A memorial statue reuniting a dog and his master would be considered unusual. But in Japan, the memorial represnts love and loyalty between a master and his dog.
Hachiko was an Akita Inu who waited 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 and wouldn’t be coming back.
Bittersweet tale leads to statue
This bittersweet tale has for years captured the hearts of thse who hear it. Today, a statue of Hachiko can be found at the Shibuya Station. In 1934, a bronze statue was erected there while Hachiko was still alive, but the memorial was recycled during the war and was melted down for other uses. A second memorial was put up in 1948, depicting a waiting Hachiko.
The statue, however, does not depict the fact that while his master, agricultural professor Hidesaburo Ueno, would happily reunite every evening and walk home together before he died from a cerebral hemorrhage during on of his lectures in 1925. Hachiko passed away in March 1935.
Memorial and reunion after nearly a century
To mark the 90th anniverary of Ueno’s passing and the 80th anniversary of Hachiko’s passing, the university of Tokyo’s agriculture department has erected a bronze statue of man and dog on its campus, together at last. The statue was unveiled on the anniversary of Hachiko’s death. March 8. The Japan Times posted a video of the unveiling.
Above is a tweet by one Japanese man. I have not found a translated version, but I can guess the message is telling people about the statue and its unveiling by the characters ハチ公 (Hachiko), 80年 (80 years), and 3月8日 (March 8).
Personal impact, an American adaptation
I first heard about Hachiko while on a school cultural exchange to Japan in 2008 when I return to Japan a second time in 2010, I made sure to pay my respects to Hachiko as well as pose for a photo with him.
In 2009, an American adaptation of Hachiko’s tale starring Richard Gere as the professor was released. The movie’s closing tell Hachiko’s story with a photo of his statue in front of the Shibuya train station being the last image shown before the credits roll.
Today, Hachiko’s statue is a popular place for people to wait when meeting up with others to go on outings, dates and the like.