WESTPORT, Conn. — If you think your dog is loyal, you might want to pick up a copy of Westport author Yumi Hosono’s latest book, “Reminiscence of Shibuya 1929-1938.”
In her second book, Hosono details the life of Hachiko, a happy-go-lucky Akita dog adopted in 1924 by Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department of Tokyo University.
Each day, Hachiko would accompany his master to bustling Shibuya train station, return home and then head back to the station to greet Ueno as he arrived home from work. Sadly, Ueno died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage the following year and never came home on the train one evening.
“Hachiko didn’t understand that,” Hosono told an audience at the Westport Public Library recently. “So he kept going back each day and waiting for his master — for almost 10 years.”
Shibuya station is one of the busiest in Japan with an estimated 330,000 travelers passing through each day, Hosono said.
“It’s the world’s busiest intersection now,” she said. “It is called 'The Scrambler.'”
But passersby soon began to noticed the golden brown dog with the bent ear waiting patiently at the station. Some would visit specifically to look for Hachiko, who eventually moved in with Ueno’s former gardener, who lived near Shibuya.
One of those travelers was Hosono’s mother, who, as a young girl, managed to pet Hachiko once or twice with her siblings.
With each passing year, Hachiko became more of a celebrity: By 1934, he was the highlight of a local fundraiser, “An Evening with Hachiko,” which drew more than 3,000 attendees. That same year, he posed for famed Japanese sculptor Teru Ando, who created a statue of the dog.
“He was very good friends with the station master and for a year he would wait at his own statue,” Hosono said.
Hachiko died in March 1935 and was buried next to Ueno in Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo. To this day, tourists make the trip to see Ueno’s grave and a small shrine to Hachiko.
“Whenever I visit there, there are always offerings and flowers for Professor Ueno and Hachiko,” Hosono said.
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