Hachikō (ハチ公), a white dog of breed Akita Inu, was born in Odate, Japan, in 1923 and at 2 months was adopted by Professor Ueno of Tokyo University.
Every morning the professor used to go to Shibuya station to take the train together with his faithful friend, Hachi, later known as Hachikō in sign of endearment, and at 3 pm the dog was always at the station waiting for him. But, on May 21, 1925, Ueno was struck by a heart attack while he was at university and died; Hachikō went, as always, to the station but the professor didn’t come: the dog waited and came back, at the same hour, on the days following.
Soon everyone began to notice the loyal dog and his useless waiting: the Shibuya stationmaster and other people, who regularly used to take the train, started to feed him and give him a shelter; the news ran all over the country and he was reported as an example of great fidelity and love. People used to go to Shibuya only to see Hachikō, feed and stroke him, hoping to get for a little luck.
The months became years and Hachikō still kept returning to Shibuya station at 3 pm, even though he was now old and ailing; at April 1934 was made by the sculptor Teru Ando, a bronze statue with his likeness which was placed exactly where he used to sit every day and the dog itself attended the opening.
On March 8, 1935, Hachikō died of filariasis at the age of 12 years and his body was found in the place where he had been waiting for the return of his owner for 10 years without interruption. His death was reported on all the front pages of newspapers of Japan, was declared a day of mourning and collected contributions from all over the country in order to remember the dog who had captured the hearts of the nation.
When Japan went to war, all the available metals were melted down to make weapons and not even the statue of Hachikō was saved, but after war, in 1948, Ando‘s son carved a new statue, identical to the previous one, that still today can be seen outside the Shibuya station.
The statue is not the only monument that reminds Hachikō: in Aoyama Cemetery, beside the tomb of Professor Ueno, has been erected a memorial and have been buried some of the bones of Hachi, while the dog itself was embalmed and now is exposed in National Museum of Science; moreover, was built in Odate, his birthplace, a statue similar to that of Shibuya.
Every year, on 8 April, takes place a solemn ceremony attended by hundreds of dog lovers who bring their tributes to the loyalty and devotion of Hachikō.
The dog became the subject of Hachikō Monogatari, a Japanese movie from 1987 directed by Seijirō Kōyama that tells his story from birth to death; were also written books about him, as Hachikō: the true story of a loyal dog by Pamela S. Turner, and Hachikō Waits written by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by Machiyo Kodaira.
The Culture Broadcasting Network in Japan could find an old recording of Hachikō while was barking: mentre abbaiava: was broadcast on the radio on May 28, 1994, and was heard by millions of people.