Jikiden Reiki history

Jikiden Reiki was founded by Chiyoko Yamaguchi and Tadao Yamaguchi in Kyoto, Japan. Its lineage comes from Mikao Usui, Chujiro Hayashi and Chiyoko Yamaguchi.

The founder, Mikao Usui was born in Gifu, Japan in 1865. On completing his basic education, he pursued various careers which gave him a broad perspective in life. Later, having faced a challenging situation, he began to question the ultimate purpose of life. After deep contemplation, he came to the conclusion that the ultimate purpose of life is to reach the state of An-Jin-Ryu-Mei (安心立命 = The state of complete calm and stillness) – in other words, to achieve enlightenment.   To attain this state, he started zen practice in a temple in Kyoto. About three years later, in March 1922, having not found An-Jin Ryu-Mei, he sought the advice of his zen master. The master’s answer was that in order to achieve what he wanted, perhaps he should experience death.

Listening to this advice, Usui accepted his destiny and decided to prepare for his death by fasting on Mount Kurama, located in the north part of Kyoto city. He fasted for about 20 days. One night, he experienced something that felt like a lightning strike in his head and lost consciousness. Later, when he regained consciousness,  he realised that a tremendous energy was penetrating though him and he had a sense of resonation with all of life .  As a result of his experience, he realised he may have finally achieved An-Jin-Ryu-Mei. On his way back down the mountain to meet his zen master, on injuring himself, he also began to comprehend that he had some miraculous healing ability using his hands. Later, his zen master confirmed that he had indeed achieved enlightenment and had a healing ability. He suggested Usui return home and start helping others to gain such a miraculous energy and its healing ability.

Usui started to develop his healing method which he named Shin-Shin-Kaizen-Usui-Reiki-Ryoho (Usui Reiki treatment method for the improvement of body and mind). Then, in order to teach his healing method, he founded his society, Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai (The society of the Usui Reiki Treatment Method) which quickly became popular. In March 1926, at the age of 62, he passed away in Hiroshima.

Chiyoko Yamaguchi’s Reiki Shihan (teacher), Chujiro Hayashi was one of Usui’s highest level students, one of twenty Shihans chosen to continue his teachings by Usui. Later on they were called Daishihan (Senior Teacher). Because he was a retired naval surgeon, Usui directed Hayashi to form a research group to continue the study of Reiki healing. Later Hayashi called this the Hayashi Reiki Kenkyukai (Hayashi Reiki Institute). Following his teacher’s wish, he traveled around Japan to train people with Reiki. He once traveled to Hawaii to do so there too.

Chiyoko Yamaguchi’s uncle, Wasaburo Sugano, was the person who introduced Reiki to the family in his hometown in Ishikawa. Wasaburo first learned Reiki from Chujiro Hayashi in Osaka in about 1930. Impressed with the benefits of Reiki, he introduced Hayashi to many of his relatives, who learned Reiki with him. His wife Chiyo also introduced it to her family. Surrounded by those who were practicing Reiki and seeing the benefits for many years, Chiyoko developed a passion for Reiki. Finally, in the Spring of 1938, at the age of 17, Chiyoko Yamaguchi first learned Reiki from Chujiro Hayashi and later she achieve Shinpiden level under him.

Despite the challenges during and after the Pacific War, Chiyoko Yamaguchi kept practicing Reiki, helping others daily. Although Reiki, having been outlawed, was gradually forgotten by society after the war, her family kept Reiki practice as part of their family culture. Also several of them were Reiki Shihans, including a couple of her siblings, so they were able to pass down the teachings of Reiki to the next generation. Chiyoko was known as a lady with ‘magic hands’ by her neighbours. She was quietly popular among those who wanted help beyond the usual medical treatments and they found out about her by word of mouth.

Meanwhile, the popularity of Reiki was rising in the west. In the late 1990s, people  in Japan and from the west started to hear about Chiyoko and her family, and that they had learned with Hayashi. Suddenly, many people wanted to learn Reiki from her. After some consideration, Chiyoko Yamaguchi, and her son Tadao, gathered together the family teaching materials, including photos and other documents, and prepared the seminar curriculum to reflect the way they had learned from Hayashi. Thanks to the fact that the family home in Ishikawa had sometimes been used as a venue for Hayashi’s seminars, and for Chie’s (his wife) after his death, they were able to obtain rare historic photos, documents and other materials.

The Jikiden Reiki Institute was established in Kyoto in 1999. The first seminar was held in April 2000 under the name of Jikiden Reiki. Jikiden (直傳) means ‘a secret art transmitted, or handed down, directly from one’s teacher’. Jikiden Reiki offers the teaching of Reiki with the tradition of practice and philosophy as it was directly taught by Usui, Hayashi and then Chiyoko Yamaguchi. It encompasses the importance of understanding some Japanese culture in order to understand Reiki philosophy. It also acknowledges and benefits from Chiyoko’s humble and compassionate attitude towards her Reiki practice for more than 65 years.

Chiyoko Yamaguchi passed away in August 2003 and her son, Tadao, is currently the head of the Institute in Kyoto, Japan.


This information has been provided by the Jikiden Reiki UK Association