Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective


Hachiko is a Japanese hero. He was an Akita dog, whose owner was a Tokyo university professor.

Every evening, he greeted his returning master at Shibuya station. Even after his master’s death in 1925, Hachiko kept returning to the station every evening, waiting hopefully for his owner. This would continue for over a decade, until his death in 1935.

Twisted cynics suggest that the dog was drawn by the delicious tidbits he received from local street vendors. When he died, the remains of yakitori (grilled chicken) skewers were found in his stomach.

In April 1934, a bronze statue of the loyal dog was erected at Shibuya station. This was melted down in the WWII war effort, but another statue was unveiled in 1947.

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