Shibuya, is one of the most photographed areas in Tokyo.
Some of you may have seen it in the movie “Lost in Translation”…
This is the station on the Yamanote line, between Harajuku and Ebisu stations…
The young bustling district of Shibuya is one of the busiest places- where many young people meet – it is also the center of fashion, entertainment, recreation, specially for the young people.
The intersection in front of the Shibuya station is a busy crossing and is usually featured as background for the weather news. That is the known as the Scramble Crossing.
Shibuya is also known as the station of Hachiko.
Just a few meters outside the Shibuya station, you will see a statue of a dog, that dog is Hachiko.
The story of Hachiko goes…. Hachiko, was a Japanese Akita breed dog born in November 10, 1923 in Akita. A year later, the owner, a professor at the University of Tokyo, brought Hachiko to the city. Everyday, Professor Hidesaburo Ueno and his dog Hachiko were seen together in at the Shibuya station.
Mornings, Hachiko would see the Professor off , and at early evenings, he would come to the station to greet him just in time the train would come in the evening.
This routine continued until May 1925, the day, the Professor did not return on his usual train that evening. Hachiko waited… but, his master had died from cerebral hemorrhage at the university that day.
Hachiko was loyal, and he waited everyday for his master to return for nine years. Hachiko was always there, waiting everday until he passed away.
” Hachiko was given away after his master’s death, but he routinely escaped, showing up again and again at his old home. Eventually, Hachiko apparently realized that Professor Ueno no longer lived at the house. So he went to look for his master at the train station where he had accompanied him so many times before. Each day, Hachiko waited for Professor Ueno to return. And each day he did not see his friend among the commuters at the station.
The permanent fixture at the train station that was Hachiko attracted the attention of other commuters. Many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachiko and Professor Ueno together each day. They brought Hachiko treats and food to nourish him during his wait.
That same year, another of Ueno’s faithful students (who had become something of an expert on the Akita breed) saw the dog at the station and followed him to the Kobayashi home. (the home of the former gardener of Professor Ueno — Kikuzaboro Kobayashi; where he learned the history of Hachiko’s life.)
Professor Ueno’s former student returned frequently to visit the dog and over the years published several articles about Hachiko’s remarkable loyalty. In 1932 one of these articles, published in Tokyo’s largest newspaper, threw the dog into the national spotlight. Hachiko became a national sensation. His faithfulness to his master’s memory impressed the people of Japan as a spirit of family loyalty all should strive to achieve. Teachers and parents used Hachiko’s vigil as an example for children to follow. A well-known Japanese artist rendered a sculpture of the dog, and throughout the country a new awareness of the Akita breed grew.
Eventually, Hachiko’s legendary faithfulness became a national symbol of loyalty.
Hachiko died on March 8, 1935. He was found on a street in Shibuya. His heart was infected with filarial worms and 3-4 yakitori sticks were found in his stomach.
His stuffed and mounted remains are kept at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo. “
Today, the statue of Hachiko is a famous meeting place… many people who meet a Shibuya always say -” let us meet at Hachiko ” especially on the weekends, when it is super crowded people meet “near Hachiko”. 😀
The Loyal dog Hachiko’s story has become a movie and also inspired Hollywood to make the movie “Hachi” with one of my favorite actors, Richard Gere. 😀
November 7, 2015 Update
Here is a rare photo of Hachiko. (taken from the very same article from The Japan News)