• Tracey Matthews

How to pronounce and use the Kotodama

Updated: 2 days ago


Hello and welcome to my blog page, today I'm looking at the Kotadama, those beautiful sound resonances we learn in Usui Second degree that adds sound resonance when connecting with Reiki.


The purpose of this blog is to learn how to pronounce and use them. If you are new to chanting them or perhaps it's been a while please have ago, use it in personal healing and with clients but most importantly have fun with them!


What is the Kotodama?


Kotodama is phrases, vowel sounds, that play an important part in different aspects of Japanese life. Kotodama is found in Shintoism as invocations, Buddism as invocations, and mantras in some aspects of Buddhism.

In reiki, it seems that each symbol has an associated phrase that can be repeated three times or repeated as a mantra, that intensifies the reiki effect as we say them out aloud.


Kotodama is very old, the word means ‘word spirit’ or ‘the soul of language’. They come from Shintoism, the religion of Japan. Kotodama represents the forces of the universe, and there is a collection of them which turns up in many aspects of Japanese life. They appear within Shintoism and Buddism as mantras for meditation, within Martial Arts as a way of focusing ki and with Reiki.



How Usui used the Kotodama


Kotodama was the way that Usui taught his students to connect with the different energies. They predate the use of symbols within Reiki. The Reiki symbols were only introduced into Reiki by Usui to help a few of his students who were having trouble contacting the energies, and they were designed as tools that you could use to access the energies. The intention was that in time you could leave the symbols behind and then work directly with the energies that they represented. Usui taught the symbols to Dr. Hayashi who went on to make them part of the Reiki practice.



How you can use the Kotodama


Chant the Kotodama, either out loud or in your head, by way of a mantra for your meditation, and for personal healing, see what you experience as your whole body resonates!


Kotodama can be used as an alternative when giving a treatment session for others, replace the symbols using the Kotodama to access Life force energy.


Lastly, practice and use the Kotodama in your way, don't worry if the pronunciation is a little different, as with the symbols it is always the intention that's important :)



Pronouncing the Kotodama


The basic vowel sounds are as follows:


A - aaah

O - as in rose

U - as in true

E - as in grey

I - as in eeeeee


How is the Kotodama to be said?


  1. Kotodama should be chanted/intoned using a deep resonant voice

  2. Breathe them out of you and let your body learn to breathe the Kotodama

What does each Usui symbol sound like when chanting the Kotodama?






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