(or: What Takata-Sensei really taught)
© 2005 James Deacon
Of late there seems to be a (growing?) trend amongst some sections
of the Reiki community (well, amongst sections of the online
Reiki Community at least):
that amongst many who consider themselves practitioners of 'proper'
Japanese Reiki, there is a need to express a somewhat less than
'Reiki-like' attitude - ranging from simply dismissive to strongly
derogatory - towards Takata-sensei and her teachings.
Some of these people almost fixate on the 'errors' in Takata-sensei's
'Story of Reiki' - how several details in her account are 'untrue'
- i.e., at odds with currently 'accepted' versions of the tale
[though these people completely overlook the fact that there is
still no documentary substantiation for most of the purported
'facts' presented as the 'new', 'true', history of Reiki either!]
However, the important point which has been completely missed
by these and great many other Reiki practitioners is that Takata-sensei's
'Story of Reiki' was not meant to be a concrete, factual, 'history'.
Rather it was first and foremost a 'teaching-story' - part of
the process of making an 'emotional connection' with new or prospective
students; that it was intended as a parable to engage and teach
And, as is the case with all good Teaching Stories, what was important
in the sharing of the 'Story of Reiki' was the inner meaning -
the moral - the essential truths regarding human nature that it
sought to convey.
In almost every culture, it is a common feature of the Teaching
Story that 'factual' details are freely modified - especially
if it is felt that such modifications may help enhance the hearer's
'emotional connection' with the inner meaning of the tale...
major point of fixation seems to be the numerous 'original' techniques
which we now 'know' to be part of 'proper' Japanese Reiki - but
which, for some reason, Takata-sensei neglected to teach.
the fact is that Takata-sensei did teach many of the socalled
'original Reiki techniques' - it was simply that she did not use
Japanese terminology in speaking of them.
we have to remember that there has been much confusion as to which
techniques are meant to be Usui Reiki
Ryoho Gakkai techniques, and which are from Hiroshi Doi's modern,
Gendai-ho Reiki system. And of those that are said to be
Gakkai techniques, which are 'original' Reiki ones. For example,
Doi tells us that the 'Reiki Undo' practice, was introduced to
the Gakkai by former president Koyama-san. [In fact it is actually
derived from 'Katsugen Undo' - a practice from the healing art
of Noguchi Setai])
probably the main reason for the misunderstanding as to what was
part of what I will call 'Takata Reiki' and what was not, stems
from the fact that not long after Takata-sensei's death, some
of the 22 masters she had created began making modifications (some
subtle, some notso,) to the way in which they taught Reiki
and also, to the content of what they taught.
Many of their students in turn made further modifications
in what they passed on to their students, and so
on, to the extent that there are probably relatively few amongst
the newer 'generations' of Reiki masters (be they practitioners
of 'Western' or 'Japanese' Reiki) who are aware of precisely what
Takata actually did teach.
To some extent, Takata herself might be hardpressed to recognise
her teachings amongst what passes for Usui Shiki Ryoho today!
The following are examples of versions of some of the 'original'
techniques taught by Takata-sensei:
Byosen Reikan-ho: In one of her diaries Takata-sensei
writes:"Going through the body in minute detail, the hands
become sensitive and are able to determine the cause and to detect
the slightest congestion within, whether physical or mental, acute
or chronic." and also "During the treatment, trust in
your hands, Listen to vibrations or reaction. If there is pain,
it registers pain in your finger tips and palm. If the patient
has itch, it reacts the same; if deep and chronic, it throbs a
deep pain; or if acute, the pain is a shallow tingle. "
Enkaku Chiryo: 'Distant Treatment' methods. Takata-sensei
referred to it as 'Absent Healing'
Ketsueki Kokan-ho: A further diary entry: "I
finish the treatment with a nerve stroke which adjusts the circulation.
.....I place my thumb and fore finger on the left side of the
spinal column and the three fingers and palm flat on the right
side of the spinal column. With a downward stroke, 10 to 15 strokes
to the end of spinal cord." [She sometimes referred to this
as the 'Reiki Finish']
Koki-ho: Level 2 students were taught how
to heal with the breath.
Kokyu ho: Master students were taught breath empowerment
techniques. In a 1935 diary entry, Takata-sensei actually mentions
this technique using a variant 'romanisation' of its Japanese
Reiji-ho: "Sit in a comfortable position, close
your eyes, concentrate on our thought and relax. Close your hands
together and wait for the sign..........listen to your hands and
allow them to guide you." In
the above-mentioned 1935 diary entry, Takata-sensei also mentions
this technique using a variant 'romanisation' of its Japanese
Reiki Mawashi: The 'Reiki Circle'
Renzoku Reiki: Takata-sensei referred to
this as the 'Reiki Marathon', [though perhaps 'Reiki Relay' might
have been more fitting]
Seiheki Chiryo-ho: Takata-sensei referred
to it as a means of changing bad habits and concepts, and for
Shuchu Reiki (Shudan Reiki): the 'Group Treatment'
as well as this matter of Takata-sensei's use of 'original' Reiki
techniques, there are also other elements of 'Takata Reiki' that
people are generally misinformed about.
For example, much hype has surrounded the recent 'discovery' in
Japan of Hayashi-sensei's 'treatment manual' - the Hayashi
Ryoho Shishin - in which he lists specific hand placements
to treat certain diseases.
Takata-sensei had been in possession of Hayashi's Ryoho Shishin
since somewhere between 1938 & 1940 - the booklet was
given to her by Hayashi himself. And we know she gave the booklet
(written in Japanese,) to at least a few of her master-level students,
though exactly how many received it is unknown*. Almost
all those who did, it seems, treated it as a curiosity, 'shelved'
it - possibly forgot about it. Why? Were they uninterested in
Hayashi-sensei's knowledge? Was it some sort of ego thing? We
It is possible that Takata-sensei gave them the booklet - in part
at least - as a test:
Would they appreciate its significance? (It was a tangible link
back to their teacher's teacher.)
Would they have 'kansha'- be grateful for this special
Would anyone make the effort to get it translated? Then to actually
use it; and in time, pass it on to their own students?
Or did they want everything 'handed to them on a plate' - did
they want Takata-sensei to do it all for them?
Then there is the issue of Chakras - Takata-sensei did NOT teach
the chakra system! Though a great many people believe she did.
Rather, Takata-sensei taught the concept of the Japanese hara
system and the lower (seika) tanden point (though not by
"In order to concentrate, one must purify one's thoughts
in words, and to meditate to let true "energy" come
out from within. It lies in the bottom of the stomach about 2
inches below the navel."
However, unlike many who profess to teach original 'Japanese'
practices, Takata-sense did not teach the three-Tanden
('belly', 'heart' and 'head') system - which is actually a Chinese
conceptualisation, not a Japanese one.
is also commonly claimed that Takata-sensei removed the spiritual
element from the Reiki system, but on the contrary, she emphasised
the Primary importance of the spiritual element - this
was one of the core morals of her version of the 'Story of Reiki'.
In 'Takata Reiki' the Five Principles were key - and of the five,
Takata-sensei, it seems, placed greatest importance on kansha:
patient who is about to receive this treatment must purify one's
thoughts, feel comfortable, and a desire to get well. One must
not forget to feel grateful. Gratitude is a great cure for the
the 'hype' surrounding the 'rediscovery of Japanese Reiki',
it seems, many other misunderstandings about what Takata-sensei
said, did and taught have also arisen:
It was from Japanese sources we learnt
about Hayashi-sensei's wife: Chie who was also a Reiki master
- and how she took over the running of her husbands clinic after
his ritual suicide, wasn't it?
actually - it was from Takata-sensei. She mentions this in one
of her recorded talks.
Well, we know that it was
from Japanese sources that we learnt that the 'Master' level was
properly called 'shinpiden'?
No - it was from Takata-sensei. She first made menton of this
in a 1935 diary entry.
Ah - but at least we can
say that it was only after western Reiki practitioners visited
Japan that we discovered that not all Japanese Reiki Masters had
died during WWII?
- Takata-sensei again. In
one of her recorded talks, Takata Sensei states that about fourteen
years after Hayashi Sensei's death, she made a return visit to
Japan and met with Reiki master Chie Hayashi.
Japanese sources assure
us that Usui-sensei DID NOT discover the Reiki symbols in bubbles
of light on the last day of his meditation on Mount Kurama - as
Takata had claimed?
yet another of her recorded talks, Takata-sensei tells the 'Story
In it she states that on the last day of his meditative fast,
Usui-sensei saw a vision of millions of multi-coloured bubbles;
then he saw a great white light; and then he saw
appearing before him: "what he had studied in the Sanscrit"
in glowing, golden, Sanscrit letters.
[i.e. Usui-sensei had a vision of a piece of text he had
read in a Sanscrit sutra.]
This is what Takata-sensei tells us - that he saw Sanscrit
text - not the four Reiki symbols - be it in bubbles or otherwise...