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What is Reiki?

Kanji for Reiki

Kanji for Reiki

Reiki (pron. Ray-key) is a subtle but profound natural energy that affects all levels of mind & body in a positive way.

Reiki facilitates the natural healing response of the body & calms the mind.

Reiki is gentle & non-invasive.

Reiki can bring harmony & connection to mind body & spirit.

Reiki activates the relaxation response of the body.

Reiki is spiritual in nature but not aligned with any religion.

Read my blog: What is Traditional Reiki?

Reiki enhances all areas of your life, assists in letting go of what is no longer needed, relaxes & calms. It is very hard to describe to those who have not experienced this practice. Words can only touch on what Reiki is.  It is the experience of Reiki that can only adequately relate to what Reiki is about. 

Reiki is a Japanese word.  The literal meaning of Reiki is ‘Rei’ means something mysterious, ethereal, sacred & energy of the heavens. ‘Ki’ means the atmosphere or something subtle & the energy of the earth.  Reiki can be defined as an ethereal & sacred energy of the heavens & earth (or universe) which sustains all life.  


As the word Reiki is used in the Japanese language, Reiki Ryoho (pron. Ray-key Ree-oh-hoh) is the correct term when describing the therapeutic & spiritual practice. Reiki Ryoho means Reiki therapy or Reiki Healing Art. Reiki Ryoho was realised on Mt Kurama by Mikao Usui in 1922. Through Mikao Usui, Reiki therapy has spread all over the world, bringing wellness & comfort to all who receive this wonderful healing energy. ​

Reiki Principles or Gokai not only underpins the Reiki System, they are life principles for health & happiness. Created by the founder of Usui Reiki Ryoho, Mikao Usui.

Inamoto Sensei says they are the number 1 spiritual practice.  

Video created by Sally Wain, Komyo ReikiDo Melbourne.


Mikao Usui, father of all Reiki systems.

Mikao Usui (1865 - 1926)

Founder of Usui Reiki Ryoho

First the mind must be healed
Second the body must be made sound
If the mind is healthy, conforming to a path of integrity
Then the body becomes sturdy of it's own accord........

Mikao Usui

Mikao Usui was born 15th August 1865 in Taniai, Gifu Prefecture, Japan. Usui Sensei was born at a critical time in Japanese history at the end of the Edo period, the age of Feudalism. Japan was ruled by the Shogunate who commanded the armies of Samurai warriors. In 1867, political dominion and rule was returned to the Emperor of Japan. The age of Modernism began.

Usui Mikao was the son and grandson of a merchant family whose ancestry can be traced back to the Chiba Samurai clan. He was not samurai. Details of his childhood are not known so much of the stories on the internet are fabrication.

In the small village of Taniai, there is only one Buddhist temple of the Jodo Shu (Pure Land) sect, where generation after generation of the Usui family’s remains are located. In the same village, there is a Shinto Shrine with a huge stone Torii (gate) where Usui Mikao and his younger brother’s names, Sanya and Kuniji, are engraved. Usui Sanya was a medical doctor in the army and after retirement, opened a clinic in Tokyo. Usui Kuniji was a Police Officer in the local area where Usui Mikao was born. Kuniji retired and became a Shihan of the Gakkai and was teaching Reiki Ryoho to local people. 

In 1922, Usui Mikao climbed Kurama yama (Mount Kurama) north of Kyoto, the ancient capital city of Japan. At the time, he was almost 57 years old, an elderly man where the average lifespan was less than 50 in Japan. Here, he undertook severe training by fasting and meditating for 21 days. He felt one Great Reiki and became enlightened, it is believed in March 1922. The exact date is not known. Usui Sensei accidentally realised that he was given a wonderful gift, a mysterious healing ability in his hands. Why Usui Sensei climbed the mountain and why he undertook severe training for 21 days is unknown.

Usui Sensei wanted to share this wonderful gift with as many people as possible instead of keeping it to himself and his family as was Japanese tradition. So he returned to Tokyo where he was based. He settled in Harajuku, Aoyama, Tokyo in April 1922 and established the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai (Association). The URR Gakkai still exists in Tokyo today. The URR Gakkai was supported by the Japanese Imperial Navy, the 2nd  president of the Gakkai was Ushida Juzaburo, rear admiral of the Navy, the 3rd president was Taketomi Kanichi, rear admiral, 5th president, Wanami Hoichi, vice admiral,  and Hayashi Chujiro,  captain. The reason why the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai was supported by the Japanese Imperial Navy is unknown. It is speculated that Reiki Ryoho was seen as useful, convenient, and beneficial on board naval ships.

In the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 which killed over 100,000 people, Usui Sensei offered his Reiki Ryoho to those in need. His fame grew from his healing activities during that time of absolute devastation, particularly in Tokyo where it was estimated that 40% of the city was destroyed.

Usui Sensei was only one of many Reijutsu Ka (healing practitioners) in Japan at that time. It is said that there were 30,000 Reijutsu Ka but as the founders died so too the many systems they formed. The only exception was Usui Reiki Ryoho where Usui Sensei was able to pass on the system via Reiju (initiation/attunement).

Due to his fame, Usui Sensei travelled to teach his Reiki Ryoho. While travelling, he passed away from a cerebral haemorrhage on 9th March 1926. In 4 years, he became famous in Japan. The rest of the world had to wait for Hayashi Sensei and Takata Sensei to make Reiki Ryoho widespread in the world.

A year after Usui Sensei’s death, the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai erected a memorial stone next to the Usui family gravesite in Saihoji Temple of the Jodo Shu (Pure Land) Buddhist sect in Tokyo. The memorial stone describes Usui Sensei and his life. While there are many facets of Usui Sensei’s life engraved on this memorial, many are not detailed enough to be certain of his specific training or education, and much of the information provided on the memorial stone is not detailed enough to be verified. The memorial stone is the source of legend of Usui Mikao.

There are many styles of Reiki systems that have developed over the years. Unfortunately, the original form of Usui Reiki Ryoho may never come to light. It is believed that the closest form to the original teachings are only practiced within the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai and no-where else.

Taniai Torii Gate with Usui brothers names engraved in one of the pillars

Close-up of the Torii gate where the Usui brothers' names are engraved in one of the pillars.

Photo by Sally Wain ©2023

Taniai Memorial Stone erected by Gendai Reiki Ho

Usui Mikao Memorial Stone erected by Gendai Reiki Ho within the Taniai Shinto Shrine grounds.

Photo by Sally Wain ©2023

Mikao Usui Memorial stone in Saihoji cemetery.

The Memorial stone erected by the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai in  1927, located in Saihoji cemetery in Tokyo.

Photo by Sally Wain © 2023

To read Hyakuten Inamoto's translation of the Usui Memorial Stone, please click here.

Chujiro Hayashi, the last student of Mikao Usui

Chujiro Hayashi (1879 - 1940)

Chujiro Hayashi was a Naval Officer with the Imperial Navy of Japan. He enrolled into the Naval Academy in 1899, graduating in 1902. A student of Usui Sensei, Hayashi Sensei was initiated into Shinpiden (Shihan or Teacher) in 1925 after his retirement from the Navy.  He was a member of the Usui  Reiki Ryoho Gakkai until 1928, when he left the Gakkai & opened his own association, Hayashi Reiki Kenyoku Kai.

In 1940, he committed suicide. The reason remains a mystery.

Hayashi sensei taught 13 Shihans (teachers), among them, Hawayo Takata & Chiyoko Yamaguchi.

Hawayo Takata (1900 - 1980) was a Japanese American born in Hawaii with serious gall bladder disease. She traveled to Japan where she was treated by Hayashi Sensei.  After recovering completely, she worked as a Reiki Student with Hayashi Sensei for a year before returning to Hawaii.  In 1938 Hayashi Sensei travelled to Hawaii with his daughter & made Hawayo Takata a Shihan (teacher).  Hawayo Takata taught 22 Reiki Masters.  Thanks to the dedication of Hawayo Takata & her Reiki Masters, Reiki Ryoho spread throughout the world.

Reiki was thought to have died out in Japan. But it was later learned that the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai was operating as a  secret society, only open to Japanese members. The Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai was formed by Mikao Usui in 1922 & it is the only place where Usui Reiki Ryoho is practised. Because no-one knows the original teachings of Usui Mikao, it is believed that the practices within the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai remains the closest to the original form.

Chiyoko Yamaguchi (1921 - 2003) was a student of Chujiro Hayashi. She was attuned in 1938 at the age of 17. Mrs Yamaguchi as not officially made a Shihan but she was taught Reiju (attunements/initiations) by her uncle, Wasaburo Sugano, to assist at Hayashi Sensei's Reiki gatherings.  She began teaching later in life after numerous requests in 1997.  

Hyakuten Inamoto, founder of Komyo ReikiDo

Hyakuten Inamoto (1940 -       )

Founder Komyo ReikiDo

Hyakuten Inamoto is renown International teacher & Jodo Shu (Pure Land) buddhist monk. He started to learn Reiki Ryoho from Chiyoko Yamaguchi in 1997, his training ending in 1999.

After much research into Usui Sensei's teachings, he founded Komyo Reiki Kai in 1998. In 2016, he changed the name of his Reiki system to Komyo ReikiDo, to emphasize the spiritual teachings of Reiki Ryoho. He continues to extensively travel the world today, holding Shinpiden training & retreats.

Komyo ReikiDo Lineage

臼井靈気療法 創始者:臼井甕男


Mikao USUI

Founder of Usui Reiki Ryoho




Hayashi Kenkyu Kai







Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho

光明レイキ会 稲本百天

(1940-       )

Hyakuten INAMOTO

 Komyo ReikiDo

Western Reiki Systems

Sally WAIN

Komyo ReikiDo


Reiki Lineage is similar to a family tree.  All Reiki practitioners & teachers, should be able to trace their lineage back to the Founder, Mikao Usui. 


Komyo ReikiDo is a Hayashi Shiki Usui Reiki Ryoho.  Shiki means style. So Komyo ReikiDo is a Hayashi style of Usui Reiki Healing Art/Therapy. As Hayashi Sensei changed The Usui Reiki System of Healing, Reiki systems that lead back through Hayashi Sensei are technically a Hayashi style of Usui Reiki Therapy or variations of it. Usui Reiki Ryoho is practised in the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, an association founded by Mikao Usui & closed to non-members. Information about symbols, attunements, practice or techniques are not divulged by it's members. So to outsiders, it is very much a secret society. Until the 'Gakkai' becomes more open, it is impossible to know what Usui Sensei actually practiced. Plenty of speculation but to this day, much of the information on the internet & in books, is not verifiable & more likely to be a complete fabrication. The more detail that is provided, the more unlikely the story is.

Komyo ReikiDo Lineage
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