Hachi Ko

The spirit of Akita

hachi1hachi2No history of Akita can be said complete without recalling the life of the most famous Akita of all times: Hachi-Ko. This most beautiful dog, born in 1923, was owned by Eizaburro Ueno (professor of literature at the University of Tokyo).
Every morning Hachi-Ko used to accompany professor Ueno on his daily walk to the train station of Shibuya and every evening the dog would go back all the way to wait for his master returning from work. One day in May 1925 prof. Ueno was struck by a heart attack at work and he died. That same day Hachi-Ko went as usual to the train station waiting for the arrival of his beloved master. He stayed there all night until some friends of prof. Ueno went there to take him home.
From that day for more than ten years every morning Hachi-Ko went to the station in the hope of seeing Eizaburro returning back and he was there waiting until late at night. For his devotion and loyalty to his master, Hachi-Ko became a hero and a legend throughout Japan.
In 1934 a bronze statue was erected in his honour in the Shibuya station and another one was placed in the station of Odate, the capital of the county of Akita.
When on March 8th 1935 Hachi-Ko died, that day was declared national mourning. During World War II many statues were melted for war purposes, including those of Hachi-Ko. However, already in 1948 the national authorities placed a new statue in the original location, outside the Shibuya station. In 1964 also that in Odate was located again outside the local station.
Even today, all passengers exiting the above train stations can still see the two statues, as a spiritual testament of fidelity and intelligence of this beautiful breed.