In this rare interview, Tadao Yamaguchi, the head of Jikiden Reiki Institute in Kyoto, Japan, speaks about growing up with Reiki as a child, his family’s involvement in the practice, their extensive treatment experience using Reiki to benefit everyday ailments as well as very serious conditions, and about his vision for the future of Jikiden Reiki.
An extract of the interview has just been published in the November/December issue of Kindred Spirit.
Read the FULL INTERVIEW with Tadao Yamaguchi (exclusive) here
Mr. Yamaguchi, you have been teaching the original form of Reiki energy healing and giving seminars all over the world. The students at your seminar in London came from as far as Portugal and Canada. Why do you think people come from all over the world to attend your seminars?
Honestly, I don’t know! (Big laughter) I think it’s because Reiki has become so popular around the world. People now understand how effective Reiki is.
Some years ago people were seeking new methods and more information about Reiki. People thought Reiki, although it originated in Japan, was not practised in Japan anymore. When people came to Japan and visited places such as Mr. Usui’s grave and Mt. Kurama, where Mr. Usui did his ascetic training [founder of the healing method, GS], they never met anyone who actually practised Reiki as part of daily life.
Then a Japanese person who had learned the Western type of Reiki and become a Reiki master discovered someone who had been practising the original form of Reiki for over sixty years. The Reiki master announced their discovery to the world. That was how my mother was discovered. After that, people started to visit us for further information on Reiki.
At the time, although we weren’t aware of it, the information that my mother had to offer on the original Reiki was considered very valuable.
I guess someone like my mother was very rare to Western style Reiki practitioners as they didn’t think that there was anyone still practising the original form of Reiki.
Learning Reiki from one of the original teachers, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi
GS: I was wondering how you and your family first got involved in Reiki.
TY: Oh, where should I start…? My mother learned Reiki before she got married. I was told that I was already given Reiki energy even before I was born. In my childhood, Reiki healing was a normal, everyday thing as my mother would give me Reiki healing for everything. So, that was the beginning for me. I was given Reiki energy before I was aware of it. It wasn’t like “when” I started, but Reiki has always been there as part of everyday life. Although, I must say that it was my mother who started it all in my family. She learned Reiki when she was a young girl.
My mother learned Reiki healing because she was told that it would be very useful when she gets married and has children.
GS: Who did your mother learn Reiki from?
TY: My mother learned Reiki directly from Mr. Chujiro Hayashi. The person who recommended learning Reiki to her was her uncle, Mr. Wasaburo Sugano. He was like a father to her as she had lost her parents when she was young.
Tadao Yamaguchi’s childhood with Reiki
GS: What was it like for you as a child growing up with Reiki? I’ve heard that your mother didn’t call the doctor even when you were seriously ill. She didn’t even have a first aid kit.
TY: That’s right. It was like that. Until I started primary school, I thought other families were the same, that they didn’t go to see the doctor either. But then, at the primary school, I discovered that my family was different. It wasn’t a problem for me though. I just thought our family was different from the other families.
I didn’t feel anything in particular about it. I didn’t really get seriously ill either during my school days. So there wasn’t anything to think about. I just thought things were a little different at my home.
The Yamaguchis: A family of Reiki healers
GS: Were there other Reiki practitioners of your mother’s generation? Was your mother the only one of her age group who was practising Reiki?
TY: No, there were others. One of her elder brothers, who was closest to her age, and her sister who was seven years older than my mother, they were both keen practitioners. Also Mr. and Mrs. Wasaburo Sugano, who recommended Reiki to my mother, practised Reiki more than anyone. My father pracitised as well. My father’s mother was the sister of Wasaburo’s wife. The Suganos taught Reiki to my father’s side of the family. To be precise, Wasaburo’s wife, who was from the Yamaguchi family, taught the Yamaguchis. It wasn’t Chujiro Hayashi who taught my father’s side. So many people practised Reiki in those days. They eventually stopped as they grew older.
Often people are mistaken that my mother is the sole practitioner of the original Reiki but that is not the case. It’s true that my mother had practised Reiki for over sixty years without being recognised but so had her siblings – she had many siblings – and her relatives. They all practised Reiki.
I have about forty cousins and 80% of them learned Reiki from their parents. They all practised Reiki until they grew old. These practitioners were not recognised because they were using Reiki as a home remedy only, not for business use. This is why the practitioners of the original Reiki were not known to the rest of the world.
Why Reiki became a ‘secret’ healing art
GS: Why was it that only your family was practising Reiki?
TY: I suppose after the Second World War it became difficult to practise traditional healing. So there were fewer people doing it.
GS: Why did it become difficult?
TY: The law got tighter on the use of traditional medicines. Traditional healing methods were restricted by law in the first place, but then it became even more strict. The revised medical law prohibited anything other than modern Western medicine.
Also, after the war things developed and many new things were available, including newly developed medicine. Traditional healing methods, such as what we are doing, were considered non-scientific methods in peoples’ minds. Old and traditional methods were treated as something non- scientific. That was the mind set in those days.
Reiki as a household remedy
GS: What sort of conditions can be treated with Reiki?
TY: Basically, you can treat any condition with Reiki. To be more specific, if you use Reiki at home, you can treat cuts and bruises for example. When I was a child I used to often get colds and also I ate too much. Conditions like that, that every child has can be treated with Reiki. My mother treated them all with Reiki and she made us better. Reiki is the best thing you could have as home medicine.
When I was a little older, maybe around fifteen years old, people started coming to see my mother to be treated for various ailments. I saw them getting better.
Reiki for treating jaundice
GS: Your mother used Reiki for sixty-five years, more or less every day of her life. Can you give me examples of conditions that she successfully treated?
TY: There are so many. It’s difficult to pick one. I wonder which one would be a good example. Well, one memorable case was someone with a liver problem. This person had jaundice. Do you know jaundice? Your eyes go yellow. Your liver usually filters out bile, which is unnecessary liquid. When the liver is working well, the bile is removed from the body, but sometimes the liver does not function well and the bile is not removed. When the bile stays in your body, the body, face and even your eyes become yellow. In those days it was a serious problem. The doctor said to this person there was nothing they could do to help and the only thing the patient could do was rest. He was one of our distant relatives. So my mother said to him that he could stay at our house for a while and she would treat him every day. Instead of charging him, she said he could just look after the children and maybe clean the house. He probably stayed at our house for a month. In the end he recovered completely.
He is now over seventy and healthy. That was a memorable case.
A case of recovery from pancreatic cancer
TY: There was a cancer case too. It was about ten years ago. Someone who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After three months of Reiki treatment this patient recovered. He was in his late twenties at the time and recovered completely. It’s been over ten years since then but he is well. The cancer has not come back to this day.
GS: Did he have any other therapies to help his cancer at the same time like chemo-therapy?
TY: He always preferred natural treatment. His wish was to use naturopathic methods to treat his cancer. At the beginning, he felt aches in his lower back. He didn’t want to go to the doctor, but his backache was getting very bad and he was becoming unwell so he had to go in the end. He didn’t know what was causing the problem. After being examined he was told it was pancreatic cancer. The doctor suggested he use anticancer drugs. At that time, fortunately, the cancer had not spread anywhere other than the pancreas. So the doctor said anticancer drugs would be sufficient for his case. But he didn’t want to use anticancer drugs. Someone then introduced him to my mother and he trusted her. He came to our house everyday to receive treatment. After three months he was completely clear of cancer. At the time my mother had an assistant. Sometimes both my mother and her assistant treated a person together. Sometimes even three treated a person at one time. I helped them as well.
The benefits of group treatments
GS: Is it better if more than one practitioner gives a treatment?
TY: Of course, one practitioner is sufficiently effective, however, if there are more practitioners treating a person at the same time, it becomes even more effective.
Breast cancer, endometriosis & uterus myoma
Also, several breast cancer patients came to see my mother and they all got better. As I am a man, and those ladies had breast cancer, I normally put my hands on their head while my mother treated the breast area. My mother also attracted female patients because they are the same gender. For example, ladies with uterus myoma or endometriosis. Endometriosis seems like a very painful condition. These conditions also got much better with my mother’s treatments.
GS: Why was your mother so confident that Reiki treatment would help people? How did she know that Reiki would be able to help people?
TY: My mother learned Reiki when she was seventeen. In those days her sister, auntie and grandmother were all using Reiki. She had been seeing people get better after being treated with Reiki since she was about ten years old, so it was normal for her.
People say that she was very young learning Reiki at the age of seventeen, but she said that she couldn’t wait to learn it.
People say ‘why seventeen?’. It was actually her Uncle Wasaburo’s idea. He thought she could learn Reiki after she finished school. As soon as she learned Reiki she started assisting her sister and auntie.
Anyone can practise Reiki!
GS: Do you have to have a special ability to practise Reiki or can anyone learn it?
TY: Anyone can learn Reiki if you attend the seminar and receive Reiju. At the seminar people can learn the basics of Reiki.
GS: What does Reiju mean?
TY: Reiju is the most important part in learning Reiki. In a way it’s like a ritual. To understand Reiju properly you need to attend the seminar, but in short, I would say Reiju awakens the natural ability of healing that everyone has.
GS: Where does Reiju come from?
TY: It is of course Mr. Usui [the founder of Reiki practice, GS] who originally started Reiju.
Starting Jikiden Reiki in 2000
GS: Why did you start giving public Jikiden Reiki seminars? When did you start giving them?
TY: We started giving seminars in the year 2000. Although we started preparing them in 1999. Until then, we were just using Reiki at home. We never advertised or put up a sign or anything. People found out about my mother and came to see her, all through word of mouth. Those who my mother treated, told others. That was how people knew about us. Then Western style Reiki reached Japan in around 1990. Western Reiki practitioners didn’t know there were still some people in Japan practising the original Reiki. So anyone who wanted to learn Reiki had to go to a Western Reiki teacher.
Then a Reiki master of the Western style found out about my mother and came to visit us. He said he wanted to learn Reiki from my mother. My mother was mainly treating people but very occasionally taught as well. So she taught the Western Reiki master, then gradually more people came to her wanting to be taught as well.
To meet the demands, my mother began giving seminars which were conducted in exactly the same way as the ones given by Chujiro Hayashi when my mother was learning.
GS: What does “Jikiden Reiki” mean? Why don’t you call your seminars just “Reiki seminars”?
TY: We could just simply call our seminars “Reiki seminars”, however, there were so many Reiki seminars going on around the world already. There was the issue of business registration as well. So, someone suggested that we make our own name for what we were doing. When we were thinking about a name, we thought of ‘Jikiden’, which means Chiyoko Yamaguchi, my mother, learned Reiki directly from Chujiro Hayashi. Jikiden is also easy to say. ‘Jikiden’ means that my mother learned directly from Mr. Hayashi. So we thought that that was very appropriate. When Japanese people hear the word ‘Jikiden’ they immediately understand that our Reiki has been directly passed on. ‘Jikiden’ is easy to remember for foreigners as well.
How does Reiki heal?
GS: How does Reiki heal people?
TY: That is a difficult question! But at the same time Reiki is simple. We use our hands and touch the person. This action of touching heals the person. If you ask how the Reiki energy heals problems, the answer is ‘I don’t know’. I don’t think we scientifically understand how it works. If the power of Reiki were to be scientifically proven, Reiki would spread a lot more rapidly.
We all have a natural ability to heal ourselves. But this ability is not working properly in many people for various reasons. In many of us this natural healing ability is dormant. I believe Reiki activates this ability and restores it to its original state. The healing ability of the person then starts working as it’s supposed to. In modern days we say that our immune system becomes stronger. I think Reiki healing is something that enhances our immunity.
Can Reiki complement conventional medicine?
GS: So it helps the natural healing process. How do you feel about the relationship between conventional medicine and Reiki?
TY: Doctors of conventional medicine are highly educated people who have studied the human body in depth. I would very much like them to practise Reiki. I want doctors to learn Reiki and teach nurses to use Reiki. Ultimately, it would be ideal if doctors could say to patients that they can heal themselves. I think that would be my final goal. That way, we can reduce medical costs and fewer people who would suffer from the side effects of medicine.
GS: Can you see a scenario where Reiki practitioners and conventional doctors work side by side?
TY: It would be difficult to use both methods at the same time (simultaneously). But at first, patients could go and see a Reiki practitioner and receive Reiki treatments whilst being treated with Western medicine at a hospital. I’ve never said to anyone to not take Western medication or never stopped anyone from going to see a doctor. I do criticise that we rely on Western medicine too much but I never deny its effectiveness.
GS: What is your opinion on operations? What do you think?
TS: There are many conditions where operations are necessary. If a patient receives a Reiki treatment before, during, or after an operation, the effect of Reiki on the operation would be enormous. That is what I recommend.
GS: Would it make any difference to someone who is recovering after surgery?
TY: I can tell you from a great deal of experience, that it makes a huge difference to a person’s recovery after an operation.
Simplicity is key
GS: There are many other styles of Reiki these days. How is Jikiden Reiki different?
TY: I don’t want to criticise other styles of Reiki and it is very difficult to say how Jikiden Reiki is different. One thing I can say is, from what I gather from books written by practitioners of other styles of Reiki, it seems that they teach Reiki as something very complicated. They also make so many rules and restrictions like “You cannot do this.” or “That is no good”. To us, Reiki is simple. That is the characteristic of Reiki. Maybe that is what sets Jikiden Reiki apart from the rest. I do not mean to criticise other types of Reiki, so please understand this. Personally, I don’t like comparing Jikiden Reiki with others.
GS: What do you think the future of Jikiden Reiki will be?
TY: The vision is to have one Jikiden Reiki practitioner per household.
Gisela Stewart: Thank you very much Mr Yamaguchi!
Tadao Yamaguchi: You are very welcome.
Translated by Rika Tanaka & Kyoko Atsumi
For the opportunity to learn directly from Mr Yamaguchi in the UK contact
Rika Tanaka (London): email@example.com or
Gisela Stewart (Edinburgh): firstname.lastname@example.org & be first to hear when the training dates for 2016 become available.
If looking for a teacher near you check www.jikidenreiki.co.uk