The amazing life story of the
Akita Inu named Hachiko
The story begins on November 10th 1923 when Hachiko (an Akita Inu) was born in Odate Japans, Akita Prefecture. Soon after he was weaned Hachi went to a man by the name of Hidesaburō Ueno who was a Professor of the Department of Agriculture at the Imperial University (Now the University of Tokyo)
Hachiko took to Professor Ueno very well and a strong bond quickly formed under his loving companionship. Each morning Hachi would accompany the Professor to the Shibuya train station where the Professor would take the train to work and Hachi would return home on his own. Hachi would then return to the train station in the evening just before the train was due to arrive waiting at the gate to greet the Professor as he exited the platform. For almost two years they continued this daily routine becoming well known by the commuters and regulars along their daily route forming a lasting impression on many who new them.
Tragically, Hachiko’s happy life as the loyal companion of Professor Ueno was not to last. On the 21st of May 1925 almost two years after Mr. Ueno and Hachi were united, Professor Hidesaburō Ueno suffered a sudden stroke while at a faculty meeting and sadly passed away.
There are two versions of what immediately followed the Professors death. One is that Hachi broke through a window to get into the parlor where the body was placed awaiting the funeral refusing to be moved. Another is that when it came time to place items in the coffin that the person had cared about Hachi jumped into the coffin resisting all attempts to remove him.
Hachiko was then sent to live with relatives of the Professor however he repeatedly ran away, returning to the house where Professor Ueno had once lived. Hachi eventually realizing that Professor Ueno no longer lived at the residence returned to the train station to search for him. Hachi would come each day to meet the train that the Professor had taken home from work so many times before. This demonstration of love and devotion so deeply touched many of those who had known the two of them together that many of them would feed him and bring him treats.
A student of Professor Ueno’s heard about Hachi’s vigil and came to Tokyo to meet this amazing dog and to write an article on him for the paper. Following Hachiko from the Shibuya Station he soon ended up at the home of Kikuzaboro Kobayashi who was the former gardener of Professor Ueno. The entire history of Hachiko’s life was revealed to him by Mr. Kobayashi and used in his newspaper article. Hachi quickly became a media sensation and his unwavering devotion made him a source of national pride. Many donated money to ensure that Hachi always had enough to eat. The citizens of Japan were so inspired by Hachi that they would use him as an example for their children to follow. “I will meet you at the Hachi” has become a common fraise meaning I will meet you at the train. In the years that followed, the Professors former student became fascinated with the Akita breed and did several articles about Hachi. In a census he found that only about 30 Akita Inu of pure blood lines remained of which Hachi was one.
In April 1934, a bronze statue bearing his likeness was erected at (what is now known as) Hachi’s Exit of the Shibuya Station and Hachiko himself was present at its unveiling. The new found fame however meant little to Hachiko who continued to wait for his beloved Professor Ueno day after day, month after month, year after year. The loyal Hachiko never wavered from his vigil, meeting the train each day for the rest of his life. On March 8th 1935 on a Shibuya side street Hachiko old and suffering from heart worms laid down, closed his eyes for the last time and finally rejoined his beloved human. Never again having to wait. Never again having to part. The story of Hachiko’s passing hit the papers the next day. Many thousands of people who had never even met Hachiko were deeply saddened by his loss. The living symbol of loving devotion was gone… and as a nation cried… a dog rejoiced!
Fare You Well… Hachiko
The total time Hachi spent waiting for the one that he loved and missed so “9 years 10 months”
Though nearly 80yrs has passed since he left us, The world will never forget the Akita Inu named Hachiko. Hachi will forever live on in the hearts of those he has touched so deeply and taught so much. He is truly the embodiment of what it means to be good and pure and noble. Though I never knew Hachiko as he passed away many decades before I was born, I have learned much from him. Hachi’s indomitable spirit and strength of heart have been an inspiration to me and I will always love the dog named Hachiko