Hachiko – Unrequited in Tokyo

If you travel to Tokyo to visit a friend and need to pick a spot to meet, you should know that the most popular meeting place in the city is a small statue of a dog in front of the Shibuya train station.  Almost every Japanese citizen knows the famous story of the dog, but most Americans do not. In the 1920's, Hachiko, an Akita, walked with his master every day to the Shibuya train station to see him off.  Then, every evening,the dog would return to the station to await his master's arrival home from work.  This was a pattern that repeated every day until he was 18 months old.  One day his master, a professor at the local university, had a stroke and died at work.  The dog waited for him, but he never came home.  Undaunted, Hachiko returned the following afternoon at the time of the evening train, only to go away disappointed. Hachiko never gave up.  He returned to the station for the evening train every night without fail.  When people began to notice him regularly, they began to feed him.  His story became known throughout Japan when a newspaper article about him was published in 1933, after he had been returning every night for seven years.  He finally passed away and re-joined his master after ten years of never giving up.  A statue was erected of him at the station, but was torn down when the metal was needed for the war effort in World War II.  Another was commissioned after the war and has stood in his waiting spot ever since. Sara first told me this story years ago and I have thought of it often.  Even though it was pouring down rain, we made the trek across the city to see the statue.  So if you are ever meeting someone in Tokyo, meet at Shibuya and wait with Hachiko, he will be there.
  • Cita Walsh

    Phil and Sara,

    Your blog is the best one I’ve ever read. Great content. You guys can really write!

    Thanks for sharing,


    • Flip

      Thanks, Cita!

  • Vince of davao city, philippines

    hi flip and sara,

    i watched the movie about hachiko. i shed tears while watching that movie especially when hachiko was waiting for his master for ten years. i love hachiko. it has taught me to love the dogs more. it taught me lessons about loyalty, faithfulness, and unconditional love.

    the hachiko story will never be forgotten.


    • Flip

      Hi Vince. We haven’t had a chance to see the movie yet, but the trailer looks like it will make us shed a few tears…especially Sara. Thanks for your comments!

  • Both the Japanese and American version of the movie are really touching. I think my sister needs to read this. 

    • I haven’t seen the movies yet, but they look good. The real story is quite amazing as well.

  • Laura Winona

    Viva Hatchiko you will never be forgotten!!Love you

  • Marivic Toledo

    Thank you for sharing the your experience with Hachi.. Hope to see his statue in the future.. 

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