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Hachiko The Loyal Akita

A statue of a famous Akita stands in front of the JR train station in Harajuku Japan (Tokyo district). The bronze statue is well known and is often used as a meeting place for the many young people who frequent this area, "See you at Hachiko on Saturday at noon".

Hachiko is more than a statue or a tale, he was a real dog who's story is known throughout Japan and the world today. The word Hachiko has come to be synonymous with loyalty, and for good reason. The story has a few variations depending on who tells it but the basic facts are well documented.

Hachiko was born in 1923 in the city of Odate Japan in the Akita prefecture. He came to Tokyo with his owner, a professor of agriculture at the University of Tokyo named Eisaburo Ueno.

Each morning his master would set out for the local train station called the Shibuya Station. Hachiko made a habit of waiting for his master's return each day at the station where the two would meet and journey home together.

In 1925 professor Ueno died from a stroke while at the university and never returned home. After his death his wife sold their home as she prepared to move.

She gave the dog to some friends nearby who agreed to care for Hachiko but it would not last. Hachiko soon departed his new home and returned to the station and the old home where he continued to follow the routine and await his master's return.

Hachiko's presence at the station was tolerated as passersby would pet him and bring him things to eat. Word of the dog began to spread. In 1928 a new stationmaster was placed in charge. He took a liking to Hachiko allowing him inside and even placing a bed for him.

Written articles were published about the dog by another professor at the university who came to learn of his story. The papers he published brought the dog fame as all across Japan Hachiko became known not just as the loyal dog, but as a symbol of loyalty.

His fame inspired the hiring of an artist who created a bronze statue in 1934. Just one year later in 1935 Hachiko died at the age of 12 and was reunited with his master at last.