In life, Hachikō (ハチ公, ) was a purebred Akita dog who demonstrated the ideals of Undying Loyalty from a Canine Companion. At the end of every day, Hachiko would go to Shibuya Station in Tokyo and wait for his owner (Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor at Tokyo University) to come home from work. Hachikō lived from November 10, 1923 March 8, 1935, nine years after his owner died of a brain hemorrhage. Uenos death in 1925 (while at work) did not prevent Hachiko from continuing this practice. Until his own death, Hachikō would return to the station at the end of the day to await his owner's return.
After a 1932 newspaper article brought Hachiko to national attention, he became a permanent symbol of loyalty and faithfulness, and earned the nickname Chūken Hachikō (忠犬ハチ公, "faithful dog Hachikō"). He joined the ranks of modern-day Japanese folklore because of this unswerving loyalty to his dead master.
Three bronze statues of him now stand: Tokyos Shibuya station (where he waited for master), Odates train station (Odate was where Hachiko was born) and Odates Akita Dog Museum (which was built in honour of him, and other Akitas). There is also a monument that stands next to Professor Uenos grave in Aoyama Cemetary. The Shibuya statue is an extremely popular spot for people to meet, particularly lovers because of its symbolic representation of commitment and loyalty. In March 2016, a new statue of him and Prof. Ueno was raised, reuniting the two after 80 years.
Works that feature Hachiko the dog:
- Hachi: A Dog's Story is a 2009 American remake of Hachiko Monogatari. 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 abandoned and the story begins.
- Hachiko Monogatari is a 1987 Japanese film based on Hachiko's story.
Works that Hachiko is Referenced by...:
- 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."
- 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.
- Hachiko is parodied when a movie changes the dog into 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".
- Fortune Dogs includes an Expy of Hachiko in one episode who suffers the same fate as the real one.
- 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.
- 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 that turned into a monster. Cue Gintoki screams hilariously in horror and kicked the radio out cold.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 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.
- Referred to in NetHack. Most character classes begin with a random, nameless pet animal: Samurai always receive a little dog named Hachi.
- 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 have been killed by Shadows.
- In Persona 5, a book that the protagonist can read is titled "Buchiko" telling the story of a dog waiting for his master's return.
- In the front of Lumiose Station in Pokémon X and Y, there are two Skiddo sleeping next to each other, which is rather cute. Talk to the old lady in the other side of the street, and she tells you the two of them were abandoned and are waiting there every day for their old Trainer to return.
- The Futurama episode "Jurassic Bark" bears a resemblance to the story of Hachiko, as the dog meets with Fry every day at the Pizzaria where he work. In this case, the statue was the actual dog that had been "flash-fossilized". Cue massive tears from the entire audience and crew.
Works that feature the Hachiko statue:
- The main characters of Super GALS! often congregate around the statue of Hachiko.
- Mirai briefly waits for a male friend (on whom she has a crush) by the statue of Hachiko in one episode.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Being set completely in Shibuya, The World Ends with You naturally features Hachiko, which plays a minor part in the story.
- Megami Tensei II: A Hachiko statue is still intact yet became a portal to the netherworld.
- In Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE, if you look hard enough, you can find an intact statue of Hachiko in post-apocalyptic Shibuya. Except he looks kind of grey...And small.
- In Shin Megami Tensei III: 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.
- In what is clearly a homage to Hachiko, the city area of the first Megaman 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.