Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hachiko: The World’s Most Loyal Dog

Hachiko, an Akita dog in Japan, sets an example for loyalty by waiting patiently for its master’s return from work in a railway station. It did this routine for 11 years every day.
The Akita breed dog, Hachikō was born on November 10, 1923 and died March 8, 1935. It is known in Japanese as (chūken hachikō, lit. 'faithful dog Hachikō'). It is remembered fondly in Japan for its intense loyalty, waiting for its master for more than 11 years.
In 1924, Hachiko was brought to Tokyo by its master Hidesamuro Ueno, a professor in the agricultural department at the University of Tokyo. When Hachiko’s master went to work, it greeted him off at the front door, and when his master came back from work he usually went to the nearest railway station and waited for him there. It used to do this as a routine every day. However, his master died a year later in May 1925, but Hachiko kept this routine and waited for its master at the station for the next 11 years until its death in 1935.
Others at the station initially thought it was waiting for something else or roaming around but later realized it was waiting for its dead master. So the vendors there used to give some bits of food and water for its unwavering loyalty. But others doubted it and said the dog might have come because of the food the vendors gave for it. If so, then the dog could have come at other times also, but appeared only in the evening time, precisely when the train was due at the station.
One of the professor's students was able to document the reason for the dog coming to the station for its master. And the student returned several times over the years and saw the dog appear precisely when the train was due at the station in the evening. He published this fact in one of the Tokyo’s largest newspaper after which the dog became a national figure and everyone were impressed with the loyalty shown by the dog and used it as an example for their children and students to follow.
Soon after a well known artist did a sculpture of the dog which was erected at Shibuya Station and Hachikō himself was present at its unveiling. The statue had to be recycled later for World War II. However, they did the sculpture again, and the original artist’s son made the statue of the dog in 1948. This statue has become a popular meeting spot in Japan.


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 studioShochiku Kinema Kenkyû-jo.

Hachiko: A Dog's Story,] 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.

The story and statue of Hachikō at Shibuya Statue are featured in the direct-to-video animated film Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword.[citation needed]


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.[ The novel revolves around the extraordinary relationship between the title character, his family and the dogs they raise.

Video Games

The statue of Hachiko is featured in the Square Enix game The World Ends With You (released in the US in April 2008) and is even part of one of the game's first missions.


In 1994, the Culture Broadcasting Network (CBN) 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.


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