Hachiko the Dog

Hachiko and the unwavering bond between dogs and humans

Hachiko

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.

―Josh Billings

There are reasons dogs are deemed to be man’s best friend. For one, from a very long time, the human-canine bond evolved into a dynamic relationship where both parties benefit from each other. This dates way back to more than 20,000 years ago. In fact, 26,000-year-old imprints from a dog-wolf hybrid were found somewhere in the caves of Ardèche, south-central France.

Dogs are of help in various areas such as herding cattle, a source of comfort for therapy work, guarding places, search-and-rescue missions, or even as substitute for human companionship. One of the famous stories of this kind canine-human bond is Hachiko and Professor Hidesamuro Ueno’s.

Hachiko was a male Akita Inu who was born 1923 near the Odate, Akita Prefecture. His master, Hidesamuro Ueno, who named him Hachi, was a professor from the University of Tokyo. The two were very close. Every day, Hachiko sends off the professor by waiting for the train with him at the Shibuya Station. In the evening, he returns to the station to wait for his master’s return, then they would walk back home together.

On May 21, 1925, Professor Ueno passed away due to a heart attack. Hachiko continued to wait persistently for him at the Shibuya station. He waited and waited for years—nine years, nine months, and fifteen days to be exact. Eventually, people took notice of him. Some of the professor’s students wrote about his story, and it eventually got published by a major newspaper in Japan. He became a local celebrity of some sort, becoming featured in some popular dog shows.

Hachiko’s name became synonymous with loyalty. The Japanese considered him as an icon of will, persistence, and faithfulness. In celebration of the values he possessed, a sculptor named Tern Ando created a bronze statue of him. It was installed in front of the Shibuya Station together with a poem entitled The Conduct of a Loyal Dog.

Until this day, Hachiko remains as the most famous dog in Japan. He is even considered by some as a modern legend. His story served as an inspiration to several book, movie, and television drama adaptations. The Japanese film Hachiko Monogatari (1987) and Hollywood’s Hachi: a Dog’s Tale (2009) are some of the most popular versions of the Akita Inu’s life.

Do you know about other animals that became famous for their loyalty? Feel free to do so by sounding off on the comment section below. You can even tweet me at www.twitter.com/DoctorNancye.

 

References

The Economist. 2017. “Man’s best friend.” Accessed June 21, 2017. http://www.economist.com/node/21525353.

Digital Journal. 2017. “Dog faithfully awaits return of his master for past 11 years.” Accessed June 21.http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/218509.

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