Usui Mikao’s teachings branched out possibly even during his own lifetime. His early teachings appear to have been less formalised and structured than what later developed. There is the chance that students of his may still be alive today. If so, this would shed some light on the confusion that has developed over the last century surrounding the nature and contents of the teachings. At present much of the ‘new’ information has yet to be verified and it is hoped that this will occur for the benefit of all practitioners.
Here is a list of some of his students, not all were shinpiden students and some have not yet been verified. There are said to have been 21 shinpiden students according to Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai member, Doi Hiroshi.
The Three Nuns
There have been claims made about three nuns that studied with Usui. Below is some of the information that has been provided from various sources about them.
Suzuki San (1895-)
Suzuki san is a Tendai nun and a cousin of Usui Mikao’s wife. She was also a student of Usui Mikao. Suzuki san was born in 1895 and was aware of Usui Mikao her whole life. Her formal training with him began in 1915 when she was 20 years old and her relationship with him continued on a less formal basis until his death in 1926.
It is said that Suzuki san and at least 11 other students of Usui Mikao preserved a collection of his papers from 1920, which include the precepts, waka (poetry), meditations, and teachings. This information is taught by Suzuki san’s Western student Chris Marsh and has not yet been verified.
Yuri In (1896 – 1999)
Yuri-in was a Tendai nun and friend of Tenon-in and is said to also have studied with Usui Mikao from 1920-1926.
Tenon In (1897 -)
Tenon-in is the Buddhist name of Mariko Obaasan. This is another Tendai nun who is said to have studied with Usui Mikao during the latter years of his life, 1920-1926.
Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai (1922 – )
Society of the Usui Spiritual Energy Healing Method. The Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai claims to have been created by Usui Mikao in 1922. The society still exists today, and has its seventh president. It is closed to foreigners and members are asked not to discuss the details of the society with non-members. When this society was created members of the Japanese navy largely attended it. They do not advertise or wish to have any contact with Westerners. Doi Hiroshi is a member of this society.
There were once 80 divisions of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai throughout Japan but today there are only 5 and all the teaching is now done in Tokyo.
There are 3 major levels in the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai. These are Shoden, Okuden and Shinpiden, the teacher level. Within these levels there are 6 levels of proficiency. Each member is supplied with the Reiki Ryoho Hikkei and Shiori.
Here is a list of President’s from Usui Mikao to modern day.
1. Usui Mikao (1865-1926)
2. Ushida Juzaburo (Rear Admiral 1865 – 1935)
3. Taketomi Kanichi (Rear Admiral 1878 -1960)
4. Watanabe Yoshiharu (Schoolteacher ? – 1960)
5. Wanami Hoichi (Vice Admiral 1883 – 1975)
6. Koyama Kimiko (1906 – 1999)
7. Kondo Masaki (University Professor)
Eguchi was a friend and student of Usui Mikao. According to Doi Hiroshi, Eguchi did not study to the teacher level with Usui Mikao.
Eguchi created the Tenohira Ryoji Kenkyu kai (Palm Treatment Research Association) in 1928 and wrote a number of books: Te No Hira Ryoji Nyumon (Introduction to healing with the palms) in 1930 and Te No Hira Ryoji Wo Kataru (A story of healing with the palms) in 1954.
According to Chris Marsh, Eguchi played a large role in the formation of the teachings that became known as the system of Reiki in the West. In 1929 he taught members of the Ittoen commune this new system.
Said to be a student (not a teacher student) of Usui Mikao. He wrote a book called, Reiki To Jinjutsu – Tomita Ryu Teate Ryoho in 1933. The book was re-published in 1999 with the help of Mochizuki Toshitaka. Included in his book are case studies, the technique hatsurei ho, (which includes the use of waka), hand positions for specific illnesses. The name of his school was Teate Ryoho kai and it taught 4 levels shoden, chuden, okuden, and kaiden.
Hayashi Chujiro (1880 – 1940)
One of the 21 teacher students of Usui Mikao. He was a Soto Zen practitioner who naturally included Shinto into its practices. In May 1925, Hayashi became a student of Usui Mikao’s school in Tokyo. He was a retired Naval Officer (still in the reserves) and a surgeon according to some. Though Hyakuten Inamoto has stated of recent times that it was not possible for him to have become a doctor. He was about 45 years old when he met Usui Mikao. The length of his study with Usui Mikao was relatively short as he only studied the teachings for 10 months before Usui Mikao’s death in March 1926.
It is interesting to note that Hayashi didn’t teach the reiju but most likely taught an attunement, which includes the mantras and symbols. We know this because his students use mantras and symbols in the attunement and yet other students of Usui Mikao do not.
Some researchers today question whether Hayashi actually was one of the 21 teacher students trained by Usui Mikao. Hayashi is thought to have been a member of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai at first but broke away in 1931 beginning his own branch called Hayashi Reiki Ryoho Kenkyu kai.
It is believed today that he is the first practitioner to have created a professional clinic using Reiki. Prior to this healing appears to have taken second place to spiritual development.
Hayashi is best known for having taught Hawayo Takata who then brought his teachings to America where they have flourished and are now taught around the whole world. In Japan, traditional teachers believe that what Hawayo Takata taught was in fact ‘Hayashi’s Reiki’ rather than the teachings of Usui Mikao.
He wrote in 1938 that he had trained 13 Reiki Masters. Some of his students were Tatsumi, Shouoh Matsui (not a teacher), Hawayo Takata, Hayashi Chie , and Yamaguchi Chiyoko.
He passed away on the 10th of May 1940. Hawayo Takata reported that he died ceremoniously of a self-induced stroke, Yamaguchi, recounts that he had killed himself by ‘breaking an artery’ while others say that as he was a military man the honorable method of death would certainly have been seppuku.