The True Story of Hachiko, History’s Most Loyal Dog And How Japan Honored Him
by Matthew Gilligan
If there was ever a dog that epitomized the phrase “Man’s Best Friend”, it was a pooch named Hachiko who lived in Japan nearly 100 years ago.
His story was so inspiring and touching that he is still remembered in Japan today and he even has a statue dedicated to him and his owner.
If you’ve never heard the story of Hachiko before, get your Kleenex ready, because it’s a tearjerker.
Hachiko was adopted by an agriculture science professor at Tokyo University named Eizaburo Ueno.
The two became inseparable and Hachiko used to watch Ueno depart on the train for work from Shibuya Station every day and then return to the station later to walk home with him.
Man and dog were truly best friends.
When Hachiko was only two-years-old on May 21, 1925, Ueno never came back home from work to Shibuya Station. Hachiko was there waiting for him that day but Ueno had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and passed away suddenly at work.
Hachiko ended up living with a former gardener for the Ueno family, but for the next 9 years, 9 months, and 15 days, the loyal dog went to Shibuya Station every morning and every afternoon in hopes of seeing his master again.
A story about the dog was published in a Japanese newspaper in 1932 and Hachiko became a celebrity in his home country.
People from all over the world would visit Hachiko and give him treats at the train station as he faithfully carried out his vigil.
A statue of Hachiko was unveiled in front of the station in 1934 and the old dog was there to see it himself that day.
Hachiko passed away on the street near Shibuya Station on March 8, 1935 at the age of 11.
His ashes were buried next to Ueno’s grave in Tokyo.
In addition to the statue outside the train station, another statue of Hachiko and Ueno finally reuniting stands at the University of Tokyo.