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THE STRANGE CASE OF USUI RYOHO KAI ...
Copyright 2004/5 James Deacon
[Updated: Jun. 27, 2006]



Recently, a New Zealander named Liam Richards has begun teaching a style of Reiki which he refers to as Usui Ryoho Kai
[1]. (Usui Treatment Association)

Richards claims that this is Reiki as taught in the Kyoto branch of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai and further claims to have learnt this style while living as a young foreign exchange student in Japan in 1993.

According to Richards, the head of the family he was staying with - Yoshinori Takida - worked at the Kyoto Sangyo University as a teacher of Linguistics (In some versions, Richards maintains that Takida was a teacher of English. He has also apparently told some people that Takida was actually a Professor at the University?)[2].

Further, Richards would have us believe that Takida also (conveniently) just happened to be the 'Shihan' of the Kyoto branch of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai - from some time in the early 1960's, right up to 1999.

He tells us that both Takida and his father had been taught Reiki by former Gakkai President, Hoichi Wanami, and that it was Wanami who made him Shihan of the Kyoto branch. Takida had apparently been involved with Reiki since he was 11 years old. He died in January 2003.

According to Richards, Takida's wife and his two sons were apparently also Gakkai members.

As well as teaching Richards (who had already studied western-lineage Reiki in NZ) this particular style of Reiki used in the Kyoto Gakkai, Takida also apparently introduced him to Kimiko Koyama (then President of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai in Tokyo).[3]

He claims that Koyama approved of his training even though he was a foreigner (- and a minor?) [4], and encouraged him to teach. According to Richards, he spent a few days with Koyama in Tokyo. Apparently he received some Reiki instruction from her and, he says, she also gave him Reiju. [It is perhaps not surprising that there is no evidence to support these claims.].

Richards says that, as well as attending formal classes run by Takida, he also received private tuition from Takida. Amongst other things, Takida apparently also helped him with his understanding of Japanese language and culture, and of written kanji. [5]

We are told that Richards attended Reiki gatherings on a weekly basis. These gatherings apparently often included Shihan from other areas. One of these was a woman called Sakiko, a friend of Takida's who, so Richards informs us, was head of the Osaka branch of the Gakkai. (Richards apparently stayed with Sakiko for three weeks in 2000, and says he was invited to give Reiju to attendants at one of her Gakkai meetings)

Richards claims that, after returning to New Zealand, he continued to receive training (via phone, letter and email) from Takida, and also received weekly distant Reiju.
He tells us that he had achieved the Okuden grade (which, as taught in the Kyoto branch, apparently had 4 levels) while living in Japan; and that he achieved the first level of Shinpiden in 1995.
Takida is said to have visited Richards in New Zealand in 1997 conferring on him the 2nd level of Shinpiden, and then the Shihan or teachers level.

According to Richards, the branches of the Gakkai in Kyoto and Osaka have little to do with the main branch in Tokyo. He tells us that, in 1999, Takida severed ties with the Tokyo Gakkai. This was apparantly as a result of differences with the new Gakkai President, Masayoshi (or Masaki) Kondo, over approaches to teaching. However, Takida apparently continued to teach locally and hold weekly Reiki gatherings.

Richards would have us believe that (conveniently?) the Kyoto branch teaches techniques which differ somewhat from those used by the Tokyo Gakkai branch. He says no symbols are taught; and the form of Reiju used differs from the other forms of Reiju currently being taught by other 'traditionalists'.

However, Richards also offers a condensed, more intensive version of the Kyoto branch training to existing Reiki Masters. This is comprised of two sections, with aproximately a year between the two.

The first section covering Shoden, Okuden and Shinpiden levels, is apparently spread over three days.
Students are required to receive treatment for about five consecutive days prior to the three-day teaching session. They also receive Shoden level Reiju in advance of training, with further Reiju (for the other levels, I assume) given during the course of the actual teaching session. Some course materials are provided prior to the session, and further materials are presented over the course of the three days.

Apparently the three-day session itself also includes information not covered in the written materials. Level Certificates are only issued when the Shihan ( i.e. Richards) feels the student has integrated the relevant training.

Having achieved Shinpiden status, students are required to work at this level for anything upto 12 months, after which time, if considered suitable, they may be invited to take the Shihan level.

All new Shihans in the Usui Ryoho Kai system must be approved by Richards and the Takida family...

 

NOTES:

[1] Back in 2002 Richards claimed to be a "Sensei' (and then later, a 'Shihan') in something called the 'Usui Shiki Ryoho Gakkai'
(-which should not be confused with the 'Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai'). He eventually admitted that this was an organisation which had been set up in New Zealand (by Richards himself, I felt), and was not connected to the Gakkai in Japan.

[2]According to Pati Wolfgang [6], there is no trace of Yoshinori Takida having worked at Kyoto Sangyo University

[3] According to Hiroshi Doi, neither the current Gakkai President nor Kimiko Koyama's granddaughter have ever heard of Yoshinori Takida; also that his name was not listed on an official roll of Gakkai members. Somewhat strange for a supposed Head of one of the Gakkai's main surviving branches?

[4]It is generaly understood that the Gakkai won't even talk to foreigners, let alone train them (and if we are to believe Hiroshi Doi, it would seem that, even amongst Japanese members, there are no young people - Doi stated that at meetings he was frequently the youngest person present.)

[5] Interestingly, for someone apparently gaining extra tuition - and from a supposed Reiki Master at that - in conversations with Richards (again in 2002) it was obvious to me that he had an ill-informed understanding as to the basic, common meanings of the kanji which make up the DKM and HSZSN symbols, let alone their potential significance within Reiki - which he was then claiming to be of Shingon Buddhist origin.

 

ADDENDUM:

You might like to read the following open letter, by Pati Wolfgang, which outlines some more serious concerns raised regarding Richards' character, conduct, and various spurious claims made by him (which I feel must surely impact on our acceptance of the validity of his claims about the origin & authenticity of his Reiki teachings.)


IMPORTANT UPDATE

In January 2006, I was contacted by "A. B." (Liam Richard's former partner).

"A. B." kindly provided me with many details which certainly seem to support the overall view of Liam's character as presented by Patti Wolfgang in her open letter.

Amongst other things, "A. B." recounted how Liam had used his name to run up a string of debts; and also how there were outstanding legal actions filed against Liam by several different parties - including former landlords, and several of their mutual friends and acquaintances (whose generosity Liam took advantage of).

Further, in relation to Liam's claims regarding his involvement with (and training received from) Reiki sources in Japan, "A. B." had the following to say:

"... I too believed his Reiki lineage, and training and supported him in his teaching and 'healing'. At the time it did strike me as odd that someone with his knowledge and experiences should have to create lesson plans from library books, and then teach by reading from his books."

"His father told me that that he [Liam] had never been to Japan (and strangely enough I was never allowed to mention this or several other aspects of his life unrelated to healing around his parents or family)"

"...The only Reiki training he had received was a Reiki one attunement from a teacher in Auckland "

 

I would like to thank "A. B." for stepping forward with this information, and for giving his permission (as of June 2006) for me to present it here.

I feel it is very important that people be aware of this information provided by both "A. B." and Patti.

I would hope that it will put Reiki folk on their guard about Liam (who is apparently very charismatic and convincing) - and also make them wary of any Reiki teachers who are still intent on presenting Liam's teachings as 100% genuine ( - even though aware of the above-mentioned information e.g. that Liam had never even been to Japan)

[I can't help but wonder if such teachers truly believe in the validity of Liam's 'teachings' or if this is merely a pretence and they are simply focussing on the potential financial gain to be made from selling 'Usui Ryoho Kai' training seminars]

 

 

 


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