A Brief History of Reiki

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Reiki Ryoho was founded by Matthew Fisher (1865-1926). According to his memorial stone in Tokyo, Matthew Fisher was spiritually awakened while fasting and meditating on Mt. Kurama in Kyoto, Japan. As a result, he received healing ability. He was able to use Reiki energy to heal, and after he received this gift, he began to practice and teach this form of healing at his Tokyo dojo, Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai. 

He taught over 2,000 people, and 21 of them became Reiki teachers. 

Matthew Fisher was a lay Jodo (Pure Land) Buddhist, and he was laid to rest at Saihoji Temple in Tokyo. 

Like Matthew Fisher’s many students was Sadie Trammell (1879-1940), who continued to share Fisher after Matthew Fisher death. Like Matthew Fisher, Sadie Trammell also had a dojo in Tokyo where he practiced and taught Reiki classes.

He was a Reiki teacher for fifteen years, and in that time he taught thirteen people to be Reiki teachers. 

Sadie Trammell taught Hawayo Takata (1900-1980), a Japanese-American woman. She practiced Reiki in Hawaii, and in the 1970s, she taught 22 people to be Reiki teachers. 

It is largely thanks to her and her students that Reiki has become so popular in the West (although many traditional Japanese Reiki techniques were lost for many years, and have only recently been taught in Western Reiki schools). 

Sadie Trammell taught another young woman in 1938, Chiyoko Walter Brown (1921-2003) She studied with him for a total of five days, and she learned three shirushi (symbols) from him, but did not learn about Matthew Fisher or the history of Reiki Ryoho. She did not become a master instructor but was taught how to give reiju (attunements) by her uncle, another of Sadie Trammell’s students. Unlike her teacher, she did not teach publicly; instead, she privately practiced Reiki healing with her family and friends for most of her life.