Hachiko Sablé and sauce
Hachiko (November 10, 1923 – March 8, 1935), known in Japanese as chuken Hachiko ("faithful dog Hachiko" ['hachi' meaning 'eight', a number referring to the dog's birth order in the litter, and 'ko', meaning prince or duke]), was an Akita dog born on a farm near the city of Odate, Akita Prefecture, remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner, even many years after his owner's death.
In 1924, Ueno Hidesaburo, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo, took in Hachiko, a golden brown Akita, as a pet. During his owner's life, Hachiko 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 Hachiko was waiting. Each day for the next nine years Hachiko awaited Ueno's return, appearing precisely when the train was due at the station.
Hachiko attracted the attention of other commuters. Many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachiko 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 Hachiko treats and food to nourish him during his wait.
In 1932 one of Ueno's students (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—Kobayashi Kikusaburo where he learned the history of Hachiko'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 Hachiko from Shibuya Station.
He returned frequently to visit Hachiko 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. Hachiko 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 Hachiko'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, Hachiko's legendary faithfulness became a national symbol of loyalty, particularly to the person and institution of the Emperor.
HachikHachiko died on March 8, 1935, and was found on a street in Shibuya. In March 2011 scientists settled the cause of death of Hachiko the dog had terminal cancer and a filaria infection (worms). There were also four yakitori skewers in Hachiko's stomach, but the skewers did not damage his stomach or cause his death.
Hachiko's stuffed and mounted remains are kept at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo. His monument is in Aoyama cemetery in Minatoku, Tokyo.
In April 1934, a bronze statue in his likeness was erected at Shibuya Station, and Hachiko 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 Hachiko Statue commissioned Ando Takeshi, 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 "Hachiko-guchi", meaning "The Hachiko Entrance/Exit", and is one of Shibuya Station's five exits.
The Japan Times played a practical 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 Hachiko's hometown, in front of Odate Station. In 2004, a new statue of Hachiko was erected on the original stone pedestal from Shibuya in front of the Akita Dog Museum in Odate.
The exact spot where Hachiko waited in the train station is permanently marked with bronze paw-prints and text in Japanese explaining his loyalty.
In popular culture
Hachiko was the subject of the 1987 movie Hachi-ko (Hachiko Monogatari)(literally "The Tale of Hachiko"), directed by Koyama Seijiro, 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 Kenkyu-jo.
Hachi: A Dog's Tale, released in August 2009, is an American movie starring actor Richard Gere, directed by Lasse Hallström, about Hachiko and his relationship with the professor. The movie was filmed in Rhode Island, and also featured Joan Allen and Jason Alexander.
Hachiko is also the subject of a 2004 children's book entitled Hachiko 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. Hachiko is featured prominently in the 2008 novel The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.
"Jurassic Bark", episode 7 of season 4 of the animated television series Futurama has an extended homage to Hachiko, 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.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "The Gauntlet" makes a reference toHachiko, with a dog of the same name being the Shredder's pet.
The popular trading card game Yu-Gi-Oh features two cards named outstanding dog marron and skull dog marron both of them with exactly the same collar and standing in the same position, within the flavor text of one of these cards it states that the dog continues to wait his master even after his own death, as a clear reference to Hachiko.
In the Nintendo DS video game The World Ends With You, Shiki tells Neku to meet him at the statue of Hachiko.