The True Story of Hachiko - The Faithful Dog

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 20, 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, 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!

This is the perfect example of the love that a dog can feel for their owner and we know this tale will move the hardest of hearts. If you still do not know 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?
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.
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

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