During his lifetime, the dog was held up in Japanese culture as an example of loyalty and fidelity. Since his death, he continues to be remembered worldwide in popular culture with statues, movies and books. Hachikō is known in Japanese as chūken Hachikō (忠犬ハチ公, "faithful dog Hachikō"), hachi meaning "eight" and the suffix -kō originating as one once used for ancient Chinese dukes; thus, Hachikō could be roughly translated as either "Mr. Eight" or "Sir Eight".
Hachikō, a white Akita, was born on November 10, 1923, at a farm located in Ōdate, Akita Prefecture, Japan. In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the Tokyo Imperial University, took Hachikō as a pet and brought him to live in Shibuya, Tokyo. 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 at which Hachikō waited.
Hachikō attracted the attention of other commuters. Many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachikō and Professor Ueno together each day. Initial reactions from the people, especially from those working at the station, were not necessarily friendly. However, after the first appearance of the article about him in Asahi Shimbun on October 4, 1932, people started to bring Hachikō treats and food to nourish him during his wait.
One of Ueno's students, Hirokichi Saito, who developed expertise on the Akita breed, saw the dog at the station and followed him to the home of Ueno's former gardener, Kozaburo Kobayashi, where he learned the history of Hachikō's life. Shortly after the meeting, the former student published a documented census of Akitas in Japan. His research found only 30 purebred Akitas remaining, including Hachikō from Shibuya Station.
In April 1934, a bronze statue based in his likeness sculpted by Teru Ando was erected at Shibuya Station. The statue was recycled for the war effort during World War II. In 1948, Takeshi Ando (son of the original artist) made a second statue. The new statue, which was erected in August 1948, still stands and is 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.
After the release of the American movie Hachi: A Dog's Tale (2009), which was filmed in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, the Japanese Consulate in the United States helped the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council and the city of Woonsocket to unveil an identical statue of Hachikō at the Woonsocket Depot Square, which was the location of the "Bedridge" train station featured in the movie.
On March 9, 2015, the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Tokyo unveiled a bronze statue depicting Ueno returning to meet Hachikō at the University of Tokyo, Japan to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Hachikō's death. The statue was sculpted by Tsutomu Ueda from Nagoya and depicts a very excited Hachikō jumping up to greet his master at the end of a workday. Ueno is dressed in a hat, suit, and trench coat, with his briefcase placed on the ground. Hachikō wears a studded harness as seen in his last photos.
The process began with willing consent from the Ueno and Sakano families and the successful negotiations with management of the Aoyama Cemetery. However, due to regulations and bureaucracy, the process took about 2 years. Shiozawa also went on as one of the organizers involved with the erection of bronze statue of Hachikō and Ueno which was unveiled on the grounds of the University of Tokyo on March 9, 2015, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Hachikō's death.
In the video game The World Ends with You (2007), the Hachikō statue is featured, its legend referenced on several occasions. The location of the statue plays an important role in the narrative of the game. The statue is featured again in the sequel, NEO: The World Ends With You (2021).
Odate City is fiercely proud of being Hachiko's (and the Akita breed's) furusato (hometown), and loves to show it. Not only is there a Hachiko statue in front of Odate Station (above), you can find a Hachiko Shrine on the platform and many more Akita-inu statues in the area, like on top of the postbox at the City Hall (see below). They've also decorated the city's manhole covers with Hachiko-related cartoon characters. And there's a small museum, Akitainu Hozonkai, that'll teach you all you ever wanted to know about Akita-inu.
While at Ueno Park, you might also want to visit the statue of samurai Saigo Takamori and his pup Tsun. Thanks to their status, Hachiko and Tsun have been paired off as symbolic protectors of Tokyo and Japanese economy. Kind of like the pairs of komainu ('lion-dogs') placed as guardians at the entrance to shrines. If you want to get all romantic about it (of course you do), it's been said that the female Tsun is the perfect yin to Hachiko's yang.
Professor Eizaburo Ueno of Tokyo University adopted Hachiko in Akita prefecture in the early 1920s. The two were inseparable, with Hachiko accompanying his master to Shibuya Station each day when the professor would head off to work at Tokyo's Imperial University. The faithful pup would come back to the station each afternoon at 3pm to greet Ueno upon his return. Unfortunately, the professor died in 1925 while at the university and never returned for a final goodbye with his pet. However, the loyal Hachiko continued to visit the station daily until his own death nearly 10 years later. His own death made headlines, and he was cremated and buried next to his beloved owner.
This story became a legend and a small statue was erected in front of Shibuya Station to commemorate Hachiko. This statue is now a typical starting point for anyone visiting Shibuya, and a convenient meeting point for friends and occasionally tour groups. Locals and foreigners are always queuing for photos with the statue, just meters away from Shibuya's popular Scramble Crossing.
While Hachiko's body was cremated, his fur was preserved and it was later stuffed and put on display at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo's Ueno Park. A second statue was also erected in front of Tower Records in Shibuya, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its relocation.
There is also a Hachiko Family Mural, on the wall of the station opposite the original statue, where artist Ryutaro Kitahara dreamed up and sculpted a bit of canine company for the faithful dog. There was even a Hollywood movie made in 2009 called Hachi: A Dog's Story which starred Richard Gere, and was essentially an English language remake of the original Japanese film Hachiko Monogatari (Hachiko's Story).
And for those who like a happy ending, yet another statue of Hachiko was dedicated in 2015 in the grounds of the University of Tokyo. This one, however, imagines a joyous reunion between the loyal Hachiko and his beloved owner Ueno.
Today, the statue of Hachiko has become a symbol of Shibuya and a popular landmark for meetups and tourism. Hachiko is based on an Akita dog named Hachi, whose owner was a professor of the Tokyo Imperial University. Even after the sudden death of his owner, Hachi continued to wait for his return at the ticketing gate. The story of this loyal dog, Hachiko inspired film and literature worldwide, time and again.Another statue of Hachiko can be found in front of Tower Records Shibuya, but this one is warped diagonally in a peculiar way.
Hachiko was an Akita Inu dog born on a farm in 1923 and later adopted by Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor of agriculture at the University of Tokyo. The two fell into a daily routine: Ueno and Hachiko would walk together to the Shibuya train station, where Ueno would pet Hachiko goodbye before getting on the train to work. Hachiko, who also became known as Hachi, would then spend the day waiting for Ueno to come back. In the meantime, local shopkeepers and station workers would keep an eye on him and often give him treats while he held his vigil for Ueno.
Born in 1923, he would walk his master Hidesaburo Ueno everyday to Shibuya Station and wait for his return there every evening. In May 1925, the professor died of apoplexy at his workplace. Hachiko waited for him faithfully every evening at the station for the next decade until his own death.
The story stirred up a lot of emotion in Japan, and was widely publicized in the media. It was given a title, 忠犬 chûken ("faithful dog") and a statue was inaugurated at the JR Shibuya station in 1934. It is still standing to this day and the nearest exit was subsequently renamed after the statue.
Amid the uninterrupted flow of travelers coming and going between the station and the famous rallying point, many stop there to wait for their friends or デート date. Benches have been placed there for people to be able to sit while waiting.
The statue is often decorated with banners or other accessories to advertise the various events organized in Shibuya. Hachiko is part and parcel of Japanese culture and is frequently brought up/mentioned in manga and other j-drama. Its story has twice been made into a movie:
Lastly, to celebrate the ninetieth anniversary of the death of Hidesaburo Ueno in February 2015, another bronze statue representing the master and his dog was erected on the campus of 東大 Tôdai / Tokyo University (in the Department of Agriculture where Ueno used to work) to reunite them forever.
This Hachiko dog statue outside Shibuya station is very famous but is very easy to miss if you are not in the know. According to a famous story, Hachiko was a loyal dog who waited for his master every day in front of Shibuya Station and continued to do so for years even after his master had passed away. Hachikō (the dog) was born on November 10, 1923, at a farm near the city of Ōdate, Akita Prefecture. In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor at the Tokyo Imperial University, brought him to live in Shibuya, Tokyo, as his pet. Hachikō would meet Ueno at Shibuya Station every day after his commute home. This continued until May 21, 1925, when Ueno died of a cerebral hemorrhage while at work. From then until his death on March 8, 1935, Hachikō would return to Shibuya Station every day to await Ueno's return. Sad story, but good thing they have decided to honour his loyalty by putting up this statue. This Hachiko dog statue outside Shibuya station is one of Tokyo's most popular meeting points.(Tokyo, Japan, Apr/ May 2019) 781b155fdc