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April 1986 Japanese Article on Reiki

Last Updated: August 16, 2005
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In early 1997 the Reiki world was still pretty much unaware of the status of original Reiki in Japan, nor did we know of the Saihoji Temple, the Usui Memorial, nor the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai - the original Reiki society. 

During the 2nd week of May 1997 I taught a master level class to a local Japanese woman, Shiya Fleming, who had just returned from visiting her family in Japan. While she was there, she was browsing through some old Japanese magazines at a friend's house when she came across the above article on Reiki that was published in the April, 1986.  The name of the Japanese magazine was "The Twilight Zone", which is how it is pronounced in Japanese and English.  The magazine, no longer in publication, specialized in providing information on metaphysical topics.

Shiya took a photocopy of this article (as her friend didn't want to part with the magazine), brought it back to Canada with her, and showed it to me. Of course, being written in Japanese, I couldn't understand it, so she offered to translate it for me. Actually she just gave me a summation of the article and until recently I didn't have a complete translation. Even without the translation I noticed some interesting pictures in the article. One was an exact match to the Usui Gainen or precepts on one of my web pages, only the magazine version showed a hanko or stamp over top of Usui-san's name.

I later discovered that the original Gainen, which are stored in a private shrine to Usui Sensei somewhere in the Tokyo suburbs, has 3 red stamps on the left side, below the writing.  Perhaps the hanko on the one in the article just verifies it as an authentic copy.

Other pictures showed a Japanese woman, Mieko Mitsui, demonstrating Reiki, Hawayo Takata, Barbara Ray and an ad for Ray's first Reiki book (which according to Toshitaka Mochizuki's book "Iyashi No Te", was translated into Japanese by Mitsui), 6 similar narrow Japanese Reiki certificates that were owned by the pictured Reiki Master, Fumio Ogawa.

The article mentions the Saihoji Temple where Usui's family grave site rests, as well as the large memorial erected there by the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai.  One of my students, Jolanta Pyra, asked a fellow Yumeiho student (Reiza) living in Tokyo to get photos of Saihoji Temple for us.  Coincidentally, Reiza enlisted the aid of Ms. Akimoto to help him find the temple.  I say coincidentally because on the day I received the photos from Reiza, I learned from William Rand that Arjava Petter had just published a book in German called Reiki Fire which showed the grave site,  had a translation of the memorial, and gave some information about the Ogawa family.  Ms Akimoto was the student of Arjava's noted in the book who had made contact with the Ogawa family friend, Mr. Oishi, who became a great source of Usui information for Arjava. 

In August 1997 Shiya got some better close-ups of the Usui grave marker and Usui-san's memorial which allowed Emiko Arai and me to make a literal translation and place these and the new photos at my web site.  The photos show the temple grounds, the side of the Usui family marker, and clasps of the inscription on the memorial and his son, Fuji's, grave marker.

In the spring of 2005, 8 years after I received the 1986 article and had placed a summary at my web pages, I was given a copy of a small Japanese Reiki booklet self published by Mr. Ogawa in October 1986.  The title is "Everyone Can Do Reiki" and the 1991 revised version I received contained the above article.  I enlisted some of my Japanese students to translate the booklet and thus finally obtained the complete translation of the 1986 article. 

An interesting note here: In 1997 Light and Adonea, 2 Reiki Masters in the U.S.A., informed me 2 days after I received the Japanese article that they had just read a Reiki article from a 1986 issue of The Reiki Journal, a newsletter published by The Radiance Technique® (Dr. Barbara Weber Ray's Reiki system). The article involved Mieko Mitsui and her 1985/86 visit to Japan. Since Mitsui is a Radiance Technique practitioner, she no doubt passed on what she learned to Barbara Ray, thus this may partly explain the subsequent shift from 3 levels to 7 levels in this school, and the fact that Ms. Ray would later say that other forms of Reiki were not original Reiki.

In 1999 when I met Reiki Master Hiroshi Doi, he told me he had seen this Twilight Zone article, but that some parts of it were inaccurate.  Another interesting coincidence is that Mr. Doi said that he had taken Reiki training in 1993 with Ms. Mitsui, as she was then teaching Reiki 1 and 2 in Japan. 

I've made some notes in the new translation, along with some other information that explains some of the content.  These comments are in brackets, as are some comments by my Japanese translator. 

The following comments by Fumio Ogawa preceded the copy of the Twilight Zone article in his book "Everyone Can Do Reiki".

"After I had finished writing this manuscript, I received a magazine with a piece of paper inside saying “Excuse me for sending this you so late”. I realized that it was an interview about Reiki from a magazine writer from the beginning of this year. I decided to include this whole article as a reference since it describes precisely the roots of Reiki. According to the article, Reiki is spreading in America now.

"Twilight zone 1986 Oct

"Since this version (of his book) written in August 1991 is a modification of the one written in Oct. 1986, please note that there are some contradictions with the dates in the contents."

© English Translation Copyright 2005 Richard Rivard, Yoko Iida, Evan  Wainberg 

From the Japanese Magazine - "Twilight Zone" - April 1986 Issue

"Mysterious Report #28 from the Editor" 

"Searching the Roots of Reiki"

"What is Usui's Style of Reiki Treatment?"
"Reiki is Imported from Japan to America"

Reporter: Shiomi Takai

Now in America there is a quiet boom of so called Reiki treatment.  This is gathering energy from the cosmos.  This method was born in Japan.  It was conversely imported to Japan.  This reporter is searching these mysterious roots.

Reiki treatment - Cures the illness only by screening to the point of the body surface, furthermore purifies food and water. 

I guess there are a lot of readers who are familiar with the treatment that adopts universal energy since we have introduced it twice (September issue, 1984 and July issue 1985). Well, I had a chance to have an interview with Mitsui Mieko Sensei, who is a Reiki master and who came back from the United States last December.

“It was 1978 when I left for the United States. I was an editor in a publishing company and was working for 365 days a year up until then. So I decided to go to the States and concentrate on studying for myself. I had had some health concerns since I was a child, and I met Reiki when I was completely exhausted from the many years of overworking and my unmanageable lifestyle. Thanks to Reiki, I learned how wonderful it is to live without body pain”

Since then Mitsui Sensei has studied the art of Reiki enthusiastically. After a half a year of study, she achieved the Master level. It is said that this was extraordinarily fast compared to other American people who study Reiki. 

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Mieko Mitsui ...

giving a Reiki treatment

Hawayo Takata-sensei
There were two purposes to Mitsui Sensei’s visiting Japan.  One is to familiarize herself with the treatment of Reiki in Japan where Reiki was originally born, and the other is to seek the roots of Reiki. According to the handbook published by the American International Reiki Association. Inc., the developer of Reiki is a Japanese person, Dr. Mikao Usui. Reiki was brought to the United States by Hawayo Takata, who was Nisei (American born, second generation Japanese) and was born in Hawaii. Dr. Barbara Ray, the instructor in the States, said that she was inducted into Reiki from Takata. 
Even though Reiki originated in Japan, scarcely any information about Reiki was revealed. Mitsui Sensei kept seeking out the roots as a person who was born in the motherland of Reiki. She finally grasped two facts when she came back to Japan in December. One was the address of Dr. Usui's family temple and the other was a pamphlet and certificate given out to the participants of the Reiki seminar which was held all over Japan. When she visited Saiho-ji temple in Nakano, Tokyo, she found Dr. Usui's large tomb, which had a lengthy inscription on it. The summary is as follows:
Dr. Usui's real name is Usui Mikao. He was born in Keio gannen (1865) in Taniai village (now the town of Miyama), Yamagata-gun, Gifu Prefecture. He studied very hard when he was young, and visited Europe, the States and China later. One day, he made a firm resolution to climb Mt Kurama in Kyoto and start ascetic practices. As a result of 21 days of living in this way, he mastered Reiki Ryoho. After he realized the great effect of this healing method, he opened the “Gakkai” in Harajuku, Tokyo in 1922. It is said that there were tons of people waiting for treatments in front of the place. In September 1923, he worked across Tokyo to help a lot of people who were suffering after the Kanto earthquake.  This made the name of Reiki Ryoho unexpectedly more popular than before. In February 1925, the Gakkai moved to Nakano in order to expand. After teaching instructors in Kure, Hiroshima, and Saga, he became sick in Fukuyama City in Hiroshima Prefecture on his way back and died there. 

He died at the age of 62 (in the Japanese way of counting, which starts at 1, not 0) on March 9th, 1926.

Edited by Masayuki Okada and written by Juzaburo Ushida, February 1927.

Mitsui Sensei asked in the temple about the address of Dr. Usui's family and she visited there, however, the family member declined to meet her.  All she heard was a voice from the intercom explaining that she was the wife of one of Dr. Usui's children (Rick's Note: this would have been the wife of Fuji Usui) and the relationship between his family and him had been severed through his will. According to the person from the temple, flowers are left in front of Dr. Usui's tomb on the 9th of every month,  but nobody knows who does it.

Luckily, Mitsui Sensei met a person related to Dr. Usui when she held a seminar in Shizuoka. He was one of the participants in the seminar. His name was Mochizuki, who lived in Shizuoka City. His father-in-law, Mr. H.I. took part in the lecture for Reiki in Shizuoka and got a certificate. Mr. H.I. was a Principal of an elementary school back then, and he decided to take the course as a person who devoted himself in the field of education. The contents of the handbook given to Mitsui Sensei were member guidelines, “doctrine”, a guide for treatment and poems of the Meiji Emperor. (Rick's Note: this handbook would have been the Reiki Ryoho Hikkei published by the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai).  In the guide for treatments, all the treatments are described in detail, including basic treatments, how to cure diseases in the digestive system and the nervous system, etc. 

So I decided to trace Dr. Usui’s footsteps instead of Mitsui Sensei who went back to the United States. I contacted Mr. Mochizuki and was introduced to Mr. Fumio Ogawa who lives in Shizuoka. His late father, Mr. Kyozo Ogawa, was one of the executives in the society (RIck's Note: the URR Gakkai) according to the handbook, which was titled “Provisions for Reiki treatment”.  Mr. Kyozo Ogawa taught Mr. H.I. and gave him the certificate. (Rick's Note: According to F. Arjava Petter in his book "Reiki Fire." Kyozo Ogawa was one of Usui's students and the step-father of Fumio Ogawa.)

What I was surprised with was that Mr. Fumio Ogawa received “Reiju” and got a certificate from Mr. Kyozo Ogawa. “Reiju” was a word I had never heard before. The Reiki classes in the States have different degrees that one can study.  First degree is for beginners’, second degree, including distance healing, is more advanced, and the third degree course broken into A and B. When one finishes all the courses, he/she will be certified as a Reiki master. 

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Fumio Ogawa
Ogawa-sensei's certificates
Level 6 - Dai Loku Tou - 09/18/42
Level 5 - Dai Go Tou - 10/18/42
Level 4 - Dai Yon Tou - 11/18/42
Level 3 - Dai San Tou - 01/18/43
Level 2 - Oku Den Zen-Ki 
             (1st step) - 10/18/43
Level 1 - Oku Den Koe-Ki 
             (2nd step) - 11/18/43

(Rick's Note: the first 4 steps would have been part of what we call Reiki 1 or Shoden; the last 2 became Reiki 2 in the West.)

The course established by Dr. Usui, on the other hand, was far more difficult than this. The course was divided into six levels, 6th degree being the beginner level. When one finished the 3rd degree (which means four levels had been completed), the student went to the next level called Okuden zenki (the first half) and Okuden kouki (the second half). After that, only a few people were selected to study the next level called Shinpiden. Reiju was something given to the participants of this Shinpiden level, and was not always just once. It is said that some people were given Reiju more than once. This Reiju is hard to understand the meaning from the Chinese characters itself, but it seems easiest to think that it contains the meaning of ‘open the circuit to receive the Universal energy.’ (Rick's Note: The URR Gakkai Reiju process is the Gakkai way of assisting the student to connect with the Reiki energy. The ceremony was created by Usui's student Eguchi - borrowed from a friend - and it has been changed often over the years. The Western attunement ceremony originates from Dr. Hayashi's own version of Reiju.) 

Mr. Ogawa says: “There is an unwritten rule that you can’t tell anyone about Reiju, so unfortunately, I can’t teach you about this. But there used to be a group meeting called Reiju-kai (reiju group) so that people who have finished a certain amount of their training can give Reiju. It wasn’t difficult to be a member. There used to be a lecture about Reiki therapy once a month everywhere. All you had to do was to pay the course fee about 500 yen to 1000 yen in current value and take the course, and you would be a member. Whoever was eager to study took part in all the lectures and tried hard to continue their ascetic practices by themselves everyday. By doing so, once they were admitted, they could receive Reiju. But even for those who were very eager, it was very hard to cure other people's disease even if they could cure themselves. There were only three people who received Reiju directly from Usui sensei: Mr. Kaninchi Taketomi, who was the 2nd President of the Reiki society after Sensei’s death, Mr.Yoshiharu Watanabe, the 3rd President, Mr. Hoichi Wanami, the 4th President. (Rick's Note: Mr. Hiroshi Doi explained that Wanami was actually a student of Juzaburo Ushida, the first URR Gakkai President after Usui's death and an Usui student.  Several other students of Usui are now known.)

So what is the Reiki treatment elite training program, Shinpiden?
“Once you master the Shinpiden, you will notice where the unhealthy area is without asking the patients. The ‘Byosen’ comes out to the master's palm, and they can feel the condition. There are three types of treatment in Shinpiden. One is to change the patients blood , one is to treat their personality, and lastly, distance treatment whereby we use pictures as a focus to cure.” (Rick's Note - these techniques are now known as Ketsueki Kokan Ho or the blood circulation technique. Sei Heki Chiryo-Ho and Enkaku Chiryo-ho.)

And he gave me one more important piece of information.  The Reiki treatment society (Rick's Note: URR Gakkai),  which was believed to have been extinct in Japan, still exists in Tokyo. So I tried contacting a woman who was the 6th president from Dr. Usui in Usui shiki (way), Reiki Treatment Research Group. She said she couldn't answer questions for the interview, but I was lucky enough to get the following information: The headquarters of the Reiki society moved from place to place because of damage during the war. Some of the members started a new religion with their own dogma. Mikao Usui used to be a secretary of Shinpei Goto. (Rick's Note: the 6th President was Mrs. Kimiko Koyama. The new religion mentioned may have been Eguchi's later school called Tenohira Ryoji Kenkyu-kai.)

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Ogawa-sensei's copy of the Usui Gainen
The latter half is especially important. According to the Reiki handbook in the United States, it says that Dr. Usui used to be a President of a theological school in Kyoto. But there is no such school in Kyoto by the research of Mitsui Sensei, and I couldn't find any trace of him as a Christian. On this, Mitsui Sensei thinks it is more of a small, local type of church, but no one knows the truth. (Rick's Note: Usui's student Tenon-in - born 1887 - said in 1996 that Usui was a Tendai Buddhist to his death.) 

Now I want to explain about Shinpei Goto. He was born in 1857, in Iwate Prefecture. After he graduated from Medical school in Fukushima prefecture, he worked at the Department of the Interior, public health division, and became division chief in 1890. During the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) he became the chief of quarantine in the army, the Chief of the Civil Government in Taiwan in 1898, the President of the Manchurian railways in 1906. After the several posts in the government such as the Minister of Post, the President of the House of Railways, the Home Secretary and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, he became the governor of Tokyo City in 1920 and died in 1929. It is unknown when Dr. Usui became the secretary of Mr. Goto, but if it were true, there would be no doubt that it helped him a lot to make powerful connections. 

Nevertheless, the mystery still remains. Connecting all the stories from different people who are related to him, we can get various aspects of Dr. Usui: a general employee and an entrepreneur, but neither of them relates to the “art”.

I wonder why he started to pursue the path of spiritualism. It seems it is important to understand the era he lived in. From Meiji (1868-1912) and early Showa (1926 - 1989), most of the old religious authorities lost their powers, while many new leaders appeared. Tennen Kuwabara and Morihei Tanaka, who was the founder of Taireido, especially excelled in necromancy and they attracted people by their special abilities. Spiritual leader Onisaburo Deguchi of Oomoto-kyo and Mokichi Okada of Sekai-kyusei-kyo are also the personalities that revealed themselves in that era. Of these people, who had a relationship with Dr. Usui, either directly or indirectly? Thinking of all the possibilities, Morihei Tanaka is the most likely. He was born in Tajimi City and established the head office of Taireido there, next to Miyamacho where Dr. Usui was born. He developed one kind of life energy theory called ‘Reishijutsu’ (spirit child method) to apply his treatment and produced desired results. In addition, it is said that those who excelled in this method could see through the affected areas like X-ray pictures. It is a mere guess, but it is hard to think that Dr. Usui wasn’t interested in Tanaka, who came to the forefront in the religious world around 1917. However, that Dr. Usui kept a more liberal position than the ultra nationalistic Tanaka can be guessed from the names of his navy apprentices. It was common for politicians and military people to seek council from powerful religions at that time, but still it was rare for people in the navy, where more liberal thinking was common and overseas information is plentiful. (Rick's Note: In late 1925, retired admirals Ushida and Taketomi attended the Usui dojo with 18 other navy men.  Dr. Hayashi was also a retired navy surgeon.)

What kind of person was Mikao Usui, whom we still don’t know in detail? What is the truth of Shinpiden, which people haven't been allowed to talk about? Where can we seek the lineage of the spiritualism that influenced Reiki treatments? These remain as mysteries. The research has just started. I would like to end this first report while waiting for information from readers.

If you have comments or suggestions, Contact Me.   I will try to answer them all.

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