Chujiro Hayashi is considered to be one of the most important disciples of Mikao Usui and in this article, we’re going to talk about his story, legacy and some interesting facts about his death.
It’s a very interesting chain of events and perfectly suited to a Reiki enthusiast, like you!
Hayashi is also known as the second Reiki Grand Master in the world.
The best way to learn is by example.
One crucial fact that can boost your career, no matter what that might be, is to have a mentor on your side.
That’s what happened to Chujiro Hayashi, and today we are fortunate enough to benefit from his learnings.
Like most world-renowned athletes, singers or painters, he not only raised the bar at a whole new level but also innovated and left behind valuable things.
If nothing else, these are the two main legacies you should remember about Hayashi Sensei.
He played a crucial part in preserving Usui’s work and taking it outside Japan, by initiating and helping Mrs. Hawayo Takata. She is well known for introducing Reiki to western civilization. Not only that but also the fact that she was trained directly by one of Mikao Usui’s Reiki Masters.
The second thing that’s important to the history of Reiki is that he could possibly be the originator of the hand positions system, and we’ll talk about that in a second.
Chujiro Hayashi Start In Reiki
At the time Usui’s work was becoming more and more popular, and as a naval physician, Chujiro Hayashi was immediately interested in learning more about this discipline in order to apply it to his patients.
In 1925 he began studying under the master and at one point
Usui Sensei’s work had to be carried on by someone else.
That’s how Hayashi Sensei opened his own Reiki branch in Tokyo called Hayashi Reiki Kenkyu-kai.
The importance of Hayashi’s work
In a way he upgraded the “raw” teachings of Usui by documenting everything about all his patients, keeping records of their illnesses and what hand positions worked for each of them.
His work leads to the creation of Reiki Ryoho Shinshin or the Guideline for Reiki Healing Method, a manual that took birth from his records.
Another important step in the evolution of the art was Hayashi’s way of practicing Reiki on his patients.
Usui Sensei used to sit them on a chair and treated one patient at a time.
Probably Hayashi was a very curious person, determined to learn and explore. That’s why he decided to lay his patients on a table and let several practitioners send Reiki to them.
This was never done before but it’s a regular practice in today’s Reiki world.
The other thing he is well known for is helping Hawayo Takata bring Reiki to Hawaii, and from there she introduced it to the western world.
Chujiro Hayashi Death
Hayashi was traveling to Hawaii before the attack on Pearl Harbour and that was, unfortunately, the beginning of the end for him.
Eventually, he committed suicide in 1940 during a seppuku ritual.
I will tell you more about how is Hawaii linked to his death in a moment but first I want to explain (in short) what seppuku is so I can offer you a bit of context.
Seppuku is an honor suicide ritual performed by samurais and is simply described by disembowelment.
A samurai has to die with honor, either on the battlefield or by his own hand.
For noble reasons, he will not accept defeat and he will never be taken as prisoner.
Therefore, in order to avoid shame or escape torture, the samurai prefers to take his life and die with honor.
The other reason for going through such a brutal and extreme ritual is to restore either his family’s honor or his own. This is usually the result of a serious offense.
The Ritual Of Seppuku
If it’s not performed on the battlefield the Seppuku ritual – “cutting the belly” is more complex than one would think.
It involves the last meal, a ceremonial drink of sake and even writing a death poem.
The samurai is well prepared and taken care of before the event. He receives a bath, he is then dressed in a white kimono (worn for death) and also served his favorite meal.
He then chooses the weapon, which is usually either a tanto (knife) or wakizashi (short sword).
Next, he wraps its blade with a piece of clothing so he doesn’t lose the grip.
The actual cutting comes up next and it’s performed from left to right. If the cut is deep enough it can perforate the descending aorta that leads to a quick death due to rapid blood loss.
In this traditional ritual, the warrior is assisted so he won’t suffer much. This practice evolved in such a way that even the sword was excluded from the procedure and the samurai uses a fan that serves a symbol.
The assistant is a skilled sword-man who performs a cut that’s close to a decapitation. It’s so precise that the neck would still hang from a piece of flesh.
The Cross-Shaped Cut
The popular graphical representation of seppuku is linked to a more severe ritual but it’s not clear which one Chujiro Hayashi went through.
Everything stays the same except the samurai is not assisted anymore and he has to make an additional vertical cut after the initial horizontal one.
The ritual is called jūmonji giri or cross-shaped cut.
In this situation, nobody is there to take his life. Therefore he has to endure everything and the scope is to suffer in silence until he bleeds to death.
Now let’s get back to Hawaii and how that’s linked to Chujiro Hayashi’s death.
Obviously, during that time people were not traveling freely like they are today. More so, if a relatively important person was doing that, he would be monitored and “used” if needed.
Unfortunately, this was the case for Chujiro Hayashi. He was asked by the Japanese military to offer as many intel as he could on the setup the enemy had in Honolulu.
But he refused and by doing so, he instantly became a traitor to his country. This meant a severe punishment from both the government and society.
This accusation was not only directed at him but his family had to suffer as well.
Therefore, at the time, seppuku was his only option and in May 1940, this was the ritual that caused Chujiro Hayashi’s death.
In a way, Chujiro Hayashi is also one of Reiki’s founders. Next to Mrs. Takata, he is more of a keeper and messenger. But we can’t rule out his contribution as an innovator.
Some might consider his act of suicide not being worthy to a Reiki Grand Master. Probably his love for his family and respect for the Japanese traditions were sacred to him and it was only normal to commit this act.
NOTE: Grand Master, in this case, refers more to a spiritual achievement rather than a professional stage. The Reiki Grand Master system emerged later as a continuation of Usui.
Obviously, it’s not our place to judge and more than this we should not do that. We should be grateful for his learnings and take out the positive aspects of this story.
One thing I would emphasize is our role as messengers. As Hayashi was a voice to the world we can be the same for the ones around us. It’s not mandatory, of course, it’s just what I believe each and every one of us should at least consider.
Our Reiki For Beginners: A Complete Introductory Guide goes more in-depth into Reiki’s meaning and the potential opportunities it reveals.
8 thoughts on “Chujiro Hayashi – The Story Of The World’s Second Reiki Grand Master”
Hi. Interesting article. I always suspected that Hayashi’s ritual death had something to do with the war. The version of events you present does make sense, but what is the source of that information, specially the one regarding the treason and everything. Gasho.
Hi Conrado and thank you for your feedback!
Most of my sources regarding the history of Reiki are from Reiki teachers that met older masters such as Hyakuten Inamoto and Hiroshi Doi.
Hyashi is an enigmatic master, I thank you for your perspective and the insight into Japanese culture in a way that makes some sense out ofthe ending of his life. One of many tragedies of the war, I reckon.
Long live the spirit of Reiki
I tried to put as many pieces together as possible and build a piece that would at least help people become aware of his legacy.
Thank you for reading!
Does anyone know the whole story about the suicide of Hayashi? I’m a Reiki Master/Teacher since 1999. My lineage comes from Furumoto, forgive me if I misspell names. Takata died young and Hayashi committed suicide, that’s an energetic chord of ancestral lineage needing healing. Ho’ oponopono to those energetic memories replaying and witnessing of my subconscious inner child. In another aspect, this energetic history explains a thing or two. Thank you.
Hi there Laura.
I am not sure if many are aware of his suicide. What I believe matters most is how Reiki “arrived” into this world more than how each master chose to live their life. I am not saying there’s a need for healing in that lineage but considering how many Reiki practitioners and masters have helped others in need contributing to the growth of this world’s vibration it’s safe to say that the healing process is quite strong.
Thank you for the background. I am sure, with the level of love and compassion within him, that Dr Hayashi must have found his situation impossible, as many do during wartime. What the Japanese Govt. expected of him what impossible for such a serious healer. Sending him blessings, always.
Perhaps you are right. Regardless, he has brought incredible value to the concept of Reiki.