For the JR East line connecting Hachiōji with Takasaki, see Hachikō Line.
Breed Akita Inu
November 10, 1923
near the city of Ōdate, Akita Prefecture
Died March 8, 1935 (aged 11)
Resting place National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.
Nation from Japan
Notable role Faithful dog
Known for Waiting for return of his dead owner for nine years.
Owner Hidesaburō Ueno
Appearance Golden light brown with white (peach white) color on the upper face
Bronze statue of Hachiko
Hachikō (ハチ公?, November 10, 1923 – March 8, 1935), known in Japanese as chūken Hachikō (忠犬ハチ公 “faithful dog Hachikō” [‘hachi’ meaning ‘eight’, a number referring to the dog’s birth order in the litter, and ‘kō’, meaning prince or duke]), was an Akita dog born on a farm near the city of Ōdate, Akita Prefecture, remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner, even many years after his owner’s death.
In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo, took in Hachikō, a golden brown Akita, as a pet. During his owner’s life, Hachikō greeted him at the end of each day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage and died, never returning to the train station where Hachikō was waiting. Every day for the next nine years the dog waited at Shibuya station.
Hachikō attracted the attention of other commuters. Many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachikō and Professor Ueno together each day. Initial reactions from the people, especially from those working at the station, were not necessarily friendly. However, after the first appearance of the article about him on October 4, 1932 in Asahi Shimbun, people started to bring Hachikō treats and food to nourish him during his wait. This continued for nine years with Hachikō appearing precisely when the train was due at the station.
That same year, one of Ueno’s students (who developed expertise on the Akita breed) saw the dog at the station and followed him to the Kobayashi home (the home of the former gardener of Professor Ueno — Kikuzaboro Kobayashi) where he learned the history of Hachikō’s life. Shortly after this meeting, the former student published a documented census of Akitas in Japan. His research found only 30 purebred Akitas remaining, including Hachikō from Shibuya Station.
He returned frequently to visit the dog and over the years published several articles about Hachikō’s remarkable loyalty. In 1932 one of these articles, published in Tokyo Asahi Shimbun, threw the dog into the national spotlight. Hachikō became a national sensation. His faithfulness to his master’s memory impressed the people of Japan as a spirit of family loyalty all should strive to achieve. Teachers and parents used Hachikō’s vigil as an example for children to follow. A well-known Japanese artist rendered a sculpture of the dog, and throughout the country a new awareness of the Akita breed grew.
Eventually, Hachikō’s legendary faithfulness became a national symbol of loyalty, particularly to the person and institution of the Emperor.