Hachiko: The Faithful Dog

beth and hachiko.jpgMission Accomplished. We visited the statue of Hachiko at Shibuya Station this morning, and I finally got to stand next to the world’s best dog (next to my own of course). I recount the touching tale of Hachiko in my April 1 entry, but here’s a recap:

The “loyal dog Hachiko” is a beloved Japanese icon. Born in 1923, the purebred Akita would accompany his owner, Hidasaboru Ueno, to the train station every morning and wait for him to return in the afternoon. Ueno boarded the train one day in 1925 and never returned as he died of a heart attack. Hachiko, however, continued to wait at the station every day for ten years. A statue was erected at the station in 1934, and has become a landmark and popular meeting place.

hachiko mural.jpgA kindly old Japanese man at the small Hachiko museum showed us the old photographs of Hachiko wandering the station and also of the grand funeral procession held when the dog passed away 1935. After his death his remains were stuffed and mounted and can be seen today at the National Science Museum in Tokyo.

Even today his memory continues to be an inspiration. I watched hundreds of people—Japanese schoolchildren, teenagers, and adults, and foreign tourists from all over the world—pat the bronze statue as if it were a real dog and pose for photograph after photograph.