Hachi, a dog memorialized in a 2009 movie as well as in several other film adaptations, is famously known for his remarkable loyalty to his owner. His story is a prominent tale in Japan demonstrating loyalty and devotion. What kind of dog was Hachi?
What Dog Breed was Hachi?
Photo of the faithful dog Hachiko (chūken Hachikō (忠犬ハチ公)). Photo courtesy Wikipedia
Hachi, also known as Hachikō, was an Akita dog, a breed that hails from the mountainous regions of northern Japan.
Known for their loyalty to their family, Akitas tend to be quiet, dignified, and extremely affectionate with their loved ones. Despite their stoic demeanor, they are highly intelligent and responsive, which makes them versatile in roles ranging from companionship to various working duties in modern society.
Every year, the Akita is honored on International Akita Day.
The True Story of Hachi
The story of Hachikō is one of unwavering loyalty and devotion.
Hachikō was an Akita dog born in 1923 in Japan. He was adopted by Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor at the University of Tokyo. Every day, Hachikō would wait for Ueno at the Shibuya train station to return from work.
Sadly, in May 1925, Ueno passed away suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage while at work, leaving Hachikō waiting.
Despite Ueno’s death, Hachikō continued to return to the Shibuya station every day at the time his owner would have returned from work, waiting for him. This daily vigil went on for nearly 10 years.
Hachikō’s faithful waiting attracted the attention of other commuters and locals, who began to bring him food and treats.
In 1932, an article was published about him in a major Japanese newspaper, which brought him national attention. Many people were moved by his story of loyalty and devotion.
Tragically, on March 8, 1935, Hachikō was found dead on a street in Shibuya. His death marked the end of a nearly 10-year-long vigil waiting for his owner.
Honoring Hachi Today
Hachikō’s story became a national symbol of loyalty in Japan, inspiring numerous books, movies, and documentaries.
In 1934, a bronze statue was erected in his honor at Tokyo’s Shibuya Station, and Hachi himself was present for the dedication.
Hachiko was remembered at the one-year anniversary of his death on March 8, 1936.
Today the statue remains a popular meeting point at the train station and a symbol of loyalty and devotion.
Hachikō’s body is buried alongside his beloved professor.
Hachiko’s grave in the Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo.
His fur was used to create mounted remains that are kept at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo. (His remains are displayed alongside one of the dogs who survived an Antarctic expedition that inspired the movie Eight Below.)
The story of Hachikō was adapted into a movie titled Hachi: A Dog’s Tale released in 2009. In this American adaptation of the story, Richard Gere stars as the dog’s owner, a professor who forms a special bond with the dog, Hachi. The movie takes some liberties with the true story, relocating the setting to the United States, but it maintains the core of the touching tale about loyalty and the deep bond between a dog and his owner.
The original Japanese story has also been depicted in several Japanese films, including Hachikō Monogatari released in 1987, which sticks closer to the actual events.
Hachikō’s remarkable story continues to touch hearts around the world, symbolizing loyalty and the deep bond that can exist between humans and dogs.