Chūken Hachikō means “faithful dog Hachikō” in Japanese.
Hachikō, an Akita was born in November 1923. His owner, Hidesaburo Ueno bought him from a farm near Tokyo. Ueno brought Hachikō to live in Shibuya, Tokyo. And Hachikō would meet his master at the Shibuya Station every day after his commute home from the Tokyo Imperial University and they would walk home together.
But on 21 May, 1925, Ueno died of a cerebral haemorrhage while at work – and he never came home. Yet, Hachikō continued to go to the Shibuya Station each day at precisely when the train was due and waited for the return of his master. For nine years until his death in March 1935, Hachikō waited – but he never saw his master again.
It was an article written about Hachikō by Hirokichi Saito, one of Ueno’s students appeared in one of the national papers, Asahi Shimbun in October 1932 that touched many.
Since then Hachikō has become a part of Japanese folklore – upheld as an example of loyalty and fidelity.
A year before Hachiko’s passing, a bronze statue rendered in his likeness by a well-known Japanese artist was erected at Shibuya Station in April 1934. Hachikō himself was present at its unveiling.
Unfortunately, the war damaged the statue. The Society for Recreating the Hachikō Statue commissioned Takeshi Ando, son of the original artist, to make a second statue. It was replaced in August 1948.
And this is what Mum decided to do on a 24-hour stopover in Tokyo so she and IMPOSTOR could pay their respects to Hachiko at this statue near the busy intersection of Shibuya Station.
When they got there, they were surprised to see a queue of people waiting to have their photos taken next to the statue.
I don’t think we’ll ever make it to Tokyo, so thank you IMPOSTOR for representing us.
You’re a fine example, Hachikō – you reminded hoomans how much they mean to us. If all hoomans can know how much we love them, maybe many more will see us as more than “just a dog.”
May’s comment: Hachi means “eight” and the suffix -kō indicating affection.
Akitas are known to be very loyal dogs – alongside German Shepherds (eg. Rin Tin Tin), Border Collies (eg. Lassie), Golden Retrievers and Labradors.
Many years ago when I used to frequent Tokyo on business trips, a colleague had pointed the statue out to me. A dog statue? She explained that this was a famous dog – known for it’s loyalty. I shrugged and walked away.
Since then I had seen the film with Richard Gere, and then Darcy came into my life and I saw things a little differently these days. 🙂
So more than a decade on, I purposefully stopped over so I could pay our respects to a dog that reminded the world of how much a dog can love, their loyalty beyond a doubt and their faithfulness.