Hachikō from Japan:
November 10, 1923 – March 8, 1935) was an Akita dog born on a farm near the city of Odate, Japan. He is remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner, for whom he continued to wait for over nine years following his death.
“Faithful dog Hachikō”, hachi meaning “eight” and kō meaning “affection.” During his lifetime, the dog was held up in Japanese culture as an example of loyalty and fidelity. Well after his death, he continues to be remembered in worldwide popular culture, with statues, movies, books, and appearances in various media.
In 1924, Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo, took Hachikō, a golden brown Akita, as a pet. Ueno would commute daily to work, and Hachikō would leave the house to greet him at the end of each day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued the daily routine until May 1925, when Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, while he was giving a lecture, and died without ever returning to the train station in which Hachikō would wait.
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.
Shibuya Station as it was in the Taisho and Pre-war Showa eras (1912–1945)
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 Ueno’s former gardener, Kuzaboro Kobayashi, where he learned the history of Hachikō’s life. Shortly after the 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 he published several articles about the dog’s remarkable loyalty. In 1932, one of his articles, published in 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 to which 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.
Hachikō died on March 8, 1935 at the age of 11 based on his date of birth. He was found on a street in Shibuya.
March 8, 1936, one year anniversary of Hachiko’s death