How Japanese is Gendai Reiki-Ho?

Bronwen and Frans StieneArticles, English 4 Comments

japanese women standing in the street

This week’s question from our website is an interesting one. It’s great when we get asked questions that require us to get back to the books and find out the answers!

A: Just to be clear… Gendai Reiki-ho is not what we teach – although we have studied it and some of its aspects have definitely influenced our teachings of Usui Reiki Ryôhô (find out more about that here).

In 2001, we studied a practice called Usui Reiki Ryôhô. This was based on information taught by Doi Hiroshi and research into the system of Reiki. Usui Reiki Ryôhô basically means ‘Usui’s spiritual energy teachings’ and is representative of the teachings of the system of Reiki that relate to what Usui Mikao taught. Since 2001 we have taken this concept and worked with it, constantly refining through our research what Usui Reiki Ryôhô means to us.

In 2000, we first came across Doi Sensei’s teachings. A few months prior he had taught for the first time in the West and there was a general fascination with the information that was being taught. We had begun a personal search into the origins of what, in 1998, we had been taught was the system of Reiki. It was a relief to be hearing information from Japan itself rather than the ‘dragon breathing’, superstitious information we’d been exposed to and which appeared to have no relation to what Usui Mikao taught.

We continued to research information about Japan, we visited the country and met with Japanese Reiki teachers. Found old Japanese books, began researching the influences on Usui Mikao’s life such as Shugendo, Japanese martial arts, Japanese Buddhism and Shinto. In 2002, we studied Gendai Reiki-ho with a student of Doi Sensei’s (we taught it once after that) and then in 2005 Frans went to Japan to study directly with him. We also invited Inamoto Haykuten to come to Australia to teach in 2002.

Today there are quite a number of Japanese teachers in Japan, though most teach a Westernized form of Reiki. Our research soon helped us realize that just because someone was born in Japan it did not mean that they were teaching the system of Reiki from a Japanese perspective.

In relation to the practice of Gendai Reiki-ho as developed by Doi Sensei, his website states: Gendai Reiki-ho techniques are based on both traditional Japanese Reiki Ryôhô and Western-style Reiki techniques. And the Gendai Reiki-ho manual states: It is not a new Reiki ho but a new practice discipline of Reiki, blending both Eastern and Western Reiki Ryôhô. Doi Sensei had studied a number of Western forms of Reiki before studying with the Usui Reiki Ryôhô Gakkai (a traditional Reiki society in Japan) and since then he created his own vision for the system of Reiki – Gendai Reiki-ho.

As Doi Sensei states there are Western aspects to Gendai Reiki-ho. The symbols/mantras, for example, are taught to correspond to specific chakras, yet in Japan the hara centre was the focus of spiritual development during Usui Mikao’s time.

A number of the techniques in Gendai Reiki-ho were once practiced in the Usui Reiki Ryôhô Gakkai but were they also practiced by Usui Mikao? We may never know the answer to this question but it is good to keep it in mind.

Doi Sensei states that the Usui Reiki Ryôhô Gakkai was started by Usui Mikao, yet others today believe that the society officially began after his death. One year after Usui Sensei’s death his Naval Officer students (the forefathers of the Usui Reiki Ryôhô Gakkai) erected a memorial stone in their teacher’s honour. The memorial stone however does not mention any society such as the Usui Reiki Ryôhô Gakkai. Instead it calls Usui Sensei: the founder of Reiho. Reiho literally meaning ‘spiritual method’.

Naturally, the Usui Reiki Ryôhô Gakkai has altered and added to techniques over the last 80 years. Doi Sensei has also changed techniques as is stated in his manual: Techniques are simplified and standardized, and structured to be used easily in daily life.

Below you can see the Gendai Reiki-ho techniques from Doi Sensei’s 2005 manual. Only about a third of the techniques are traditional Japanese Reiki techniques.

Although some of the add-on techniques taught in Gendai Reiki-ho have Japanese names that does not necessarily mean that they are traditional Japanese techniques. 

These listings of the origins of Doi Sensei’s techniques have been taken from his own publications such as his 2005 Gendai Reiki-ho manuals and a list he compiled in 2000 in relation to the Usui Reiki Ryôhô International.

Techniques once practiced by the Usui Reiki Ryôhô Gakkai:

  • Nentatsu ho
  • Jakigiri Joka ho
  • Uchite Chiryo ho
  • Nadete Chiryo ho
  • Oshite Chiryo ho
  • Ketsueki Kokan-ho
  • Koki ho & Gyoshi-ho
  • Heso Chiryo ho
  • Tanden Chiryo-ho
  • Seiheki Chiryo ho
  • 5 Hand Positions

Techniques practiced at the Usui Reiki Ryôhô Gakkai gatherings:

  • Shuchu (Shudan) Reiki
  • Byosen Reikan ho & Reiji ho
  • Hatsurei ho (Gendai Reiki-ho teaches a slightly different version)

 Techniques added by Doi Sensei: 

  • Aura Cleansing
  • Reiki Shower
  • Hikari no Kokyu ho
  • Gassho Kokyu-ho
  • Chakra Kassei Kokyu ho
  • Healing the past: Karma and Trauma Purification & Re-experiencing the Pleasure in the Past
  • Healing future
  • Reiki Box
  • Jika Joka healing
  • Deprogramming technique
  • Grounding
  • Sending Reiki to your cells
  • Reiki to Crystal and Charm
  • Reiki to Air, Field and Atmosphere
  • Receiving guidance by higher self all day
  • How to make contact with higher beings
  • Communicating with your higher self
  • Reiki meditation
  • Affirmation
  • Hado Meiso ho
  • Self cleansing with Light
  • Sekizui Joka Ibuki ho
  • Solar Energy training
  • Inner Blockage Cracking Technique
  • Integrated attunement
  • Reiju (created by Doi Sensei)
  • 12 Hand Positions
  • Hado Kokyu ho
  • Reiki Mawashi (in 2000 was listed as an add-on by Doi Sensei but called traditional in 2005 manual)
  • Doing Reiki on an amulet (listed as traditional in 2005 manual but not listed at all in 2000)

Therefore, although Gendai Reiki-ho was foundered by a Japanese teacher, the influences on the system are both Western and Japanese in nature; with only a third of the techniques being traditional while the rest are add-on techniques which are largely Western inspired in origin.

Comments 4

  1. Avatar of Sean Harvey

    Thank you for this review. It is very interesting to have a summary of traditional against that which has been introduced.
    Perhaps links to descriptions of each of the traditional techniques would also be useful?


  2. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  3. Avatar of Debbie

    Thank you so much for this clarification. I was trained under a “Usui” Reiki lineage. I recently joined a studio to expand my practice. A women there told me that “Gendai Reiki” is the only one true reiki, and Gendai Reiki is the only reiki recognized by the Japanese government. I had to do a little research, so this information really helps. So, is that true? Based on the information here, I find her comment hard to believe. I am a traditionalist, and I want to do reiki the way is was meant to be done. Thoughts?

    1. Avatar of Frans Stiene

      Hi Debbie,

      In a way there is no “true” Reiki lineage. What needs to be true is our direct experience of our great bright light DKM. This we can check very easily, do we soften our anger and worry, do we feel we have become more grateful, more true to our way and our being and more compassionate to ourselves and others. This is the most important point.


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