I have read about Hachiko story since I was in elementary school (I know... ages ago!). This time in Tokyo, I am visiting the statue, enjoy the story after the jump!
In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo, took Hachikō, a golden brown Akita, as a 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 1925, when Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, while he was giving a lecture, and died without ever returning to the train station in which Hachikō would wait.
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.
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 on October 4, 1932 in Asahi Shimbun, 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 Kobayashi home, the home of Ueno's former gardener, Kikuzaboro 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.
He returned frequently to visit Hachikō, and over the years he published several articles about the dog's remarkable loyalty. In 1932, one of his articles, published in Asahi Shimbun, placed the dog in the national spotlight.
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. A well-known Japanese artist rendered a sculpture of the dog, and throughout the country, a new awareness of the Akita breed grew.
Last known photo of Hachikō - pictured with his owner's wife Yaeko Ueno (front row, second from right) and station staff in mourning in Tokyo on March 8, 1935.
Hachikō died on March 8, 1935 at the age of 11 based on his date of birth. He was found on a street in Shibuya. In March 2011, scientists finally settled the cause of death of Hachikō: the dog had both terminal cancer and a filaria infection. There were also four yakitori skewers in Hachikō's stomach, but the skewers did not damage his stomach or cause his death.
After his death, Hachikō's remains were cremated and his ashes were buried in Aoyama Cemetery, Minato, Tokyo where they rest beside those of Hachikō's beloved master, Professor Ueno. Hachikō's fur, which was preserved after his death, was stuffed and mounted and is now on permanent display at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.
In April 1934, a bronze statue in his likeness was erected at Shibuya Station (35°39′32.6″N 139°42′2.1″E), and Hachikō himself was present at its unveiling. The statue was recycled for the war effort during World War II. In 1948, the Society for Recreating the Hachikō Statue commissioned Takeshi Ando, son of the original artist, to make a second statue. When the new statue appeared, a dedication ceremony occurred. 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.
A similar statue stands in Hachikō's hometown, in front of Ōdate Station. In 2004, a new statue of Hachikō was erected on the original stone pedestal from Shibuya in front of the Akita Dog Museum in Odate.
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