Seventy-five years after his death, scientists say they have determined what killed Hachiko, the legendary Akita whose story has been immortalized in his native Japan and the rest of the world.
Japan’s most famous dog — though rumors have persisted for decades that worms did him in, or that he swallowed a chicken skewer that ruptured his stomach — had heart and lung cancer, scientists now say.
Hachiko became legendary for the loyalty he showed by waiting for his owner every day at a train station — for 10 years after his master died.
Read the rest of the story: Hachiko had cancer, Japanese scientists find.
The story of Hachiko, the Akita-ken who symbolizes loyalty, devotion, and friendship has been brought to the screen recently in a new movie, Hachi (also called Hachiko- A Dog’s Story). It was released in Japan on 8/8 (to correspond with ‘hachi, hachi’), and will be out in America on December 18. Whether or not you know the story of this inspiring canine who waited for his master at Shibuya Station everyday for over ten years, I recommend Hachiko Waits, by Leslea Newman, to fill you in. Leslea’s book is faithful to the details of the original story, while adding a few new characters, especially a young boy, Yasuo, who befriends Hachi. It is a young adult novel, though I must admit I read it twice myself, enjoying the details of Tokyo in the 1920’s and the story of how Hachi becomes the respected and loved Hachi-ko.
If you are in Tokyo, why not call a friend, meet at the Shibuya Station at the Hachiko statue, and make a Hachi night out of it. And of course, bring along a copy of the book for while you wait!
I’ll be waiting for a Wednesday (Ladies Day) or the first of the month to see the movie, when the price in theatres in Japan goes down to 1000 yen, from the regular 1800 yen ticket price.
Aikawarazu Life in Japan
Link to find out more about the Shibuya Hachiko Statue: