It’s amazing that nearly 100 years after Hachiko’s passing, historians are still discovering new things about Japan’s most famous dog. A photograph of the devoted dog has been found – one that provides a view into the dog’s heartbreaking vigil.
The rare photograph shows Hachiko relaxing alone at Shibuya Station. According to the Japan News, the photo was taken around 1934 by the late Isamu Yamamoto, a former bank employee who lived in the Sarugakucho district in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo. Only a few photos exist of the now legendary dog considered to be the world’s most loyal dog.
Hachiko was born on a farm in 1923. He was adopted by Professor Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor of agriculture at the University of Tokyo, who was a loving man. Every day, Ueno and Hachi would walk to the Shibuya train station, where the professor would pet Hachiko goodbye and board the train.
The Akita would patiently wait at the station for Ueno to return. While waiting, shopkeepers and station workers would look after him, giving him snacks and saying ‘hello’ to the friendly dog.
This continued for several years until one day, Ueno did not return from work. He had suffered a brain hemorrhage and passed away. Hachi did not know this, and continued to wait. Hachi never gave up hope that his beloved owner would return on the train. Every afternoon, when Ueno’s train was due to arrive, Hachi would appear at the train station and look for him.
The newly found photograph provides another glimpse into the Akita’s daily life at the station. Hachi looks relaxed but alert, his head up and scanning the passers-by. The photo was taken a year before he died.
Hachi’s vigil continued on for many years, 10 to be exact, until the morning of March 8, 1935, when Hachiko was found dead near Shibuya Station. He had passed away from natural causes.
You can see more photos and details of Hachiko’s story here.
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