Dogs are man’s best friend. That saying goes back tens of thousands of years when humanity first domesticated dogs in the early annals of pre-history during the ice age; instead of competing with the wolves that hunted the same rare prey that roamed the frozen world, they cohabitation and lived off of one another.

As such, dogs developed a faithful trust in man, and man grew fond and loving of his canine companions.

Everyone who has ever owned a dog has their own heartwarming story about how much their friendship means to them, but few reports have the impact and importance of Hachikō.

Hachikō is the most famous dog in Japan and a figure of relatively modern history. He wasn’t a samurai’s guard dog or a mythical beast with magic powers.

He was an Akita breed that lived primarily in Shibuya with his owner, Hidesaburo Ueno, in the 1920s.

One day his master left, and Hachikō was smart enough to know that he would arrive by train at the same time that he always did.

However, on that day, Ueno never returned. And Hachikō waited, every day, for over nine years.

10 /10 Up On A Farm

Hachikō was born in November of 1923 on a farm near the city of Odate in the Akita prefecture.

He was only one year old when he met his new owner and best friend for life.

He was also an Akita dog, a unique breed related to the Shiba Inu, Japan’s arguably more classically recognizable dog breed.


9 /10 Hidesaburo Ueno

Hidesaburo Ueno was the man who took Hachikō home. He was an agricultural professor at the Tokyo Imperial University and lived in Shibuya, a district of Tokyo.

He commuted out of Shibuya from the iconic Shibuya Station to work every day.

Hachikō would leave the house and arrive at the station every day at the same time for about a year, learning the exact time his best friend would return and where to find him.

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8 /10 Longest Trip Home

On May 21st, 1925, Hachikō went to the station to see Hidesaburo’s home, but his master never arrived. Hachikō waited there all night, but his master never returned.

This was because Hidesaburo died that day of a cerebral hemorrhage while giving a lecture to his class tragically.

He never made it back home by train, and Hachikō never understood why. He was an intelligent dog, but more than that, he was loyal.

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7 /10 Eight Years Of Waiting

Hachikō never gave up. He returned at the same time of day to the same platform every day from 1925 to 1932. Initially, some of the commuters remembered Hachikō and his master Hidesaburo meeting every day.

They saw the lone dog there as a sort of fixture, assuming his master was either late or the dog was early.

Some treated him like a stray and didn’t take kindly to him showing up every day to sit and wait. He did this until he died, but before then is when he became famous.


6 /10 The Morning Newspaper

He followed Hachikō home when his trial of waiting ended to the home of Kozaburo Kobayashi, a gardener who formerly worked with Ueno, one of Hachikō’s remaining friends of his late master.

What rose Hachikō to fame, of a kind, was when one of Hidesaburo’s students – Hirokichi Saito – came by and happened to notice the dog waiting at Shibuya and learned he belonged to his late teacher.

Once Saito learned the tragic story, he used his connection to the popular Asahi Shimbun publication and his credential as a leading expert on the Akita breed to publish a paper on the dog’s incredible loyalty.

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5 /10 Saving The Akita

At the time, the Akita was a scarce breed. Only 30 purebreds existed, and Hachikō was one of them.

The article drew a rising interest in Akitas, particularly for their similarity to Hachikō, whose exhibition of faithfulness in waiting for his deceased master to one day come home was seen as something of a heroic effort for a dog.

Institutional people, such as the functional royal court of Japan’s Emperor, saw it as a value worth preserving and celebrating.

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4 /10 Reunited

Hachikō never got to see his master in life. In March of 1935, Hachikō was found dead in the streets of Shibuya, aged 11 years old.

Though old in dog years, he had not lived out the full breadth of his breed’s lifetime. It was discovered that he died of terminal cancer and parasitic worm infection.

Despite those pains, he spent his last day waiting at the station until nightfall before heading back to the streets until he could stay at the station another day.

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3 /10 Memorializing Hachikō

Hachikō’s death came as a shock to many. He’d become a minor celebrity at the station, and in the last few years of his life, he was given treats and gifts and food by the passing station goers who knew him as the most loyal dog in the world.

Hidesaburo’s widow mourned him and many of Hidesaburo’s friends – and his friends as well, the station staff that looked after him.

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2 /10 Doggy Funeral

Part of Hachikō lives on to this day – physically. His fur was preserved and used in taxidermy to reconstruct his likeness, which was then stored in the National Science Museum of Japan as a display.

The rest of his remains, his body, were cremated and buried next to his owner’s grave marker.

Just before his death, a bronze statue was commissioned and erected at the station to celebrate their local legend.

It was then repurposed for war efforts, and then a second statue was made in 1948 by the original sculptor’s son.


1 /10 Waiting For Hachikō

Japan celebrates the story of Hachikō through references, retellings of the story, movies, and other media. His birth date has been honored numerous times with the erection of new statues.

And, as part of the 90th anniversary of Hachikō’s birth, arrangements were made to reunite the remains of Yaeko, Hidesaburo’s partner, with him and Hachikō so they could be reunited as a family forever.

Though legality slowed the process, it was eventually commemorated with the simultaneous unveiling of a statue at the same grounds near the cemetery commemorating the excellent dog’s death.

He is arguably the most celebrated dog in the world. 

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