Skip to comments.Hachiko: The World’s Most Loyal Dog
Posted on 05/21/2012 7:40:21 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
Dogs are known for being loyal companions -- but we've never met any as faithful as Hachiko, an Akita from Japan who spent 10 years waiting for his master.
If you’ve ever seen the canceled-before-its-time (but now revived!) show Futurama, you’ll probably remember Bender, the alcoholic robot; Leela, the beautiful one-eyed captain; and Philip J. Fry, the bumbling pizza delivery boy who was cryogenically frozen for a thousand years before joining the Planet Express intergalactic mail delivery team. But do you remember Fry’s loyal, loving dog, who waited for his master until the end of his life? If you didn’t think a cartoon character could make you cry, it might be time to reevaluate after you watch this heart-wrenching scene.
Now, of course, Fry’s dog never really existed (nor did the murderous Killbots, luckily), and you might scoff at the idea that any canine could really exercise such supreme loyalty. After all, your dog forgets that you’re alive whenever your sister stops by bearing bags of Pupperoni. And while it’s true that most animals are more loyal to their meals than to their masters, we know of an amazingly faithful dog that could be a real-life counterpart to Fry’s ever-loving pooch: Hachiko, an Akita from Tokyo.
Hachiko was brought to Tokyo in 1924 by his owner, a college professor named Hidesamuro Ueno. Each day, when Ueno left for work, Hachiko would stand by the door to watch him go. When the professor came home at 4 o’clock, Hachiko would go to the Shibuya Station to meet him.
Though this simple act alone shows a tremendous amount of loyalty, that’s not the end of it: The following year, Ueno died of a stroke while at the university. Hachiko didn’t realize that he was gone, and so the dog returned to the train station every single day to await his master. He became such a familiar presence there, in fact, that the station master set out food for the dog and gave him a bed in the station. Even so, Hachiko never shifted loyalties –every day at 4 o’clock, he hopefully waited by the tracks as the train pulled in, searching for his best friend’s face among the people getting off.
Hachiko’s love for his master impressed many people who passed through the station, including one of Ueno’s former students, who became fascinated by the Akita breed after seeing Hachiko. He discovered that there were only 30 Akitas living in Japan, and began to write articles about Hachiko and his remarkable breed, turning the world’s most loyal dog into a household name, and creating a resurgence in popularity for the Akita.
Hachiko died in 1935, after 10 long years of waiting for his master. But the dog would not be forgotten –a year before his death, Shibuya Station installed a bronze statue of the aging dog, to honor its mascot. Though the statue was melted down during World War II, a new version was created in 1948 by the son of the original artist. Go to the station now, and you’ll be able to see the bronze statue of Hachiko – still waiting, as ever, for his master to come home.
Want to learn more about Hachiko and the amazing Akita breed? Watch Hachi, the movie based on his story (co-starring Richard Gere), or check out these great books:
Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain, by Martha Sherrill
Hachiko Waits, by Leslea Newman
Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog, by Pamela S. Turner
PING this over to Joe 6-Pac.
“Hachi” (sp?) was a wonderful movie. A real tear-jerker, though.
I love dogs. Dogs have a history of selfless dedication to their masters, the number of cases of a dog knowingly sacrificing itself to save a human are legion. In WWII, dogs were known to grab thrown enemy handgernades and flee the foxhole with them in their mouths - the dogs knew what a handgernade was, they knew what would happen.
Dogs do not judge us, they expect very little in return for the love and dedication they give. I hope there is a special place in Hell for those who abuse that love, trust and dedication.
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale
Good film for dog lovers. Keep a lot of hankies nearby.
Another good dog movie is ‘A Dog Of Flanders’
It was also the second time Richard Gere did a remake of a Japanese story. The first was “Shall We Dance” both stories are good for any family to watch - in the japanese version. Like you, I thought Hachi was very emotional. It showed what community and love mean. good stuff.
Don’t you mean Joe 6-pack?
The one who handles the dog-related stories as Slings and Arrows does the cat stories.
Friendship is like wetting your pants. Everyone can see it, but only you know the true warmth.
Thanks for the (unlikely) metaphor.
Go and see the memorial to OLD SHEP ar Fort Benton, Montana.
Hankies? How about a roll of paper towels? I've never cried so hard over a movie in my life.
There is. Right next to Mohammed the Dog Hater (may he pop and sizzle eternally).
Then you may not want to see the movie “8 Below” from 2006. The wife and I cried like babies over those puppies. We vowed never to watch it again.
I love dogs too, but if anyone needs an antidote to all this, go read James Thurber’s hilarious “The Dog that Bit People” short story. It is probably free on Google books or somewhere similar.
The dog probably acts circles around Gere.
saw Gere in a movie about gerbils, but that's another story for another time...
> Each day, when Ueno left for work, Hachiko would stand by the door to watch him go. When the professor came home at 4 oclock, Hachiko would go to the Shibuya Station to meet him.
I’ve got a black Maine Coon cat that does exactly the same thing.
He follows me to the door when I leave for work, then quickly runs to the window to watch me leave. When I come home, he’s waiting at the end of the driveway for me to pull in, greets me when I get out of the car and then follows me into the house.
Then the movie is even more special, because Gere is an excellent actor.
Most touching and sad dog movie ever! Should be required viewing for anyone who dumps their dog at a shelter or by the side of the road!
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