Hachiko: A Dog's Loyalty Knows No Boundaries
Japan's Most Faithful Dog Remembered
In December of 2009, there will be a new movie released starring Richard Gere called Hachi: A Dog's Tale.
I wanted to share with you the true tale of this wonderful canine. It truly is a story of devotion and loyalty that warms the heart and penetrates the barriers of death.
"From mans best friend’s unceasing loyalty, mankind should master." -- Scott Latham
A Friend Waits
Professor Hidesaburō Ueno lived in Tokyo with his beloved Akita named Hachiko. Everyday Hachiko would see Ueno off to work from his home and then, at the end of the day, greet him at the nearby Shibuya Train Station.
One day in May 1925 would be the end of their daily routine together, for Ueno suffered a fatal stroke during his day at work. He never returned to his faithful friend that day nor any day thereafter.
Hachiko was given away to new owners but the loyal dog always ran off in search of his true master. After returning to Ueno's former home several times, Hachiko realized that he did not live there anymore. Hachiko then searched for his friend at the train station. There he perpetually returned everyday henceforth, always at the end of the day and at the precise time of Ueno's scheduled arrival. Hachiko waited there in vain every day for 11 years.
The Story Spreads
Some of the people at the train station recognized Hachiko from his prior rendezvous with Ueno. Knowing about Ueno's death, they were deeply touched by this act of loyalty and brought him food. Eventually the story spread about Hachiko.
A former student of Professor Ueno's heard of Hachiko's vigil and went to the station to see the loyal Akita. Fascinated by Hachiko, the former student wrote several papers on him. In 1932, one of these papers was published in Tokyo's largest newspaper. This article threw Hachiko into Japan's national spotlight.
Hachiko became the personification of loyalty. School teachers and parents would use him as a teaching model for dedication and loyalty. In 1934, a well-known Japanese artist sculpted a likeness of Hachiko to be placed at the entrance of Shibuya Station; in the same area he waited for his long-deceased master. Hachiko himself was there for the statue's dedication.
The Vigil Ends
On March 8 1935, eleven years after it started, Hachiko's vigil came to an end. At almost 12 years old, the Akita succumbed to heart-worm disease. The nation of Japan mourned the loss of their most beloved canine.
Hachiko's long wait was over and finally he is reunited with his beloved master at Rainbow Bridge.
That's a good boy, Hachiko.
A Tribute In Music
Here are two music videos made in tribute of Hachiko. The songs are "You'll Be In My Heart" and "Bittersweet", the scenes are taken from the 1987 movie Hachikō Monogatari.
You'll Be In My Heart
- Hachiko's body was preserved and put on display in the National Science Museum of Japan. He is still there today.
- Every year, at an annual ceremony at Shibuya Station, Hachiko is remembered for his loyalty.