7 May 2008
Hachiko is the name of an akita dog that live in outskirts of Tokyo from 1923 to 1935. When he was still a puppy Hachiko was brought to live with Hidesamuro Ueno. They soon started a routine of walking together to the train station in the morning so that Ueno can take the train to the University of Tokyo. After the train left, Hachiko would return home. In the afternoon, Hachiko would walk back to the train station and wait for Ueno to return. For a little over a year, Hachiko and Ueno followed this routine. Until in 1925 Ueno died of a stroke at the University of Tokyo, never returning home to Hachiko. At first, Hachiko went to live with Ueno’s relatives in another town. But Hachiko would run away and return to the train station to wait for Ueno. Hachiko waited until his death in 1935. Some say Hachiko only returned for the food and water that people gave him, but Hachiko only returned to meet the evening train from Tokyo as it arrives at the station. Hachiko’s story of loyalty is a national phenomenon in Japan.
In addition to the beautiful story—the story the author wrote is fictitious—the artwork is stunning. Each illustration looks like it could have originally been a classic Japanese woodblock print. Hachiko’s story is one of my favorite stories of all time. It ranks up there with Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.