Unconditional Love – Part 2

The amazing and true story of Professor Ueno and his dog Hachi is described in “This Is Your Quest” – Chapter 14 – Page 184:

This story takes place in Japan in the 1920s. The main characters are Eizaburo Ueno, Professor of Agricultural Science at Tokyo University and his Dog Hachiko (nicknamed “Hachi”). 

Professor Ueno lived a normal and quiet life.  He used to take the train to Tokyo every day to teach.  One day, one of his students offered him a pure breed Akita puppy to adopt. Akita dogs are well known in Japan. They were originally bred to fight and hunt bears and to guard Japanese royalty. They are excellent guard dogs and are used today by the Japanese police and military for security, and thanks to Hachi, they are also known for their loyalty.

Louis, my own little ‘Hachi’

Professor Ueno and Hachi developed a very strong bond and became inseparable. Hachi got into the habit of seeing his owner off to work in the morning at Shibuya train station, in Central Tokyo and then going to meet him at the station in the afternoon when he returned from work. Hachi did this every day without fail.  

Statue of Hachi & Professor Ueno at the University of Tokyo, Japan

On 21 May 1925, Hachi was sitting by the exit at Shibuya train station, as usual, waiting for his dear Eizaburo to return.  But his owner never showed up.  It turned out that Eizaburo had suffered from a cerebral haemorrhage and died suddenly and unexpectedly while at work. 

Hachi moved in with a former gardener of the Ueno family, but for the rest of his ten-year life, he continued to go to Shibuya train station every morning and afternoon, waiting in vain for the return of his beloved owner, who sadly never came back. 

A major newspaper reporter picked up on the story of Hachiko in 1932 and published it, which led to Hachiko becoming a celebrity all over Japan.  In 1934 a statue of Hachiko was unveiled at a grand ceremony in front of Shibuya train station with Hachi himself present as the main guest.  Hachi became an international sensation in 2009 when Hachi’s story was turned into a Hollywood movie with Richard Gere as the lead actor. 

Hachi, A Dog’s Tale, 2009 starring Richard Gere

On 19 May 2012, a bronze statue of Hachiko was placed at the train station in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, where the movie “Hachi” was filmed.  The Rhode Island statue’s dedication ceremony was part of the Cherry Blossom festival. Dignitaries including the Mayor of Woonsocket and the Consul of Japan attended the ceremony. Decades after his death, the love and loyalty that Hachi showed for his master is still celebrated on the other side of the world and has drawn crowds and dignitaries from both the US and Japan.

And this my dear reader is the power of “STORGE“.