A white Akita dog, Hachiko was the faithful pet of Dr. Eisaburo Ueno, a professor at Tokyo University. The professor's home was in the Shibuya district of Tokyo and he commuted to the agricultural department in Komaba and the agricultural experimental station in Nishihara. On May 21, 1925, Dr. Ueno did not return because he had suffered a stroke and died at the university. Hachiko was eighteen months old. The next day and for the next nine years, Hachiko returned to the station and waited for his beloved master before walking home, alone. Nothing and no one could discourage Hachiko from maintaining his nightly vigil. It was not until he followed his master in death that Hachiko failed to appear at his waiting place at the railroad station. Hachiko was sent to homes of relatives or friends, but he always continued to await his master, who was never to return, at the train station. Hachiko's fidelity to his master was known throughout Japan, owing to an article, "Faithful Old Dog Awaits Return of Master Dead for Seven Years" in the October 4, 1933 issue of Asahi Shinbun (Asahi News). Upon his death, newspaper stories led to the suggestion that a statue be erected at the station. Contributions from people in the United States and other countries were received. Today, a statue of Hachiko pays silent tribute to the breed's faithfulness and loyalty. A bronze statue of Hachiko was erected at his waiting spot outside the Shibuya railroad station, which is now probably the most popular rendezvous point in Shibuya. Hachiko was mounted and stuffed and he is on now on display at the Tokyo Museum of Art. His flesh was cremated. Its ashes rest beside those of Hachiko's beloved master.∼In January 1924 a professor at the Japanese Imperial University brought home a two-month old Akita puppy. Dr. Ueno named the pup Hachiko. This beautiful white dog accompanied Dr. Ueno to the Shibuya train station every morning, where Dr. Ueno would say goodbye to Hachiko and head to the university. And every day when Dr. Ueno returned home Hachiko would be waiting for him at the train station and the two would go home together. May 21, 1925 was like any other day for the pair. In the morning, Professor Ueno left Hachiko at Shibuya Station. But when Hachiko returned to Shibuya Station in the evening, his master was nowhere to be found. Though Hachiko waited, Dr. Ueno never showed up.
Dr. Ueno had died from a stroke earlier that day.
Because Hachiko had only belonged to Dr. Ueno for a little over a year, they probably hoped that the Akita would make a new family with them. But Hachiko didn't care. He ran away from the family and returned to the train station to wait for his master. Every evening Hachiko would return to Shibuya Station and wait for Dr. Ueno to get off the six-o'clock train. The commuters noticed the Akita waiting every day at the station. Some of them had known the pair when Dr. Ueno was still alive, and everyone who heard of Hachiko's story was touched. People petted him and gave him food. Months passed. Then years. A newspaper heard of the dog's story and Hachiko became a Japanese celebrity. Hachiko basically lived as a stray. He would call no place home except where Dr. Ueno was, and since Dr. Ueno was nowhere, Hachiko had no home. He lived on the street, fought other dogs, and ate scraps and handouts. Hachiko got sick with worms and mange, but because so many people admired him he was given treatment by a veterinarian. Hachiko became an old, scarred dog, with one ear up and one ear down, and no longer looked like the purebred Akita that he was. It was March, 1935 when Hachiko finally died. The old Akita was found in a Shibuya street. He had waited for his master for almost ten years. Many people were saddened by Hachiko's death, but others say that he was finally at peace and could go with his master wherever it is we go when we die. Hachiko's story of loyalty touched the hearts of many people all over the world. In Japan, his statue at Shibuya Station is still a popular meeting place. There is even a ceremony to remember Hachiko every year on April 8.
Bio by: Warrick L. Barrett