A seventy-year-old mystery concerning the cause of death for Japan’s most illustrious canine has been finally solved.
The dog’s undying loyalty to his owner was forever captured in a 2009 Hollywood movie, Hachi: A Dog’s Story, which starred Richard Gere.
Hachiko would go every day to wait at Shibuya train station for his master, who was a professor at the University of Tokyo. For more than a decade after the professor died, and in fact every day until the dog died in 1935, he traveled to the station to greet his master.
For the residents of Tokyo, the dog’s loyalty was moving and it needed commemoration. They erected a statue dedicated to his memory that stands today at the train station. It remains a popular meeting spot.
Hachiko seeped into pop culture as well and he became the hero of several Japanese children’s books.
University of Tokyo veterinarians have dismantled the legend surrounding his death, which claims that the dog swallowed a chicken skewer that ruptured his stomach. They have determined by examining his innards which ahd been preserved that the animal died of that the famous dog died of cancer and also a filaria infection (worms).
“Hachiko certainly had yakitori given by a street vendor at Shibuya, but the sticks were unrelated to his death, and the rumour is groundless,” said veterinarian, Kazuyuki Uchida
A sad ending for a most loyal pooch whose every life’s breath was devoted to his master.
Here’s to you Hachiko, wherever you may be!
(Clink of glass.