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Dr. Chujiro Hayashi

Dr. Hayashi

I was discussing the Meiji Restoration yesterday with one of my Reiki students (who is a retired high school history teacher) when, for one reason or another, the subject turned to Dr. Hayashi. Several questions were raised and I found my answers less then adequate, so I decided to do a little research and frankly, I’m not very satisfied with the results.

Actually, of late, I’m having a little bit of trouble understanding Dr. Hayashi. There is quite a bit of conflicting information about him and I’m trying to piece together a coherent picture of the man with which to better understand him… and its proving rather difficult.

First there are the facts (as we know them). Things like, he was born in 1879, died in 1940, and learned Reiki somewhere in between. There are marriage dates and dates for things like the birth of his children and things like that, but other than that the facts are rather sketchy at best.

Who was Dr. Hayashi?

One thing I have been having trouble reconciling is his military situation. It has been reported that he graduated from the Navel Academy in the 30th Class in December of 1902, yet the Official Imperial Japanese Navy Records show no such report. There were 38 graduates of that class and Dr. Hayashi was not among them (although I find it interesting (although probably meaningless) there was a man named Kuni Usui, from Kagoshima, who graduated in that class). If Dr. Hayashi were a retired (or in the reserves as some sources say) Navy Captain (a surgeon at that), graduate of the Imperial Naval Academy and former director of the Ominato Port Defense Station there would be some record. There are none that I can find and I find this a bit odd.

Facts surrounding the death of Dr. Hayashi are also difficult to reconsile and really don’t make much sense to me at all. It is a reported that there was a build up of nationalism in Japan at the time, and it was the threat of war that led to his taking his own life. However, at the time, Japan was already at war with China, and it had been for many years. I find it strange that he would (a) suddenly chose to end his life on those grounds and (b) subsequently bequeath his house to Mrs. Takata, instead of his wife and/or children which was (and is) the custom.

Regarding the first point, Pearl Harbor (and Japan’s involvement in WWII) was almost 2 years in the future and at the time Japan was dedicated to positioning itself to defeat China so that it could get on with its industrial revolution. During this on-going war with China, Dr. Hayashi supposedly ran a successful Reiki practice and even found the time and means to travel to Hawaii just to teach Reiki to Mrs. Takata. Then a couple years later he just decides to end his life. What kind of doctor chooses to kill himself rather than help people in a time of great need? What kind of Reiki Master for that fact? Of course this is all possible, but I find it quite odd.

In regard to the second point, according to records and Japanese students, Mrs. Hayashi took over the Hayashi Reiki Ryoho Kenkyukai, but if the above is accurate she apparently had to do so without a house or clinic as Dr. Hayashi supposedly gave them to Mrs. Takata. Again, possible, but extremely odd.

I suppose we need to take a look at where the information is coming from. A lot of the information about Dr. Hayashi comes from Mrs. Takata who, as we all know, loved to, how to say, embellish on her version of the facts. Making up stories about Reiki seemed to have been second nature to her, so we must take the source of this information into account. Don’t get me wrong… I believe her contribution to Reiki to be second only to Dr. Usui himself, but whether her success in keeping Reiki alive and bringing it to light (so to speak) was of her own design or not is debatable. Other sources of information about Dr. Hayashi are equally questionable and the holes they leave behind don’t help us to understand the man.

Fact from Fiction

There are plenty of anecdotal stories about Dr. Hayashi. Such as his inability to sense hibiki and prompting Dr. Usui to develop a watered down version that Dr. Hayashi could perform, but just a few years later he could see the future and manifest himself in peoples dreams. He was also supposedly kicked out of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai for creating Reiki Masters when he had no authority to do so. He also seemed to be complaining that Dr. Usui allowed (and was even controlled to some extent by) the military presence in the Gakkai, although Dr. Usui’s father was himself a military man, which would have made Dr. Usui all too familiar with their practices and beliefs.

In an article about Reiki written by Shou Matsui (a student of Chujiro Hayashi ) which appeared in the Japanese newspaper ‘The Sunday Mainichi’ on Mar 4, 1928, Mr. Matsui stated that Mr. Hayashi (he is not referred to as a Doctor or a Captain) was not at all interested in the rei (or spiritual) part of Reiki, rather only the healing energies. This would have made his teachings very un-Reiki-like and would explain, to some extent, the neglect of the spiritual aspects of Reiki taught in the west. Luckily, as more and more information comes to light (so to speak) more and more Reiki practitioners are taking an interest in this aspect.

The bottom line is that we really don’t know much about this man, and what we do know is not very helpful in allowing us to understand him. This doesn’t change the fact that he is single handedly responsible for the spread of Reiki in the world today… which is why I hope to learn more about him.

For further explanation or discussion, your thoughts are most welcome and highly encouraged, please feel free to comment below!!!

Duane P. Flowers, Reiki Master


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