A new Hachikō statue was unveiled at the University of Tokyo in Bunkyo-ku very recently but unlike the statue outside Shibuya station, this one also features his master. Professor Hidesaburo Ueno was a professor of agricultural engineering at the University for over two decades hence its location.
The statue resembles the rejoice and excitement the two had when they were reunited each time and the love and affection people have could not be missed when I visited the statue very recently. It’s quite a moving scene for some as anyone who has ever seen any of the adaptations will know. Perhaps the most internationally known one is ‘Hachi; A Dog’s Tale‘ (2009) which moved the story to the USA and starred Richard Gere.
Hachikō was born in Ōdate in 1923 and was raised by his master with great care but sadly they only shared 17 months together before Ueno suddenly passed away on campus in 1925.
It’s been a while since I was last at a University in Tokyo and it actually took me a fair while to find the statue and that’s not because it’s hidden away in a secluded area but because I wasn’t too sure on which one of the multiple campuses it was located. The “University of Tokyo” has featured on Tokyo Fox before but that one was faked in ‘The Grudge‘ (2004). For the record, the statue’s on your left as soon as you enter the (real) University through the gates of the Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Sciences/Faculty of Agriculture.
There was a steady trickle of visitors during the ten minutes I spent there and the love and respect that many of them had for Japan’s most loyal dog was just as rewarding for me as seeing the statue itself.
Bonus: For anyone wanting to further indulge in Hachiko nostalgia there is of course the statue outside JR Shibuya station (below) which is a hugely popular meeting place. Hachiko would wait outside this station every day for his deceased master to come home from work. Even after Ueno’s death, the Akita dog continued to wait for him every night for nine years and it is this sad story which really struck a chord with the public.
Not so many know of the memorial (below) to the faithful dog as well as his master’s grave. Hachikō died in March 1935 and the graves can be found at Aoyama Reien (cemetery) in area 6 #12 and is the 3rd left lane once you leave the main office.