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Hachiko

The statue of Hachiko at Shibuya Station.


 "I'll wait for you at Hachiko."

A purebred Akita dog from the early part of the 20th century who became a figure in Japanese folklore because of his unswerving loyalty to his dead master. At the end of every day, Hachiko would go to Shibuya Station in Tokyo and wait for his owner (Eisaburo Ueno, a professor at Tokyo University) to come home from work. Even after Ueno died in 1925 after a heart attack while at work, Hachiko continued this practice, and for the next 11 years (until his own death), he returned to the station at the end of the day to await his late owner's return.

After a 1932 newspaper article brought Hachiko to national attention, he became a permanent symbol of loyalty and faithfulness. A bronze statue of him now stands outside of Shibuya station in Tokyo. (Two more are found in Odate, one by its train station and one outside the Akita Dog Museum there.) The Shibuya statue is an extremely popular spot for people to meet, particularly lovers because of its symbolic representation of commitment and loyalty.

See also the Scottish version, Greyfriars Bobby, or the Australian version, the Dog on the Tuckerbox.

Examples of Hachiko include:


Anime and Manga

  • The main characters of Super Gals! often congregate around the statue of Hachiko.
  • In Nana, one of the two main characters is nicknamed "Hachiko" because of her loyalty. The nickname is generally shortened to "Hachi," since "hachi" means "eight," and "nana" (the name of both main characters) means "seven."
  • Mirai briefly waits for a male friend (on whom she has a crush) by the statue of Hachiko in one episode of Moldiver.
    • Furthermore, recovering the original Hachiko statue from thieves who had stolen it is one of the things that brings "Captain Tokyo" to the media's attention.
  • The statue can be seen in Risky Safety.
  • In the Love Hina Christmas movie, Hachiko's statue is one of the places where Naru and Keitaro fail to meet up on Christmas Eve.
  • Hachiko makes a cameo appearance in the first Death Note movie, in a scene where news of Kira's exploits are starting to spread.
  • In Digimon Adventure, Patamon gets lost and overhears a couple of teenage girls talking about how Hachiko is where to go if you want to meet up with someone. The dub just says "the park," though.
  • An appropriately squicky parody of Hachiko shows up in Franken Fran, who puts the loyal dog's brain in the body of a middle-aged man (she at least gives him underwear); the "dog" remains his usual affectionate self. Did I mention the dog's owner is a little girl? After defending his owner from rapists, the girl accepts and loves her dog, even if his form is a bit weird. Unfortunately she gets cancer and dies in a faraway hospital, leaving the poor dog-man to waste away while awaiting her return. Of course, a statue of the loyal man-dog is built in his memory.
    • This is futher parodied when a movie based on that case changes the middle-aged man to a handsome Bishounen. Veronica, who insisted on saving the dog in the first place, is horrified. Fran, on the other hand... Fran: "I thought they addressed the bestiality quite tastefully".
  • In Manga no Tsukurikata Morishita asks Takeda to meet her at Hachiko; she notes that country people seem to be fond of it.
  • In Tenchi in Tokyo, Nobuyuki (Tenchi's dad) blurted out "It's fashionable to meet at the Hachiko statue" in an attempt to be one of those "with it" dads. This was left in the dub, probably puzzling many.
  • The anime series Fortune Dogs includes in one episode an Expy of Hachiko and suffers the same fate as the real one.
  • An episode of Pokémon used the trope with a Ninetales guarding the shrine its trainer used to live in.
  • One of Luffy's earliest adventures in One Piece pays Hachiko a homage in the form of a dog who waits and gaurds his late master's pet food shop.
  • Code Geass has Arthur sitting by Suzaku's fake grave near the end of the series.
  • In Gintama, when Kagura is having trouble sleeping, they listen to a variation of the story on a radio talk show. The dog is named Jerry rather than Hachiko and instead of dying, he turns into a seemingly harmless old man.

Film

  • In Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, the statue is engulfed in flames during Gamera's mindless pursuit of the Gyaos as a big symbol that he is no longer "Loyal" to humanity.
  • Hachiko: A Dog's Story is a 2009 movie based on this. Instead of Japan, it takes place in the United States but the general idea is the same. The only reason the dog still has a Japanese name despite the setting is because he came from Japan and got separated in a train station from the cargo he was in. The main character finds him and the story begins.
    • Technically, this is a remake of a 1987 film, Hachiko Monogatari, a Japanese film based on Hachiko's story.
  • In the 1945 film The Body Snatcher, a dog faithfully guards its late master's grave. Unfortunately, it's such a small dog that when a grave-robber comes, he easily kills it with one blow of a shovel.


Live Action Television


Literature

  • Older Than Feudalism: In Homer's The Odyssey, Odysseus comes home to Ithaca after being gone for 20 years. The only one to recognize him right away is his dog, Argus, who dies of joy on seeing him.
  • Greyfriars Bobby is parodied in the Discworld - Gaspode the wonder dog is named after "the famous Gaspode" who guarded the grave until death because his tail was traped under the gravestone.
  • In Jeff Long's Year Zero, Ben tells of seeing men crucified at Golgotha, including one man whose dog lay down below its tortured master and guarded his cross until they both died.
  • Dog Monday from "Rilla of Ingleside" by L. M. Montgomery had been waiting on train station for four years, waiting for Jem coming back from WWI.


Trading Card Games

  • Yu-Gi-Oh Card Game! has a set of cards based on Hachiko, a couple of which are more than a little creepy. "Oustanding Dog Marron" is an adorable puppy waiting for its master. "Skull Dog Marron" is an animated skeletal dog which wandered off 1,000 years ago, and has been waiting for its master to come looking for it. "Mecha-Dog Marron" is a mechanized version of Marron, still trying to find its owner. "Mad Dog of Darkness" shows Marron corrupted by evil and mutated into a fearsome beast. Even though the card itself doesn't call the dog Marron, it has the same dog tag as all the others.
    • Incidentally, Outstanding Dog Marron will always return to the deck.

Video Games

  • Referred to in Nethack. Most character classes begin with a random, nameless pet animal: Samurai always receive a little dog named Hachi.
  • Being set completely in Shibuya, The World Ends With You naturally features Hachiko, which plays a minor part in the story.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei Imagine, if you look hard enough, you can find intact statue of Hachiko in post-apocalyptic Shibuya. Except he looks kind of grey...And small.
    • And in Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne, Decarabia waits for his friend Forneus by the statue of Hachiko. Forneus, however, is the game's first boss and has already been killed by the protagonist at this point.
  • Koromaru from Persona 3 is a Fictional Counterpart of Hachiko. Even a year after his owner was killed, Koromaru would still go on the same walk that his owner used to take him on every day. Koromaru is eventually revealed have a human-like intelligence and joins the party as a Team Pet to avenge his master, who turns out to be killed by Shadows.
  • In Ghost Trick, Missile doesn't let a little thing like dying stop him from helping his mistress. Even if he doesn't get the type of ghost tricks necessary to help, he's more than willing to wait ten years to enlist the help of someone who does. All to try and save someone who's literally already dead... That's devotion. HE SUCCEEDS!
  • In what is clearly a homage to Hachiko, the city area of the first Mega Man Star Force game has a statue of a dog (Who in the English translation is named Rover). You meet Sonia there for your date, er, shopping trip.
  • Meeko in Skyrim. His master may have succumbed to illness, but Meeko still loyally patrols his shack and returns to his late master's side every night. Even if you accept him as a Follower he will always return to his dead master when you dismiss him.

Web Comics

  • To an extent, Bec in Homestuck. He continues to nap by his master's side and when an Omnicidal Maniac gets his powers, he gets his loyalty - and is powerless to harm Jade.

Western Animation

  • The statue is featured in the episode "Speak No Evil" of My Life as a Teenage Robot.
  • The Futurama episode "Jurassic Bark" bears a suspicious resemblance to the story of Hachiko. In the case the statue was the actual dog that had been "flash-fossilized". Cue massive tears from the entire audience and crew.
    • In Bender's Big Score, what with the time travel and all, Fry returns and ends the effect. Even the flash fossilization is explained when past Fry realizes that he's Lars.
  • A Warners cartoon featured a dog waiting faithfully for his owner for three years, in all winds and weathers, and then at the end, as his master finally joyously returns, all is inverted as the dog grumpily snarls, "Where on earth have you been? Do you have any idea how long I've been sitting here? Now go make me my supper" and the like.

Other

  • Neopets has Gelerts, which are based on an English version of the tale in which a family dog is found covered in blood with a child missing. The dog is killed immediately when the grief-stricken owner assumes that the dog had killed the child. The sound of the yelp the dying dog makes causes the hidden child to cry, where it is found next to the carcass of a wolf the loyal dog had killed while protecting the infant, and the source of the blood on the dog's muzzle.

Real Life

  • Greyfriars Bobby is a similar story that happened in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the 19th century. A terrier guarded his owners grave until he dies himself.
  • Australia has a touching story about the Dog on the Tuckerbox - There was a drover, droving cattle. The mob of cattle gets bogged, and he set his dog to guard his tuckerbox (a box of food, for those who don't speak Aussie), and he left to go get help. He never returns, and the dog stays, faithfully sitting on the tuckerbox, "five miles from Gundagai". There's a small statue there to this day.
  • A rare comic example comes from the life of Carl Linnaeus, biologist and the Father of Taxonomy. Linnaeus attended church regularly, and in the company of his dog, named 'Pompe.' Linnaeus had a limit to his religion. He would stay at the service for an hour. If the service was not concluded at the end of an hour, Linnaeus (and dog) would leave. Linnaeus did, as all of us, occasionally catch ill, and he would not attend church. Nevertheless, his dog would attend church without him, and true to his master's form, leaving after an hour, sermon over or not.
  • In Spain in 1990, a dog named Canelo ("Canela" means "cinnamon" while "canelo" could mean "cinnamon-colored male") went to the hospital with his owner to receive a periodic dialysis treatment until one day that complications killed him. Even then, Canelo kept waiting for his owner until 2002, when he died after being run over by a car that left the place without identification. To honor him, a street was named after the dog and commemorative plate was installed in the street.
  • In the cemetery La Piedad de Rosario, Argentina, a Collie waits for the return of his owner in the spot where he arrived since the day his owner died.
  • In Uruguay, there is the story of Gaucho, a black dog, that went over 50 kilometers to the hospital where his owner laid and waited there till his owner died. In the cemetery, he kept watch over the tomb for every day until his death in 1999.
  • In Montana, Old Shep was the faithful companion of a sheepherder until the man fell ill and died. His body was shipped back east to relatives, but Shep was left at the train station to meet every incoming train, waiting for his master to come back, until Shep himself died in 1942. Locals still tend his grave, and raised a statue in the town square.
  • In Monte Cristo, province of Córdoba, Argentina, there is "Alicio", a loyal dog that is still waiting for his owner in front of the health care center where he went for the last time in January 2010. The man was urgently transported to a local hospital, where he died.
  • In Teresópolis, Río de Janeiro, Brasil, a dog named "Leão" (which means "Lion" in Portuguese) still waits next at the tomb of his owner Cristina Maria Cesario Santana, one of the 630 victims of the floods of the January 17, 2011.
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