November 10, 1923
near the city of Ōdate, Akita Prefecture
|Died||March 8, 1935 (aged 11)
|Resting place||Aoyama Cemetery, Minato, Tokyo|
|Known for||Waiting perseveringly for the return of his deceased owner for more than nine years.|
|Appearance||Golden light brown with white (peach white) color on the upper face|
|Awards||Bronze statue of Hachiko in front of train station of Shibuya, Tokyo (where he waited)|
Hachikō (ハチ公?, November 10, 1923 – March 8, 1935) was an Akita dog born on a farm near the city of Ōdate, Akita Prefecture who is remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner which continued for many years after his owner's death. Hachikō is known in Japanese as chūken Hachikō (忠犬ハチ公, "faithful dog Hachikō") — hachi meaning eight, and a suffix kō meaning affection.
In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo, took 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, nine months and fifteen days, 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 Hirokichi Saito (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 Tokyo Asahi 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.
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. There were also four yakitori skewers in Hachikō's stomach, but the skewers did not damage his stomach or cause his death.
After his death, Hachikō's remains were cremated and his ashes were buried in Aoyama Cemetery, Minato, Tokyo where they rest beside those of Hachikō's beloved master, Professor Ueno. Hachikō's fur, which was preserved after his death, was stuffed and mounted and is now on permanent display at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.
In April 1934, a bronze statue in his likeness was erected at Shibuya Station ( ), 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 a 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 an April Fools' 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.
After the release of the American movie "Hachi: A Dog's Tale" filmed in Woonsocket, RI, the Japanese Consulate in US helped the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council and the city of Woonsocket to unveil an identical statue of Hachiko at the Woonsocket Depot Square, which was the location of the "Bedridge" train station featured in the movie.
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.
In July 2012, an exhibition containing rare photos from Hachiko's life were shown at the Shibuya Folk and Literary Shirane Memorial Museum in Shibuya ward as part of the "Shin Shuzo Shiryoten" (Exhibition of newly stored materials). In November 2015, a previously undiscovered photograph of Hachikō was published for the first time. The image, which was captured in 1934 by a Tokyo bank employee, shows the dog relaxing in front of Shibuya Station.
In 2015, the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Tokyo constructed a bronze statue, depicting Ueno returning to meet Hachikō.
Film and book adaptations
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 blockbuster success, 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 Woonsocket, Rhode Island, primarily in and around the Woonsocket Depot Square area and also featured Joan Allen and Jason Alexander. The role of Hachi was played by three Akitas - Leyla, Chico and Forrest. Mark Harden describes how he and his team trained the three dogs in the book, "Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors." After the movie was completed, Harden adopted Chico.
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. 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.
In Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword, a bronze statue of Hachikō is seen at the beginning while Velma explains the legend and Scooby-Doo poses for pictures with it. The spot also serves as a meeting point for friends.
In the videogame Persona 3, Koromaru is an Albino Shiba Inu who watches over his deceased owner's shrine. He even defends the shrine with his life when a shadow appeared to destroy it.
In episode 9 of the anime Yoru no Yatterman (Yatterman Night) a monkey imitates the story of Hachiko. Its owner hasn't been home for a while and is watching out for his car. He also mentioned he is a fan of Hachiko.
In popular josei anime/manga Nana Nana Komatsu is nicknamed Hachi since she is as a loyal friend as Hachiko the dog according to Nana Osaki. Hachikō is referenced in Hannu Rajaniemi's short story Shibuya No Love.
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. Similar to Hachiko's story is that of the Italian dog Fido, the Scottish dog Greyfriars Bobby, and numerous other dogs famous for remaining faithful after the death of their master.
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- 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
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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.
- 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.
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- 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.
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- on YouTube
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- "Hachiko, Japan’s most loyal dog, finally reunited with owner in heartwarming new statue in Tokyo". rocketnews24.com. 11 February 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
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- 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.
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- BEHIND THE FILM "Hachi: A Dog's Tale" Vicki Shigekuni Wong accessed online October 1, 2013
- Ganzert, Robin; Anderson, Allen; Anderson, Linda; Becker (Foreword), Marty (Foreword) (September 16, 2014). Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors (Hardcover) (1st ed.). New World Library. pp. 296 pages. ISBN 1608682633. ISBN 978-1608682638. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
- Publishers Weekly Reviewed on: 05/17/2004 accessed via the internet on October 1, 2013
- Hachiko Waits the various editions of the book on author's website accessed October 1, 2013
- Hachiko Waits is now available in paperback. Published by Square Fish, 2008. ISBN 0-312-55806-6
- The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Reviews.
- Lifton, Betty Jean; Hosoe, Eikoh, Taka-chan and I: A Dog's Journey to Japan, The New York Review of Books, 1967.
- Futurama Live! Post-Show w/ Billy West, Maurice LaMarche, Matt Groening and more!. YouTube. 6 September 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
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- "Hachi: A Dog's Tale (2009)". IMDb. 12 March 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- Itoh, Mayumi (2013). Hachi: The Truth of the Life and Legend of the Most Famous Dog in Japan. Amazon.com Kindle E-book. ASIN B00BNBWDQ4.
- Skabelund, Aaron Herald (2011). Empire of Dogs: Canines, Japan, and the Making of the Modern Imperial World. Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. Columbia University. ISBN 978-0-8014-5025-9.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hachiko.|
- "Behind the film "Hachi: A Dog's Tale"". Vicki Shigekuni Wong. Retrieved November 29, 2012. Site with numerous photos of the real Hachikō during his life, at the end of his life, of his beloved professor & of people who came to care for Hachikō.
- Skabelund, Aaron Herald (23 September 2011). "Canine Imperialism". Berfrois. Retrieved 28 October 2011.