In Shibuya, right near the station, thousands of visitors come each year to visit and take pictures of the statue of Hachiko.
For those not familiar with the story, Hachiko is an Akita dog and the pet of Professor Hidesaburo Ueno, who worked at the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo.
At the end of each day, Hachiko would come to Shibuya Station to wait and greet for his master.
But in May 1925, Professor Ueno suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died and never returned to the train station where Hachiko was waiting.
Every day, for the next nine years, nine months and 15 days, Hachiko waited for Professor Ueno’s return, coming right to the station when the train arrived.
For those who were familiar with seeing Professor Ueno with his pet and those who read the Asahi Shimbun article about the dog in 1932, many people would bring food to Hachiko as the dog waited. But because of the article about the dog’s loyalty, Hachiko would become a national symbol of loyalty in Japan.
Hachiko died at the age of 12 on March 8, 1935 of terminal cancer and a filaria infection. Hachiko’s remains were cremated and his ashes were buried in Aoyama Cemetery in Minato, Tokyo next to his master Professor Ueno. His fur was preserved after his death and was stuffed and mounted as a permanent display at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.
In 1934, a bronze statue was erected at Shibuya Station but unfortunately due to World War II, the statue was recycled. But in 1948, the Society for Recreating the Hachiko Statue was commissioned by Takeshi Ando, the son of the original first statue’s artist and in August 1948, the bronze statue was erected and still remains to this day.
A statue of Hachiko can be found in front of Odate Station (Hachiko’s hometown) and another at the Akita Dog Museum in Odate.
In 2009, an American movie starring Richard Gere titled “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” was released in theaters. The film was shot in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and the Japanese Consulate in the US helped the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council and the city of Woonsocket to create an identical statue at the Woonsocket Depot Square.
The bronze statue at Shibuya is where Hachiko waited and in 2015, a bronze statue was erected at the University of Tokyo’s agriculture department featuring Hachiko being greeted by Professor Ueno.
So, popular that Tower Records Shibuya had a statue of Hachiko in front of their store setup in March 2015.
In November 2015, a rare photo of Hachiko was found.
And to this day, the story of Hachiko and his faithfulness towards his master and loyalty continues to win the hearts of many people, not just in Japan, but also all over the world.