My little man is not fond of watching television, unless the program is High Five, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, or Animal Planet. Among these, Animal Planet makes him settled the longest. One day while watching with him, the topic was about Akita dogs. The program went on, my little man watched while I read my book, until the story of one Akita made me close my book and paid attention to it. The story was about Hachiko.
If you have been to Japan, you might have noticed that there's a bronze statue of an Akita dog in Shibuya station. That dog is the famous Hachiko. What made him famous, and why did Japan give him honor? Here's the story:
In 1924, a professor named Hidesaburo Ueno took in an Akita as a pet. He named it Hachiko, because when the professor found the dog, he was wearing a tag that says Hachi. The professor and the dog were inseparable. In the morning, Hachiko walked with the professor to Shibuya train station, watched him enter the train until it faded his sight. In the afternoon, Hachiko would be in the Shibuya station again, on that place where his master would alight. This went on for a year, and the professor and Hachiko became a sort of "attraction" in the station. Commuters never missed a sight of the two together, until that day of May 1925. The professor, while on his job, suffered cerebral hemorrhage, and died. Hachiko patiently waited for his friend, but he never returned to that place where they would meet and walk home together. Eventually, the professor's wife had to let go of Hachiko. But still, despite being with a new master, Hachiko managed to escape in the afternoon to go to the station, settled himself there, and waited for the professor. Commuters and concerned food-stall owners gave Hachiko food to keep him nourished. For a long nine years, on that same spot of the Shibuya station, Hachiko waited for the return of his master.
One of the professor's students learned about the waiting Hachiko and he wrote several articles about this dog's loyalty to his master. After some time, one of his articles made its way to one of Japan's biggest dailies. This put Hachiko's story of loyalty to the spotlight, and was made known to the whole of Japan. Eventually, because of his faithfulness, Hachiko became Japan's national symbol of loyalty.
In 1934, a bronze statue was erected in Shibuya station---the Hichoko's statue. He was even present during its unveiling, but he must be old, weak and even sick by that time. In 1935, we has found dead.
Aside from the statue, one of Shibuya's exit was also named after the dog--the Hachiko Exit. Also, April 8 of every year, Japan pays tribute to this dog's devotion by having a solemn celebration in Shibuya station.
Photo of Hachiko
Statue of Hachiko in Shibuya Station
Photos: Google Images
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