An 81-year-old photograph of the famed Japanese dog Hachiko, known for being loyal to his owner even after the man’s death, was recently found in the home of a late Tokyo bank employee, The Japan News reported.
The family of the picture’s creator, Isamu Yamamoto, who died in 1947, was cleaning up the man’s former home when they made the rare find.
Hachiko, pictured around 1934 sitting on his stomach near the Shibuya railway station ticket counter in Tokyo, was known to wait in the same area every day for his master, Hidesaburo Ueno, to return home from work.
Ueno was an agriculture professor at the University of Tokyo.
Hachiko would follow Ueno to and from the train station every day in the early 1920s.
Ueno died in 1925, but Hachiko continued to visit the station every day thereafter, hoping for his master’s return.
Numerous pictures were taken of Hachiko, but most were with other people, or taken as memorial and close-up photographs. Yamamoto’s photograph instead shows Hachiko blending into the background of the station.
In 1934, Teru Ando erected the first bronze statue of Hachiko in front of Shibuya station to memorialize commuters’ accustomed sight of the Akita dog awaiting its master.
“Hachiko was a familiar sight to those living near Shibuya Station. I hope the photo my father took will be preserved carefully,” Yamamoto’s daughter, Yoko Imamura said.
Imamura said her father was an avid photographer and that the photograph of Hachiko was found in his album.
Yamamoto’s family gave the photograph of Hachiko to Takeshi Ando, Teru’s son, and the sculptor of the second statue of Hachiko.
“I have never looked at such a photo that caught the atmosphere of Hachiko’s everyday life at that time so well,” Takeshi Ando said.
Ed note – I worked in Tokyo for a number of years and spent quite a bit of time in Shibuya, in fact, I kept an office right across from Shibuya Station Hachiko exit. I walked by Hachiko everyday. It was common to meet up with friends there saying “meet me at Hachiko at 7pm” for example. It is great story that means the world to the Japanese. Hachiko is an international symbol of pure friendship and an icon for undying loyalty.
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