hachi a true story: hachiko the japanese akita inu

You may have seen the movie, but did you know Hachi was based on the true story of Hachiko?

© cowardlion - Shutterstock

Hachi: The true story of Hachiko, the world's most loyal dog

By Justine Seraphin Country Manager

Updated on the

Though Hachiko lived 100 years ago, he is still known today as the world’s most faithful dog. And when you learn about his story, it’s easy to see why.

You may know Hachiko’s story from the movie “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale”. But the story of Hachiko the dog isn’t just Hollywood gold - it’s a real story! 

What is the true story of Hachiko?

Contrary to the movie which took place in modern day America, Hachiko’s real story took place in Japan in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Who was Hachiko’s real owner?

Hachiko was a Japanese Akita Inu born on a farm in the Akita Prefecture of Japan, in 1923. As a puppy, he was purchased by Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the faculty of agriculture at the Tokyo Imperial University. 

The pair quickly developed a very strong bond. In fact, Hachiko would walk to the Shibuya station every day to pick up Ueno after his commute from work. This routine lasted about two years, until one day, Ueno didn’t show up at the station after work. Sadly, the professor had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while giving a lecture, and died at his workplace.

Did Hachi know his owner died?

Hachi couldn’t understand why his owner didn’t come home, but never gave up hope that he would someday. For the next 9 years, 9 months, and 15 days, Hachiko was seen returning to the Shibuya train station at the time Ueno would usually arrive, patiently waiting for him to return. Over time, commuters and workers at the station started to bring him treats to keep him fed while he waited.

How did Hachiko pass away?

Hachi became a national sensation known for his undying loyalty to his owner. The dog passed away from cancer in 1935, at age 11.

Was Hachiko buried with his owner?

Hachiko’s remains were cremated and his ashes were buried in Aoyama Cemetery, right beside his beloved master’s. Hachi’s pelt was preserved after his death, and his taxidermy mount can be viewed at the National Science Museum of Japan, in Tokyo.

Where is the Hachiko statue?

A bronze Hachiko statue can be viewed at Shibuya Station in Tokyo, right outside the Hachiko Entrance/Exit. The statue was erected in 1948, after the original 1934 statue was recycled during World War II. The statue is a popular meeting place, but also the location of an annual remembrance ceremony which takes place on March 8th - anniversary of Hachi’s death.

Other Hachiko statues have been erected in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, (where the Hachi movie was filmed), and at the University of Tokyo, where Hachi’s owner used to work.

Where can I watch the Hachiko movie?

"Hachi: A Dog’s Tale" is available to watch on Netflix UK. If you don’t have Netflix, you can also watch the movie on Apple TV, Amazon Prime, or Google Play.

What is Hachiko’s breed?

Hachiko is a Japanese Akita Inu. At the time he was born, Japanese Akitas were a dying breed. Not only were there very few of them left, but those that were left were losing their distinctive features. In fact, one of Hachi’s ears dropped, which today is an instant disqualification as per Kennel Club standards. But Hachi’s popularity reinvigorated interest in the breed, and over the years, it was saved from the brink of extinction.

What is the meaning of Hachiko?

Hachiko was named “Hachi” by his owner Hidesaburō Ueno. Hachi means “eight” in Japanese, and is considered to be a lucky number. Hachi also happened to be the eight puppy from his litter! The suffix “ko” was added later. In Chinese, the suffix was once used to address ancient dukes. Therefore in English, Hachiko’s name can be roughly translated to “Eighth Prince".

More advice on...

What did you think of this advice article?

Thanks for your feedback !

Thanks for your feedback !

Leave a comment
Connect to comment
Want to share this article?