THE STRANGE CASE OF USUI RYOHO KAI ...
© 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
. (Usui Treatment Association)
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
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?).
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.
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
According to Richards, Takida's wife and his two sons were apparently
also Gakkai members.
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).
claims that Koyama approved of his training even though he was
a foreigner (- and a minor?)
, 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.].
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. 
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)
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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.
new Shihans in the Usui Ryoho Kai system must be approved by Richards
and the Takida family...
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.
to Pati Wolfgang ,
there is no trace of Yoshinori Takida having worked at Kyoto Sangyo
to Hiroshi Doi, neither
the current Gakkai President nor Kimiko
Koyama's granddaughter have ever heard of Yoshinori Takida; also
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?
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.)
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.
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.)
January 2006, I was contacted by "A. B." (Liam Richard's
"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
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).
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."
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)"
only Reiki training he had received was a Reiki one attunement
from a teacher in Auckland "
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.
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)
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