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Everybody knows the story of the loyal dog named Hachiko. His story has even been turned into movies and literature. This article introduces you to five places you should visit if you love this famous Akita dog!
Most people all over know the story of Hachi, the loyal Akita dog that waited for his owner long after he had passed away. Many visitors to Japan see Hachi’s statue at Shibuya Station.
But did you know that this is not the only place where you can greet Hachi? Let us show you the places you can visit if you like Hachi.
Hachiko – A Story of Loyalty
If you aren’t familiar with Hachi’s story, let us shortly introduce it to you.
In 1924, Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor at the University of Tokyo, took a pure breed Akita dog as a pet and named him Hachi. Hachi is the word for number eight in Japanese, which is considered a lucky number.
Hachi used to follow professor Ueno to Shibuya Station every morning where the professor would take the train to work. In the afternoon, the dog would pick him up at the station to go home together.
One morning in May 1925, Hachi accompanied professor Ueno to the Station as always, but Ueno wouldn’t return that afternoon. He suffered a brain hemorrhage at the university and passed away. Not aware of his owner’s passing, Hachi kept returning to Shibuya Station every day to wait for him.
People tried to take Hachiko in, but he kept breaking free to go to Shibuya Station. Finally, he settled in the home of Ueno’s former gardener close to Shibuya Station. However, this didn’t stop him from going to Shibuya Station every day at precisely the time his owner would normally return.
The station staff and some residents weren’t happy about the “stray dog” lurking around the station and tried to chase him away many times. But nothing could stop Hachi from returning every day to wait for his master.
He became famous after one of professor Ueno’s former students heard of Hachi’s story and wrote about him. Hachi was even designated a national icon of loyalty after his story was published in the early 1930s. People added the “ko” (A word expressing affection) to his name in recognition of his loyalty. He is nowadays known as Hachiko.
Hachiko ended up waiting for his owner every day for nearly ten years until his passing in March 1935.
Now, let’s see some of the places that are related to Hachi.
Hachi’s famous bronze statue is located right in front of Shibuya Station’s Hachiko Exit, which was named after him as well.
He was supposedly sitting here every day to wait for professor Ueno. Many people take pictures with the statue or even decorate it.
On a snowy night in 2014, when the trains had stopped because of the snowfall and many people were stuck at Shibuya Station, someone even built a snow replica of the dog beside the statue.
But did you know that this is not the original statue? The original statue was revealed in 1934, one year before Hachi’s death. Hachiko himself had been present when the statue was revealed. However, the original statue was melted and recycled in the war efforts of WWII.
In 1948, Takeshi Ando, the son of the original artist, created the statue you can see at Shibuya Station today.
Many dog lovers still celebrate Hachi every year commemorating the day of his death, March 8th, by visiting the statue and offering presents.
However, the statue is not the only piece of Hachiko-related art you can see around Shibuya Station. You can also see a colorful mosaic wall art on the station wall right in front of the Hachiko Exit.
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