Famous Dogs - Hachiko

by Geryn Evans

Hachiko is a national hero to the Japanese! A dog so famous there have been several movies made about him. He has his own statue next to Shibuya Train Station in Tokyo, where every day hundreds of people have their photograph taken with him.

Even Hollywood has made a movie about Hachiko starring Richard Gere!

So why is the Hachiko story so famous you may wonder? We are glad you asked!

In 1924, Hachiko was brought to Tokyo by his owner, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor at the University of Tokyo. Hachiko and his new owner soon became best friends, and Hidesaburō loved his dog above all and treated him as his son. The two of them were inseparable.

During his owner’s life Hachiko saw him out from the front door and greeted him at the end of the day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return on the usual train one evening.

The professor had suffered from a cerebral haemorrhage at the university that day. He died and never returned to the train station where his friend was waiting.

Hachiko moved in with a former gardener of the Ueno family and each day for the next nine years, nine months and fifteen days, Hachiko awaited Ueno's return, appearing precisely when the train was due at the station.

In 1932 a major Japanese newspaper, published the story of Hachiko which threw the dog into the national spotlight. Hachiko 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 Hachiko‘s vigil as an example for children to follow.

In 1934 a statue of Hachiko was unveiled at a grand ceremony in front of Shibuya train station with Hachiko himself present as the main guest. Hachiko passed away peacefully and alone on the street near Shibuya train station on March 8, 1935, 12 years old.

Hachiko is now on display at the National Science Museum in Ueno, Tokyo. There is also a monument of Hachiko next to his owner `s tomb in Aoyama cemetery in Tokyo. Today the Hachiko bronze statue is a popular attraction outside of Shibuya train station, especially among young Japanese. Also on the wall of the Shibuya train station there is a huge beautiful mosaic art work of Hachiko