By José Pablo Harz
May 27, 2024

Japanese historians found new registers of the dog who became a symbol of loyalty and the love between people and their pets. And if the movie made you cry, your heart will break at the sight of these real pictures.

His sad and touching history is known around the entire world.

Children’s books, movies, and even statues have been made to remember this sweet dog who waited for his owner every day at a train station, without knowing that he was dead.

Scion Films

For 9 years, the dog arrived at the station at the same hour to look for his human friend and, when he failed to find him, he would leave only to come back the next day.

If the beautiful dog that played Hachiko on the famous movie “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” with Richard Gere made you cry, now Japanese historians have unveiled new pictures of this famous and loyal dog and, with all due respect, the movie can’t compare to the original story.

Hachiko was an Akita dog that, no longer after being born in 1923, was adopted by Hidesaburo Ueno, an agriculture professor who worked for the University of Tokyo in Shibuya, Japan. They formed an inseparable duo, as remembered by multiple sources.

Ueno would ride the train to work and Hachiko would leave home to go to the station and wait for his owner, so he could be the first one to say hi when he came back from work. He did this for an entire year until, one day, the professor didn’t come back. He had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while giving a talk. He was never able to go back to the station where his loyal friend waited for him.

Every day during the following nine years, nine months and fifteen days, Hachiko would wait, showing up just as the train arrived at the station, for a reunion that wouldn’t happen again.

One of the professor’s students, Hirokichi Saito, who was a connoisseur of the Akita breed, knew the story of this loyal pet when the late professor’s gardener told him about it. Seven years passed and Saito, once upon a time Ueno’s student, published multiple articles about the loyal dog of Shibuya station. In 1932 one of his articles on the Asahi Shimbun paper made the dog famous at a national level.

After her story became famous, the travelers and workers’ reactions, who haven’t been very friendly previously, turned into treats and food to feed the dog during his eternal wait.

Hachiko was a huge hit. His loyalty to the memory of his owner impressed Japan. He was viewed as an example of loyalty that everyone should aim to follow.

Hachiko’s legendary loyalty became a national symbol of loyalty for everyone in Japan, including the royal family.

But every story has an ending and Hachi’s came in 1935, at the elderly age of 11 years old, after a filaria infection. Now he rests at Aoyama Cemetery, on Minato, Tokyo, next to his beloved owner and best friend, Professor Ueno.

His death made such a profound impact on Japanese society that hundreds of people reunited around his statue to commemorate the first year after his passing.

Hachiko became such an important symbol that his fur is actually on a permanent exhibit at the  National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.

With these beautiful pictures, statues, multiple movies, and popular references, Hachiko’s story has not been forgotten. It’s safe to say that Hachi’s story and example will transcend time for many years to come.