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Monday, January 25, 2010

A piece of Reiki history: Hawayo Takata's Hilo clinic

Article and photos by Cymber Lily Conn

Visiting Reiki's Beginnings in Hawaii: Mrs. Takata in Hilo, 1939-1950

Dr. Robert Klein in front of Mrs. Takata's sign. The smaller sign below shows the text in a more readable format.

The classified ad Mrs. Takata ran on March 3, 1941.

Mrs. Takata's home and office, now Klein Chiropractic Center.

The house is tucked away from the road, so look for this sign on the street.

When you are visiting Hawai'i Island to experience the transformative power of Madame Pele's volcano, or taking in the relaxing waves of the Kohala Coast, you might also devote some time for driving to Hilo to visit one of the first homes of Reiki in the West.

Mrs. Hawayo Takata established one of her first practices in Hilo, in a home on Kilauea Avenue (named for the most active volcano on Earth, just 25 miles away). Today the house has been converted to the healing offices of Klein Chiropratic Center, and Dr. Robert Klein invites Reiki practitioners and clients to visit.

Dr. Klein has a small Reiki Shrine on the second floor, where he displays Mrs. Takata's sign and a microfiche ad. He found the sign in his basement when he was renovating the building to become office space. It is a small miracle that the sign still exists since there were at least two and probably three owners of the house between Mrs. Takata and Dr. Klein.

Reiki Comes to East Hawaii

After Mrs. Takata returned from Japan, healed and full of knowledge about Reiki, she moved to Hilo (though it is not clear if she stopped at any of the other islands first). She moved into the house at 2070 Kilauea in 1939 and operated from her home.

From the sign Dr. Klein found, it seems that Mrs. Takata faced some of the same problems we have today in explaining Reiki to a newcomer. Her first sign says "Reiki Massage," but later she changed marketing tactics, and painted over her first sign.

The later sign shows expanded services, while the word "reiki" disappeared altogether. She called her updated business "Hawaii Health Studio" and offered "steam baths, swedish massage, nerve: gland: shortwave treatments." There are Japanese characters, which Dr. Klein believes spells her name.

On March 3, 1941, Mrs. Takata also took out a classified ad in the local newspaper, the Hawaii Tribune Herald (which is still our newspaper). The ad reads: "Massage. Reiki treatments, massage, cabinet baths, Mrs. H. Takata, 2070 Kilauea Ave. Waiakea Homesteads." Waiakea Homsteads is now a neighborhood in Hilo.

Mrs. Takata moved to Honolulu on the Island of O'ahu in 1950, where she practiced Reiki for 30 years, until she passed away in 1980. She started training Reiki students in 1976, so none of her students worked with her at the Hilo location, nor did she teach that we know of.

Reiki in Hilo Today

Dr. Klein is a Reiki practitioner and teacher, and has taught Reiki in his offices. Though he does not give Reiki treatments specifically, he said, "I am always giving Reiki when I am working with a patient." Dr. Klein is also a black bet Aikido instructor. "The Ki in Aikido is the same Ki as in Reiki. It is the energy, the Life Force," he said.

According to the Fall 2009 Reiki News Magazine, it was Duff Cady who recently verified the location of Mrs. Takata's clinic. Sadly, Mr. Cady passed away last summer, and we will remember him as part of the history of Mrs. Takata's clinic in Hilo. Dr. Klein says that Reiki News publisher William Lee Rand has also visited and publicized the location, and since then, a large handful of Reiki masters and practitioners have make the micro-pilgrimage to Hilo. Perhaps you will be among them.

Cymber Lily Conn is a Level II Reiki practitioner and harpist, and lives near Hilo. She creates custom musical Reiki sessions in person or by recording. More information is available at her web site,


Anonymous Robert N. Fueston said...

Takata trained many (thousands probably) students prior to 1976. This is well documented and I have many such documents in my possession. You might also refer to the book by Fran Brown and another book by Helen Haberly.

9:25 PM  

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