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Picture of Hachikō
BreedAkita Inu
BornNovember 10, 1923
near the city of Ōdate, Akita Prefecture
DiedMarch 8, 1935 (aged 11)
Shibuya, Tokyo
Resting placeNational Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.
Nation fromJapan
Known forWaiting for the return of his deceased owner
OwnerHidesaburō Ueno
AppearanceGolden brown with cream color on upper face
  (Redirected from Hachiko)
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Picture of Hachikō
BreedAkita Inu
BornNovember 10, 1923
near the city of Ōdate, Akita Prefecture
DiedMarch 8, 1935 (aged 11)
Shibuya, Tokyo
Resting placeNational Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.
Nation fromJapan
Known forWaiting for the return of his deceased owner
OwnerHidesaburō Ueno
AppearanceGolden brown with cream color on upper face

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,[1] 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 from a cerebral hemorrhage and died, never returning to the train station where Hachikō was waiting. Every day for the next nine years the dog waited at Shibuya 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. This continued for nine years with Hachikō appearing precisely when the train was due at the station.[2]


That same year, 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[3]) 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 the dog and over the years published several articles about Hachikō's remarkable loyalty. In 1932 one of these articles, published in Tokyo Asahi Shimbun, threw the dog into 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.[4]


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.[5] 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.[6][7]

Hachikō's stuffed and mounted remains are kept at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.[8][9] His monument is in Aoyama cemetery in Minatoku, Tokyo.[10]

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 / 35.659056°N 139.700583°E / 35.659056; 139.700583), 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[citation needed] Takeshi Ando, son of the original artist, to make a second statue. When the new statue appeared, a dedication ceremony occurred.[11] 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.[12]

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.

Annual ceremony

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.[13][14][15]


On 16th 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 22nd 2012 as part of the "Shin Shuzo Shiryoten" (Exhibition of newly stored materials).[16]

In popular culture

Hachikō exhibited at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno.

Hachikō was the subject of the 1987 movie Hachi-kō (Hachikō Monogatari) ハチ公物語 (literally "The Tale of Hachiko"),[17] 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 blockbuster success, the film was the last big hit for Japanese film studio Shochiku Kinema Kenkyû-jo.[18][19]

Hachi: A Dog's Tale,[20] released in August 2009, is an American movie starring actor Richard Gere, directed by Lasse Hallström, about Hachikō and his relationship with the professor. 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 Waits was released in paperback by Square Fish (an imprint of MacMillan) in 2008.[21] Hachikō is featured prominently in the 2008 novel The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.[22]

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.[23]

"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.

In the PlayStation 2 video game Persona 3, one of the main characters, Koromaru, appears to be based on Hachikō.[citation needed]

In the Nintendo DS video game The World Ends with You, one of the missions is to clean Hachikō's statue and purify it from the noise that was possessing it.

In the anime Nana Nana Osaki normally refers to Nana Komatsu as "Hachi" because of her puppy like personality.

The anime Gals! features the statue in both the intro and throughout the series.

The anime Fortune Dogs honored Hachiko's story in one of its 39 episodes (2002).

In one leg of The Amazing Race 9 occurring in Tokyo, the teams were to locate the Hachikō statue to receive their next clue.

Similar cases

Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye Terrier in Edinburgh, Scotland, was loyal to his master long after his master's death in 1858. Until Bobby's death 14 years later, he reportedly spent every night at his master's grave.[24] A statue in memorial of Greyfriars Bobby was erected near the graveyard.

In Snake Gully, Australia, the monument Dog on the Tuckerbox is inspired by a bullock driver's poem, "Bullocky Bill", which celebrates the life of a mythical driver's dog that loyally guarded the man's tuckerbox (lunch box) until, and long after, the bullocky's death. (The ever-popular 1930's Australian hit song "Five Miles From Gundagai" also celebrates the dog and his loyalty.)

Gelert, associated with the place Beddgelert in Wales, is alleged to have belonged to Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd, and to have been a gift from King John of England. In this legend, Llywelyn returns from hunting to find his baby's cradle overturned, the baby missing and the dog with blood around its mouth. Imagining that it has savaged the child, Llywelyn draws his sword and kills the dog, which lets out a final dying yelp. He then hears the cries of the baby and finds it unharmed under the cradle, along with a dead wolf which had attacked the child and been killed by Gelert. Llywelyn is then overcome with remorse and he buries the dog with great ceremony, yet can still hear the dying yelp. After that day Llywelyn never smiles again.

In the Odyssey, Odysseus's dog Argos waits 20 years for Odysseus to return but dies just after he recognizes Odysseus.

A similar story happened in mid 90s in Togliattigrad, Russia - a family died in the car crash during the summer of 1995, leaving the dog as the only survivor. A German Shepherd, named Constantine by the locals, kept coming to the same spot for the next 7 years braving freezing winters and hot summers. The Monument of Devotion - a bronze statue honouring the dog's loyalty was placed on that spot in 2003 by the city authorities . [25]

See also




  1. ^ Kyodo News. "Hollywood the latest to fall for tale of Hachiko". The Japan Times, June 25, 2009.
  2. ^ Dog faithfully awaits return of his master for past 11 years story Posted Aug 18, 2007 by Chris V. (cgull) in Lifestyle of Digital journal. Accessed July 8, 2008
  3. ^ Bouyet, Barbara. Akita, Treasure of Japan, Volume II. Hong Kong: Magnum Publishing, 2002, page 5. ISBN 0-9716146-0-1. Accessed via Google Books April 18, 2010.
  4. ^ Skabelund, Aaron Herald (23 September 2011). Canine Imperialism. Berfrois. http://www.berfrois.com/2011/09/aaron-herald-skabelund-hachiko/. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Hollywood the latest to fall for tale of Hachiko," The Japan Times, June 25, 2009
  6. ^ Mystery solved in death of legendary Japanese dog[dead link]
  7. ^ Associated Press, "Worms, not skewer, did in Hachiko", Japan Times, 4 March 2011, p. 1.
  8. ^ Opening of the completely refurbished Japan Gallery of National Museum of Nature and Science "In addition to the best-loved specimens of the previous permanent exhibitions, such as the faithful dog Hachikō, the Antarctic explorer dog Jiro and Futabasaurus suzukii, a plesiosaurus native to Japan, the new exhibits feature a wide array of newly displayed items." 2007 The National Science Museum, Tokyo. Accessed November 13, 2007
  9. ^ Kimura, Tatsuo. "A History Of The Akita Dog". Akita Learning Center. http://www.northlandakitas.com/akitahistory/ahistory.htm. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  10. ^ Drazen, Patrick (2011). A Gathering of Spirits: Japan's Ghost Story Tradition: from Folklore and Kabuki to Anime and Manga. iUniverse. p. 101. ISBN 1462029426. http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=nnkSCqG8L4YC&lpg=PA101&dq=memorial&pg=PA101#v=onepage&q=memorial&f=false. "Aoyama Cemetery contains a memorial to Hachiko on the site of Professor Ueno's grave. Some of Hachiko's bones are reportedly buried there, but in fact, Hachiko can still be seen -- stuffed, in the National Science Museum." 
  11. ^ Newman, Lesléa. Hachiko Waits. Macmillan, 2004. 91. Retrieved from Google Books on February 25, 2011. ISBN 0-8050-7336-1, ISBN 978-0-8050-7336-2.
  12. ^ "METAL THIEVES SUSPECTED: Shibuya's 'loyal dog Hachiko' vanishes overnight". The Japan Times. April 1, 2007. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/april_fool_a.html. 
  13. ^ American Kennel Club (listed author): The Complete Dog Book: The Photograph, History, and Official Standard of Every Breed Admitted to AKC Registration, and the Selection, Training, Breeding, Care, and Feeding of Pure-bred Dogs, Howell Book House, 1985, page 269. ISBN 0-87605-463-7.
  14. ^ Ruthven Tremain, The Animals' Who's Who: 1,146 Celebrated Animals in History, Popular Culture, Literature, & Lore, Scribner, 1984, page 105. ISBN 0-684-17621-1. Accessed via Google Books August 21, 2008.
  15. ^ 74th remembrance of Hachiko, held at Hachiko Statue on YouTube
  16. ^ "Shibuya museum showcases last photo of loyal pooch Hachiko". The Asahi Shimbun. June 16, 2012. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201206160043. 
  17. ^ Hachikō Monogatari at the Internet Movie Database.
  18. ^ Anne Tereska Ciecko, Contemporary Asian Cinema: Popular Culture in a Global Frame, Berg Publishers, 2006, pages 194–195. ISBN 1-84520-237-6. Accessed via Google Books August 21, 2008.
  19. ^ Company credits for Hachikō monogatari (1987) from Internet Movie Database
  20. ^ Hachiko: A Dog's Story at the Internet Movie Database.
  21. ^ Hachiko Waits is now available in paperback. Published by Square Fish, 2008. ISBN 0-312-55806-6
  22. ^ The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Reviews.
  23. ^ Beauchamp, Rick; Francais, Isabelle (photography). "Hachiko Speaks!". Akita Inu: The Voice of Japan. petpublishing.com. http://www.petpublishing.com/dogken/breeds/akita.shtml. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  24. ^ (2001-07-04) "The Story of Scotland's Most Faithful Dog", Dogs in the News. Retrieved from http://dogsinthenews.com/issues/0107/articles/010704a.htm on 2007-03-20.
  25. ^ "Monument of Devotion". April 8, 2009. http://petsparadise.ru/reading/14-14/168-168. Retrieved June 20, 2012. 

Further reading

External links