On International Women’s Day we Celebrate the life of Madame Takata – the Third Reiki Grand Master Teacher
On 8th March we celebrate International Women’s day – and as well as championing the incredible female Reiki Practitioners and Masters in the RHA and wider Reiki community, we wanted to take a moment to appreciate the woman who shaped the history of Reiki so profoundly and paved the way for so many people to learn about the benefits of reiki healing: Madame Hawayo Takata – the Third Grand Master of Usui Reiki.
Madame Takata will always be remembered as the person who brought Reiki to Western world. Without this one pioneering woman, Reiki may not have made it to the West from Japan. All Western Reiki practitioners have a lineage that traces back to Mrs Takata, so we are all connected to her in the most beautiful energetic way. Many of us call upon Madame Takata to draw close and take part in our Reiki sessions and attunements, along with Dr Usui and Hayashi, the First and Second grand masters. So let’s dive deeper into her story and legacy.
Pin this for later! Madame Takata Reiki Third Grand Master
Madame Takata’s Path to Reiki
Hawayo Kawamuru was born on the Island of Kauai, Hawaii on 24th December 1900. Her parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. Otogoro Kawamura, were Japanese immigrants, and she lived a simple life growing up with her sister. She got married at 17 to Saichi Takata, the bookeeper of the plantation where she was employed.
They had a happy marriage with two daughters. However after thirteen years of marriage, her husband tragically died at the young age of thirty-two, and she was left to raise two small children on her own.
The stress and pressure of the situation took toll on her health. Within five years of her husbands’ death, she developed abdominal pain, respiratory problems and was eventually diagnosed to be suffering from nervous exhaustion.
This was an extremely depressing and trying time in her life. Unfortunately, there was more pain and suffering to come when her sister died. As her parents had returned to live in Tokyo, it was Hawayo Takata’s traditional responsibility to bring the news to them in person.
After her arrival in Japan, she sought help at a hospital in Akasaka. It was discovered that she now had a tumour and appendicitis to add to her diseased gallbladder and respiratory problems. Her weight dropped dramatically, and her doctor advised her to have immediate surgery.
She desperately sought other options, and that is when she went to the clinic of Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, who had trained directly with Dr Usui, the founder of the Usui Reiki lineage. There, she began receiving Reiki treatments for her conditions. She noticed her health start to improve and continued treatments twice-daily for four month. After that time, Mrs. Takata was completely healed.
Takata went on to begin her own Reiki training with Dr. Hayashi himself at his clinic for twelve months. She was attuned for Reiki Level 1 by Hayashi and by the end of her one year journey, it was felt that she had earned the privilege of receiving the second degree in Reiki – the Advanced Practitioners’ level.
In the summer of 1937 Madam Takata returned to Hawaii and set up her own Reiki clinic. She spent her time healing and teaching Reiki. Dr Hayashi visited Madam Takata in February 1938 and invited her to become a Reiki Master. She was the first woman to be given this honour.
Upon Hayashi passing, Takata was installed as the next Grand Master and continued her teaching and healing in Hawaii. During her time at her Hawaii clinic, she went on to initiate twenty-two Reiki Masters. There were two Grand Masters installed to continue Takata’s work. Phyllis Lei Furumoto, the granddaughter of Madam Takata and Dr Barbara Weber.
Photo Credit James Deacon
Here are the names of Hawayo Takata’s Twenty-Two Reiki Initiates: George Araki, Dorothy Baba,Ursula Baylow, Rick Bockner, Patricia Bowling, Barbara Brown, Fran Brown, Phyllis Lei Furumoto, Beth Gray, John Harvey Gray, Iris Ishikuro, Harry M. Kuboi, Ethel Lombardi, Barbara McCullough, Mary Alexandra McFayden, Paul Mitchell, Beth Phaigh, Dr. Barbara (Weber) Ray, Shinobu Saito, Virginia Samdahl, Wanja Twan, and Kay Yamashita.
Takata’s Contribution to the History of Reiki
Madame Takata’s story is a particularly powerful one, when we understand the context in which she took Reiki to the Western World. That is, in a post WWII context, where there was tension between Japan and America. She also set up her clinic against a backdrop of increasingly strict licensing requirements in the US.
Takata went on to simplify many of the techniques and treatments she had learnt to create her own unique teaching style, which drove the popularity of Reiki as an natural healing system.
As well as passing on the gift of Reiki to her 22 trained Reiki Masters, and facilitating Western access to Reiki, Takata also standardized the Reiki hand positions so that all reiki session would include the same positions.
Interestingly, she was also a very strong advocate of self-care and insisted her students ate healthy and organic food as much as possible and took care of their bodies. “A proper diet enhances the treatments. Vegetables and fruits are excellent foods, but never eat when you’re worried. Go to the table only when you’re in a pleasant mood,” She once said.
Takata was a living embodiment of the Reiki principles and her strength and resilience to heal herself in her most challenging times, and then keep Reiki traditions alive during some of the most challenging times in Reiki’s history, remains an inspiration to the Reiki community to this day.
Whilst Takata passed away on December 11, 1980, her life, legacy, and contributions to Reiki continue to live on to this day and she will always be remembered as being one of the most important figures in Reiki’s history.
Pin this for later! Madame Takata Reiki Third Grand Master
Were you familiar with Mrs. Takata’s story? Share your experiences in the comment box below!
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Harriette-Rose is the Brand Director of the Reiki Healing Association, the Editor in Chief of Universal Life Magazine and a proud Reiki Master Teacher. As an Author and Spiritual Entrepreneur, she loves helping the RHA members build the Reiki business of their dreams.