News World The most loyal dog in the world turns 100

The most loyal dog in the world turns 100

The most loyal dog in the world turns 100

A statue of Hachiko has stood outside Shibuya station in Tokyo since 1948

The Chinese catchphrase on the movie poster says it all: “I’ll wait for you no matter how long it takes.”

It tells the true story of Hachiko, who continues to wait for his master at a train station in Japan after his death.

Born 100 years ago, the creamy Akita Inu has been memorialized in everything from books and movies to the sci-fi comedy Futurama. The Chinese iteration, the third after the Japanese version in 1987 and the 2009 film starring Richard Gere, was a box office success.

There are stories of other dedicated Greyfriars Bobby hounds, but Hachiko’s global impact is nothing less than that.

There is a bronze statue of him outside Shibuya station in Tokyo, where he waited in vain for a decade from 1948. The statue was first installed in 1934 before being recycled for the war effort during World War II. Japanese schoolchildren are taught the tsukan hachiko, or loyal hachiko dog, as an example of piety and fidelity.

Hachiko represents the “ideal Japanese citizen” with his “unquestioning devotion,” says University of Hawaii professor Christine Yano: “faithful, trustworthy, obedient to master, understanding, not relying on reason, his place in the grand scheme of things. «.

the story of hachiko

Hachiko was born in November 1923 in Odate, Akita Prefecture, the original home of the Akitas.

A large Japanese dog, the Akita is one of the oldest and most popular breeds in the country. Designated a national symbol by the Japanese government in 1931, they were once trained to hunt animals such as wild boar and elk.

“Akita dogs are calm, loyal, intelligent and courageous. [and] Obedient to their masters,” said Eitsu Sakuraba, author of A Children’s Book in English about Hachiko. “On the other hand, she also has a stubborn personality and is wary of anyone who isn’t her master.”

The year Hachiko was born, renowned agriculture professor and dog lover Hidezaburo Ueno asked a student to find him an Akita puppy.

Hachiko became nationally known in Japan after a newspaper article in 1932.

After an arduous train journey, the cub arrived at Ueno’s home in the Shibuya district on January 15, 1924, where he was first presumed dead. According to Hachiko’s biographer, Professor Mayumi Ito, Uno and his wife Yaye nursed him back to health for the next six months.

Yuno named him Hachi, or eight in Japanese. Ko is an honor bestowed by UNO students.

Long wait

Ueno took the train to work several times a week.. He was accompanied by his three dogs, including Hachiko, to the Shibuya station. The three waited there for his return at night.

On May 21, 1925, Uno, then 53, died of a brain hemorrhage. Hachiko was only with him for 16 months.

“While people were awake, Hachi smelled Dr. Uno from the house and went to the living room. He crawled under the coffin and refused to move,” writes Professor Ito.

Hachiko spent the next few months with different families outside of Shibuya, but finally, in the summer of 1925, ended up with Ueno’s gardener, Kikuzaburo Kobayashi.

Returning to the area where his late master lived, Hachiko began his daily commute to the station, rain or shine.

“At night, Hachi got down on all fours at the front door and looked at each passenger as if looking for someone,” Professor Ito writes. The station staff initially saw him as a nuisance. Yakitori vendors would throw water at him, and small children would bully and beat him.

However, he gained national fame after the Japanese daily Tokyo Asahi Shimbun wrote about him in October 1932.

The station received food donations for Hachiko every day, and visitors came from far and wide to see him. Poems and haikus were written about him. In 1934, 3,000 people reportedly gathered at a fundraiser for a statue of him.

Hachiko’s death on March 8, 1935 made the front page of many newspapers. At his funeral, Buddhist monks prayed for him and dignitaries recited eulogies. Thousands visited the statue of him in the days that followed.

The Hachiko statue is a popular site and often the site of political protests.

In impoverished post-war Japan, a fundraising campaign for a new Hachiko statue managed to raise 800,000 yen, worth around 4 billion yen (£22m; $28m) at the time.

In hindsight, I think he knew Dr. One wouldn’t be back, but he waited; Hachiko taught us the value of trusting someone,” Takeshi Okamoto wrote in a 1982 newspaper article. As a high school student, he saw Hachiko every day at the station.

Remembering Hachiko

Every year on April 8, the Hachiko memorial service is held outside Shibuya station. The statue of her is often adorned with scarves, Santa hats, and more recently, a surgical mask.

His mount is on display at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo. Some of his remains are buried in the Aoyama Cemetery, along with Yuno and Yai. Statues of him have also been cast in the American set for the 2009 film Odette, Yuno’s hometown, Hisai, the University of Tokyo, and Rhode Island.

There is also the Odate Aligned series of events this year for its 100th birthday.

Will another century be celebrated for the world’s most loyal dog? Professor Yano says yes, because “Hachiko’s heroism” is not defined by any specific period of time, but instead is timeless.

Mr. Sakuraba has the same confidence. “Even 100 years from now, this unconditional and devoted love will remain unchanged, and Hachiko’s story will live forever.”

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