Mrs. Hawayo Takata
Mrs. Takata was born in Hawaii on December 24, 1900. In the 1930's she went to Japan to visit her family there. While there she became very sick and was in the hospital. The doctors were going to operate, but as she was being prepared she kept hearing a voice saying, "You do not have to go through with this, there is another way". Eventually she jumped off the table asking, "Is there another way?" The doctor had a relative who had been cured of something at Dr. Hayashi's clinic and suggested to Mrs. Takata she talk with his relative. This relative brought Mrs. Takata to the clinic and her Sessions there began.
After Mrs. Takata became well she wanted to learn this for herself. However Dr. Hayashi was not willing to teach her, both for being from America and for being a woman. Through the good graces of her doctor, Mrs. Takata was able to persuade Dr. Hayashi to train her in Reiki. This training took a year and in the spring of 1936, it brought her to what we would now call Reiki LEVEL—I initially, and then near the end of her stay Reiki LEVEL—II (she could do everything but Initiate other practitioners).
After this year she returned to Hawaii. In Hawaii she also learned the lesson of having the subject perceive value in receiving Sessions. She treated a cousin but did not charge, this cousin did not value the Sessions and did not become well. She treated another relative and this time charged, and this relative did stay well. Thus the tradition of charging for Reiki Session was reinforced. She opened the first Reiki clinic in the Western world in 1937.
... to be continued
In 1938, Dr. Hayashi came to Hawaii for a speaking tour to promote Reiki. During this time he trained Mrs. Takata to teach Reiki, thus making her what we now would call a Reiki Master. On his return he asked her to come to see him when he summoned her.
World War II was starting in Europe. Dr. Hayashi appeared to Mrs. Takata in a dream asking her to come to Japan. She did this and found Dr. Hayashi with his Naval Uniform out of storage and fretful. With the coming war he knew it was a matter of time before the Navy would call him out of retirement and he would be asked to perform actions he was no longer capable of doing due to his spiritual development.
At this time he passed to Mrs. Takata the leadership of Reiki. He gathered all the Reiki Masters and announced Mrs. Takata to be the Grand Master of Reiki, and then announced he would kill his physical body through bursting three blood vessels. When those blood vessels burst and he died.
Mrs. Takata returned to Hawaii and continued using and teaching Reiki. She did not teach other masters until around 1970, and before her own death on December 11, 1980 she trained 22 Reiki Masters:
1. George Araki *
2. Barbara McCullogh *
3. Beth Gray *
4. Ursula Baylow
5. Paul Mitchell
6. Iris Ishikuro *
7. Fran Brown
8. Barbara Weber Ray **
9. Ethel Lombardi **
10. Wanja Twan
11. Virginia Samdahl *
12. Phyllis Lei Furumoto
13. Dorothy Baba *
14. Mary McFadyen
15. John Gray
16. Rick Bockner
17. Bethel Bhaigh *
18. Harry Kuboi ***
19. Patricia Ewing (Bowling) ***
20. Shinobu Saito
21. Kay Yamashita (Takata's sister) *
22. Barbara Brown
As of January 1, 2000
**No longer teaching the Usui System
***No longer teaching
... to be continued
Mrs. Takata did not name a successor before her death, and as a result many have appointed themselves with the title, including Barbara Weber Ray and Mrs. Takata's granddaughter, Phyllis Lei Furumoto. However, in the spirit of traditional Usui Reiki, these so called "grandmasters" are uneducated in the traditions and values of traditional Usui Reiki or they are ego–tripping to give themselves credibility.
Two years after her death, some of Mrs. Takata's masters met as a memorial to Mrs. Takata and to share information. They formed the Reiki Alliance at that time, an under the leadership of Mrs. Takata's granddaughter, Mrs. Phyllis Furumoto. The Alliance claims to represent "Traditional" Reiki. Its practices represent the Hayashi–Takata lineage (Not the Usui techniques). Mrs. Furumoto went from forming the Alliance to calling herself "Grandmaster" of Reiki and later claimed the "Spiritual" Lineage holder. The Alliance maintains a requirement that the master level should cost Ten Thousand US Dollars. An attempt was made by the Alliance in 1997 to trademark the name "Reiki" and Usui Shiki Ryoho, which failed in most countries.
Meanwhile, Barbara Weber Ray also claimed the title of "Grandmaster" and claimed to have the "original Reiki." Eventually, she changed the name of the process she taught to "Radiance Technique".
The title of Grandmaster has been reserved in traditional Usui Reiki for the pioneers who are responsible for bringing Reiki into the world. It is a title of honor and respect for those whose efforts made Reiki available to so many. These include Mikao Usui, Chujiro Hayashi, and Hawayo Takata.
Unlike traditional martial arts, which bestows the title Grandmaster to a Master who has elevated another Master – at which point HIS Master becomes a Great–Grandmaster, traditional Usui Reiki as taught and practiced in the West and throughout the world does not have that tradition.
The school in Japan (Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai) has no Grandmaster – it is a western title, not a title used in Japanese Reiki. The head of the school is called the Chairperson.
The general perception in Usui Reiki is that the reason that Mrs. Takata didn't name a successor was because she realized that Reiki should not belong to anyone.