Hachiko + Hidesaburo Ueno
Photo of Hachiko; Offerings during the April 8 Hachiko ceremony
Hachiko was a purebred Akita dog, one of the few in Japan, back in 1924 when Hidesaburo Ueno acquired the golden brown dog as a pet. Hidesaburo taught agriculture at Tokoyo University and each day when the professor returned from work Hachiko greeted him at the Shibuya Station. One day Hidesaburo had a cerebral hemorrahage and died, never to again return to the Shibuya station. Yet every day for nine years, Hachiko went to the station to wait for his master to return, arriving at precisely the moment the train was due. When the Asahi Shimbun, a big Tokyo newspaper, published a story about Hachiko the dog became an overnight celebrity. He became a role model for Japanese children, a paragon of unwavering fidelity to family and country. In 1934 a bronze statue of the Hachiko was erected at Shibuya Station. He died in 1935 of cancer, yet he remains, stuffed like Balto, for all to see in a glass case in the National Science Museum of Japan. During World War II, Hachiko played his part for the war effort when his statue was melted down. A new statue was erected in 1948, where it stands today at one of the five exits of Shibuya Station—the “Hachiko-guchi” [Hachiko exit]. Each year, on April 8, hundreds of dog owners gather at Shibuya Station to honor the dog.