logo for japanblogger.com
LEFT for japanblogger.com

The loyal dog, Hachiko

Do you know about Hachiko, Japan’s most famous dog? He was so devoted to his master, he waited for him for ten years. What follows is one of the most beloved stories in Japan. Amazingly, it's all true. Read on, my friends, and let's learn all about...

Title Graphic for article

The world’s most loyal dog

In 1924, a Professor Ueno bought a small Akita dog and named him Hachiko (hach-ko).

Photo of Hachiko

Professor Ueno worked at the University of Tokyo, so everyday he would take the train from Shibuya to work. Hachiko would accompany him to the station and see him off. Hachiko would then return to the station in the evening to wait for his master to arrive.

This repeated every day for a year.

Then one day the professor didn’t return. Unbeknownst to Hachiko, Professor Ueno had suffered a massive stroke at school that day and had died instantly.

Loyal Hachiko returned every evening to wait for his master to return. This went on every day for ten years until Hachiko himself died.

The beginning of a national legend

During Hachiko’s ten year wait, his legend started growing. The station staff recognized him as the Professor’s dog. They fed him and took care of him.

At some point, one of Professor Ueno’s former students learned about Hachiko and published several articles about him and his story. This propelled Hachiko into the national spotlight and made him something of a local sensation. People were impressed with his faithfulness and loyalty.

The Hachiko Statue

Hachiko and his story were so loved that after he died, Tokyo residents voted to build a statue of him. It was unfortunately melted down to make weapons during the war, but it was rebuilt afterward.

To this day it remains at the entrance to Shibuya station. It’s a well known landmark and if you tell someone “let’s meet at Hachiko” they will instantly understand where to meet1.

Photo of Hachiko statue

On a slightly disturbing note—to me anyways—he was stuffed and his remains are kept on display at the National Science Musieum in Ueno, Tokyo.

Photo of Stuffed Hachiko

Final Words

This story is very beloved in Japan and is often used to teach children loyalty. At least two movies that I know of have been made about this story, one Japanese and the other a Hollywood remake, and numerous books have been written about it.

I just discovered the other day that the cartoon Futurama did an very touching tribute to Hachiko. Watch below.

via videosift.com

  1. But good luck finding anyone. So many people gather at the Hachiko entrance that trying to find someone there is a little like trying to find a needle in a haystack.


I hope you enjoyed the article. Be sure to send me corrections, comments, and other feedback. If you have twitter, this can be sent to @japanblogger.

If you liked what you read, please share and e-mail it to a friend.

Thanks for reading!

Return from Hachiko to the JapanBlogger Home Page

footer for Japan page