One of the more popular tourist sites in Tokyo, besides the “golden turd” which I sadly missed, is the statue of Hachiko the dog. Just outside of Shibuya train station, one of the busiest stations in Tokyo, and in front of Shibuya crossing, one of the busiest intersections in the World, you’ll find a statue of Hachiko. People line up for hours just to have their pictures taken in front of Hachiko and it’s common to meet at the famous dog statue, but to me, this all seemed a bit odd. What could a dog have possibly done to deserve a statue? It turns out, the story of Hachiko is quite interesting:
An agriculture professor, Eizaburo Ueno, adopted an Akita puppy in 1925, whom he named Hachiko. Ueno trained Hachiko so well that the dog walked his master to the Shibuya train station every day, then waited for Ueno in front of the station until he returned from work in the evening. When Hachiko was only two years old, Ueno died suddenly while at work and never returned. Hachiko was eventually adopted by a new family, but he continued walking to Shibuya station every day, waiting for his master’s return. Hachiko eventually died of old age on the street near Shibuya station, nine years after last seeing Ueno. This may be the saddest dog story ever, but one has to wonder if Hachiko was really missing Ueno or if he really just wanted to be immortalized with a statue.