History of Reiki & Usui Mikao, Founder

The Origins or Reiki from Usui Sensei’s Memorial Stone

The most trustworthy source for information we have for the life of Usui Mikao, founder of Reiki comes from the memorial stone placed at his grave one year after his death on the 2nd of February 1927.

Saihoji Temple

Saihoji Temple Photo by Paula Michal-Johnson, April 12, 2014

The Memorial stone was discovered for the first time (for those outside of Japan) in 1994 by Frank Arjava Petter, a German born Reiki teacher living in Japan.  Since the details of its location were made public there have been many different translations.  The translation provided here was done by Frank Arjava Petter and Akiko Sato, and was published in Arjava’s book, “This Is Reiki” in English in 2012.  We use this translation because we are very grateful for all of the hard work and dedication Frank Arjava Petter brings to Jikiden Reiki and the Worldwide Reiki community.

 The memorial can be visited by the public.  The exact address of Saihoji temple is:  Toyotama district,  1-4-56 Umesato,  Suginami Ku, Tokyo

​We ask that if you go, please be respectful and research the proper customs for such things before your trip.  There have been some sad instances of vandalism in the past and we would hate for the Reiki community to have such a precious historical resource lost.

Memorial for Usui Sensei, the Founder of the Reiho (Spiritual Method)

“It is virtue that one finds as the result of diligent training of the mind and character.  It is success when one deepens the way of salvation for mankind, and thus doing gives some of the virtue to humanity and the environment.  Only after one has made both virtue and success great, one is called: A Great Master.  One of these great masters was Usui Sensei.

 Usui Sensei discovered a method that is based upon the Reiki of the Universe, which heals both the body and mind.  He taught mankind the Reiki of the Universe.  Countless seekers came to him for healing and asked him to teach them the great way of Reiki.

Usui sepia photo

 His first name was Mikao, and his pen name was Gyohan (Comment Arjava: due to his work as a journalist).  He was born in the village of Taniai in the present day Yamagata City, the area of Yamagata in Gifu prefecture.  One of his ancestor’s name is Tsunetane Chiba.  His fater’s name was Uzaemon.  His mother’s family name was Kawai.

He was born in the first year of the Keio period (1865), called Keio Gunnen (first year of the current period), on August 15th.  He studied hard and had many amazing talents.  As an adult, he traveled to several foreign countries, as well as to China.  Abroad, he thought deeply about those countries (and their cultures).

Even though he wa sa wonderful person with great talents, he had to deal with many conflicts and challenges.  But he did not give up and kept learning continuously.One day he went to Mount Kurama on a meditation retreat and fasted more than twenty days.  On the last day, he felt the great Reiki energy in his head.  He experienced enlightenment, and understood the dynamics of Reiki.

 First he experimented with Reiki upon himself, and later, he tested it with his family.  Because it worked well on various ailments, he decided to use it not only for his own good and that of his family members, but also to make it available for the world at large.  He also wanted to practice his art with joy and honor, and to make it available to all in this way.

He opened a Dojo (training center) in Harajuku, Aoyama, Tokyo in April of the eleventh year of the Taisho period (1922).  He gave seminars and healing treatments to many clients.  Countless people came to him from far and near.  The clients had to cue up in front of his house for a treatment.

In September of the twelfth year of the Taisho period (1923), the devastating earthquake rocked Tokyo.  Thousands were killed, injured and ill.  Usui Sensei’s heart was heavy with pain; and with this pain in his heart he went out and about to treat the earthquake victims throughout the city.  Many injured that could not come to him (due to their injuries) were healed by him on one of his visits.

Soon, his dojo was too small, and in February of the fourteenth year of the Taisho period (1925) he moved to Nakano on the outskirts of town where he built a new dojo.  The location of the new dojo was decided by prophecy or fourtune telling.

His fame spread quickly throughout the whole country, and he was invited to come to many cities.  Once, he travelled to Kure, another time to Hiroshima perfecture, then to Saga perfecture and Fukuyama.

He became ill and died, aged 62, on March 9th, in the fifteenth year of the Taisho period (1926) in Fukuyama, near Hiroshima.

 The name of his wife was Sadako; her maiden name was Suzuki.  They had a son and a daughter.  The son, Fuji Usui, took over the family business after Dr. Usui’s passing.

Usui Sensei was a very warm, simple and humble person.  He was physically healthy and well-proportioned.  He never showed off, and always had a smile on his face.  He solved challenges by being strong, honest, quiet and patient.  He was a very cautious person.  In many ways, he was a multi-talented soul.

He liked to read and had a vast knowledge of psychology, medicine, magic formulas (Jap. jumon, see page 19 of the book This is Reiki!), physiognomy, fortune telling and world religions.  His life-long habit of studying and gathering information certainly helped pave the way to receive the Reiki enlightenment, and to be able to put it into action.

The main objective of Reiki is not only to heal illness, but it also amplifies innate abilities, balances the spirit, makes the body healthy, and thus helps achieve happiness.To teach this to others, one should follow the legacy of the Meiji Emperor, and integrate them deeply in one’s heart.

Do not anger   Do not worry    Be grateful    Do your duty    Be kind to others

Following these great principles, one will achieve the quiet mind of the old sages.The ultimate goal is to understand the ancient secret method for gaining happiness (Reiki), and thereby discover an all-purpose cure for many ailments.

 To be able to share Reiki (with others), it is not necessary to begin with the far away places, but to start at home.  Be silent and sit every morning and evening in the gassho position.  Have a balanced and quiet soul.  Be just to your fellowman, as well as yourself.  This is possible for everyone.

Philosophical paradigms are changing the world round.  If Reiki can spread throughout the world, it will touch the human heart and will forever establish the right way of Oneness.  It will be helpful for many people, and will not only heal disease, but also be a blessing for all beings.

Over 2,000 people learned Reiki from Usui Sensei.  More learned it from his senior disciples.  In this way, Reiki spread to far away places.  It is a blessing to have received Reiki from Usui Sensei, to have experienced its grandeur, and be able to pass it on to others.

Many of Usui Sensei’s students convened to build this memorial at the graveyard of Saihoji Temple in the district of Toyoyama.  I was asked to write these words so his incredible work can continue.  I appreciate his work, in the depth of my heart, and want to let his students know that I am honored to have been chosen for this,  I wish that many people will understand what service Usui Sensei has done for humanity for years to come.

End of the inscription  Epilogue: February in the second year of the Showa period (1927). “

Author of the inscription: Masayuki Okada, Jyu San I-Kun San To (doctor of literature).Calligraphy: Juzaburo Ushida Jyu Yon I-Dou San To, Kou Yon Kyu (Admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy)  (comment Arjava: second president of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, and Usui Sensei’s direct successor).

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