Swadeshi Shodh Sansthan


The world famous Akita, Hachiko, lived in the Shibuya area of Tokyo with his owner, Dr. Hidesaburō Ueno, who was a professor of agricultural engineering at Tokyo University. Each morning, the two would walk to Shibuya train station together so Dr. Ueno could take the train to work. Hachiko would return to the station at 3pm each afternoon and wait for Ueno’s return so they could walk home together.

Sadly, when he was about 50 years old, Dr. Ueno died of a cerebral hemorrhage while teaching in May 1925, just two years after he and Hachiko met. Because Professor Ueno died at work, he never came home via Shibuya station to reunite with his faithful pet. Hachiko was left waiting, but visited the next day hoping to find his owner. And the next day, and the next. Because Ueno’s grieving widow couldn’t care for him, Hachiko was given away to different owners.

Eventually Ueno’s former gardener, Kikuzaburo Kobayashi, gave Hachiko a place to live. His new home was several miles away from Shibuya, but this made little difference to Hachiko’s behavior. Every day he diligently continued his daily walk to Shibuya train station (about six miles away!), where he waited patiently for Ueno to come home. And so Hachiko continued to wait every day for the next nine years.

As you might expect, the commuters who rushed through Shibuya Station noticed the distinctive white dog who never seemed to lose patience or hope. He soon became known as ‘the faithful dog’ by the local community, the train station staff, and eventually the entire country when an article was published in the Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan’s most respected daily newspapers.

On March 8th, 1935, Hachiko himself died from natural causes outside the station (although a disproved legend claims he died from a stomach rupture after swallowing a yakitori skewer). The rail staff – who knew Hachiko well – took his body into the baggage room and prayed with him, and the entire country mourned his passing, with newspaper headlines reporting the story.

Hachiko’s fur was preserved and stuffed, and you can still visit him on permanent display at the National Science Museum in Ueno, Tokyo. However, Hachiko’s bones were cremated, allowing his ashes to be buried alongside his much-loved master at Aoyama Cemetery, and the pair finally reunited.

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