Two versions of Mikao Usui’s life, and his discovery and development of the system known today as Usui Reiki, are running the race of legend. The earlier story is a popular mystical version originally espoused in the West by Mrs. Hawayo Takata, and further popularized by Mr. William Lee Rand in his book, Reiki; The Healing Touch.

The recent version, without the bells and whistles of mystical visions, is far less colorful. It is gleaned from information made available by Mikao Usui’s actual descendents who are alive and well, and working today in Japan (article wrote in 2007). Confirmation of this less popular version comes from Tatsumi Sensei, a student of Chujirou Hayashi, one of Usui’s personally trained masters. Tatsumi Sensei passed away in 1996, at over ninety years old. Mikao Usui’s story – according to Tatsumi Sensei – runs thus:

Mikao Usui was born on August 15, 1865 to a highly spiritual, Tendai Buddhist family of the Samurai class in Kyoto. Young Mikao Usui showed himself to be a serious and fierce student rising into the robes of a Tendai Buddhist Monk.

He studied with and attended many spiritual groups, and on numerous occasions he endured grueling twenty-one day “Lotus Repentance Meditations.” He performed this meditation once on Mount Kurama, where it is said he experienced a mystical vision while standing under a waterfall and received the esoteric Reiki symbols and teachings. However, this mystical vision legend is not borne out, because the meditation session in question actually occurred late in his life, long after he started teaching his healing system that came to be known as Usui reiki.

Mikao Usui embodied the traditions of the Samurai class. As described by one of his students: “He was physically big, quiet in manner, and extremely powerful. Mikao Usui did not suffer fools willingly and became quite abrasive at times. He often grew righteously angry and impatient, particularly with people who wanted results but were not prepared to work for them.”

Although he did not have a title for his teachings, he referred to them as a, “Method to achieve personal perfection.” The term “reiki” seems to have been introduced by Usui’s student, Chujirou Hayashi, Reiki Master. The title used by Usui’s original students was and still is, Usui Teate (Usui Hand Touch) or “Usui Hand Healing.” The title, Reiki, is unknown by Usui’s students.

Mikao Usui Sensei died from a stroke in Hiroshima in 1826. The famous Reiki healing hand positions were recorded on paper just before Usui died, by Chujiro Hayashi. Today, an impressive monument to Usui Sensei stands in Tokyo.

Since his death in 1826, there have been five successors in Usui Shiki Ryoho Gakkai in Japan. The current successor is Ms. Kimiko Koyama. Not until 1980 was Reiki popularized in the West.

“The secret art of inviting happiness,

The miraculous medicine of all diseases,

Just for today, do not be angry,

Do not worry and be filled with gratitude,

Devote yourself to your work and be kind to people,

Every morning and evening join your hands in prayer,

Pray these words to your heart,

And chant these word with your mouth,

Usui Reiki Treatment for the improvement of body and mind.”

Mikao Usui Sensei


Namaste (My energy and your energy, honored as one energy.)


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Article Source:

Roth, Y. (2007, October 18). Walking The Long Path – The Art of Genuine Reiki Practice. Retrieved August 31, 2022, from­The-­Long-­Path-­-­-­The-­Art-­of-­Genuine-­Reiki-­Practice