In November 2023, admirers of the dog ‘Hachiko’ will celebrate the 100th year after his birth. Locals of his birthplace Odate, Akita Prefecture are organising Hachiko Week to mark a century since Hachiko was born in 1923. He died in 1933. He is regarded as the most loyal dog in the history of the planet; a paragon of loyalty who faithfully waited for his master long after his death.
His story is well documented. A year after his birthday, his caregiver, a Tokyo Imperial University agricultural scientist, Hidesaburo Ueno, took Hachiko to live with him near Shibuya station in Tokyo.
The Times reports today that Hachiko would accompany Ueno to the station and return to the station to greet him at the end of every day.
But, sadly, in May 1925, Ueno failed to return from work as he had succumbed to a cerebral haemorrhage and passed away.
Hachiko went to the station every day to wait for his master for nearly 10 years, in all weathers, heat, cold, snow, rain and even abuse by passers-by. Although many provided food.
The story eventually spread throughout the world and a Hollywood film starring Richard Gere was made based on Hachiko’s story.
His story is heartrending and Hachiko’s vigil became a nationwide story in Japan when reported in the press in 1932. He became known as “chuken Hachiko” (faithful dog Hachiko).
A bronze statute was erected in his honour in 1934, a year before he died of cancer and heartworm. The spot is still one of Tokyo’s most popular meeting places.
There is a website online which provides information about Hachiko 100th Anniversary since 1923. It’s a project called “HACHI100 Project“.
The executive committee of this project was formed with members from Shibuya and Odate. They organised a birthday celebration on the 99th year after his passing. And they state that November 2023 would have been his hundredth birthday which will be celebrated too.
There is a Loyal Dog Hachiko Statue Preservation Society which is also a member of the executive committee in addition to Akitainu Tourism, Shibuya City Tourism Association.