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Some thoughts as to why Reiki had not achieved the same level of popularity in Japan as it achieved in later years in the West...

It was only after Takata-sensei's passing that Reiki really began to grow in popularity.

Perhaps timing had a lot to do with this (late 70's / early 80's was a boom time for 'New Age' businesses, and, lets face it, Reiki was picked up by many business-minded folk simply because it was a new 'instantly acquired' addition to the range of therapies they could offer.)

However, Reiki might still be relatively unknown in the West if it wasn't for some shifts in thinking that occurred amongst several of Takata-sensei's students after her passing.

While Takata left us the legacy of 22 certified Reiki Teachers, initially it seems, it was understood by most of the '22' that only Takata-sensei's 'successor' [some believed this to be Barbara Webber Ray, others Phyllis Furumoto] was permitted to create new Masters.

[It is an old Japanese tradition that only the current Head of a school/style of any given initiation-based discipline can confer the highest degree of initiation/training within that school/style. Other Teachers would be only permitted to teach the earlier stages of the discipline]

However, it seems that Phyllis (considered Takata-sensei's successor by the majority of the others) told the other teachers they all were permitted to create new Masters.

And so, as a result of this first major shift in thinking, the potential arose for Reiki to spread more swiftly.

The more Masters there were, the greater the access to training at all levels.

The second major shift in thinking was concerning the financial accessibility of Reiki

This was down to Iris Ishikuro. Iris was the first person to greatly reduce the fees charged for the Level 3 initiation and training.

As a result, the number of Reiki Masters began to grow exponentially - particularly as several more of the '22' also began to reduce their fees for Level 3

And before anyone even thinks it - let alone voices it - contrary to the story told as part of the 'new Reiki history' (or should that be 'new Reiki myth'?) the introduction of high fees for Reiki Tuition was not something invented by Takata-sensei.

In the 1928 Reiki Article by the playwright and journalist Shou Matsui, it states:
"I was introduced to Mr. Hayashi by a mutual acquaintance and I paid a large sum of money to learn this treatment method..."
Matsui was speaking of Shoden (i.e. level 1) - and if he had to pay what he [a quite affluent individual] considered " a large sum of money", it makes you wonder what Hayashi-sensei's fees for Okoden (level 2) - never mind Shinpiden (level 3), might have been like.

And beyond the high costs of training in Japan, becoming a 'Reiki Master' had never been easy - often taking many years to achieve, depending on the natural talents of the individual.

Of all the students Usui-sensei taught (some estimate a figure in the region of 2,000), there were only about 20 granted Shinpiden level.

Also, Hayashi-sensei - in the 14 years after Usui-sensei's passing - created only 13 masters.

So with a limited number of masters, probable restrictions on what they could teach (level-wise), and also the time it could take to become a master, there was not the same opportunity for Reiki to grow in the way it would later do in the west

And just because people came to Reiki, didn't mean they necessarily stayed with Reiki.

We know that at least two of Usui-sensei's students - Toshihiro Eguchi and Kaiji Tomita in time abandoned Usui Reiki and went on to establish their own systems/schools of healing, and it is quite possible that many others did likewise.

(Even today in the West there are those who, having become Reiki masters, have 'evolved' their own approaches to healing*, and in many cases, these individuals move away from Reiki altogether to found new, independent, systems with new approaches to healing, and new names. )

It is also quite probable that yet other students would have simply moved on from Reiki to other, more enthusiastically-promoted 'up and coming' healing practices [just as today many folk move on from Reiki to various other things, e.g.: the Seichim derivatives, or Multi-dimensional healing, or Kofutu, Quantum Touch, Chios Energy Field Healing, etc., etc.]

Then of course there was the negative hype:

According to Frank Petter, Mr. Tsutomu Oishi, who had learnt Reiki from Kozo Ogawa, one of Usui-sensei's own students, had apparently declined Ogawa's request that he succeed him as head of his Reiki clinic in Shizouka.

The reason Oishi declined was because he had heard that healing others would diminish his own life energy...


* The earliest example being MariEL - created in the early 80's by one of the '22', Ethel Lombardi.

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