THE ORIGIN OF JIN SHIN JYUTSU
By David Burmeister, Betsie Haar and Anita Willoughby
The forgotten art, recently remembered
The name Jin Shin Jyutsu means “The Art of the Creator through the person of Compassion.” The healing art that those words represent is based upon our own natural, innate ability to harmonize ourselves using our hands. It is likely that the knowledge of these techniques dates back thousands of years, but it had fallen into obscurity by the twentieth century.
Jiro Murai, the originator of Jin Shin Jyutsu, was born in Taiseimura (currently Kaga City) in Ishikawa Prefecture, on the western coast of central Japan in 1886. His family was educated and well established as medical doctors. Their home had an enormous personal and professional library and it is said that the young Murai read over 10,000 books in his youth. Although Murai’s father and elder brother were physicians, Murai took another path and received his degree in sericulture engineering (silk production). As a young man he had a reputation of leading a reckless lifestyle, which included an excess of eating and drinking. For example, he was an active participant in many dumpling-eating contests.
In 1912 at age 26, he was diagnosed with a serious illness, which involved his digestive system. Medical professionals informed him that his illness was terminal. After hearing this news Murai sought solitude at his family’s remote mountain cabin. He was too weak to travel there on his own and had to be carried to the cabin on a stretcher. There he turned inward to center himself, to gain peace and tranquility as he faced the end of his young life. As he was waiting to die, he began to contemplate various philosophies and spiritual practices. He sat in Zen meditation, focused on breathing, fasted, and practiced mudras he had seen. As he sat in meditation over the course of seven days, he went in and out of consciousness and his body became progressively colder. On the seventh day this cold was lifted and he experienced intense heat, like a stream of fire coursing through his body. When this tremendous heat subsided, he felt no more discomforts. Quiet, calm, and peace encompassed his entire being. He stood up and was able to walk.
Somehow this combination of fasting, meditation, and mudras facilitated his own spontaneous healing. He devoted his remaining years to the study and understanding of this experience. He dedicated his research for all humanity to Ise Jingu, the Imperial Shinto Shrine at Ise, Japan.
Murai, a true scientist and researcher, returned to the cabin to fast and study and practice mudras in order to deepen his understanding of his experience and expand his knowledge of what would later become Jin Shin Jyutsu.
He engaged in three-week fasts, which he repeated twelve times over the course of his lifetime. This purification of his body through fasting enabled him to become sensitive to the internal flow of fluids and energy. He illustrated the pathways of these flows and in the process of drawing them he realized they were similar to the Traditional Japanese Medicine acupuncture channels (the Keiraku).
To clarify his understanding of these pathways, he purchased freshly slaughtered cattle heads from the slaughterhouse and immediately dissected them. This provided him an opportunity to study the circulation of the bodily fluids, called Tai-eki in Japanese. He then traced the circulation patterns of Tai-eki inside his own body. With this research he was able to move onto people to test his theories and observe the results. He found two groups to be willing subjects; one group was the homeless people in Ueno Park, (a large park in Tokyo) and the other group was comprised of people considered untouchable.
Murai helped these people and they in turn helped him with his research. On a given day Murai would request that everyone with a particular condition, such as a hearing disorder or a respiratory illness, gather so that he could examine, treat, and record his findings. When a volunteer died from an ailment Murai would pay for the funeral. This gave him an opportunity to observe and participate in a dissection before the body was cremated. Murai assisted in at least 18 human dissections, which helps explain his intimate understanding of human anatomy.
Like many early scientists, Murai conducted self-experimentation. Over extended periods of time he would eat one specific substance or food (for example pine needles, or cabbage) to observe the effects on his body. These experiments helped him understand how food influenced the behavior of the Tai-eki and energy in the channels. From all of this research he developed an adjustment method using the hands placed on two parts of a person’s body. The energy transmitted from the hands enhances the circulation of the Tai-eki and energy in the body.
In the mid 1930’s, Murai gained a reputation for his ability to help people suffering from many different illnesses and was soon practicing with the highest levels of Japanese society, including members of the Imperial Family. In his early years, when Murai practiced on his clients, there were no established routines and no specific locations or points. He worked on the left and right major vertical pathways in accordance with the needs of that particular body, utilizing the left and right major diagonal pathways whenever he wished to guide the flow of Tai-eki to the opposite side. Each Jin Shin Jyutsu session was customized and unique for that one individual at that time.
Thirty-four years after his initial discovery of Jin Shin Jyutsu in 1912, Murai began to teach. He standardized the complicated information he had compiled through the years into basic principles for those interested in learning. He taught small groups in the students’ homes. The lectures were held once a month and a full series took about three years to complete. After each lecture Murai left his illustrations to be hand copied by one student and then passed along to the others. This process would be completed in time for the next lecture. Murai’s teaching career spanned the last 14 years of his life. Mary Mariko Iino attended one of these lectures and became Murai’s student. Jiro Murai continued to study, practice, and teach up to his death in June 1960.
Mary (Mariko Iino) Burmeister
Although Jiro Murai never left Japan, he wished to make the Art of Jin Shin Jyutsu available to the world. Murai approached a young Japanese-American woman to help him accomplish this vision. Born in Seattle, Washington, in 1918, Mary Iino arrived in Japan in the late 1940s to serve as a translator and study diplomacy. She was at the home of the Sato Family, teaching English to a group of students, when she was told that Sensei (Teacher) Murai was coming. When Murai arrived and met Mary, he immediately asked if she would take the gift of Jin Shin Jyutsu back to America. Not knowing what was being offered, but without hesitation, Mary said yes. This began her lifelong journey and dedication to the Art of Jin Shin Jyutsu. Shortly after Mary began to study with Jiro Murai, her father Uhachi Iino, who had been detained in a US internment camp during the war, returned to Japan. He too became a student of Jin Shin Jyutsu. Together, Mary and Uhachi Iino developed a deep and lasting friendship with Jiro Murai.
Mary’s original plan was to remain in Japan to continue her studies with Murai. Mary consulted with Murai when Gilbert Burmeister, an American whom she met in Japan, proposed marriage. Murai knew Gilbert, having previously treated him for a serious ailment, and asked Mary if she loved him. The answer was yes. He told her the life of a mother and householder was of great importance and would help to complete her training; this advice came as quite a surprise. He promised to stay in touch with her through correspondence so she could continue her study of Jin Shin Jyutsu. In 1953 Mary Iino left for America, to marry Gilbert and to continue her studies with Murai through correspondence. Her father, Uhachi Iino, remained in Japan to continue studying with Murai and work with clients. Uhachi was instrumental in updating Mary on Murai’s newest discoveries. Murai continued to develop his theories and create more standardized flows over the remainder of his life.
Mary as a Teacher
After Mary’s return to America she began the next phase of her life as a wife and mother. In addition to raising her two young children, she studied Jin Shin Jyutsu and began to work on family and friends. It wasn’t long before the word got out in Los Angeles of a Japanese woman who had an amazing gift for helping people alleviate their pain and illnesses. Mary soon found herself working from early in the morning until late in the evening, sharing her healing hands with the people who found their way to her home.
In 1965, 12 years after her return from Japan, Mary began to teach Jin Shin Jyutsu. Her first class was taught to a group of chiropractors who learned of Mary from her neighbor, May DeFonte, whom she had treated for migraine headaches. Soon scores of students flocked to her as she began to share the Art of Jin Shin Jyutsu. Using her background as a translator, Mary found ways to translate Japanese concepts and terms she had learned from Murai into English. She related the theory and philosophy of Jin Shin Jyutsu to western concepts. With her friend Patricia Meador, Mary attended lectures given by Manley Hall in Los Angeles during the 1960s. She studied the ancient wisdom schools, Greek philosophy and mythology, numerology, astrology, and othersystems that were becoming culturally accepted during the explorations of the 60s, and realized their interconnections to Jin Shin Jyutsu.
Mary taught simplicity, the importance of being in the moment, and the fundamental importance of the breath to the basic expression of life energy. She shared Murai’s adjustment (harmonizing) flows, designed to be used regardless of one’s knowledge of Traditional Chinese/Japanese Medicine. She spoke about the “No Thing”, the ancient concept of emptiness, and then brought it to life for her students through words and actions. Like Jiro Murai, her studies and developments in Jin Shin Jyutsu never ended.
One of Mary’s great contributions to the Art of Jin Shin Jyutsu was the theory of the Depths, her integration of both the theoretical and the practical understanding of the dimensions of universal energy as it transforms into matter. Additionally, Mary placed considerable emphasis on the practice of self-help. Like Jiro Murai, she believed that
people could be their own source of balance, wellness, and healing. She spent many years developing the Jin Shin Jyutsu art of self-help, creating practical and simple applications of Jin Shin Jyutsu on oneself.
In 1987 Mary Burmeister began training instructors to continue the teachings of Jin Shin Jyutsu. In March of 1990 Mary fell at home sustaining a serious head injury, which abruptly ended her teaching career. On January 27, 2008 Mary Burmeister passed away.
Haruki Kato was born prematurely at 7 months, in Tokyo on January 14, 1928. Due to his parents’ efforts he survived, however because of the resulting complications his health was severely compromised. Conventional medical treatment was not able to help him. Because of a relative’s recommendation he was eventually taken to a medical doctor who practiced acupressure therapy, and within a week of treatment he was digesting normally and had started to walk. He said, “From our experience, my parents and I became believers in the mysterious power of oriental medicine.”
In his early 20’s Haruki Kato became interested in learning the healing Art of Jin Shin Jyutsu and in 1953 he attended Murai’s study group and lectures. He became a prominent student, studying and training with Murai until the end of Murai’s life. As part of his training with Murai, Kato went to acupuncture school and became a licensed acupuncturist. This gave him a professional and legal standing in Japanese society. However his true calling was Jin Shin Jyutsu, and at Murai’s death Kato was named direct successor in Japan. Kato continued to share Jin Shin Jyutsu in Japan throughout his lifetime.
Haruki Kato had corresponded with Mary Burmeister for many years after Mary moved back to the US, helping her to continue her studies and stay current with Murai’s ongoing research and developments. He first traveled to America to meet Mary in 1992 and then to work with the faculty of Jin Shin Jyutsu, Inc. Kato also conducted two seminars for Jin Shin Jyutsu students, one in Honolulu and one in Osaka, Japan. In 2014 Haruki Kato passed away, and his son Sadaki joined the Jin Shin Jyutsu Inc. faculty. Sadaki practices in Tokyo and continues to share the material from his father’s Jin Shin Jyutsu Texts, teaching around the world.
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