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Hachiko: The Legend of Japan’s Most Faithful Dog

Hachiko: The Legend of Japan’s Most Faithful Dog

Date published: 9 December 2016
Last updated: 30 November 2018

The legend of the dog known as Hachiko has become known not only in Japan, but across the world. The adorable Akita dog's unwavering loyalty to his owner earned him the nickname, “Chuken Hachiko,” which means “faithful dog Hachiko."

What kind of dog is Hachi?

First: Everyone is familiar with Hachiko, but what kind of dog was he? Hachiko was an Akita Inu, a Japanese dog breed that has become incredibly popular and famous all over the world in recent years.

A Legendary Friendship

A Legendary Friendship

The story began in 1924, when Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor in the agricultural department at the University of Tokyo, adopted a dog which he named Hachiko. The dog was an Akita, a breed originating from the mountainous regions of Japan’s north. Shortly after, they started their famous daily routine, with the dog greeting the professor at the end of each day at Shibuya station, not far from the university campus.

Sadly, Professor Ueno passed away in May of 1925, of a cerebral hemorrhage while giving a lecture. Hachiko, not knowing what transpired, continued to return every day to Shibuya station to wait for his owner for the next nine years, nine months, and fifteen days.

Hachiko’s Watch Begins

Hachiko’s Watch Begins

Most of the commuters at the station first thought that he was just roaming around, but when they realized that he was waiting for his dead master, vendors began giving him bits of food and water.

Some, of course, said that he was just coming to get fed by other people. But one of the professor's students was able to document and explain that the dog came back precisely when the train was due to arrive at the station in the evening, at the exact time and place his former companion usually returned.

The Legacy of Hachiko Continues

The Legacy of Hachiko Continues

The former student then published an article in one of Tokyo's largest newspapers, starting the legend of Hachiko. Since then, the story has passed through generations, being immortalized in books, comics, and even a Hollywood film adaptation.

However, the most enduring tribute to Hachiko’s devotion is the bronze statue that was erected in 1934 outside of Shibuya Station. The Hachiko statue is Tokyo’s most well-known meeting point, and a famous Shibuya landmark. In February of 2015, the University of Tokyo’s agricultural department erected a new bronze statue on their campus–this time reuniting Hachiko with the Professor.

After being stuffed and displayed at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Ueno, Hachiko was ultimately laid to rest in Aoyama Cemetery, a quiet and peaceful location. He shares his gravesite with none other than his beloved human companion, Professor Ueno.

  • Hachiko Statue
    • Address 2-1, Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0043
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Shibuya Station (JR Shonan Shinjuku Line / JR Yamanote Line / JR Saikyo Line / Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line / Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line / Tokyu Toyoko Line / Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line / Keio Inokashira Line)
    • Phone Number 03-3462-8311
*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
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