Mikao Usui (1865 – 1926, commonly Usui Mikao in Japanese) was the founder of a form of spiritual practice known as Reiki, used as a complementary therapy for the treatment of physical, emotional, and mental diseases. According to the inscription on his memorial stone, Usui taught Reiki to over 2000 people during his lifetime. Sixteen of these students continued their training to reach the Shinpiden level, a level equivalent to the Western third degree, or Master level. Usui died on 9 March 1926 of a stroke.
During the early 1920s, Usui did a 21-day practice on Mount Kurama-yama called discipline of prayer and fasting, (according to translator Hyakuten Inamoto. Common belief dictates that it was during these 21 days that Usui developed Reiki. As Mount Hiei is the main Tendai complex in Japan, and is very close to Kyoto, it has been surmised that Usui would also have practiced there if he had been a lay priest. This teaching included self-discipline, fasting and prayer.
“In April of the 11th year of Taisho (1922 A.D.) he settled in Harajuku, Aoyama, Tokyo and set up the Gakkai to teach Reiki Ryoho and give treatments. Even outside of the building it was full of pairs of shoes of the visitors who had come from far and near.” –
“In September of the 12th year (1923 A.D.) there was a great earthquake and a conflagration broke out. Everywhere there were groans of pains from the wounded. Sensei, feeling pity for them, went out every morning to go around the town, and he cured and saved an innumerable number of people.
Chujiro Hayashi (1880 – 1940), a disciple of Mikao Usui, played a major role in the transmission of Reiki out of Japan and for turning it into a less mystical practice.
Hayashi was a naval physician and employed Reiki to treat his patients. He began studying with Usui in 1925. He made his branch, Hayashi Reiki Kenkyu-kai in Tokyo, Shinano-machi while his master Usui was still alive, and has kept the way of Usui’s teaching.
Hayashi initiated and trained Hawayo Takata and helped her bring Reiki to Hawaii. As some of the popular history of Reiki consists of Takata’s alleged fabrications, Hayashi is often considered to be Usui’s chief disciple and the second Grand Master of Reiki history.[
Hawayo Hiromi Takata (December 24, 1900 – December 11, 1980), a Japanese-American born in Hanamaulu, Territory of Hawaii, who helped introduce the spiritual practice of Reiki to the Western World.
Mrs Takata was trained in Reiki by Dr Chujiro Hayashi in Tokyo, Japan and became a Master Practitioner by 1940. Her teacher, Dr Hayashi, learned from Dr Mikao Usui, the first teacher of Reiki, in the early 1900s. Identification of training lineage is common amongst Reiki practitioners. Within the 7 level system tradition, she is known as, Reiki Grand Master Teacher Hawayo Takata.