Hawayo Takata was born on Kawai Flower Island in the Hawaiian archipelago on December 24, 1900. The daughter of Japanese parents, who had left Japan in search of a better life, she had a weak physical structure which prevented her from working as effectively in the crop as her parents, of more robust physical complexion.
Hawaii, now the 50th U.S. state, was invaded and annexed by the United States in 1898. The archipelago had in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, an agriculture based on sugar cane and pineapple. From 1880 to about 1930, the territory received a significant number of Japanese immigrants who settled there, among them the parents of Mrs. Hawayo Takata – the Kawamuru couple.
When he turned 12, he went to work in the fields with his parents. However, due to his poor physical condition, at the age of 14, he went to teach first-year students at a religious school so he could help his family economically. It was at this age that she also went to work in a gaseous liquor store where a customer noting her good skills in serving the public invited her to work in a large manor house where Mrs. Takata would become a housekeeper and run 20 employees as well as where she would meet her future husband – Saichi Takata – who was the property’s accountant.
The friendship with this client, who would later become his mistress, lasted more than 24 years. The marriage to Saichi Takata, from which two daughters were born, would last until October 1930, when Saichi Takata died suddenly.
From this event, Mrs. Takata had to work more intensively to be able to provide for her family, which would cause damage to her health, more specifically, severe abdominal pain stemming from kidney stones and appendicitis.
As her health worsened, Mrs Takata was admitted to the emergency room of a hospital in Akasaka, Tokyo where she was offered an urgent surgery in which she could not use anesthesia due to respiratory problems that added to those that Takata presented at the time. Takata asked health professionals for an athernative where he was suggested a Reiki clinic in Kyoto that was led by Dr. Chujiro Hayashi.
The reason she had brought Takata to Japan was the willingness to personally give the news of her sister’s death to her parents who were residing at that time in Yamagushi having taken the opportunity to deposit her husband’s ashes, who died, in the Ohtani Buddhist temple, located in Tokyo.
It was in 1935 that he underwent reiki treatment for four months under the supervision of Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, through which he fully recovered his health. Having been extremely grateful to Reiki, she wanted to learn the technique and addressed her request to Master Hayashi. which, after some insistence, he eventually accepted, when he realized the strong will that Takata was carrying with him.
Takata and her two daughters stayed at Chujiro Hayashi’s house for a year, during which time they accompanied the doctor in their Reiki care and with whom they were able to practice on their patients. It was later started at the 2nd Level of Reiki (Okuden) and returned in 1937 to its home island of Kawai in Hawaii, where it began practicing.
Master Hayashi, in order to help Mrs. Takata spread reiki in the West, came to Hawaii where he stayed for six months. It was during this period that she gave the last reiki initiation – Shinpiden – and announced that Mrs. Takata was now reiki master in the Usui lineage, being empowered to train other Reiki therapists and masters and continue the lineage. Hayashi returned to Japan in February 1938 after giving several reiki courses, lectures and demonstrations in Honululu, the capital of Hawaii.
In order to improve the knowledge of the human body, Mrs. Takata completed her studies at the National College of Drugless Physicians in Chicago in July 1938.
In 1940, Takata has a dream, in which he sees his Reiki master Chujiro Hayashi, embodying the traditional white-haired kimono and white is the Japanese color associated with mourning. Troubled by the dream, Takata decides to travel to Japan in order to meet with her master. Reunited with the master, Hayashi, a great mystic and knowledgeable of his country’s military preparation, spoke to him of the war that was coming, the victor of that war and how to avoid reprisals that he might fall victim to due to his Japanese-American status since Mrs. Takata was born on American territory but was the daughter of Japanese parents.
It should be recalled that after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, located on the island of O’ahu in Hawaii, Americans of Japanese origin were sent to concentration camps in the United States, with the aim of being used either as a bargaining chip in the negotiations that would end the conflict, or to prevent them, given their ancestry, provide insider information to the enemy. Interestingly, during the period when the U.S. was at war with Japan (December 7, 1941–September 2, 1945), the Japanese-American population in Hawaii did not have to be sent to concentration camps, unlike the Japanese-American population residing on the continent.
Then, on May 9, 1940, Chujiro Hayashi invites his close friends, reiki masters he formed and close family members to attend to watch his seppuku – a form of ritual suicide, traditionally performed by samurai, to preserve honor. The seppuku consists of the venting with a very sharp knife.
Since Hayashi was an honorable man, on the one hand he was hostage to his commitment to life and the oath to defend and preserve her as a doctor, therapist and Reiki master. On the other hand, being Japanese and military in the Reserve of the Imperial Japanese Navy, he would be forced to participate in the death of World War II and reave American lives. The only honorable way to solve this moral dilemma would be the seppuku. When Hayashi returned to Japan in February 1938, the Japanese military interrogated him with the aim of extracting details of U.S. strategic military points in Hawaii. Hayashi refused to give them any information that could endanger the lives of the inhabitants of the territory. Faced with the refusal to help the military of his own country, in a context of deep nationalism that was experienced at the time and preparation for the Japanese attack on the U.S., such an attitude could be considered as treason. The only honorable way to resolve this inner conflict would be the seppuku that was held between 1:00 p.m. and 1:20 p.m. on May 9, 1940, wearing the same white-donted kimono that Takata had seen in her dream.
Takata, after assisting his master’ passing, returned to Hawaii where he spread Reiki, forming until the time of his death, on December 12, 1980, 22 masters in his last 10 years of life, in order to keep alive the tradition of Reiki.