Hachikō is a dog that probably needs no introduction. A symbol of loyalty and neverending love, Hachikō went on to become a cultural phenomenon, an icon not only in his native Japan but to the whole wide world as well. The golden-brown, pure-bred Akita was born back in the late fall of 1923 on a farm in Ōdate, Akita Prefecture, Japan.
Throughout the years, many people have wondered “What is the most loyal dog?” The truth is, all dogs are loyal to their beloved owners. The emotional story of Hachiko the dog clearly reveals the love a dog has for his master. Here is the Hachiko story.
Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog
The Hachiko real story begins with the lasting bond between Hachiko and his owner, Hidesaburo Ueno. Even though Hachiko lived back in the 20th century, his story has continued to inspire people around the world up to this day. The tale of the Hachiko story has resulted in several Hachiko memorials and even a Hachiko movie that documents the story of the incredible bond that formed between Hachiko and Ueno.
Hachiko was an Akita Inu dog born on a farm in 1923 and later adopted by Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor of agriculture at the University of Tokyo. The two fell into a daily routine: Ueno and Hachiko would walk together to the Shibuya train station, where Ueno would pet Hachiko goodbye before getting on the train to work. Hachiko, who also became known as Hachi, would then spend the day waiting for Ueno to come back. In the meantime, local shopkeepers and station workers would keep an eye on him and often give him treats while he held his vigil for Ueno.
This routine continued for several years until one day, tragedy ensued. Ueno never came home from work, as he suffered an illness and .ᴘᴀ.ss ᴀᴡᴀʏ. Of course, Hachi had no idea about this, so the loyal dog continued to wait for his owner’s return. Every day like clockwork, when the train would appear, so would Hachi, searching for Ueno. Hachi’s fidelity earned him the nickname “the faithful dog.”
Hachi never gave up hope and continued to wait for more than nine years for his owner to return. Finally, one morning, on March 8, 1935, Hachiko was found .ᴅ.ɪᴇᴅ. It is believed that he .ᴅ.ɪᴇᴅ due to natural causes. His body was taken to the train station’s baggage room, a place that had been one of his favorite hangouts. He was then photographed, surrounded by Ueno’s wife, Yaeko, as well as staff members at the station. Yoshizo Osawa, one of the staff members, gifted the photo to one of his daughters, who recalled that her dad loved dogs and would often tell her about how Hachi would come daily to the station, where staff would happily share their lunches with him.
The first years were not easy for Hachiko. Days passed, then months and years, and station workers, assuming he was a stray dog and afraid for other people’s safety, were always trying to chase him away. Yet he continued coming, despite everything. Then one morning in 1932, a journalist and Hidesaburo’s former student, after seeing the dog every single day at the station when he was boarding the train for work, and again greeted by the sight of the dog waiting when coming back, decided to follow the sad dog to his home. There he met with the gardener Kuzaboro Kobayashi, Hachikō’s new master, and learned of his story of loyalty, so he began to write articles about him in a major Japanese newspaper.
Very soon, Hachikō became a real inspiration for everyone. Celebrities all over the country learned of him.
Naturally, the commuters quickly took notice of the adorable dog. Many of them had seen the loyal furry friend and his owner Hidesaburō walk home together from said station. Not everybody was friendly, at least not until October 4, 1932, when the first article on Hachikō was published—after that, Hachikō gained national attention, and people would often bring the famous dog food and treats. You can see the loyal Akita immortalized in the vintage photos from several publications of the time.