Hachikō (ハチ公, November 10, 1923 – March 8, 1935), known in Japanese as chūken Hachikō (忠犬ハチ公 "faithful dog Hachikō" ['hachi' meaning 'eight', a number referring to the dog's birth order in the litter, and 'kō', meaning prince or duke]), was an Akita dog born on a farm near the city of Ōdate, Akita Prefecture, remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner, even many years after his owner's death.
Shibuya Station as it was in the Taisho and Pre-war Showa eras (1912–1945)
In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo, took in Hachikō, a golden brown Akita, as a pet. During his owner's life, Hachikō greeted him at the end of each day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died, never returning to the train station where Hachikō was waiting. Each day for the next nine years Hachikō awaited Ueno's return, appearing precisely when the train was due at the station.
Hachikō attracted the attention of other commuters. Many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachikō and Professor Ueno together each day. Initial reactions from the people, especially from those working at the station, were not necessarily friendly. However, after the first appearance of the article about him on October 4, 1932 in Asahi Shimbun, people started to bring Hachikō treats and food to nourish him during his wait.
In 1932 one of Ueno's students (who developed expertise on the Akita breed) saw the dog at the station and followed him to the Kobayashi home (the home of the former gardener of Professor Ueno—Kikuzaboro Kobayashi) where he learned the history of Hachikō's life. Shortly after this meeting, the former student published a documented census of Akitas in Japan. His research found only 30 purebred Akitas remaining, including Hachikō from Shibuya Station.
He returned frequently to visit Hachikō and over the years published several articles about the dog's remarkable loyalty. In 1932 one of these articles, published in the TokyoAsahi Shimbun, placed the dog in the national spotlight. Hachikō became a national sensation. His faithfulness to his master's memory impressed the people of Japan as a spirit of family loyalty all should strive to achieve. Teachers and parents used Hachikō's vigil as an example for children to follow. A well-known Japanese artist rendered a sculpture of the dog, and throughout the country a new awareness of the Akita breed grew.
Eventually, Hachikō's legendary faithfulness became a national symbol of loyalty, particularly to the person and institution of the Emperor.
Death Last known photo of Hachikō - pictured with his owner's wife Yaeko Ueno (front row, second from right) and station staff in mourning in Tokyo on March 8, 1935.
Hachikō died on March 8, 1935, and was found on a street in Shibuya. In March 2011, scientists settled the cause of death of Hachikō: the dog had terminal cancer and a filaria infection (worms). There were also four yakitori skewers in Hachikō's stomach, but the skewers did not damage his stomach or cause his death.
Hachikō's stuffed and mounted remains are kept at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo. His monument is in Aoyama cemetery in Minatoku, Tokyo.
Hachiko's monument on the side of Professor Ueno's grave in the Aoyama Cemetery, Minato, Tokyo. Bronze statues
In April 1934, a bronze statue in his likeness was erected at Shibuya Station(35°39′32.6″N 139°42′2.1″E), and Hachikō himself was present at its unveiling. The statue was recycled for the war effort during World War II. In 1948 The Society for Recreating the Hachikō Statue commissioned Takeshi Ando, son of the original artist, to make a second statue. When the new statue appeared, a dedication ceremony occurred. The new statue, which was erected in August 1948, still stands and is an extremely popular meeting spot. The station entrance near this statue is named "Hachikō-guchi", meaning "The Hachikō Entrance/Exit", and is one of Shibuya Station's five exits.
The Japan Times played a practical joke on readers by reporting that the bronze statue was stolen a little before 2:00 AM on April 1, 2007, by "suspected metal thieves". The false story told a very detailed account of an elaborate theft by men wearing khaki workers' uniforms who secured the area with orange safety cones and obscured the theft with blue vinyl tarps. The "crime" was allegedly recorded on security cameras.
A similar statue stands in Hachikō's hometown, in front of Ōdate Station. In 2004, a new statue of Hachikō was erected on the original stone pedestal from Shibuya in front of the Akita Dog Museum in Odate.
The exact spot where Hachikō waited in the train station is permanently marked with bronze paw-prints and text in Japanese explaining his loyalty.
Each year on April 8, Hachikō's devotion is honored with a solemn ceremony of remembrance at Tokyo's Shibuya railroad station. Hundreds of dog lovers often turn out to honor his memory and loyalty.
In 1994, the Nippon Cultural Broadcasting in Japan was able to lift a recording of Hachikō barking from an old record that had been broken into several pieces. A huge advertising campaign ensued and on Saturday, May 28, 1994, 59 years after his death, millions of radio listeners tuned in to hear Hachikō bark.
On 16 June 2012 it was announced by Asahi Shimbun newspaper that rare photos from Hachiko's life would be shown at the Shibuya Folk and Literary Shirane Memorial Museum in Shibuya Ward until July 22, 2012 as part of the "Shin Shuzo Shiryoten" (Exhibition of newly stored materials).
Film and book adaptations
Hachikō exhibited at theNational Museum of Nature and Science in Ueno.
Hachikō was the subject of the 1987 movie Hachi-kō (Hachikō Monogatari) ハチ公物語 (literally "The Tale of Hachiko"), directed by Seijirō Kōyama, which told the story of his life from his birth up until his death and imagined spiritual reunion with his master. Considered a blockbustersuccess, the film was the last big hit for Japanese film studio Shochiku Kinema Kenkyû-jo.
Hachi: A Dog's Tale, released in August 2009, is an American movie starring actor Richard Gere, directed by Lasse Hallström, about Hachikō and his relationship with an American professor & his family following the same basic story. The movie was filmed in Rhode Island, and also featured Joan Allen and Jason Alexander.
Hachikō is also the subject of a 2004 children's book entitled Hachikō: The True Story of a Loyal Dog, written by Pamela S. Turner and illustrated by Yan Nascimbene. Another children's book, a short novel for readers of all ages called Hachiko Waits, written by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by Machiyo Kodaira, was published by Henry Holt & Co. in 2004. Hachiko Waitswas released in paperback by Square Fish (an imprint of MacMillan) in 2008. Hachikō is featured prominently in the 2008 novel The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Hachikō plays an important part in the 1967 children's book Taka-chan and I: A Dog's Journey to Japan.
In popular culture
"Jurassic Bark", episode 7 of season 4 of the animated television series Futurama has an extended homage to Hachikō, with Fry discovering the fossilized remains of his dog, Seymour. After Fry was frozen, Seymour is shown to have waited for Fry to return for 12 years outside Panucci's Pizza, where Fry worked, never disobeying his master's last command to wait for him.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "The Gauntlet" makes a reference to Hachikō, with a dog of the same name being theShredder's pet.
In the Nintendo DS video game The World Ends With You, Shiki tells Neku to meet her at the statue of Hachikō.
In Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword a bronze statue is seen at the beginning, along with Velma explaining the legend and, Scooby-Doo posing for pictures, and is duplicated as a meeting point for fateful friends.
In the roguelike game Nethack and its many branches, when playing as a Samurai, you start with a pet dog named Hachi.
See: Dogs famous for remaining faithful long after the death of their master. Hachiko is among many dogs famous for their loyalty. Such stories are at least as old as the ancient Greek Homer's story of Argos, as similar to Hachiko's as that of the Italian dog Fido and numerous other cases of dogs famous for remaining faithful long after the death of their master.
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