear cut' as many pro “Japanese style” Reiki enthusiasts would
like us to believe.
1 and it is to be imagined this might this
might be even harder if the
uchideshi was a woman, and also a nisei
(a person of Japanese blood,
yet born overseas – and thus, seen by some as less than pure
it has frequently been asserted that it was not until 1937 (i.e. in the
months she spent with Hayashi-sensei before returning to Hawaii in
the September) that Hawayo Takata underwent her Master
level initiation, from historical documents that have recently come to
light, it seems probable that Takata-sensei had in fact been initiated
to master level, prior to returning to Hawaii in 1936.
length of time for the training period in the Hayashi clinic given here
differs significantly from that suggested in the original version of
this article. The revision is based on information from a newspaper
transcript of a speech given by Chujiro Hayashi in February 1938.
4 contrary to what is commonly repeated in
many books and on many
websites, Takata-sensei did not
only begin to teach Reiki in the
1970's. It is true that it was not until the mid 70's that she
initiated the first Reiki Master,
however we have documentary evidence from the time showing that she had
initiated numerous students while Hayashi-sensei was alive.
This article has now been edited to correct certain
'facts' (concerning the time-line of events, re: Takata-sensei's
Reiki training) which had been provided by - well, let's just say, a
quite prominent individual who had had close working connection with
Hawayo Takata. I had accepted the details in good faith as being
properly researched fact. However, further research into the matter
on my own part, would strongly suggest that the information I was
initially provided with was quite inaccurate.