The Story Of Hachiko – The Most Loyal Dog On Earth

August 7, 2018 | No Comments » | Topics: Animals, Life

Dogs are famously known for their devotion and loyalty to their owners. To describe a dog as “man’s best friend” is cliché, but well deserved. Among dogs that are known for their fierce and steadfast loyalty, Hachiko, a Japanese Akita Inu, is the most famous and known to most everyone in Japan.

Long ago in Japan, a professor from the University of Tokyo decided to adopt a dog. He wanted a pure bred Akita pup, a breed of large and powerful dogs from the mountains on the northern side of the island. It was not an easy task, as finding an Akita puppy back in those times was quite tricky. The professor looked everywhere, taking his time and widening his search. Finally, in 1924, he found what he was looking for in the city of Odate. The professor got himself a perfect pup, strong, healthy and, most importantly, pure Akita. It was love at first sight, a match made in heaven. The professor took the pup home and named him Hachikō.

The pup grew, becoming big, brawny and fluffy. The professor treated Hachikō as his own child, sharing his home and his life with him. As the years went by, Hachikō got a habit of walking his master to the Shibuya Train Station in the morning, and meeting him there in the evening, when the professor would returned from a hard day of work. This delightful route continued for nearly two years, when one day the professor simply did not come back. He suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and passed away, without seeing his dear pup ever again.

After that, Hidesaburo’s widowed wife, unable to provide adequate care, gave him to a former gardener of theirs, where Hachikō would enjoy a new home loved by a new family. However, what nobody expected was that throughout his remaining 10 years, Hachikō would continue to go to the train station every morning and afternoon, precisely at the same place and same time when the train was about to enter the station, waiting in vain for his beloved friend to return, which of course never happened.

The first years were not easy for Hachiko. Days passed, then months and years, and station workers, assuming he was a stray dog and afraid for other people’s safety, were always trying to chase him away. Yet he continued coming, despite everything. Then one morning in 1932, a journalist and Hidesaburo’s former student, after seeing the dog every single day at the station when he was boarding the train for work, and again greeted by the sight of the dog waiting when coming back, decided to follow the sad dog to his home.

There he met with the gardener Kuzaboro Kobayashi, Hachikō’s new master, and learned of his story of loyalty, and so he began to write articles about him in a major Japanese newspaper.

Very soon, Hachikō became a real inspiration for everyone. Celebrities all over the country learned of him. People came to the station to witness the unbelievable story first hand. Hachikō came to be known among everyone as “Chuken-Hachikō”, meaning “Hachikō – the faithful dog.” In 1934, they even built Hachikō a statue in front of Shibuya train station, with Hachikō himself present as the main guest at the grand unveiling.

Unfortunately, a year later, on March 8, 1935, Hachikō passed away at the station, still waiting for his friend to arrive. He was buried right beside his master at the Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo.

He died, but his story, the story of Hachikō, the dog that never gave up, earned worldwide attention. Throughout the years, inspired by his unbelievable determination, many people wrote books about Hachikō and his tale of love, and in 2009, director Lasse Hallström shot a movie called Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, starring Richard Gere and Joan Allen.

To commemorate 90 years of his passing, the University of Tokyo, where Hidesaburo Ueno gave his lectures and died, built a bronze statue of Mr. Ueno and his dog friend. The statue stands just outside the main entrance near Todai-Mae, representing their long awaited reunion, and a happy one, with Ueno’s cheerful smile and Hachikō ‘s sparkling eyes.