Reiju Group Photo

By Frans Stiene and Hiromi HayashiArticles, English Leave a Comment


This group photo has been floating around for a while now. Some people say that this is a photo of all Mikao Usui’s Shinpiden students, but the kanji below it states something very different. Let’s take a closer look: 



(Written in Japanese from right to left in the olden days as in the photo, whereas it is written left to right in modern days.)

shinshin (mind/heart and body)

kaizen (betterment)


Reiki (spiritual energy – True Self 

Ryo (to heal)

Ho (method, dharma teaching)

Reiju (Reiju)

Sha (members/people 

Ichido (entire member)

Taisho 15 nen (1926)

Ichigatsu (January)

Jyurokunichi (16th)

Since the beauty of the Japanese language is in its ambiguity, this sentence can be seen from two different view points.

It could either mean the “entire members that can perform reiju” or “entire members that were present that day to receive reiju”. 

As we can see clearly by looking at the translation the sentence doesn’t state that the people were Shinpiden students, or even that they had finished their Shinpiden training! 

Hiroshi Doi explains the group photo in his book “A Modern Reiki Method for Healing” as well: “..people who were allowed to give reiju to members, but it does not say that they all had the Shinpiden title”. He goes on to state that: “…we know that most of the branch chiefs [of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai] in local cities were Okuden Koki: the second half of Okuden and that those chiefs were also allowed to give reiju”.

Thus as we now can see, this photo can take on a whole different meaning. The people pictured might have been some branch chiefs who were Okuden Koki and therefore were allowed to perform reiju. Or maybe it was just a group photo of members who were coming together to receive and share reiju?

Thank you to Hiromi Hayashi for the translation and insight into the Japanese culture and language.

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