Andrew Bowling's REIKI HISTORY Archives

(formerly located at
From 1998 through 2006 Andy Bowling presented a web site detailed with Reiki History and facts.  When he discovered original teachings of Mikao Usui shared by Chris Marsh, he began to focus more in that direction.  In 2007 Andy decided to stop his Reiki History pages but gave me permission to host this archive at my web site. I hope you enjoy this original contribution to the Reiki world.

If you have comments or suggestions, Contact Me.
Rick Rivard  (
December 2007

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Small up-dates Dec 2003

Special Note for Reiki Practitioners.

About five years after Mikao Usui died Chujiro Hayashi started his own Society he called it 'Hayashi Reiki Kenkyu-kai'.
It is here you will see the word Reiki used.

In Usui's time no name was given to what he taught either as a hands on healing method or his Spiritual work, it was simply referred to as Usui Teate  or Usui Do by students.
Usui referred to his spiritual work as a 'Method to Achieve Personal Perfection'.

Therefore it would seem from this that Hayashi may have given us the name Reiki.

Then of course we have the Gakkai, this was formed after Usui died and also use the word Reiki. 
This was founded by the naval officers who were trained at the same time as Hayashi.

We know that Hayashi was a member of the Gakkai for a short time.
However it seems that some years later when Hayashi started his new society, becoming it's president, that he changed the teachings. The changes he made seem to be that he removed some of the spiritual nature of the teachings and made them more of a practical  hands on healing method.

It is this that we now see popularly practiced in the west.
What we see being taught as 'Usui's Reiki' is no more than a poor shadow of Usui's original work. 

Hayashi actually got to Shinpiden level, this is awarded as an indication that he had reached the level  but not necessarily completed it. 

It is now known that Usui did not use Reiju as part of his hands on healing method and therefore it would not have been taught. This means that Hayashi did not receive the teachings of the Reiju (attunement) which was part of Usu's spiritual teaching. The training giving insight into Reiju takes a very long time to achieve (years) and Hayashi was with Usui only a few months. 

For these people he introduced the term 'Ryuku' which means, someone who is a good practitioner but not familiar with the full spiritual teachings

The fact that he was teaching/using symbols is also strange and may be why he was able to progress so quickly. (he only spent about 6 months with Usui before his (Usui's) death.
The teachings of Usui did not originaly contain symbols, they were introduced  later as a focus for the energies, for those not necessarily sensitive to energy.

Only one of the 12 living students of Usui was taught symbols, the student was taught from 1923 onwards.

So, what does this mean for us ?

Well, the healing method we call Reiki  and passed down through Takata, seems to be a process devised by Hayashi using Usui's own teachings as his foundation. However, as you will see later, Hayashi was only interested in Usui's ability to heal others for use in his own medical way.

Therefore it may not be correct correct to call 'Hayashi - Reiki' truly a Usui method.
It would also be true to say that the teachings  of today and especialy the way they have been changed, are truly opposed to what Usui taught.
People are living an illusion if they think you can buy Mastery of a healing method.

When Hayashi changed his teachings he did the correct thing and called it by his own name - 'Hayashi Reiki Kenkyu-kai'. This would be the correct thing to do, he changed the methods and therefore re-named them as his own whilst still honoring his teacher by giving his name in the teachings. 

The so called Reiki Techniques are a different matter please see Techniques.

The Hayashi Story

Born 1878.

An ex-naval 'Captain' in the Imperial Japanese Navy and a Naval Doctor.
He graduated Navy School in Dec 1902.

Started Reiki training with Usui Sensei late in 1925, he was 47 years old, it is believed he was the last student trained by Usui  along with the other naval officers Ushida and Taketomi.

I am told that when Usui taught the naval officers it was most unusual, his friends were upset that he should teach military men his methods. I seems that Usui may have been pressurised by the officers to teach them, he was giving healing at a naval base at the time.see techniques.

Usui realised that he was only interested in the practical healing and adjusted his teachings to reflect this.
Usui was also interested in seeing if his healing methods would work as a stand alone method.
Usui was disappointed that Hayashi could not feel the energies so changed his teachings to suit him.
The awarding of Shinpiden was given more as a recognition of Hayashi learning what he was taught, and not that he had learned all Usui's other teachings. It does seem that Hayashi may have been received special treatment by Usui in his teaching.

Following his training he  later opened a small clinic in Tokyo which had eight beds and 16 healers.

Named "Hayashi Reiki Kenkyu-kai". (research centre)

Practitioners worked at least two to a bed giving treatments that way.

Usui Sensei used head positions only, then treated any problem area on the body.   Also in collaboration with Hayashi he gave additional positions for treating specific conditions see Hikkei, however this was not until the last few months of his life.

Hayashi adopted further hand positions to Usui, and these may have been a forerunner of todays  hand placements.
He is credited with devising the system most use today covering the whole body. This is usually described as a way to provide a better flow of energy around/through the body and also provides for additional practitioners working at any-one time.

According to one of his living students, Mrs Yamaguchi, Hayashi taught no formal handpositions only the five on the head. The practitioner relied on the patient and his/her own intuition and/or scanning.

It is said that students may originaly have worked with Hayashi to learn the Reiki Degrees, probably for no money. This is stated by 'Traditional Japanese Reiki' through a Master Tatsumi one of Hayashi's students. This is also how Usui taught.

Some credit Hayashi with the attunement process for Reiki, in a way this is possible, however he was not working with Usui long enough to learn Reiju (empowerment) which was only part of the inner spiritual teachings and not used for hands on healing.
It is most likely that Hayashi learnt an empowerment process after Usui's passing when the Gakkai was formed and which he joined for a time.
He used a form of empowerment very different from the Reiju Usui taught.

He later left the Gakkai because the nationalism of some members was at odds with his Christian belief, he also felt that it conficted with Usui's teaching.


A 1928 Japanese Magazine ('Sunday Mainichi' March 1928) reported on Reiki and that a Mr. Matsui, a Reiki practitioner, had trained with Hayashi Sensei. The article had reviewed a book by Mr. Matsui and people had written in asking for more Reiki information.

Mr. Matsui stated that Mr. Hayashi opened his clinic every morning for Reiki.

He had attended a five day training course which took place for 1-1/2 hours each day, it was very expensive he stated.

His wife also took the course and they gave healings to people. One of his accounts is of giving healing to a man close to death. They gave Reiki for 6.5 hours - he recovered.

Mr. Matsui stated that he was not interested in the spiritual side of Reiki and was more for the practical approach, he put his hands on and felt for imbalances, then treated the area until cleared.

He was persuaded by someone with influence to try Reiki but not for any spiritual reason.

He had not been convinced about Reiki until he actually tried it out and got results.

He had been taught by Mr. Hayashi who was a very strict man and dedicated to Reiki.

He (Mr Hayashi) taught for five days a month the rest of the time he spent healing.

Mr.Hayashi did not feel the need to advertise Reiki. Usui sensei was also very opposed to advertising.

Many people were doing different forms of healing in Japan at that time he said, some were not true Reiki.

He refers to the system as Reiki Ryoho.


In her book 'Reiki - Hawayo Takata's Story' (Isbn.  0-944135-06-4) Helen Haberly writes.....

"Before she left Tokyo she asked Dr. Hayashi one question which had been bothering her. In all those months at the clinic she had never encountered one poor person-no shabby patients, no laborers - so she asked if he refused to treat such people. He laughed replying since this was a very good question, he would answer it. He told her that all those who entered his door were upper class, even titled, people of wealth, education, and intelligence. When they were ill they could afford the best doctors and the best hospitals, but they sought more than surgery and drugs. They had Reiki consciousness, so they came to him. The others did not have this understanding, and when illness occurred they thought the need was for hospitals and doctors and nurses. If called, he would go, no matter how poor they were, but their beliefs were different, so they did not accept him and this drugless treatment. He also assured her when she became an experienced practitioner, she, too, would find this to be so."


Mr. Yamaguchi (son of Mrs Yamaguchi student of Hayashi) says that Hayashi charged high prices for teaching and healing, the theory being that only those who paid a lot would appreciate what they were taught and stay the course.

Following Usui's death, the three  senior naval officers he taught opened  a clinic and operated what today is referred to as a hospice for the terminally ill, giving and continuing to teach the original Usui methods. This took place in November 1926 shortly after his, Usui's, death and lasted for about three years.

They are also thought to have arranged the burial and provided the welknown photo of Usui  which included the Usui Affirmations.


Arjava Petter - 'Chujiro Hayashi was one of several high ranking Reiki students in the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai who had been give the teacher's level. However he was not allowed to teach the master level to anyone. In teaching Mrs. Takata he went against the rule of the Gakkai. We don't know when he left the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, but we do know for a fact that he did leave it. His style of Reiki, as he writes in his Reiki manual is called 'Hayashi Shiki Reiki'- not Usui Reiki Ryoho!'

Chujiro Hayashi changed the name of his clinic in 1931 calling it 'Hayashi Reiki Ryoho Kenkyu-kai '(Research Center) . At this time some of his senior students left, it would appear that he changed the original Usui teachings to form his own methods, and they may not not have agree with this.

From Takata it would seem that Hayashi's system may have been called 'Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho' (Shiki - System) .  Mrs Takata referred to it as 'Reiki'.

Chujiro Hayashi passed over on May 10th. 1940. He ended his life by 'Seppuku'. (ritual slitting of the hara)

According to Mrs. Takata he took his own life due to the threat of war. This is true, at the time he was very concerned about the build up of nationalism at the beginning of the last war.

As a military man and reservist he would have taken the following oath..

Military Bushido Code 1905

Loyalty to the Emperor is Essential Duty 

Respect you superiors and have consideration of your juniors 

Bravery in battle to be honoured 

Faith in the Divine leads to greatness 

Simple living is the path to Enlightenment 

Written by Nitobi Inazo 
Cultural Advisor to the Emperor  1862 - 1933

It seems possible that he also felt unable to fulfill the requirements of the code.

Hayashi Sensei had attuned about 17 Reiki Masters........................ See Takata page.

He also had his own manual giving hand positions for treating various illnesses and diseases. Written in Japanese it is about 40 pages long. It is also possible he had written several other documents on Reiki.  "Ryoho Shishin (policy) of Hayashi Reiki Kenkyu-kai".

It is now known that the reason his manual was similar, was because Usui had asked him to provide a manual showing hand positions for treating different illness, diseases etc. This is shown on other pages.

I have learned that Mrs.Chie Hayashi continued to teach Reiki following the passing of her husband, she became the second President of his school. She may have taught into the 1940's.
They had a son and daughter but neither were interested in Reiki enough to continue the clinic.