Monday, November 15, 2010

The Most Faithful Dog in History - Hachiko

Hachiko continues to wait for his master at Shibuya Station till this day

As one emerges out of the bustling Shibuya train station in Tokyo (from the Hachiko Exit or Hachiko-guchi), the first sight that greets you is a life size bronze statue of an Akita dog, stoic and gleaming under the sun, like a guardian watching over the thousands who choose to meet everyday at the square where it stands. Across the statue on the station wall, colourful motifs of a playful Akita dog bring cheer even on the most dreary day.

Akita dog motifs on the station wall

Unless you have been living in a hole, or absolutely hate animals, you would probably have heard the touching story of Hachiko who, following the sudden death of his master, Professor Hidesaburo Ueno in 1925, continued to wait faithfully at the Shibuya Station everyday at the SAME time for the next 10 years until his death in 1935. It is all the more astonishing when one realises that Hachiko had only been with Ueno for two years before his passing. This remarkable story of unwavering loyalty and friendship between man and hound has been made into several films including one by Hollywood starring Richard Gere (which I refused to watch since I KNOW it would turn me into a slobbering mess). I remembered watching the 1987 Japanese film as a child and the ending where Hachiko finally died and they showed his heavenly reunion with his master made me bawl hysterically.

This tale never fails to break my heart and bring me to tears (yes just thinking about it makes me teary) when I thought about how the dog would sit there day after day waiting fruitlessly for a beloved friend who would never return.  On our very first trip to Tokyo, I insisted to Samurai T that we had to make a pilgrimage trip to Shibuya, not for shopping at Shibuya 109 (honestly that was a "by the way" thing), but to pay our respects to Hachiko. His stuffed and mounted remains are now at the National Science Museum in Ueno, which was unfortunately closed during our visit.

 A rare photo of Hachiko, in his later years

Hachiko with train station staff a year before he died

I lost my beloved dog of 15 years to old age a few months ago. Till now, I could still feel his presence around me on many occasions. Sometimes I thought I could smell him, and could literally feel him in my arms. But I would prefer the dog to go before me rather than the other way around. The pain may be hard to bear, but at least as humans we understand that they are gone. Dogs, intelligent as they are, are unlikely to comprehend loss, and will feel traumatised and abandoned. I am glad though that Hachiko had friends at the train station who would feed and accompany him, but even they could not replace the master who never came home again.

See you in doggie heaven, Waggie

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Respect.That is all I can say, and many more things, that I don't have words to them, but still...

Anonymous said...

nessa foto na estação estão presentes a viuva do professor, sua filha e seu neto

Anonymous said...

I watched the film today, and I have to say, I cannot remember when I last cried so hard.. I have already read the book before and was quite sad but the film finished me off.

Anonymous said...

I really really really like this dog i cried a lot when seeing this movie

Anonymous said...

hachiko made me cry the 3rd time around...maybe if watching it again...i'll cry and cry over and over again...i love animals...especially dogs...i have a big respect on Hachiko...god bless...

Anonymous said...

hachiko made me cry the 3rd time around...maybe if watching it again...i'll cry and cry over and over again...i love animals...especially dogs...i have a big respect on Hachiko...god bless...

Anonymous said...

im a tough guy but have a thing for pets. at the start of the movie, oh, this must be another sad story beginning with happiness pet story. this mean nothing. but that is absolutely wrong, i know its a true story, and from that moment, the tears flow continuously. i cant meet u today hachiko.but in after life,make sure i can meet u
.

suhas said...

What shall i say....? I was so touched by the movie of HACHIKO, dat I got tears in my eyes.... HATS OFF to you HACHI.....

Anonymous said...

i really love this dog very much .i got tears in my eyes i lov e this movie i cried so hard last night may i got such a dog lik ethis faithful one.haes off to this movie.lov eu hachi love u

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that the movie is really making me cry!!! Hachicko is really faithful and loyal to his owner. I could relate it to me with my dog...wherever Hachiko was, I have a BIG respest to him.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I just finished watching the film on dvd today. I was crying all the time as I remember my dog, who also came from Japan which my aunt gave me. I cried even more when I saw your blog and saw a picture of your late dog which looks similar to my late dog too. I hope everyone gets to appreciate this film, especially those who are naturally cruel to animals. If they see Hachiko's character in every dog, they'll probably think twice hurting them. Dogs need our love too!

Anonymous said...

we should learn from Animals.. because as humans we fail to do so...

muthu.pathri said...

my eyes are filled with water...........

Anonymous said...

I love dogs, and when I saw the movie of HACHIKO I did cry also..Great dog, I like him so much!

Anonymous said...

I love dogs, and when I saw the movie of HACHIKO I did cry also..Great dog, I like him so much!

Anonymous said...

after seeing this film i could'nt stop my tears from cumming out.........three salute n cheares to the most faithful dog hachiko..........i wish his sole rest in pease n in his next birth i wish that he get a very nice n long-live master.........lohg-live hachiko................

Anonymous said...

after seeing this film i could'nt stop my tears from cumming out.........three salute n cheares to the most faithful dog hachiko..........i wish his sole rest in pease n in his next birth i wish that he get a very nice n long-live master.........lohg-live hachiko................

Anonymous said...

Someone should be very lucky to be a owner of such a loyal dog. Hachiko..may your soul rest in peace. .....i have no words to describe about you...ur master is soo lucky to have you as his pet...

Anonymous said...

eveR touching true to life story...i salute you "HACHI"...for your loyalty and faithfullness ,wish you'll be the model not only for dog's but for everyone who has a HEART...

i cried alot even im at the office...

see you at the "CROSSROAD"

sentiemotera

erinrh said...

If humans were more like dogs the world would be a better place. The story of hachiko teaches us about true loyalty. I have never cried so hard as when I first saw this movie and learned of hachis story. Dogs love us unconditionally, and they never give up on us, even in death.....

Helena said...

I have seen the films a couple of times and every time I cry my eyes out. In 2008 when I was in Tokyo and came out from the Shibuya station and saw the statue of a dog and started to read the history of Hachiko the tears came. I had not heard the story before and after reading it, that wonderful dog will always be in my mind. I even have a small photo of Hachiko as a background photo in my computer along with other loved ones. I´m going to Tokyo in april and will once again pay my respect for this amazing dog.

Anonymous said...

what an amazing friendship my cat kasper used to wait for me at the bus stop i used to get off when i finished work late at night. He was such a wonderful friend and a member of our family he used to always guard our baby girls bedroom, whilst they slept like clockwork one day then he disappeared and has not returned since july 09 i think somebody stole him or maybe inured, i miss him dearly. We have our dog Marley and he is so loyal to myself, he sleeps next to me and tries coming to work with me he always looks out for us he always checks to make sure everything he fine and safe he is amazing where ever i go he always follows me if i go to tuck the kids in at night he has to make sure they are ok. Hachiko im glad you are with your master and hope you never be apart from each other again god bless you x

Anonymous said...

Such a touching story, I just finished watching the Hollywood film version and it is so moving. Such a beautiful story and heartbreaking at the same time.

Miel said...

Hachiko is such a great dog, while i'm watching the film and reading the story of his life I feel so sad. What a loyal dog he is! waiting for the one you love that will not come back is so tiring because every time you think and wait for them you will just be sad it feels like it's killing you deep inside... just by thinking that no matter how many years you wait for them and how much you cry they will not come back beside you.

Anonymous said...

I saw the the movie, and it was so touching!

I was so amazed of the loyalty of Hachiko. Till now, I can not understand how Hachi did not get tired and bored to go to the same place in order to wait for his deceased owner day by day (3,285 or 3,650 days! wow!).

There are a few more dogs in real life that did the same:
Bobbie the Wonder Dog (Silverton Bobbie)

Brown Dog affair

Dog on the Tuckerbox

Fido Dog (waiting for 14 years for the return of his deceased owner)

Gelert

Greyfriars Bobby (spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner)

Shep (American dog) {Faithful dog Shep honored in rites 50 years after death Article}

ALL OF THEM SO SPECIAL DOGS.

sherif said...

Iam crying and I hate to see my self crying, but hatchi you worth all the tears and even more. Hatchi iam proud of you.

sherif said...

Iam crying and I hate to see my self crying, but hatchi you worth all the tears and even more. Hatchi iam proud of you body.

Anonymous said...

Je viens de visionner Hatchi, pour la première fois. Cette histoire m'a frappée droit au coeur. Mon message s'embrouille de mes larmes. On dirait que cette peine englobe toutes les peines gardées prisonnières au fond de moi, au fil de ma vie... Elle est immense !
Je voudrais bien être certaine qu'Hatchi et son maître sont réunis quelque part...
12 décembre 2012

Anonymous said...

i really love this movie, i cried a lot... every time i rememeber this movie and hachiko loyalty, my tears fall down on my eyes, i love animals...godbless

Tajendra Chadha.New Delhi.India said...

I am crying and feel lonely.....I miss all of mine Dear Dogs...who left me after their completing journey to this world....I wish they are all living in peace with HACHIKO in Heaven and one day I want to meet them all ......Love You...Miss you................

Hachiko you will always remain close to my Heart..

Tajendra Chadha

Anonymous said...

lovely movie and m still crying ..... it made me remember my Tubby who died in my absence missing be very badly........... miss u tubby miss u Hachiko god bless both

Sandro Spano said...

Why is it that, if you look at the photographs of Hachinto, you see him on a leash?