Friday, April 1, 2011


In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo, took in Hachikō 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 golden brown Akita waited at Shibuya station.

Hachikō was given away after his master's death, but he routinely escaped, returning again and again to his old home. Eventually, Hachikō apparently realized that Professor Ueno no longer lived at the house. So he went to look for his master at the train station where he had accompanied him so many times before. Each day, Hachikō waited for the return of his owner.
The permanent fixture at the train station that was 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. They brought 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.

That same year, one of Ueno's students (who had become an amateur expert 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 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.
Hachikō died on March 8, 1935, and was found on a street in Shibuya. After decades of rumors, in March 2011 scientists settled the cause of death of Hachiko. The dog had terminal cancer and also a filaria infection (worms). There were also four yakitori sticks in Hachiko's stomach, but the sticks did not damage his stomach or cause his death.
His stuffed and mounted remains are kept at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.

Bronze statues
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 commissioner 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 an extremely popular meeting spot. The station entrance near this statue is named "Hachikō-guchi", meaning "The Hachikō Exit", and is one of Shibuya Station's five exits.

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