Guest writer: ★rui#8760
Can you imagine going nine years waiting for someone you love dearly to come back to you? This story will surely tug at your heartstrings and make you realize the precious gift of a person close to you staying by your side no matter the circumstances. Meet Hachiko, a golden brown Akita, and the greatest symbol of family loyalty in Japan. His overwhelming devotion to his owner shook the nation, and he continued on to be remembered by the world as one of the most loyal dogs ever known.
Life with Professor Ueno
Hachiko was born on November 10, 1923, at a farm in the city of Odate, Akita Prefecture. Hidesaburō Ueno had always wanted a purebred Akita dog. Ueno was a professor in agriculture science in Tokyo Imperial University, and his students told the professor all about Hachiko, who fit his qualifications. He took Hachiko in with him, the pair living in Shibuya, Tokyo. Ueno took the train to work daily, and Hachiko would follow the man there to send him off and come back to greet him upon his return. However, one day stood out the most within their peaceful days together.
On May 21, 2915, they thought it was going to be like any other day. However, Ueno did not return home like Hachiko had expected. The reason for this was because Ueno had a cerebral hemorrhage, and died in the middle of one of his classes. After everything, Hachiko continued to wait at the train station for Ueno’s return, always coming to the station when the train came back. He continued this for nine years, and moved in with the former gardener of the Ueno family. He waited hours upon hours for his owner to come back, not realizing that his beloved owner was never coming back to him.
A Nationwide Sensation
A prominent newspaper reporter called Hirokichi Saito, and also one of Ueno’s students, discovered Hachiko in 1932 and decided to write a story on his professor’s dog. The newspaper was called Asahi Shimbun, and the article written about Hachiko was published on October 4, 1932. The dog that stayed in Shibuya Train Station for hours with looks of disdain was given treats and known all over Japan and eventually, all over the world. He was known as a model of family love and loyalty throughout the country, leading to many people coming to visit him and support him during his time waiting.
Hachiko died peacefully near the train station on March 8, 1935 at the age of 11. He died of terminal cancer and a filarial infection. Many mourned over the dog, people coming from everywhere to see the dog at his deathbed. His death was engraved in the hearts of people all over the world. Now, he is forever known as “Chuken-Hachiko” or “Hachiko the faithful dog”. His story taught everyone around the globe that no matter what, you must always wait for a loved one with open arms.
Hachiko’s remains were cremated, his ashes being buried in Aoyama Cemetery. They were buried next to his beloved owner, Hidesaburō Ueno, reminding us all that not even death can break loved ones apart. His fur was stuffed and is now on display in the National Science Museum in Ueno, Tokyo. Many people came to see the display, remembering the Akita dog in their hearts for what he did for his owner forever.
Two bronze statues were made for the dog. The first one, made by Teru Ando and located in Shibuya Station, was made in April 1934. However, the statue was melted for resources in World War II. His son, Takeshi Ando, made a second statue for Hachiko and it was called “Hachiko-guchi” or “Hachiko Entrance/Exit”. It was erected in August 1948 and is currently located in one of Shibuya Station’s exits. Other similar statues were made, some locations being Hachiko’s hometown and at the University of Tokyo, including one erected in 2015 to honor the 80th anniversary of Hachiko’s death, and depicts Hachiko reuniting with his beloved owner, Professor Ueno.
Hachiko is also referenced in pop culture, and movies about the dog have been made. After the release of and American movie called “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale”, a statue of the dog was shown in Woonsocket Depot Square. This proves how much this dog tugged at the heartstrings of people all over the world.
The Meaning of Loyalty
This dog truly deserves the name “Hachiko the faithful dog”. He taught a lesson to everyone, of all ethnicities and age groups. He taught us that above everything else, we must never lose hope in someone you love, and to always be ready to welcome them back with open arms. We also learn that no matter what hardships you face, you will always be welcomed back home by the people you know and love. We learn that if someone truly loves you, they would forever wait for you and be faithful to you. Do you think that it’s the true meaning of family loyalty and love?
This lesson never ages, and to this day, Hachiko’s story continues to teach people and show them that anyone, even fluffy friends, can express love to people who are willing to love them back. That’s why you should take a moment to realize and appreciate the fact that you have people in life who will care for you and love you as you are. Perhaps if we do, we’ll see life in a better light.