A Japanese dog known as chūken Hachikō (meaning “faithful dog Hachikō”), remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner, Hidesaburō Ueno, for whom he continued to wait for over nine years following his death.
Hachikō was a white Akita dog born on November 10, 1923, in Akita Prefecture, Japan. In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the Tokyo Imperial University, brought him to live in Shibuya, Tokyo, as his pet.
Ueno would commute daily to work, and Hachikō would leave the house to greet him at the end of each day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued the daily routine until May 21, 1925, when Ueno did not return; the professor had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while he was giving a lecture to his class, and died without ever returning to the train station in which Hachikō waited.
Each day, for the next nine years, nine months and fifteen days, Hachikō awaited Ueno’s return, appearing precisely when the train was due at the station. Consequently, Hachikō attracted the attention of other commuters, who started to bring him treats and food to nourish him during his wait.
By the early 1930s, Hachikō became a national sensation: his faithfulness to his master’s memory impressed the people of Japan as a spirit of family loyalty to which all should strive to achieve. Teachers and parents used Hachikō’s vigil as an example for children to follow. In April 1934, a bronze statue based in his likeness sculpted by Teru Ando was erected at Shibuya Station and soon became a popular meeting spot. The station entrance near this statue is named “Hachikō-guchi”, meaning “The Hachikō Entrance/Exit”, and is one of Shibuya Station’s five exits.
Hachikō died on March 8, 1935 at the age of 11, on a street in Shibuya. His remains were cremated and his ashes were buried in Aoyama Cemetery, Minato, Tokyo where they rest beside those of his master. Hachikō’s fur, which was preserved after his death, was stuffed and his taxidermy mount is currently on permanent display at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.
Hachikō was the subject of two major films, The Tale of Hachikō (1987), directed by Seijirō Kōyama, and Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009), directed by Lasse Hallström and staring actor Richard Gere.