Hachiko, the dog who waited for 9 years

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You´ve most likely heard moving stories of famous dogs that showed great sensitivity and unconditional love for their owners, a solidarity that saved lives of humans or dogs that cared and watched the eternal rest of their masters until the end of their days. Many of those dogs are still famous and are remembered as heroes.

One of the most impressive true stories I´ve ever known of in regards to animal´s loyalty is Hachiko´s, a Japanese dog of Akita breed, whose loyalty impacted Japanese citizens so much that they built 3 sculptures in his honor in 3 different cities, baptized a subway exit with his name and still on these days they make a ceremony each year on the 8th of April in the dog´s memory.



Hachiko, waiting forever for his master

Hachiko, white male of the Akita breed, was born in the city of Odat (Japan) in November 1923. At 2 months old he was adopted by Eisaburo Ueno, a professor in the Agriculture Department of the University of Tokyo. They created such a great bond that Hachiko would accompany his master every day to the train station to see him go to his job, come back again to meet him after work, and finally walk back home together with his master. Professor Ueno and Hachiko never imagined that their story would shake the world…

HachikoReal picture of Hachiko

They kept this tradition for almost two years until May 1925, when unfortunately Professor Ueno died of a heart attack while working at the university. Nevertheless, Hachiko thought his master would come back anytime, and therefore kept returning to the train station at the usual time. Many people who worked or lived nearby were aware of the routine the Professor and Hachiko used to have, so they knew why the dog kept coming back. They sympathized and fed him during all his wait, allowing him to survive. Days became months, and months became YEARS. Eventually, Hachiko became a real celebrity thanks to several press reports about the “faithful dog that kept waiting in vane for his deceased master.” The culmination of this fame came in 1934, when a sculpture was built in his honor in the station; Hachiko was right there when this event took place.  

Hachiko´s agony lasted a total of NINE YEARS, during which he never missed the appointment at the station. He died on March 7, 1935 due to the filariasis disease, in the same station where he used to wait for Professor Ueno. 

Hachiko´s death Hachiko´s dead body

Hachiko´s true story has inspired several books, and most notably, two films: one Japanese version brought to the big screen in 1987 with the name “Hachiko Monogatari”, which was a big success at the box office in Japan. The other, more recent one was released in 2009, starring Richard Gere and named “Hachi: A Dog´s Tale”. 

Famous animals - Hachiko´s movieHachiko´s movie

Hachiko´s remains were stuffed and mounted and are kept at the National Science Museum in Japan. Thanks to this, we can see him in this shape: 

Hachiko´s body dissected

Image: “Muramasa”.

There´s also a monument to Hachiko at the side of Professor Ueno´s grave:  

Monument to Hachiko at the side of Professor UenoMonument to Hachiko at his master´s side

Personally, thinking about Hachiko makes me shiver. Besides, I have seen the two films mentioned before, and they both make a good job in representing the story. It seems amazing to me that he was waiting unconditionally for 9 years; I wouldn´t have been that surprised with some months of wait, but 9 years is already a story of faith. I think it really shows how much love a dog may feel toward his master, and it´s one of those cases when we as humans actually learn something from an animal. And of course, just one more evidence that a dog is a man´s best friend. 


Eduardo Garcia is a Cinema Scriptwriting and Editing graduate turned into full-time online marketer. He co-created Animaltia to escalate two of his passions: animal life and online entrepreneurship. He writes the "Anecdotal", "Movies to Remember" and "Famous Animals" sections of the website.


  1. Shannell

    November 8, 2012 at 3:31 am

    this was a very good article well im 12 so i dont have big words to say but this dog has showed me how a real bond between a human and a dog. thank you for this article and the movie hachi a dog tail always makes me cry :(… . so thank you and may hachi or hachiko and his master rest in peice together in heaven 0:)

    • cindy

      January 2, 2014 at 12:33 am

      saw the movie today,very sad.

  2. cpz

    November 16, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Wow what an amazing story. Even though cases like these are really scarce, it is amazing to see that they do exist in real life- not only in movies. I love dogs ansd stories like this make me love them even more! Hachiko is amazing 😀

  3. liz

    December 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I loved this story it toched my heart hearing that a dog could have that much love for his master and for hachiko to go back to the same plase every day for nearly nine years is amazing i wish that i could of met hachiko every time i hear the story i think of the bond that must of been and knowing that makes me want to cry but it is an amazing story of an master and his faithful dog may hachiko and his master rest in peace :)

    • Eduardo Garcia

      December 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      I know, I´ve cried more than once with this story, is very heart touching. At least Hachiko´s sufferment wasn´t in vain, as he´s remembered as a hero today.

  4. Hari

    August 23, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Am Crying, I just hope they are together in heaven. Love you Hachi.

    • Eduardo Garcia

      August 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      I´m sure they are :)

  5. Jarrod

    September 11, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    That is very sad I’ve seen the movie a million times and is very sad

    • Cristina Pichon

      September 15, 2013 at 6:00 am

      Indeed it is :S

  6. Atharva R. Shintre

    February 15, 2014 at 9:44 am

    I am 13yrs old and not really a great writer., but whatever I read about makes me write this.

    The story and the movie is very nice it teaches us to be honest and loyal. As both of these dont go unnoticed.

    I have a pet -Labrador retriever and I play with it once I am back from school.

    Thank you Hachiko you made me realise 3 important things of life,
    1. Love & Affection towards human beings and Animals
    2. Loyalty
    3. Patience

    Atharva Shintre
    Pune, India.

    • Eduardo Garcia

      February 15, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      I´m glad you were touched by the movie and learned those things from it. Good luck with your Labrador :)

  7. thandeka msiza

    December 11, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    wtchn da muvi mde m cry lyk neva b4..9yrz t waitd 4 itz master nt knowin dt hz neva 2 return…it md m respect animals even mo ws inspired 2 da dipest part of ma lifd…tnk u hachiko RIP u en ur master

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