Have you ever heard of Hachiko the dog? No? Neither had I until we visited Tokyo. If you ever go to Japan then odds are you will hear about him.
Hachiko is a national hero to the Japanese! A dog so famous there have been several movies made about him.
He has his own bronze statue next to Shibuya Train Station in Tokyo, where every day hundreds of people have their photograph taken with him.
Even Hollywood has made a movie about Hachiko! There is a statue of him at Rhode Island in the USA where the American version of the film was made.
So why is the Hachiko story so famous you may wonder? Well, I am happy you asked because here I will give you the amazing, real and very sad story about Hachiko the dog. ♥
Once Upon A Time, There Was A Dog Named Hachiko
Eizaburo Ueno, professor in agriculture science at Tokyo University in Japan, had long wanted a purebred Japanese Akita dog. He had looked for the perfect Akita puppy for a long time, until one of this students encouraged him to adopt Hachiko, from the Odate city in the Akita prefecture of Japan.
Hachiko, or Hachi which became his nickname, and his new owner soon became best friends. Eizaburo loved his dear dog above all and treated him as his son. The two of them were inseparable.
As Hachiko grew older, he started to see his owner off to work in the morning at the Shibuya Train Station, in central Tokyo and went to pick him up at the station in the afternoon when he returned from work.
On May 21, 1925, only two years after Hachiko was born, Hachiko was as usually sitting by the exit at Shibuya train station waiting for his dear Eizaburo. But his owner never showed up…..
It turned out that Eizaburo had suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage and died suddenly and unexpectedly while at work.
Hachiko moved in with a former gardener of the Ueno family. But throughout the rest of his ten-year-long life, he kept going to the Shibuya Train Station every morning and afternoon precisely when the train was due to enter the station. He sat there for hours, patiently waiting in vain for the return of his beloved owner which sadly never came back.
A major Japanese newspaper reporter picked up the story of Hachiko in 1932 and published it, which led to Hachiko becoming a celebrity all over Japan.
People started calling him “Chuken-Hachiko“, which means “Hachiko – the faithful dog“.
The story of the dog that never gave up gained a lot of attention also in national media, inspiring many people from all over the world to visit Hachiko at Shibuya Train Station to offer him treats. He touched the hearts of the Japanese people and soon became their hero.
Hachiko Dog Statue In Tokyo
In 1934 a statue of Hachiko was unveiled at a grand ceremony in front of Shibuya train station with Hachiko himself present as the main guest
Hachiko passed away peacefully and alone on the street near Shibuya train station on March 8, 1935.
Hachiko is now on display at the National Science Museum in Ueno, Tokyo.
There is also a monument of Hachiko next to his owner`s tomb in Aoyama cemetery in Tokyo.
The monument of Hachiko next to his owner`s tomb
Today the Hachiko bronze statue is a popular attraction outside of Shibuya train station, especially among young Japanese.
There has actually been made two Hachiko bronze statues in Tokyo. The first one was removed during the World War II and melted as a source of metal.
Also on the wall of the Shibuya Station, there is a huge beautiful mosaic artwork of Hachiko:
Beautiful mosaic artwork of Hachiko at Shibuya Train Station, Tokyo
Up close you see that the mosaic looks like Hachiko
Akita Hachiko Dog Museum
There is even an Akita Dog Museum In Japan, which honors the most famous Akita dog in the world – Hachiko. It is located in Odate city, in the Akita prefecture of Japan. The museum is a must-visit for animal lovers! ??
Here you can learn everything about the Akita dog and Hachiko in particular, and on weekdays you even get to meet and play with two cute Akita dogs inside the museum. So much fun!
The museum is open every day from mid-April to mid-November, between 09:00 (9 am) and 16:00 (4 pm).
The Japanese Love Dogs
The Japanese love dogs! ♥ All over Japan we met a lot of cute and beloved dogs, here are a few that we met:
We even met a Siberian Husky in Tokyo, which melted my heart and made me really miss my own sweetie “Varga”. She sadly passed away just after I wrote this article, 16 years old.
As a dog lover, the story of Hachiko really moved me. It is good to see that even today Hachiko’s statue remains a symbol of this dog’s extreme loyalty and a reminder of the lengths one can go to stay devoted to a friend.
Dogs really are man´s best friend! Don`t you agree? ♥
Hachi The Movie
In 1987 it was made a movie in Japan about Hachiko, called “Hachiko Monogatari”. You can watch the trailer for the original Japanese movie here:
In 2009 Hollywood made an American version of this movie, called “Hachiko – A Dog`s Tale“. If you have not seen the movie “Hachi – A Dog’s Tale”, you should definitely check it out, its great. Be prepared to cry a lot, I warn you. 🙂 The movie was filmed in Rhode Island in the USA, and there is a statue of Hatchi in front of the train station in Rhode Island to honor him.