The True Story of Hachiko - The Faithful Dog

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: October 27, 2020
The True Story of Hachiko - The Faithful Dog

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Hachiko was a dog known for his infinite fidelity and love for his owner, Eizaburo Ueno. This dog is known as the faithful and lonely dog as he waited for his owner at the train station after he returned from work, even after his owner's sudden death.

In this AnimalWised article we're going to tell the tale of this amazing dog, this is the true story of Hachiko, the faithful dog.

Who was Hachiko the faithful dog?

Hachiko was a dog known for his infinite fidelity and love for his owner, Eizaburo Ueno, a university professor in Tokyo, Japan. Every afternoon, Hachiko (stylized as Hachikō in Japanese) waited at the Shibuya train station until his owner returned from work - even after his tragic sudden death.

This display of affection and loyalty has made Hachiko's story become world famous. It has even made it onto the big screen with a movie.

This is the perfect example of how the love of a dog can be as strong as the love of humans. So let's get into the true story of Hachiko “the faithful dog”, grab some tissues and keep reading this AnimalWised article!

Life with the professor

Hachiko was an Akita Inu who was born in 1923 in Akita prefecture, Japan. A year later he became a gift for the daughter of a professor of agronomic engineering at Tokyo University. When the professor, Eisaburo Ueno, saw him for the first time, he realized that his legs were slightly crooked. They resembled the kanji that represents the number 8 (八, which in Japanese is pronounced hachi), so he decided to name him Hachiko (ハチ公).

When Ueno's daughter grew up, she married and went to live with her husband, leaving the dog behind. The teacher had grown very fond of him, so he decided to keep Hachi instead of giving him away.

Ueno went to work by train every day and Hachiko became his faithful companion. Every morning he accompanied him to the Shibuya train station and in the afternoon he went back to meet him when he returned. This example of true loyalty is what inspired the people of Tokyo at the time and the rest of the world since.

The True Story of Hachiko - The Faithful Dog - Life with the professor

The death of his master

One day, while teaching at the university, Ueno suffered a sudden cerebral hemorrhage which ended his life. However, Hachiko continued to wait for him at the Shibuya station.

Day after day Hachiko went to the station and waited for hours for his owner, looking for his face among the thousands of strangers passing by. These days turned into months and months and eventually into years. Hachiko waited tirelessly for his owner for nine long years. Through rain, snow or sunshine. He would appear at the exact time his master's train awas due in the station.

The inhabitants of Shibuya knew Hachiko and has regular seen him with professor Ueno. Due to the busyness of the station, many found it annoying to have the dog getting in the way. However, when they realized what had happened, they took charge of feeding and taking care of him while he waited in the door of the station. They soon realized the reason he was there was supreme loyalty. This loyalty for his owner earned him the nickname “the faithful dog”.

People have shown much affection and admiration for Hachiko and his loyalty. So much so, a statue of him was revealed in 1934 in front of the same train station where he waited for his owner every day.

The True Story of Hachiko - The Faithful Dog - The death of his master

Death of Hachiko

On March 9, 1935, Hachiko was found dead at the foot of the statue. He was 11 and it appears he died because of old age. It adds poetic resonance to the Hachiko story that he died in the same place where he had waited for his owner's return for nine years. The remains of the faithful dog were buried next to those of his owner in the cemetery of Aoyama in Tokyo.

During World War II all Japanese statues made from bronze were recast to manufacture armaments, including that of Hachiko. Nevertheless, a few years later, a society was created to produce a new dog statue and to put it in the same place. Takeshi Ando, ​​the son of the original sculptor, was hired to rework the statue. This goes to show that the story of Hachiko had endured long after his death. Perhaps such inspiring stories were even more necessary after a war.

Today the statue of Hachiko continues to stand in the same place, in front of the station of Shibuya. Every April 8th a special day is celebrated which commemorates his fidelity.

After all these years the story of Hachiko, the faithful dog is still alive because his love, loyalty and unconditional affection shook the heart of a population. And still continues to do so today. His legacy lives on.

The True Story of Hachiko - The Faithful Dog - Death of Hachiko

The story of Hachiko and its legacy

The story of the dog Hachi has continued in the hearts of those who heard it. This legacy is one which is kept alive thanks to the story's retelling. Many people in Japan have told this story to from older generations to younger. However, it is also important to remember that the faithful dog's story was not only popular posthumously.

Hirokichi Saito was one of professor Ueno's students and he grew a strong interest in the Japanese Akita dog breed. He even developed Nippo (Nipponinu Hozonkai - Japanese Dog Preservation Society) and is more than partly responsible for this dog's regained popularity. In fact, through his research, we learned that Hachiko was only one of around 30 purebred Akita Inu dogs still alive.

Saito's love for Akitas and Hachiko in particular led to him writing various articles which helped to publicize his story. These stories spread so wide that in 1987 the first movie about Hachiko was released. The Japanese language Hachikō Monogatari (‘The Tale of Hachiko’) was the number one movie in Japan at the time of its release. Hachiko's story received the Hollywood treatment in 2009 with the release of Hachi: A Dog's Tale staring Richard Gere as an anglicized version of the real life professor Ueno.

The legacy of Hachiko's story can be seen in diverse ways from children's books to plot lines in episodes of Scooby Doo. One of the most appropriate is the naming of a new minibus in the Shibuya ward ‘Hachiko-bus’.

If you want to read similar articles to The True Story of Hachiko - The Faithful Dog, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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What did you think of this article?
how did he fix his problem
neil hudson
ive seen this movie Richard gere 6 times and ive always filled up with tears---well made!!!--so touching---the music doesnt help lol
Its the best story ever. And i also watched the movie and, well, it made me cry
This loyalty dog, spend ten years by himself.
That breaks my heart, I wish someone would of took the dog in.
He die alone, on the streets, no one with him.
People fed him and gave him lots of love and attention. Many attempts were made to take him in but he would always run off and find his way back to Shibuya station. He died of terminal illness, and he was given respect. America has got a really uninformed impression of the story of this dog. Animals prefer to die alone, in fact most animals will crawl off alone to die. That's why people will discover their dead pet in a hidden place, like under a chair, or under the porch for example.
Michael Brown
An interesting thought: Imagine going back in time to the day (May 21st, 1925) Professor Euno left for work for the very last time. Imagine stopping him on his way to Shibuya Station and telling him that you're from the future and that he'd die on this day and that his dog Hachi will wait for him at the station for 9+ years. Imagine telling the professor that his dog will become the most famous dog in the world--books will be written about him, movies made, people from all over the world will come to Tokyo to take a photo next to his statue, etc. Imagine telling the professor that millions will cry for his dog. Finally, imagine telling Euno that, in the next hundred years and beyond, his beautiful boy will influence more peoples' lives than most world leaders. I think part of the sadness of this whole story is that Professor Euno never knew the impact his dog would have on the world. Imagine if the professor knew all this and could look into Hachi's eyes for the last time before he left.
I love u...Hachiko
I like Hachiko……..
Wally DeRose
Now that it has been established by the book by Mayumi Itoh the volumes regarding Hachi exist the question remains as to why they are not available to the public and only to a select writer nor have they been translated these many years.
May God bless him
Wally DeRose
Mayumi Itoh is a former university professor at the Reno and Japanese American who wrote Solving twenty Mysteries about the most famous dog in Japan that came out last year. She is a distinguished and credible author whose facts about Hachi are backed up by written statements of Japanese officials, witnesses both living and deceased and official railroad records of the time. Page 191 of this book relates the six volumes are in existence and are known as a Journal of hachiko written by a young railroad employee tasked with the responsibility of taking care of Hachi. He is identified as Sato and proven by railroad documents that were under Japanese government control at that time. This journal is Chuken Hachi-ko kiroku. The author also points out to fraudulent facts and why they were written past and present . This book is an update of a previous one and she is considered truthful with knowledge proven by reliable documents and statements.
As a retired investigator I found it credible. Please read it and make your own concisions.
Wally DeRose
Apparently anew book by the author of the first truth about hachi was published in 1018 that reports it has the answers to twenty unknown facts about hachi and is an updated version-maybe that will explain my prior requests pertaining to the six written volumes about him that have not made public will be included in her writings if so facts 90 plus years later will finally be known-and I can stop my search about the 6 undisclosed volumes.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Wally,

As much as the story of Hachiko is fascinating, it would be difficult to imagine there is a 6 volume biography on him. Biographies of this length tend to be reserved for important public figures with long and well-sourced histories. If someone wrote 6 volumes about Hachiko it would either have to be 99% fiction or else pretty dull.
wally derose
With all due respect Hachiko was a public figure in Japan. The government appointed vets to care for him and over 5000 attended his funeral. It is not beyond reality that an official of the railroad was appointed to care for and account for this daily activities. Factual accounts relate to his being an icon and treated we;;some of the time is well as being neglected. Based on the facts one could assume that he was famous at the time thus, a journal was maintained at that time by a caretaker to proof he was. In any event hopefully it may be covered in this new novel.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Wally,

We certainly didn't mean any disrespect to you! There are books out there about Hachiko as well as at least 2 movies. The story itself is incredible and has inspired so many across the world. What we mean is that it is a relatively simple story and doesn't need to be told in so many volumes. Accounts are limited because there really is only so much you can say about what actually happened, but the rest of it has lead to many people to be inspired to create their own version of the actual narrative.
wally derose
According to Mayumi Itoh author of true life @ legend of the most famous dog in Japan 6 volumes detailing life were saved from wartime air raids now kept at the secretariat of the society for the maintenance of the bronze statue east shibuya station master office journal written by Sato 1933 also books ibid section. I brought if to the authors attention that it was in her book with no explanations given. seems no one wants to admits it even thought its written and appears to be factual-Please attempt to confirm it -thanks
This story have me in my family cry
Thank you for sharing the story of Hachiko - I was very moved by the movie. No doubt in my mind that dogs and cats have a connection with their owners that can't be explained. Michael, thank you as well for further clarification of this heart touching story.
Administrador AnimalWised
You are very welcome Elsa!
I totally agree with that hachiko is a very loyal dog beings that the fact that he waited every day at Shibuya station every single day knowing that his owner (dr.ueno) was dead anyways. What still wonders is if hachiko knew that dr.ueno was dead or if he wasn't. Someone please answer this question because I'm puzzled myself. Anyways I'm sure everyone will enjoy listening or reading this loyal story.

Unless the body of his owner was presented to him (very unlikely), I can't see that Hachiko could have known that he was dead.
i cried it was a sad story
I watched the movie and I cried so much the fact of the owner dying and then the dog. It is so sad!!!
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Karla,

Yes, it is a moving story. It's why it is a story which has endured so long and inspired so many!
Who said the story of hashi? And what happen to the people that the professor knew in the train station?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Moises,

The story of Hachiko is one of public record, but has also been passed down through generations of people telling the story. It has then entered local and now international lore. As for the people the professor knew on the train station, this would take a level of research we simply cannot commit to.
Michael Brown
It's a very nice story and you did a good job writing it. Basically, you have the general idea correct but, if you don't mind, I'd like to respectfully correct you on several of the facts. #1 Professor Euno's names is "Hidesaburo" Euno not Eizaburo. #2. Ueno died of a stroke (cerebral hemorrhage) not a heart attack. #3 Didn't Hachi get his name because of his birth order (#8) in the litter? I never heard this story about the kangi and his slightly crooked legs but it is fascinating. #4 It is true that some of the commuters and visitors fed Hachiko but he was taken care of by the family gardener Kikuzaburo Kobayashi. In fact, Professor Euno died in 1925 and the connection that Hachiko was his dog and waiting for his deceased master didn't occur until a full 7 years later after his story came out in the Asahi Shimbun in 1932 . Hachi, for the most part, was treated very badly at Shibuya Station until then as people thought he was a stray. The stroke of luck for this story came about when one of his former students, Hirokichi Saito, was traveling through Shibuya (1932) and noticed the dog and made the connection that it was the deceased professor's. Saito was a journalist for the Asahi Shimbun and an expert in the Akita breed. Anyway, Saito followed Hachi home one day and that led to Kobayashi's house (the gardener) where he learned the dog's sad story. Saito, over the next few years, wrote a few articles on Hachiko which skyrocketed the dog to fame. #5 Unlike in the movie (both 2009 American and 1987 Japanese), Hachiko didn't die at the station. His body was found on a side street of the Shibuya district in the early morning. Many speculated that Hachi was on his way to the station. #4 Hachiko did not die of old age, he died of cancer and a filaria (heartworms) infection. The cause of death was initially attributed to a yakitori skewer that people believed punctured his intestines but this was later found to be false. #6 You also write that his remains were buried next to Professor Ueno's--well, partly true, maybe, he was cremated and those ashes were buried next to his owner (but even this isn't entirely clear--it's hard to find any supporting evidence on this one) and his fur was stuffed and is on display at the National Science Museum in Tokyo while his internal organs were preserved and are still on display at The University of Tokyo's Faculty of Agriculture. It was an examination of those organs by Japanese scientists in 2011 that discovered the above cause(s) of Hachiko's death. Also, I'm not sure where you heard that Hachi was a present for Euno's daughter. I'd like to check on far as I know, Hachi was a gift from one of his students. I'm not saying it's wrong--I just never heard this. At any rate, thank you for writing this story you did a very nice job!
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Michael,

Ours was a short overview of the story of this dog and his incredible loyalty. You have provided lots of extra detail and specifics which are really intriguing. We are sure our readers will appreciate reading your comment with all the context you have provided as much as we have. How is it that you have become such an expert on this story? You seem to have done your research!
Michael Brown
Hi Administrator AnimalWised,
I appreciate you posting my comment. I'm not sure if I'd call myself an "expert" on this subject but I have done some research and have written about it myself. Through the years, I've noticed inconsistencies in the Hachiko story on several websites, so I can sympathize with your writer when trying to uncover some of the basic facts. Noticing those inconsistencies led me to do some research to try and get to the bottom of the story and figure out which are facts and which are errors in the story. It's hard to find a definitive source (at least in English) so the process, for me, came down to cross referencing sources and trying to figure out which were most reliable and which facts popped up on both English and Japanese sites . For example, on several websites professor Euno's name is listed as Eizaburo but this is surely false as I've seen his name written in Japanese. The question of Hachi's remains (cremated) at Aoyoma cemetery in Tokyo interests me. It's certainly commonly reported that his ashes are there. I've been to the cemetery with my wife and the officials there told her in Japanese that maybe Hachi's ashes are there, maybe they're not. No one there seems to know for sure but it would seem likely given Japanese burial rituals after death. There's certainly a post next to Euno's grave stone honoring Hachi. The best answer seems to be probably based on the preponderance of information. It's also very unlikely that Hachi was given to Euno's daughter. It's fairly well documented that Professor Euno had an interest in Akita's and that one of his students shipped the pup to him in Tokyo from Odate (where Hachiko was born). At any rate, I thought I'd write a response but, like you and your readers, am fully aware that the importance of this story lies not in the details but in the general message. Thanks again and in reading over my previous post, I see that I made some numbering errors! All the best, Michael
L.E.D. Miyamoto
Thank you Michael Brown for the added clarification and how polite it was written..I agree with many of the points you wrote and believe it was necessary in order for the readers to know. The original story here was well written and needed considering the site, plus the fact that Hachi is the Main Vein for the AKC (1955)Akita's unknown here until Helen Keller brought the 1st one to the USA (1937)when a Police Officer gave her KamiKaze-go" who she called Kami because she knew about Kachi when she came to Japan and of his loyalty when word spread thruout. The 1st Statue built of Hachi at Shibuya Station when he was still alive the unveiling. Yes he and his internals are located at the as you mentioned and I personally have owned and loved 2 Akita's and Thank Animalwised for the story as well.
wally derose
I understand there are six volumes journal detailing Hachi;s activities that are kept at the train masters east shibuya station office by the secretariat of the society for the maintenance of the hachiko bronze statute that have not been published or made public that were written by a man identified as Sato- 2 sets 3 volumes - no official will respond to this question or make it public-why
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Wally,

We haven't heard about these six volumes. It seems a little unlikely that any dog would have such reportage about them, but it is always possible. Could you let us know your source?
Anna D'Antonio
Love the story. Love the way the people took responsibility for this
heartbroken dog. Probaly stayed there 9 years because of his owner.and the care people took of him. I have my 15 year old Silky
Terrier , Willow. He waits for me every day sitting on top of the couch
barking out the window. Sleeps at my feet. Willow is the last man standing of the 3 others who were present with Him and than died.
Hope He never leaves me. I love you Hachi, Will never forget this story. Please see this as an example of how societys should treat animals especially street animals.
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The True Story of Hachiko - The Faithful Dog

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