Friday, June 26, 2009
"The bronze statue of Hachiko sitting in front of the entrance of Shibuya station has become a meeting point for people around Shibuya station in Tokyo", Izumi-san told me the story of Hachiko when I visited Tokyo on Christmas Day 2007. That was the first time I heard the story about Hachiko, and today read the news about Hollywood movie: "Hachiko: A Dog's story" starring Richard Gere, which will be released this August in Japan.
According to "Collection of Hachiko's Materials," edited by Masaharu Hayashi and regarded as the most detailed record of the dog, Hachiko was born on a farm in Odate, Akita Prefecture, in November 1923.
The puppy was given to Hidesauro Ueno, a proffesore at Tokyo Imperial University who lived in Shibuya Ward, in January 1924. Ueno named the puppy Hachi (the suffix "ko" added for affection) and started taking him to Shibuya station on his way to the university. About a year later, however, Ueno died and Hachiko's life changed dramatically. Hachiko was entrusted to a household in the Asakusa district but often fled to Ueno's house in Shibuya. Finaly he was entrusted to a breeder in Shibuya and began to go and sit in front of the entrance of Shibuya station every evening to wait for his master. The dog became famous in October 1932 when a newspaper reported on it under the headline, "Story of a beloved old dog. Several years eagerly awaiting the return of his now-deceased master."
In March 1935, loyal Hachiko died on a street in Shibuya.
The front legs, ears and tail of the bronze statue of "Faithful Dog Hachiko," a symbol of Tokyo's busy Shibuya district, have become yellow-tinged and shiny from people touching them. "It is proof that he is loved and touched by everybody," said Takeshi Ando. The statue of Hachiko made by Ando's father, Teru, also a sculptor, was erected in April 1934.
Here is the official trailer of Hachiko: A Dog's story