Tokyo, Japan – In the vibrant bustle that characterizes Tokyo’s city life, a statue stands as a silent testament to enduring loyalty. This week, the iconic Hachiko statue, located outside one of Tokyo’s principal train stations, marks the centennial of the birth of the legendary dog it commemorates.
The Akita dog named Hachiko is celebrated for its unwavering devotion to its owner, Hidesaburo Ueno, a university professor. Hachiko’s routine of waiting for Prof Ueno at Shibuya station became a daily occurrence, one that continued even after the professor’s untimely death in 1925. Hachiko maintained the vigil for almost a decade until its own death in March 1935.
The story, reminiscent of the 19th-century Scottish narrative of Greyfriars Bobby, captured the affection of the community, leading them to contribute funds for the erection of its statue in 1934, just before the canine’s passing.
In the midst of World War II, the original statue was dismantled for its valuable metal. However, a replacement was erected in 1948 and it quickly turned into a favored rendezvous point.
In the present day, the statue draws a diverse crowd, with people from all over the world stopping to capture a moment with the representation of the faithful hound. Omar Sanchez, a 33-year-old from Spain, expressed a sentiment shared by many visitors, “I would like my dog to be waiting for me as long a time as he did,” highlighting the universal appeal of Hachiko’s tale.
Echoing this appreciation for the heartwarming story, 62-year-old Daniel Callahan from the United States remarked, “The story is sweet, and we need nice stories. The world is fractured… Anything that can bring people together is nice.”
Hachiko’s story has transcended cultural boundaries, inspiring a Hollywood film in 2009, an Indian movie in 2015, and even a feature in Japanese video gaming. Yet, not every Tokyo resident is familiar with this tale of loyalty. Raisa Abe, a 20-year-old college student, admitted to not knowing the story behind the statue, despite its fame.
“This is the first time I heard the story,” Abe stated. She hopes that the statue continues to be a landmark for all, a wish that seems likely to be fulfilled as Hachiko remains a beloved mascot for generations to come.
As Hachiko’s story continues to inspire and unify people, the statue at Shibuya station stands as a poignant reminder of the bond between humans and their canine companions.