Understanding the Japanese Reiki Lineage

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Have you ever wondered how Reiki can remain authentic after more than 100 years of teaching. This blog will help you understand the Japanese the Reiki lineage and how your teacher remains connected to the original system founder.

Reiki Origins

The Japanese system of Reiki was created by Usui Mikao, a spiritual teacher and energy healer who lived in Japan between 1865 and 1926. Originally developed as a spiritual practice for himself, Usui Mikao eventually taught his Reiki system of the precepts, reiju, meditations, waka, and healing techniques to thousands of students.

The teacher-student relationship has a long and ancient history, with devoted students learning from their Master, then developing their own practice and eventually becoming teachers themselves.

Of the thousands of Usui’s original students, only a handful reached the level of Shinpiden or Reiki Master. And it is from these original Reiki Masters that the Japanese system of Reiki has now reached every corner of the globe.

Reiki lineage explained

Reiki lineage is like an ancestral family tree that documents the path of a Reiki Master back to the system founder Usui Mikao. Like all spiritual lineages, each Reiki student diligently learns from their teacher but also receives  Reiju, a series of attunements  or spiritual blessings directly from their teacher.

Reiki students then begin practicing Usui’s original precepts and mantras, but as their practice deepens they will undoubtedly be influenced by their own history, lifestyle, and culture.

When Reiki left Japan after World War II its history and some of the practices were changed to make it more acceptable to Westerners.  As its popularity increased and it spread to countries other than Japan, unsurprisingly different cultural practices appeared in the teachings. For example, in some Reiki lineages you may find references to the energy system of the Chakras, while other teachers include Christian teachings that compare Usui Mikao’s energy healing to the miracles of Jesus.

Knowing your Reiki teacher’s lineage

Understanding the Japanese Reiki lineage of your teacher is very important for two main reasons.

  • First, you can establish a clear path of your reiju, which, coming from a fully trained Reiki Master/Teacher, is a little like receiving the blessing from Usui himself.
  • And secondly, you’ll know which energy system and meditation practices you will be learning. Western lineages base the healing and techniques around the Chakras while traditional Japanese Reiki is founded on Ki and deeper breathing techniques into the Hara.

Knowing your teacher’s lineage means you can choose the methods that will best align with your own lifestyle and beliefs.

Which lineage is best?

Julie wondered that too, and (to gain a holistic understanding of the Reiki system) over the years has been fully trained in three different Reiki lineages. But there really is no correct answer to that question, if you are wanting to learn Reiki just be guided by your own heart and choose a teacher based on their knowledge, experience, and level of compassion.

Julie’s Reiki lineage

If you scroll down further, you can see the full lineage from each of Julie’s trainings. Though for the past decade she exclusively practices traditional Japanese Reiki under Reiki Master and historian Frans Steine from the International House of Reiki.


(Japanese Lineage)

Usui Mikao (Founder of the System)

Kanichi Taketomi

Koyama Kimiko

Doi Hiroshi

Frans Steine

Julie Heskins


(Western Lineage)

Usui Mikao (Founder of the System)

Hayashi Chijiro

Hawayo Takata

Rev. Beth Gray

John & Denise Crundell

Joan Kesby

Mabel Jones

Jack Bright

Julie Heskins


Usui Mikao (Founder of the System)

Hayashi Chijiro

Yamaguchi Chiyoko

Inamoto Hyakutan

Julie Heskins

Do you come from another lineage?

Julie often trains students who have completed their training in different Reiki lineages. It’s a great way to deepen your practice and widen your understanding of the history and influence of Reiki.

New to Reiki?

Get in touch with Julie Heskins today, for Japanese Reiki courses, treatments, and meditation techniques in Cairns, QLD. Julie also runs regular Japanese meditation retreats in Far-north Queensland.

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