An Akita dog born in Odate, Japan, in 1923, formed a strong bond with his owner, a professor in the agriculture department at the University Of Tokyo, who took the dog in as a pet. The name of the dog is in two parts. Hachi is the number eight in Japanese. Eight is a lucky number and is also the dog’s place in the litter – eighth born. Ko means prince.
Every day Hachiko would go to the Shibuya train station with the professor then return and wait for him coming home from work, to walk back with him.
Then one day in May 1925, the professor didn’t return home. He had a cerebral hemorrhage and died suddenly at his place of work.
Hachiko kept going back to the station every day for ten years, until his own death, waiting for his friend and owner. He would turn up at the time the train would leave and arrive.
He was very well-known and talked about. People at the station fed him and looked after him.
A major Japanese newspaper reporter picked up the story of Hachiko in 1932 and published it, which led to Hachiko becoming a celebrity all over Japan. People started calling him “Chuken-Hachiko”, which means “Hachiko – the faithful dog”.
The story of the dog that never gave up gained a lot of attention also in national media, inspiring many people from all over the world to visit Hachiko at Shibuya Train Station to offer him treats.
Hachiko passed away peacefully and alone on the street near Shibuya train station on March 8, 1935, 12 years old.
Hachiko is now on display at the National Science Museum in Ueno, Tokyo.
There is a statue in his memory outside the train station and a large mosaic there, dedicated to him.
Two films have been made about Hachiko. One in Japan, one in America.
During the time of his life, a researcher of the Akito dog breed discovered that only thirty pure bred Akito dogs lived in Japan. The breed increased in numbers thereafter.