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The Life of Chujiro Hayashi

Who was this enigmatic man who was instrumental in bringing Reiki to the West?

One thing most Reiki students are aware of when it comes to Chujiro Hayashi is that he was instrumental in bringing Reiki to the West through his initiation of Hawayo Takata. Other than that, he is often treated like the invisible middle child. We tell stories about Mikao Usui and Takata, and those stories are beautiful. But rarely do we talk in depth about Hayashi, and when we do talk about him, it’s usually in the context of either Usui or Takata.

So, let’s delve deeper in this enigmatic man’s life. Research for this article has been limited to Google and some Reiki books referenced at the end of this piece. Various discrepancies exist about Hayashi’s life and his teachings. Many sources claim to have the only true Hayashi story.

While doing the research I remembered a webinar I watched with an interview with Phyllis Futomoro, Mrs Takata’s grand-daughter. She said that her grandmother told her to ‘let Reiki be your guide’. And in writing this article, I did just that. I allowed Reiki to be my guide.

Who was Churijo Hayashi?

Hayashi was born in Tokyo on 15 September 1880. He graduated from the Japanese naval academy in 1902 at the age of 22. He had a successful navy career, reaching the rank of captain, until his retirement. During his time in the navy he mainly held logistical positions rather than be active on the frontline.

Chujiro Hayashi

Chujiro Hayashi

Hayashi was the director of Ominato Port Defence Station during the Russo-Japanese War in 1918. We know that he met Taketomi Kan’ichi during this time. It is likely that Taketomi introduced Hayashi to Reiki. He was one of Mikao Usui’s students and eventually became the third president of Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai.

Hayashi was married to Chie Hayashi who also became a Reiki Shihan. They had two children, a boy and a girl. Neither one of their children were involved in Reiki.

According to many researchers and authors, there is no actual evidence that Hayashi was a qualified physician. And here is where it gets a little complicated. A lot of articles suggest that Hayashi was a doctor in the navy, and some say that Usui asked him to open his own clinic in order to teach Reiki with a more clinical approach. However, there are also arguments that there is no actual evidence that Hayashi was a medical doctor. It is suggested that the reason he was called doctor may be that in Japan doctors are sometimes called sensei. Sensei is also a term of respect for a master. In calling Hayashi sensei, it might have been translated into English as doctor.

It is believed that Hayashi met Usui sometime in 1924 and that in 1925 at the age of 46 he was initiated as a Shihan by Usui. Some researchers suggest that he was one of the last people, if not the last, to receive Shihan from Usui. In 1930 he opened his own clinic, The Hayashi Reiki Institute. It was here that Takata came to, for her healing. He retired from the navy in the same year he opened the clinic and became a reservist.

In his book, Foundations of Reiki Rhyoho, a manual of Shoden and Okuden, Nicholas Pearson, writes that in October 1937 Hayashi went to Hawaii with his daughter and spent almost five months there. He taught fourteen Reiki seminars, which was attended by approximately 350 students. His daughter gave lessons in flower arranging and tea ceremony. More than 70 articles, advertisements and announcements were placed in the Hawaii Hochi during the time Hayashi visited and shortly thereafter.

While Hayashi was still in the country, on 10 January 1938, a formal branch of the Hayashi Reiki Institute was opened in Hawaii with Hawayo Takata listed as the sole master of the branch. The head office of the branch was located in the Globe Hotel.

Hayashi’s contributions

Hayashi updated the system of Reiki in several ways according to Nicholas Pearson. “First his focus was predominantly on physical healing, or at the very least on the physical effects of healing through the spiritual gifts of Reiki. Hayashi also adopted the practice of using tables on which to give Reiki, much as we practice Reiki on massage tables today. He preferred for clients to be treated by two practitioners simultaneously, thus improving the efficacy of treatments at his clinic.”

Hayashi also kept detailed notes on treatments given to clients and developed hand positions for different diseases and symptoms. He wrote a teaching handbook that consists of a hand-position guide for Reiki treatments. It lists illnesses and conditions and shows which hand positions to use to treat them.

Hayashi’s sacrifice

On 11 May 1940 Hayashi ended his life honourably by seppuku (suicide through disembowelment). It is believed that after returning from Hawaii where he visited Takata and taught classes with her, the Japanese navy approached him for information about Hawaii. He was stuck between disappointing his country and causing harm to his students in America. He chose seppuku, which in Japan, is an honourable method of dying. His wife took over the healing centre for the remainder of her life.

In summary, we have much to be grateful for when it comes to Hayashi, the often neglected middle child. His openness in teaching Takata and agreeing to visit her in Hawaii and give seminars on Reiki in the USA, has allowed Reiki to grow and spread throughout the world. His introduction of structure to Reiki treatments and his handbook on hand positions helps us to understand the physical healing part of Reiki.


Article: The story of Dr. Churijo Hayashi by Marianne Streich
Website: James Deacon’s Reiki pages, www.aetw.org
Book: Foundations of Reiki Ryoho, a manual of Shoden and Okuden by Nicholas Pearson
Book: The spirit of Reiki by Walter Lubeck by Frank Arjava Petter and William Lee Rand
Picture: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Article by Laurika Bretherton

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Laurika Bretherton

Laurika Bretherton

Laurika is a writer, healer and traveler. She writes books, teaches healing and meditation classes (including Reiki) and creates monthly guided meditations on Patreon. Her latest course: Personal Development through Reiki, is available on Udemy. For more information visit her website: https://laurikabretherton.com/

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