The Secret History of Reiki reads like something from the X-files, full of mystery and intrigue. The Japanese word Reiki, is a combination of the words rei ( 霊: “spirit, miraculous, divine”) and ki ( 気: “vital energy, breath of life, consciousness” ) forming 霊気, which means “mysterious atmosphere.” Reiki is a healing art in which the Universal Life Force Energy is channeled, usually through the hands, and is guided by the Higher Intelligence. It was discovered in 1922 by Mikao Usui, a Japanese Buddhist while meditating on Mount Kurama. Some say he had went there to die after personal and business failings. Ki is the equivalent of the Chinese word, Qi, which the foundation of Qi Gong and the Martial Arts. Wikipedia calls Reiki a “pseudoscience” yet is now recognized as an alternative therapy and practiced along side Western medicine.
Mikao Usui founder of the Reiki System of Healing
In the 1922, Usui Sensei founded the Usui Reiki Ryōhō Gakkai (臼井靈氣療法學會) the Usui Reiki Healing Method Society in Tokyo. In his clinic he gave treatments and taught classes. In 1923, the great Kanto Earthquake devastated Tokyo. More than 140,000 people died and over half the city was destroyed, leaving many homeless. Master Usui began training Reiki practioners to treat the sick and the injured. He was awarded by the Japanese government for honorable deeds. After that he began spreading the practice all over Japan. While travelling in 1926, he suffered a stroke and died. The Reiki practioners he initiated through what is called an attunement, continued his work. Before his passing he had asked one of his students, Chujiro Hayashi to start his own reiki clinic. Hayaki Sensei was also a medical doctor. He continued to develop the practice and founded a new method of teaching Reiki. While travelling to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1937, he was asked to provide information to the Japanese government about the military installations there. When he refused, he was declared a traitor. Disgraced and ostracized by Japanese society, he committed seppuku, ritual suicide. After World War II, the United States government occupied Japan and outlawed the practice of Reiki. The Gakkai founded by Usui Sensei went underground and became a secret society.
Memorial Stone erected at the gravesite of Usui Sensei