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Hachiko, Japan’s most loyal dog, finally reunited with owner in new statue in Tokyo

32 Comments
By RocketNews24

Even in a country that adores its pets, none have captured the hearts of Japanese animal-lovers like Hachiko. The Akita dog touched the hearts of people across the nation by devotedly waiting every day for more than nine years in front of Tokyo’s Shibuya Station for his master to return from work, not knowing that he had died from a cerebral hemorrhage and wouldn’t be coming back.

Today, a statue of Hachiko stands in Shibuya, showing the dog patiently waiting. But while the bittersweet quality of the story made Hachiko famous, it overlooks the fact that before his master’s passing, the two would happily reunite every evening and walk home together. Now, it’s that moment’s turn to be immortalized, with a new statue showing Hachiko as he’s rarely been depicted before, bursting with joy upon seeing his owner.

While Hachiko is arguably the more famous of the two, his owner, Hidesaburo Ueno, also contributed greatly to Japanese society. Ueno was a professor at the University of Tokyo (then called Tokyo Imperial University) for over 20 years, and a celebrated scholar in the field of agricultural engineering. As a matter of fact, it was during one of his lectures in 1925 that Ueno collapsed and passed away.

This year marks the 90th anniversary of Ueno’s death, and also the 80th of Hackiho’s passing. In memoriam, the University of Tokyo’s agriculture department has erected a bronze statue of man and dog on its campus, together at last.

The heartwarming scene has had a powerful effect on online commenters in Japan.

“I’m so happy for you, Hachiko.” “I already cried when I saw the 1987 Hachiko movie. I didn’t think this would make me cry again, but it sure does…” “So moving.” “What’s the big idea, making me cry like this?”

After waiting almost 100 years, it’s hard not to get a little choked up at Ueno and Hachiko’s reunion.

Source: AOL Japan News

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Step aside, Hachiko! Yamaguchi’s Cat Temple offers a samurai tale of feline fealty -- Shibuya’s Hachiko statue gets a snow family for a short time -- Awkward: University lecturer found naked on campus in Tokyo

© Japan Today

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32 Comments
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can you make the new statue also beside the old one?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This makes me happy.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I would like to see the new one next to the old on too. I love loyal dogs.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Over thirty years ago there was a one-page translated article in the Japan Times written by the owner of Hachiko's mother who sold Hachiko to his acquaintance, the school teacher .It was the confession of an old man who feared that he might die at any time. He wrote that he wanted to tell the true story while there was still time. In essence, Hachiko used to go down to Shibuya Station every day, but not to wait for his master, dead or alive. The truth is what a dog-lover like me who respects the intelligence of these creatures had always suspected: Hachiko's daily perambulation around the station was prompted by the kindness of a butcher who fed him bones and scraps of meat. The myth of the "loyal dog", Hachiko, was concocted by the military in cahoots with the Ministry of Education for the manifest purpose of brainwashing small children to emulate the mutt and give canine loyalty to the Emperor, as well as to foster obedience toward their "Superiors". Intimidated by the power of the myth that had grown up around Hachiko, the old man had kept the truth to himself until not wanting the secret to die with him he made a full confession. This is not simply a story for children comparable with Santa Claus. There is a sinister ideological sub-text that I do not want any child of mine to imbibe. It is rather depressing to think that the truth as narrated by the man who sold Hachiko has even to this day been steamrollered by the lie that continues to purvey the same shabby, subliminal message to each new generation of Japanese children.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

My, aren't you a breath of Spring, Mr. 'reamer'.

For those with a more positive view of the world in general - and dogs in particular - you might do a search on 'Old Shep of Fort Benton Montana' . Very similar story. Here's one link of many:

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/4367

I've visited both Hachiko and Shep. No sinister ideological sub-texts detected and no children harmed in my presence.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@ Dot

Why don't you get it? The whole story is fake and yet it is still reported as a true story. What is the excuse for perpetuating the lie? The original owner himself regretted his playing along with the militarists to prepare the next generation of cannon fodder. The motives of the adults who invented this Hachiko nonsense were not at all innocent, and the teachers who used the Hachiko propaganda did not have in mind the interests of the children, any more than those child abusers who lured Japanese youths into wasting their precious lives by crashing their planes into ships when they KNEW that the war was lost. The Japan that spawned Hachiko was an ugly, mendacious country of brainwashed and self-deluded individuals. Sadly those who did know the truth dared not utter their thoughts. Today we live in a different Japan, so why be afraid to speak the truth?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@ u_s__reamer Being real or not, for what we know, for those of Us who watched the movie, for that heart breaking moment, I can tell you that your comments are not welcomed by the vast majority of people. We know the nice part, why would we start to talk about being fake? Better yet lets start saying that Titanic love story, even Santa Clauss are fake and we will start losing ourselves. The truth is great, but in this great country I will make my children see Hachiko, that great story and stop thinking that it was fake 90 years ago. come on, grow a little.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

But the myth of the loyal dog kept Hachiko alive a lot longer than if he had been just another stray. His longevity-linked celebrity transcends whatever purpose propaganda makers were planning. Kind of like finding a sign on a tree stating the age in centuries, Hachiko shows the hardiness of the natural world. And this is from someone who has no plans to watch the Richard Gere movie.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ kiyoshiMukai

If the Hachiko tale were the only legacy bequeathed us by Showa fascism, it might not be so bad, but there is still a great pile hidden under the carpet that continues to smell and undermine the mental health of too many people here (who never seem to grow up, remaining infantilized until their their second childhood sets in) while at the same time souring their relations with their Asian neighbors. In contrast to the Santa Claus fib that brings great joy to little children and their parents alike, the Hachiko lie is even believed by ADULTS! (who don't want to grow up?). I prefer to respect the last wishes of Hachiko's owner who wanted the world to know the truth, and, as a dog-lover myself, to show respect for the canine intelligence of the REAL Hachiko. After all, it would be a dumb mutt that waited nine years for his dead master. I suppose the moral of this tale is that the story of Hachiko tells us much more about the two-legged animal than about the "dumb" quadruped.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The story of Hachiko is true. I don't care what anybody else says.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I understand. People believe what they want to believe. If Hachiko Heaven with falling pink cherry blossoms and kitschy saccharine violin music makes some folks happy, so be it, no harm done. But the darker side is when humans don't believe what they don't want to believe, like how could those nice Nazis possibly kill so many Jews? Or, how could our government kill and torture innocent people? As Jesus and the CIA say "The Truth Shall Set You Free" Amen.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@ u_s_reamer, I'm not saying that I believe your interpretation of Hachiko's motives, but I want to thank you for your original post. I've never heard that version of the Hachiko story. It was very informative and interesting.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ Sauron

As a professional educator, but a fallible human being, I am careful to protect myself against any charges of "brainwashing" my students. Accordingly, I constantly warn my students NOT to believe everything I (or anyone else) tell them. They should alway harbor some doubt and be skeptical about the claims people make. They themselves must make the necessary inquiries, do the research to discover the "facts" and the "truth", and make conclusions based on their own judgment. It is the duty of every adult to equip children with the tools to enable them to grow into strong, independent-minded adults capable of intellectual self-defense against the tsunami of BS that daily assaults our brains from the sinister powers that want to influence our thoughts and mold our behavior and values. I don't believe it is "my" interpretation of the motives of those who invented the story of Hachiko, but rather that of the man who sold Hachiko to his friend, the teacher. Why don't you try to verify this story yourself?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

First of all, Rocket News 24 is not a hard news website. They mostly specialize in "wacky Japan" and otaku culture pieces that tend to border on parody.

Going to the other extreme to nitpick their articles is equally comical. How are we supposed to verify what was going through a dog's brain many decades ago? The owner of Hachiko's mother is long gone. Was that person a fellow professor at Todai? If so, it sounds like the academic was showing signs of senility by writing about a dead dog.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ TorafusaTorasan

Whose dead brain are you referring to? Did you read my posts? I can't make head nor tail of yours. Want to verify? Start with the Japan Times archives circa 1982. The owner of the bitch explains the story from his point of view. Don't want to believe him? Then go to other historical sources. I'm sure there is evidence of how the Hachiko yarn was cooked up.. If you are a doubting Thomas, it's noone else's responsibility but yours to find the truth. Geddit?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Even if I pay to order the Japan Times archives, how can I verify that the person who wrote the article has the definitive answer to why Hachiko returned to the station every day for nine years? I've read that the dog was well treated by travelers at the station, at first against the wishes of the station staff. So the dog's survival was the result of collective citizen goodwill against the less humane bureaucracy of Shibuya station managers, who eventually realized the magnitude of Hachiko's popularity and were photographed bowing down before Hachiko's corpse in 1935. A victory for the independent-minded adults who supported the dog against the powerful railroad execs, right?

Also, the original Hachiko statue was scrapped for the war effort. Was Hachiko really such an important nationalistic symbol if that was allowed to happen? The statue seen today is a postwar creation, and arguably represents some good values that survived the war.

The wider history of native vs. foreign dog breeds in Japan does seem interesting, as covered in books like BYU history prof Aaron Skabelund's Empire of Dogs. I would order that before spending any money on the Japan Times archives.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Recollecting the details of the long, one-page article that I read over thirty years ago is not easy, so I'm afraid I don't know how many years Hachiko hung around Shibuya Station. But I do remember the most important point in the story told by the man who sold Hachiko to his friend, the teacher: he said that the story of "Chuken Hachiko" was an outright lie made up by the Japanese military and the Ministry of Education for the purpose of inculcating in young children" loyalty" to the Emperor and "obedience" to the authorities. The owner added that the reason Hachiko went down to the station was to be fed bones and scraps of meat by a butcher who had taken a shine to the mutt. Hey, why not memorialize that butcher whose kindness saved Hachiko from starvation? Wouldn't that be a nice edifying tale for children who need to learn how to treat animals with respect?! The Hachiko yarn appears to fit into the category of story called the bidan (美談), commonly used for the moral education of children. During the war the bidan was employed to hide the misery and horror of the manner in which hundreds of thousands of Japanese soldiers died, what the Japanese call "a dog's death" (犬死に) ; translation: they died in vain, for nothing. But by the end of the war many Japanese, weary of being lied to by the government, had learned to see through such mendacious tales of glorious deaths on the battlefield calling them mayutsuba (眉唾), literally "eyebrow spittle" which is kind of what the story of Hachiko is. Why was Hachiko melted down? The Japanese war machine was so desperate for iron they scrapped even things of some historical value, much more precious than a piddling statue of a dog. If you wonder why I insist on exposing the "truth" about little Hachiko (of course. no fault of that cute fella), I suppose you can blame it all on Hans Christian Andersen whose children's story "The Emperor's New Clothes" shocked me into remaining a child forever, never wanting to grow up to be like those cowardly hypocrites called "adults" who pretended the naked Emperor was wearing the finest attire. We see examples of this kind of "adult" behavior every day of our lives, played out before us on TV and in other media, which explains why without such adults "great leaders" would not have the effrontery to expose themselves in public.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

OK, I just don't buy the idea that the butcher was the only one who cared about Hachiko as that article implies. Considering that thousands of people would have seen Hachiko every day, there's no way to build a monument that adequately represents all their reasons for taking an interest in the dog. Thus, the simple life sized dog sculpture had to suffice, and somehow became the enduring symbol of Shibuya. Seeing it as only wartime propaganda is too limiting.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've no idea who fed or cared for Hachiko. Those details are lost to history. I simply choose to believe the story of the man who sold Hachiko. Maybe he was not telling the truth, but then what would his motive have been? The propaganda angle is highly likely. The owner said so, and again I choose to believe him in the absence of evidence to the contrary. In fact, I have also heard from other sources about the story being fake, but I'm afraid I cannot remember where. I should make one thing clear. I'm not an expert on the provenance of the Hachiko story. I have done no research on the dog, but I have read a great deal about Showa fascism and WWII. In the first place,common sense (I'm a big dog-lover and I respect the intelligence of these animals) tells me that the Hachiko story smells funny, and in the second place, I have learned from history to mistrust the motives of people in positions of power, like the military and "big gubmint"; even the teachers who purveyed the Hachiko story to Japanese school children are not above suspicion. I'd love for someone to join this thread who has some convincing information about the Hachiko yarn.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

My best guess is that the widow Ueno continued to be the main caretaker for Hachiko. She is pictured in the dog's funeral photo prostrating herself next to the railway officials, so it doesn't seem like she ever abandoned her pet. Maybe she deserves a monument of her own for not keeping the dog locked in the yard 24/7.

"Showa fascism" is not really related to the new statue shown in the article. Hachiko's owner Hidesaburo Ueno died in the last year of Taisho (1925). Neither the professor nor the dog can be blamed for rightists trying to channel Hachiko's popularity, which makes it possible to appreciate these statues independent of the terrible excesses of the war years. As for what the Ministry of Education was publishing during WWII, I would guess that anything mythologizing Hachiko is pretty tame stuff compared to the other textbook chapters.

Now if you want to witness a really questionable story, check out the Billiken statue at Tsutenkaku in south Osaka.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is very nice!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I have nice memories of seeing the movie. I was 5yo and cryed since that I loved my dog. He was an Akita-ainu, a very loyal dog witha mind of his own. He us3e to wake me up everý morning. These histories about loyalty are just great. Go hachiko. Reunite with your beloved master.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Simple question, how could the dogs mothers owner possibly know the dogs motives? Weren't they from Akita? The story goes that the butcher, like many other caring individuals, chose to feed Hachiko because he was still coming everyday although starving

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Steppenwolf. I have had many dog breeds. Many dobermans akitas german sheepards. What I liked more of the Akitas were their way of doing things. The dog was just like a 4yo kid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@u-s-reamer: You are guilty of being too literal. In Edinburg, Scotland there is a bronze statue of a bronze Skye terrier called Greyfriars Bobby, who spent the last 14 years of his life sleeping on his master's grave, and was fed by the now famous pub. The story is not entirely accurate, but that matters little to people who love dogs as much as themselves. I have seen Bobby's statue, and had a draft and ploughman's lunch in the pub, and enjoyed it. It warmed my heart.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Malcolm MacLeod

I'm a dog-lover. Been to the grave in Edinburgh. Heart-warming story - agreed. Watched the movie ( more substantial than the kitschy Hachiko movies). But my posts are about the sinister background to the Hachiko yarn. I have yet to meet a Japanese who knew that the "loyal" Hachiko story is fiction, which is in itself testimony to the stubborn power of myth. Literature is one of my research areas, so I have a professional interest in how fiction, legend, myth can prevail over fact, reality and truth, and what this says about humankind' need to escape from the exigencies of animal existence.The strong emotional reactions on this thread to the suggestion that the story of Hachiko was untrue, and even worse, originated from a cynical exploitation of human goodwill toward "man's best friend" in order to mold the minds of young children so that learning the lesson of "loyalty" they might grow into adults willing to throw away their lives for their "masters", should give us food for thought, not about dogs, but about ourselves.We know how brainwashed the Japanese people were up to the end of WWII. Could it be that the Hachiko tale played some role in the mind-control of young children who ended up dying a dog's death (犬死に) on the battlefields of WWII? No fault of the mutt, of course. RIP Hachiko!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@U_s_roamer. Don't tell me that a Dog story was made for brainwashing children. Thats nosense. Bring me another fairy tale and I will believe you. Lets talk about Peter Pan had wings and the Uncle used it for training Us Navy soldiers. Or better yet Santa claus leaving gifts were used by hittler fo bombing london back at WW2. What about Lion king being used by king Abdullah for brainwashing his people to make them believe that he could've five wives.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have heard "The Lion King" was used in N.Korea as a parable for the "wicked uncle" and to underscore the legitimate succession of the Kim dynasty. Rulers have always used cultural artifacts to control the thoughts of the masses. Film is the most powerful tool of all. Children and unintelligent, frightened adults are easy to influence. Look how easy it is for governments to start wars with the support of the "patriotic" masses. Before defeat in 1945 the naive ("undeveloped" was the word used by the Showa Emperor to describe his "children"/ 赤子) Japanese masses were brainwashed to the point of zombification. After the Battle of Midway the war was lost, but the Big Lies of Japanese "victories" increased exponentially until the sudden end with the dropping of the Atom Bomb. The public morals of Japanese society of that time were rotten to the core because the whole "kokutai" was built on a foundation of lies.My question: why do you think the authorities valued the welfare of children? Millions of lives were wasted in an unnecessry war for the selfish interests of the Japanese ruling class. Why do you want to defend the motives of the Army and the Ministry of Education who, it has been claimed, invented the story of "loyal dog" Hachiko?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

U_s_reamer. Dont know you but the movie didnt make me want to defend Japan of possible agressions. But you can ask. How many people actually want to know that it has a dark past.hachiko is a great story. Maybe had a dark past but what 99.8% of japanese population know about hachiko was about a great dog. Nothing to do with defending the motherland.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You keep putting words in my mouth and attribute ideas to me that I've never expressed. I only claimed two points: 1) the story of Hachiko was fake (according to the dog-owner who sold Hachiko (why can't you accept this? Is Santa Claus real?) 2) the story was invented by the Army in cooperation with the Ministry of Education as a 美談 (bidan / " beautiful" story ) for the "moral" instruction of children ( = brainwashing because the Japan of Showa fascism was like N. Korea today, a society with a gullible, uneducated population tightly controlled by their "samurai" overlords and thus defenseless against the conspiracy from "above the clouds" to harness them for war and conquest. It's interesting how people react so emotionally to these two points. It appears T.S Eliot was right when he wrote: HUMANKIND CANNOT BEAR VERY MUCH REALITY. That's why we humans cannot live without religion and fantasy to relieve us of the burden of our animal existence. So my solution is accept the "facts" of Hachiko and enjoy the story, if you will ( I still can't stomach the movies, but hey!, de gustibus non est disputandum, or in the vernacular : different strokes for different folks! Shalom!)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The problem of real or fake is that proving or disproving the dog's loyalty is very difficult. Whether just acting out of habit by visiting the station daily as he used to do for Ueno, or showing loyalty to new caretakers (butcher, travelers, station staff, or others), somehow Hachiko did show fidelity to Shibuya and got rewarded with what turned out to be permanent memorials (statues in at least three places in Japan, bronze paw prints, an inscription, his body in a natural science museum, films in multiple countries). If you think that is too great an honor to be given a dog, just say that.

An extra piece of the loyalty puzzle is that the Hachiko story was promulgated by one of Ueno's former Todai students, who cared enough about the well-being of his former teacher's pet that he trailed the dog to see where it was staying. Maybe that is the type of charitable behavior the university hopes to encourage in viewers of the new statue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The domesticated dog is an animal that has survived by working for man and serving as a companion in exchange for food. "Loyalty" is a concept alien to the brain of a dog. Only the human brain can conceive such an abstract idea when anthropomorphizing "man's best friend"; in other words, attributing human qualities to the animal. The Hachiko story was apparently created by a sensational press among a naive pre-war population, exploited by the military for their own nefarious purposes and today is kept alive by masses of sentimental folk, and also because it continues to serve an ideological purpose to inculcate "loyalty" in children, still a very desirable "bitoku" / 美徳 (virtue) in the eyes of Japan's governing class. ( just like Hong Kong's governor who let the cat out of the bag yesterday when he stated that the people of HK should be obedient and conduct themselves like those exemplary animals - SHEEP, while he himself is often compared to a WOLF by many HK citizens who are not so gullible, nor easily taken in by the cunning foxes of the ruling class .) And neither is my teenage son who has grown up in Japan. He tells me that his (unsentimental?) generation, ie., his Japanese friends have zero interest in Hachiko. FURUKUSAI! they say. Is this a sign that young Japanese are maturing at an earlier age?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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