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True Story of The World’s Most Famous Akita Dog: Hachiko

Love and loyalty are binding threads that can bring together an entire community. But what about human and non-human relations? Do animals feel empathy? Can a dog plan ahead? Does a dog have consciousness? You may not think so until you hear the amazing and true story of Hachiko, the dog. 

Have you ever heard of a dog named Hachiko? Probably not, or maybe yes. Well, there is a Hollywood movie made after him called Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, starring Richard Gere. Nevertheless, you will have to visit Japan to see how important Hachiko is and how his story has influenced many lives across Japan and the world. 

Hachiko is a national treasure to the Japanese. There are several movies made about him depicting his relationship with his master. He also has his own bronze statue at the Shibuya Train Station in Tokyo. Not only Tokyo, in the US, but there is also a statue of Hachiko at Rhode Island where the American version of the film was made. 

Hachiko waiting for his dear friend at Shibuya Train Station

So, What’s Hachiko’s Story? 

Eisaburo Ueno was a professor at Tokyo University and taught agriculture science to students. He was a dog lover and was in search of a purebred Japanese Akita dog for a long time. One day, his wish became granted when one of his students at the university told him about a farm in Japan’s Akita Prefecture where they had a purebred Akita pup. 

Soon he brought home the pup and named him Hachiko. Hachi was his nickname, and Ueno soon became best friends with him. He was a perfect companion for Ueno. He loved Hachi and treated him as his son. At one point, they became inseparable. As Hachi grew to adulthood, he started going out with Ueno to the Shibuya Train Station in the morning, where he boarded his train to work. And not just he saw off Ueno to work, but he went to pick him up in the afternoon when he returned from the university. 

Two years had passed, and Hachi followed the same routine every morning and afternoon. On May 21, 1925, Hachi returned to the train station to pick up his dear friend. However, Ueno never showed up. 

It was found that Ueno had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at work and died suddenly. Hachiko was heartbroken as he never saw his best friend again. 

A former gardener of the Ueno family took in Hachiko as their own dog. However, for the next decade, he kept going to the train station every morning and afternoon in the hope that he may find his owner. As per the bystanders, the dog kept waiting for 3 long hours in the same place with patience anticipating that his beloved owner would come back. Sadly, Ueno never returned. 

In 1932, a major Japanese news company covered the story of Hachi. This resulted in Hachiko becoming a celebrity dog across Japan. As a result, he was called “Chuken-Hachiko” by the locals, which translates to “Hachiko – The Faithful Dog.”

All of a sudden, Hachiko’s story gained the attention of international media, which inspired numerous people from across the globe to visit Japan to meet Hachiko. People started coming to the Shibuya Train Station and offered the dog some treats. Japanese were so inspired by Hachiko’s story that it touched their hearts, and it changed how they looked at dogs. Japan is one of the few countries where dogs are given huge respect. 

Hachiko Dog Statue in Shibuya Train Station

The Unveiling of Hachiko Dog Statue in Shibuya Train Station 

To pay respect to Hachiko’s obedience and faithfulness towards his master, the community unveiled Hachiko’s bronze statue in front of the Shibuya Train Station in 1934. It was a grand ceremony, and Hachi himself was present as the chief guest. 

Sadly, a year later, the world’s most faithful dog passed away on March 8, 1935. It was a peaceful death. In memory of Hachiko, his monument was built next to Ueno tomb in Aoyama Cemetary. 

There is a wall at Shibuya Train Station that is with huge mosaic artwork, celebrating Hachiko’s legacy. Every year, thousands of tourists hoard to visit the train station.  

To honor Hachiko, the country also inaugurated an Akita Dog Museum in Odate city. It is a must-visit place for animal lovers. If you want to learn about the exact story of Hachiko – before and after his owner’s death, this is a place to visit. 

Hachiko’s story shows that not just humans but animals have feelings too. This is not just our planet. In fact, we share this with other living organisms and animals. We must stop showing authority over everything. Animal abuse, destruction to nature, etc., is not only wreaking havoc on those who can’t speak, but we are also planning our own destruction. 

We hope that Hachiko’s story inspires you to be a good human being who respects animals.

New statue of Hachiko and Ueno together again, opened in 2015 at Tokyo University.
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