Book Reviews, Wider news articles

A review of ‘Reiki and Japan: A Cultural View of Western and Japanese Reiki’

For my recent 50th birthday an old school friend and his wife, who have no experience of reiki brought me a gem of a book: Reiki and Japan by Masaki Nishina. I was a little skeptical on being given this present; apart from Wanja Twan’s publications, the reiki literature I have read is generally dull: certainly informative but hardly riveting! However, I have a daily commute of 2 hours and I thoroughly enjoyed the time immersed in this book.

The history of Dr Usui as told by the Japanese Tradition first spiked my interest of wanting to know more; continuing with the Gakkai and the parting of Chujiro Hayashi, with whom reiki would not have been as far spread as it currently is. This episode and the events that follow cement in my mind how important Chujiro Hayashi has been; from whom birthed Western Reiki as taught by Hawayo Takata and Japanese Jikiden Reiki from the Yamaguchi’s.

The history of Hawayo Takata and the changes she made both in terms of reiki practice and of the reiki story left me feeling cheated at first: that I’d been sold untruths. Further reading of Hawayo Takata’s situation and of her good intentions helped still my upset and stirred my interest to know more and read on. The differences of both pro and con between Japanese and Western Reiki are interesting particularly the dropping of intuitive techniques from Western Reiki with the adoption of prescribed hand positions, which was judged as more suitable to the Western mind. Being Western trained and intuitive by nature, it intrigued me to hear this and reflect on how I have developed my own practice of reiki.

The explanation of Japanese culture and Shinto heritage was fascinating, as the author says: “There is a distinct inevitability to Reiki being birthed in Japan. In fact, it could only have been discovered in Japan.” The belief that all living things are naturally with reiki; that no one can give you reiki; that lineage is irrelevant, since no one can give you what you already have really challenges and liberates my Western perspective! As opposed to the Star Wars version, Masaki Nishina prefers to say “Remember, the force is always with you”. With reiki, as nature teaches us ‘being’ is most beneficial, so I don’t push or try to heal or to do anything perfectly; I just relax and allow reiki………….

The author Masaki Nishina was raised in Tokyo and spent some time living in the United States. He was first drawn to Western Reiki, made a complete change of vocation from a physicist to a therapist and later trained in Jikiden Reiki. These dualities of experience and the humility with which he writes add to the value of his words and the sincerity they carry.

I would thoroughly recommend the enquiring mind to read: Reiki and Japan. I was left inspired to read more, particularly of Shinto and of Jikiden Reiki. Happy reading…………

Living in awe of nature…………the Japanese Way, Shinto.


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