DOCTOR USUI ?
Copyright © 2011 James Deacon
Takata-sensei spoke about Mikao Usui, she referred to him as “Dr.
later, as part of the (albeit creative) 'Revisionist Free-for-all'
that is commonly referred to as: the New History of Reiki*, it was
claimed that no, Usui-sensei had not been a Doctor -
that he had no formal medical qualifications .
interesting that - although Takata-sensei had never said
Usui-sensei was a medical Doctor - it seems that perhaps the greater majority of the Reiki community assumed that this was what she meant.)
course it is possible that the title: "Doctor" - if it was intended
to be understood in the medical sense - may have been simply an honorary one.
Mikao Usui was,
after all, said to have successfully treated and cured a great many
again, we need to consider the fact that the title Doctor does not solely refer to an M.D.
the title Doctor simply referred to anyone who was so well-versed in
their particular discipline that they were qualified to teach it.
Doctor is anyone who has been awarded a Doctorate in their
Besides Doctors of Medicine,
Doctors of Philosophy
Doctors of Commercial Science
Doctors of Divinity
Doctors of Agriculture
Doctors of Law
Doctors of Literature...
list goes on.
know from the Usui Memorial inscription that Usui-sensei studied
widely across many disciplines - history, medicine, psychology,
physiognomy, Buddhist scriptures, etc.
He was obviously a man
of learning. Could he perhaps have held an academic doctorate of some form?
common theory being circulated throughout the Reiki community is
that the reason Mikao Usui came to be titled “Doctor” was
possibly due to someone attempting - and failing - to correctly translate the Japanese term:
“sensei” into English.
of course, many people are quick to cite Hawayo Takata as the person
responsible for this. Though, as we will see, the use of the title Doctor in
referring to Mikao Usui did not originate with Takata-sensei)
word "sensei" (先生)
essentially means "born before" or "lived before" and has the
connotation of someone who has "lived the life" - someone who has
deep first-hand experience of their particular discipline.
a term of respect which can be used to directly address, or to refer
to, anyone who is considered to have mastered their art.
Interestingly, in Japan a doctor
(Medical Doctor) is often addressed as "sensei" - partly out
of simple respect, yet also as a sign, I feel, of trust - a sign of
the patient's faith in the doctor's knowledge, skill, and ability to
cure their complaint.
Yet while a doctor may be addressed as '"sensei", the two terms are not interchangeable.
Now, we do have one particular piece of
documentation which would seem to support the idea that Mikao Usui was an actual doctor of some sort (medical or otherwise).
the officially registered "CERTIFICATE OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF AN
(commonly referred to as "Mrs. Takata's
Reiki Certificate") sworn on the 21st
of February, 1938 by Chujiro Hayashi, before the Notary Public for
the First Judicial Circuit of the Territory of Hawaii, Chujiro
Hayashi states that:
Hawayo Takata is hereby certified by me as a practitioner and Master
of Dr. Usui's Reiki system of healing...”**
of course, this one statement is not 'absolute proof' that
Usui-sensei was a Doctor, but it is a strange thing for Chujiro
Hayashi to state if it were not true.
doubt, some people will probably attempt to have us believe that
perhaps Chujiro Hayashi did not understand the English-language
document he was signing.
However, I feel we can safely assume that like a great many other Naval Officers of his
rank, and also, civilians of his social status - wealthy and well
educated – Chujiro
Hayashi was well-versed in English.
part of Japan's embracing of all things western, English was taught
at the Imperial Naval Academy during the period Chujiro Hayashi had
been there (late1890s)
[We must remember that during the Meiji
period, understanding English had been seen as an important skill –
one which gave individuals access to the wealth of western education;
something encouraged by the Meiji, and later, Taisho governments as
part of Japan's modernisation-process. In
fact, so strong was the drive towards westernisation that several
influential people including two Japanese Ministers of Education
even advocated making English the official language of the modern Japanese
can be seen in the 'certificate' itself, Chujiro Hayashi has signed the
document in a very fluent, cursive style of handwriting, indicating
one who is very comfortable with the 'romanised' writing system.
in order for the 'certificate' to have been formally notarised in Hawaii, it would have had to be first
ascertained that Chujiro Hayashi clearly understood the precise details of the
information he had drafted in the document, and added his witnessed signature to.
to return to the theory that the word 'doctor' was possibly used to
express the concept behind the Japanese word "sensei" - I feel certain
that Chujiro Hayashi of all people would
be intensely aware of the distinction between the two terms.
Also, the term "sensei", like other terms of respect
such as "-sama", is something to be used in referring to or addressing
other people. You do not use it in relation to yourself. It would be
considered most impolite and presumptive for anyone dare to refer to themself in this way.
we can safely assume that, as Chujiro Hayashi also refers to himself
as Doctor in this document, he is obviously not using the word to
imply the concept of "sensei". ...
*In my opinion, many of the “facts” presented as part of this
revisionist view of Reiki history are perhaps little more than
“wishful thinking and clutching at straws”.
here we can see that the use of the title 'Doctor' in referring to
Mikao Usui did not originate with Takata-sensei