Loyalty, love, friendship – these are the three rarest things on planet Earth today. Humans are probably not even capable of understanding the true meanings of these words on their own unless of course they are taught by those that they torture and think of as useless and inferior. You probably understood who we are referring to. Yes, we are talking about animals and in particular we are talking about dogs. Today we will learn about Hachikō – a dog who taught us the true meaning of loyalty, love and friendship. This legendary dog taught us one very vital lesson – love unconditionally and keep loving forever no matter what may come and go! Before we embark on our journey to the fascinating and inspiring life story of Hachikō, we need to warn – ‘You may end up crying’. So, here are 20 interesting Hachikō facts:
Interesting Hachikō Facts: 1-10
1. Hachikō was born on November 10, 1923 in Japan. His exact place of birth was on farm located near Ōdate city.
2. When Hachikō was less than a year old, a professor named Hidesaburō Ueno took Hachiko as a pet in 1924. Professor Ueno used to teach in agriculture department of the University of Tokyo.
3. Professor Ueno used to travel by train from a nearby station named Shibuya Station. Every evening when the professor returned, he was greeted by Hachiko at the station.
4. This became a regular routine. However in 1925, professor Ueno did not return. He had a fatal cerebral hemorrhage and never made it back. Hachikō kept waiting at the station.
5. For the next NINE years, NINE months and FIFTEEN days, Hachikō used to religious go to Shibuya Station exactly when the train was due for arrival and waited for his master’s return.
6. Eventually Hachikō’s wait ended as he himself met death at the age of 11 years on March 8, 1935. Scientists figured out that the reason for Hachikō’s death was filarial infection and terminal cancer.
7. During his patient and long waiting sessions, Hachikō attracted the attention of many passersby who had previously seen Professor Ueno and Hachikō together. Initially those people weren’t really friendly and didn’t even bother but later when story of Hachikō was published in Asahi Shimbun on October 4, 1392, they started bringing treats for Hachikō.
8. Probably Hachikō’s story would have gone untold if Hirokichi Saito – a student of Professor Ueno – did not have noticed Hachikō at the station.
9. Hirokichi had developed an extensive knowledge about the Akita dog breed and the first moment he saw Hachikō waiting at the station in 1932, he recognize him as an Akita breed.
10. Out of curiosity, Hirokichi followed Hachikō back to Kobayashi home where the former gardener of Professor Ueno by the name Kikuzaboro Kobayashi lived. Hirokichi learned about Hachikō from Kikuzaboro.
Interesting Hachikō Facts: 11-20
11. It was not long after his meeting with Kikuzaboro and his encounter with Hachikō that Hirokichi documented and published a census about Akita dog breed present in Japan and found that only 30 purebred Akitas were left of which Hachikō was one.
12. Over next several years, Hirokichi kept visiting Hachikō at Shibuya Station and kept publishing articles about the dog’s loyalty and finally in 1932, Tokyo Asahi Shimbun published an article about about Hachikō, bringing the dog to national spotlight.
13. The news of Hachikō’s remarkable loyalty and love for his master spread like wild fire throughout the nation.
14. Hachikō’s vigil became an example and parents and teachers alike started teaching children about loyalty.
15. Hachikō was honored by erecting a bronze statue in April 1934 at the Shibuya Station. The statue was created by a popular Japanese artist and it served to create a new awareness about Akita breed.
16. Interestingly enough, Hachikō was still alive when the statue was created and he was present at the spot on the day of unveiling.
17. The statue was recycled during WWII but in 1948, the son of the artist who created the original statue was commissioned by The Society for Recreating the Hachikō Statue. The new artist who recreated the statue was Takeshi Ando. Not only the statue was unveiled but a grand dedication ceremony also took place in August 1948.
18. At Shibuya Station, the exact spot where Hachikō used to wait for his master is etched with bronze paw prints and a text in Japanese is also etched which explains the story and loyalty of Hachikō.
19. The original pedestal on which the first statue was erected was used to erect another statue of Hachikō and this statue today stands in front of Odate’s Akita Dog Museum. Another statue of Hachikō is located in front of Ōdate Station at Hachikō’s hometown.
20. Today stuffed and mounted remains of Hachikō are preserved at National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.
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Hachikō Speaks and Reunion
Japan’s Nippon Cultural Broadcasting managed to salvage Hachikō’s bark from an old broken record in year 1994. A huge advertisement campaign followed and exactly 59 years after Hachikō’s death, on May 28, 1994, his bark was broadcast nationwide through radio. Millions of people tuned in to hear Hachikō’s bark. In 2015, University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Agriculture erected another bronze statue that depicted Professor Ueno returning to meet his loyal dog Hachikō. They were finally reunited forever!
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Meaning of Hachikō
Hachikō in Japanese is known as ‘chūken Hachikō’ which literally translates into ‘faithful dog Hachikō’. Hachi is the Japanese word for the number 8. This simply means that Hachikō was the 8th puppy that was born in the litter. The suffix kō stands for affection.
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And how can we expect not to see a movie being made on Hachikō’s life? In 1987, a Japanese movie by the name Hachikō Monogatari was released. The name literally translated to – ‘The Tale of Hachiko’. Later in 2009, an American movie was released by the name – ‘Hachi: A Dog’s Tale’.
We plead you to take some time out of your busy schedules to watch either one of the two movies. We can say for sure that even the most satanic of hearts will melt and you cannot help but cry on the sad ending of Hachikō.